An "exquisite corpse" is a fun, creative exercise where people add words or images to one original thought to create a new piece of art. These free online apps let you collaborate with strangers or friends to create something new and awesome.
Whether you're writing a book, making a movie, or composing a song, you can't do everything alone. There will be people you need to include on your journey. Any creative pursuit is at its best when you adopt a synergic approach. The internet, of course, makes it easier than ever to collaborate with others on creative endeavors.
1. WriteAlong.io (Web): Write a Story Online Together by Voting
If you want to flex your creative writing muscles, WriteAlong is a community to build a story with other people online, step by step. The great part is that you don't necessarily have to be a writer yourself, but it does help if you are.
Once you have an account, check the Projects page for active WriteAlong projects. The original author sets the project's name and premise, but everything after that comes from the community. Anyone (including the original author) can add elements like characters, locations, ideas, and events. The community votes for the ideas they like, and the most voted one wins.
After the elements are agreed upon, the community would vote on ideas for the first chapter, and then all are free to write and submit it. Again, the community votes the best of these, and that winner forms the basis of the story so far. Based on the winner, the next chapter's ideas are opened for a vote, after which it'll be written and submitted for voting, and so on.
It's a great community for writers and those who can't write themselves but like to come up with ideas. So, submit your ideas; you might find writers online who build the story and maybe even explore areas you didn't think of before.
2. Monsterland (Web, Android, iOS): Make a Monster Face by Drawing With Friends
You may have played this game as kids in school, dodging the watchful eyes of your teachers. You draw a monster face on a piece of paper, pass it to a friend who adds arms, and then passes it to another friend who adds a body, and so on. Monsterland is the online version of this classic and is also available as an app.
The lobby area shows all the ongoing creations by artists around the world. You can join any public group to draw, which are categorized by monsters that need heads, bodies, or legs. If you choose a body, you can't see the head or legs. That's the fun of the game, as you draw blind and then compile it together to come up with a crazy creation.
The drawing tools are simple, with a palette of colors, different sized brushes, and an eraser. You can create private groups in Monsterland and invite friends so that it's a safe space. Check out the Hall of Fame to look at the cool things others have made, or visit My Monsters for your own collection of creepoids.
Download: Monsterland for Android | iOS (Free)
3. Plink (Web): Make Music Online With Strangers or Friends
Bands often talk about the joy of jamming with other musicians to come up with sounds that elevate the original tune. Plink is a web app to get a taste of that, but you don't need to know how to play any instrument. All you need is a functional mouse.
Online players on Plink are assigned a random name to control a type of synthesizer sound (there are eight to choose from), which plays every time you click. When you move your mouse up and down, it changes pitch and tone. Meanwhile, other players are doing the same online, so you're "jamming" with them as you all create a unique tune.
This is all backed up by a consistent beat to add that little pizzazz to your music. You can also create a private room and invite your friends. Plink is crazy addictive and you're almost guaranteed to spend a lot of time fiddling around with this.
Of course, Plink is a more casual and fun way to make music online, rather than with any instruments. If you want that, there are some excellent apps to jam online with friends and strangers, like JamKazam and Jamulus.
4. Halfbakery (Web): Share Half-Baked Ideas and Improvise on Them
Do you sometimes come up with a brilliant idea and think it should be shared with the world so that others can contribute and make it better? And who knows, what if someone makes it? You're going to love Halfbakery.
Halfbakery calls itself a "communal database of original, fictitious inventions." The idea is to put your genius out there, whether as satire or creative expression. Once you create an account and write an idea, other users can leave comments on how to make it better, whether similar things already exist, or other ways to build on it. And of course, people can vote whether it's a good idea or not.
You can browse existing ideas by votes, category, date, or tags. The "random" button is a nice way to go through the site and improvise on what others have already shared. From self-styling hair to traditional Christmas dinner services, it's a riot.
5. Panel Jam (Web): Make Comic Strips by Collaborating on Panels
Panel Jam is an excellent resource for comic artists to develop their skills, and even meet collaborators online. The idea behind the online community is to make a three to six-panel story where anyone can contribute a panel.
The simple motto of "see a panel, draw a panel, pass it on" tells you everything you need to know. You can browse a variety of ongoing and recently submitted panel jams to find something that inspires you. Claim it, start drawing the next panel, and submit it.
The drawing tools are pretty basic, such as a brush, shapes, a color palette, and text input. For best results, you'll want to use this on a touchscreen device with a stylus. You can't upload your own offline creations. But think of this more as a space to practice your drawing and learn how to draw web comics with others.
Go Beyond Apps and Make Your Own Exquisite Corpse
These websites are a playground to exercise your creative muscles and collaborate on fun projects. But you don't have to rely on websites alone to adopt the practice of exquisite corpse. You could hop on a video call with friends, or even do similar endeavors in person.
Technology helps in giving you new ways to try the method. In fact, how you use technology for this is a creative exercise in itself. For inspiration, look at Mitchell Rose's Exquisite Corps, where a group of 42 dancers made a video of varied dance moves, taking off from where the last one stopped. Pick your art form, use technology to "pass the turn", and get creative!