Take 16 talented writers. Give them the premise for a thriller set in their Wine Country backyard and let each of them tell a part of the story.

What will you get? Sonoma Squares Murder Mystery, which begins here April 23. What’s it all about? Our Q & A section below offers a little insight.

What is this creation? Sonoma Squares is a serial that will run Mondays and Thursdays starting April 23 at Digitale Stories. It’s set in Sonoma County with a special nod to several town squares. The story features four main characters: police reporter Sandra Cordero, her best friend Abby, Sheriff’s Detective Zachary Brown and a mysterious killer. Each chapter contains between 800 and 1,100 words.

Why 16 writers? More fun. More challenges. More creative genius adding a little something special. It’s been great to see each writer take a chapter and make it their own.

Who are the writers? They include Press Democrat reporters, bloggers, columnists and a copy editor, as well as local authors. To see the collection and their chapter titles, click here.

How did you make this happen? To begin, local author Dean A. Anderson wrote Chapter 1, “Red Muumuu,” as a sort of template. The rest of the writers were given an intro to the story, the first chapter, an outline of other chapters and some specific guidance about what was needed in their sections. They took it from there.

With trained journalists, it must have been easy to get them to stay within their word counts, right? That cackling you hear is the sound of editors-gone-by rolling over in their graves with laughter. We’re talking newspaper reporters. Story length limits are mere suggestions to them. Ignoring directions is one of the few perks of being an ink-stained-wretch.

Who’s writing Chapter 13? You can. We’ve deliberately left that one up for grabs. Any reader will be able to submit for possible publication their own Chapter 13, “Death Watch.” Want to know more? On Thursday we’ll tell you how you can join the adventure.

— Robert Digitale


Connecting Readers and Writers

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