When I was a cub scout leader, we made a rule.  The rule was made after a few long, rambling, directionless campfire stories.

The rule saved our sanities.

The rule was this:

“When you say, “And Then…”, the story is over.”

It was in important rule, as it taught the boys not to volunteer to tell a story they didn’t have.  The rule was created after a story much like this one:

“There was this guy. And he was walking down a dark road. He was next to a graveyard.  …And then, a dragon rose up out of the graveyard, and then… the guy fought the dragon, and then… there was a huge fire, and then… everything in the world caught fire and everyone died.  And then…uh… there were these people…”

It wasn’t the first story of its kind.  But the ‘And Then’ rule was hailed as a life-saving stroke of genius, not only because kids thought up the ends of the stories before they started trying to tell them, but it was HILARIOUS listening to young storytellers working very very hard NOT to say, “And Then…”