We’ve got exciting news for you today about an upcoming Serial Box event that’s unlike anything we’ve done before: one day, ten episodes, one strange, spooky story.
It’s called Exquisite Corpse, after the surrealist party game that’s part improv, part game of telephone. (And also because it’s a horror story.) Surrealist artists like Joan Miró and Man Ray played exquisite corpse with drawings on paper, each artist covering their contribution before passing the page to the next, resulting in bizarre composite images. Poets play exquisite corpse line by line, each writer seeing only the line before theirs, for a piece of writing that’s more expansive and associative than any one writer could write alone. Agatha Christie and thirteen other mystery writers even used the form to write a detective novel together, bit by bit, in 1931. An exquisite corpse is always an adventure, a crazy ride from beginning to wherever it ends up.
For our Exquisite Corpse, we gathered together ten of our favorite horror writers, including Alyssa Wong, Brian Keene, Paul Tremblay, and many more. This is a fast-and-dirty version of the usual Serial Box collaboration—instead of coming together to brainstorm in a writers room, these ten authors are writing one at a time, each able to see only the installment that comes before theirs. No group brainstorming, no planning ahead. And each installment is only a thousand words long. This is a serial you’ll be able to read in one day.
The story starts with this ominous prompt (written for us by the Editor-in-Chief of horror news site Dread Central):
With only a few days left until the big gallery opening, you’re struggling to finish your final pieces. However, it’s not lack of inspiration but rather dwindling supplies that’s holding you back. The problem is that your art uses rather… unorthodox materials.
From there, you’ll get a story about the intensity of making art and the ways it seeps into—and overtakes—our lives, a horror serial with sci-fi elements and plenty of unexpected twists and turns. We encouraged the writers to go as weird as they wanted—“yes and” with an emphasis on the and.
To really amp things up, we’re engineering the audio episodes of Exquisite corpse with binaural recording, which gives audio a 3-D effect. It’s also been called “virtual reality for your ears.” It’s an immersive listening experience and, when it comes to horror stories, especially creepy.
The result is coming to you on October 19th, free to read and listen to on the Serial Box app and website. Starting at 11:00 a.m. EST, we’ll release one chapter an hour, until 8:00 p.m. EST. And with every chapter, we’ll also be sending out bonuses and prizes, so make sure to sign up for the Exquisite Corpse emails in advance (as in now!).
Happy, spooky listening and reading!