Each of the posts contains a framing device to presumably connect what at Facebook value ( lack of chronology except as it pertains to the sense of immediacy meant to trigger the users most base values that slowly ly have been conditioned into the culture of celebrity and previously the New Age mantra "I Matter "taken to almost comedic heights with the advent of Phil Donahue /Operah Winfrey sociological shifts to prepare the masses that it not just OK but in fact therapuetic to air one's dirty laundry and private thoughts in a public setting .
The main story centers on a group of seventeen individuals (all of whom go by nicknames based on the story they tell) who have decided to participate in a secret writers' retreat, frequently compared by characters to the Villa Diodati retreat of 1816. After having noticed an invitation to the retreat posted on the bulletin board of a cafe in Oregon, the characters follow instructions on the invitation to meet Mr. Whittier, the retreat's organizer. Whittier tells them to each wait for a bus to pick them up the next morning and bring only what they can fit into one piece of luggage (in particular, only what they feel they need most).
The next day, the seventeen characters, Whittier, and his assistant Mrs. Clark are driven to an abandoned theatre. Whittier locks all of them inside the theatre, telling them they have three months to each write a magnum opus before he will allow them to leave. In the meantime, they will have enough food and water to survive, as well as heat, electricity, bedrooms, bathrooms, and a clothes washing and drying machine provided.
The characters live under harmless conditions at first. However, the group (not including Whittier or Clark) eventually decide that they could make a better story of their own suffering inside the theatre, and thereby become rich after the public discovers their fate. They then begin to individually sabotage the food and utilities provided to them, with each character trying to only destroy one food or utility to slightly increase the drama of their stay. Since the characters are not co-ordinating their plans, they end up destroying all their food and utilities, forcing all of them to struggle to survive starvation, cold, and darkness.
With Whittier accidentally dying from a stomach rupture, the writers find themselves trapped without him. Believing a great increase in their suffering will provide a better story for when they're rescued, several writers start to willingly engage in self-mutilation and cannibalism, doing so to give the pretense Whittier tortured them. With numerous characters committing suicide, killing one another, or succumbing to their ailments, they continue to formulate their story whilst the theatre somehow repairs its broken utilities.
With numerous people dead, Mrs. Clark included, the writers continue to sabotage themselves, such as destroying the lighting and wasting any additional food supplies they find. The eleven remaining writers eventually group in the main theatre, only for Whittier to appear and reveal he faked his death (with Clark's help) and has been observing the writers through hidden cameras. Informing the writers their three months have passed and that they are free to leave, Whittier notes that, by continuing to blame him for everything and playing the victim to extreme extents, they haven't acted any differently from the other groups. Whittier unlocks the exit and leaves with Miss Sneezy, choosing her as the person he saves and offering her a new life. Mother Nature, objecting that they need to wait a little longer for other writers to die and for someone to rescue them, stabs Miss Sneezy. To prevent Whittier from leaving with her, they drag Miss Sneezy back inside and break the lock, and continue to wait for rescue.