Annexe Magazine set itself an exercise in curatorial trust with its recent collaborative online project XZ#1. From their guidelines:

 The aim is to get inside stories and see how different writing styles can join forces to create something fresh, but recognisable. To do this, we’re taking particular genres/styles/species of fiction and breaking them down, looking under the hood and building them back up in smaller chunks.

Each story gets six writers and each writer gets one section. They are given a bare framework to work on, everything else is up to them, and  they aren’t told what the other five writers are coming up with.

The genre was fixed as ‘noir’, three character names were supplied and the word-count was suggested; other than that, all five writers were given free rein. An untethered rein, too – each participant was only provided with the preceding chapter as a basis for their submission. Narrative as sandpit, so it’s interesting that the final piece Singing the Necessaries saw jawlines, bottles, cigarettes and the colour blue garner quite so much shared press.

The illustrations are also very tasty. I recommend popping on some stinking jazz and giving it a quick virtual thumb-through below. With thanks to editor Nick Murray, and the other contributors Ben Gwalchmai, Komal Verma, Akiho Schilz, Jack Swain and John Boursnell.

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