Monday, December 1, 2008

The Preface

So what exactly is going on here?

Well, an amazing story is about to be written. But not just by one person. Not just by me. By you. By your friends. By anyone else who stumbles upon this place here. This is an idea I've been hatching in secret for quite some time now. I was never in a position to carry it out... until now.

I won't claim to be the first to try this. I honestly don't know if it's been done before. But that doesn't really matter. What matters is that it's going to happen here. We're going to write a book together. Well, I suppose I'll be writing it, but it's going to be a collaborative effort. (Hence the name - Novelaborate.) And this is how I envision it working:

For the time being, until I get some publicity (we are kind of starting from the ground up here, after all), this will, I think, progress somewhat slowly. But that's where you come in. It's up to you, and to me as well, to spread the word. I'm going to be looking for inspiration. Looking for:

-Characters
-Settings
-Plot Keywords
-Any other idea I can solicit

You might have some questions right about now, and I'll do my best to answer a few of what might end up being frequently asked questions:

Why are you doing this? Will it work? - I'm doing this because every writer draws their inspiration from outside sources in some manner. I'm simply making that connection - the connection between the inspirational sources and the one technically doing the writing - much more explicit. It will work as much as people allow it to and encourage it to.

How long will it take? - I'm not sure. Like I said earlier, it will be slow starting probably. But once the word spreads and the inspiration comes in faster and stronger, things will inevitably pick up.

How much are you leaving up to your contributors? - Well, just about everything. Like I said, I'll be looking for character ideas, settings, plot ideas, and everything of that nature. Obviously I'll kind of be stringing everything together, but by and large this will be the product of many authors and sources of inspiration.

What will be the format? - This is still being fleshed out, and it will depend a lot on feedback. But my thought was that after getting a significant enough base of material, I'll write a "chapter" or a segment and post it on this blog. Then, based on what I post, people can continue to guide the story. Twists and turns and the progression of the story will come as time goes on. And if a lot of people think what I post is crap, then I'll ask them how I should change it, to a certain degree. I must confess therefore that I'll have a slightly larger amount of artistic control than any one future contributor, but not by much.

What is your goal? - To furnish a story that is inspiring and inspired, thoughtful and thought-provoking. And fun, of course! This will be fun and creative and something to behold. The goal is not to publish anything. The goal is not to have x number of pages by a certain date. The goal, quite simply, is to bring together as many creative sources as possible and see what comes of it.

3 comments:

JanuaryinParis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

What a fun project! I look forward to seeing it come together ...

Matthew Buckley / Marion Jensen said...

Howdy. My name is Marion Jensen, and I've written under the pen name Matthew Buckley. I wrote my second novel on a wiki, and I strongly believe that collaborative composition is an exciting way to write. I applaud your efforts.

A few thoughts. A wiki, or some kind of document that can be edited by multiple people, is an absolute must when doing collaborative composition. There should also be some kind of 'track changes/revert' functionality to whatever you use. You need co-authors to have immediate access, and not have to worry about 'who has the latest version'.

It is also vital to have one voice. I've often compared collaborative composition to steering a 17th century ship. You have one captain who knows what needs to happen, and where the ship is heading. He gives orders, and many hands carry out those orders to the best of their ability. If there is a problem, the captain addresses and fixes the problem. If you let anybody and everybody write whatever they want, then you end up with a mess. Too many voices. You have to give direction, present a unified voice, but at the same time let folks write and do their part.

As far as a story idea, I've always thought a dinner murder mystery would be fun. You would have the host (main author) invite people to dinner. Collaborators would introduce their character by having their character introduce themselves at the dinner party. The head author would gauge the writing style, voice, skill, etc. of the author, and then decide who gets to stay and finish the story. The story would then proceed with a murder, and the characters trying to figure out who did it. The head author may give assignments out to various characters pertaining to what they should do, but the rest is up to the various co-authors. Could be a lot of fun.

Anyway, good luck, I'll keep checking back to see how it turns out.