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Social novel writing: is it viable?

Poll closed Mar 23, 2014.
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  1. Ádám Gólya
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    Ádám Gólya New Member

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    Social novel writing: is it viable?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ádám Gólya, Mar 16, 2014.

    I initiated a research about "social novel writing" which means we are writing a novel together using a version control system. "We" means the community or anyone who wants - not only a few co-writer. Your contribution could only be one line it doesn't matter. Both the source and the change history are public from the beginning. Could it be a competitive product? Can the reader notice any difference (positive or negative)? What could be the advantage and disadvantage of that? I think this could be a good opportunity to learn from each other, not only in writing, but also in editing. Anyway, I'm looking for contributors as well as for anyone who knows about any similar project. Please do let me know if you are interested or fancy to join to this project.
    (The indiegogo project for the research: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/social-novel-writing-unknown-universe)
     
  2. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm sure this may interest some people, but I'm afraid I'm not one of them. There will be no collective vision, just bunches of sentences tacked on to one another–unless I have the definition wrong. Is this just you write a line, I write the next line, somebody else writes the third, etc? It might end up 'working' as a story, but I'm not sure what benefit it will be to anyone? Either to read OR to write?

    If you're talking about a truly collaborative effort, however—a number of people brainstorming a story, its elements, characters and plot, then writing the different scenes of the agreed-upon novel separately—that might work. It's not my thing, but it might be interesting AND worthwhile.
     
  3. Ádám Gólya
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    Ádám Gólya New Member

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    We have a decision hierarchy, and the main concept is every member has a character and responsible for it, or responsible for create authenctical description of the give country or place etc. But all of it doesnt mean that not write paragraph for another character, and you can modify, change the lines that written by other members.
     
  4. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It sounds to me like a recipe for a bunch of arguments, edit wars and people falling out. Even people who are normally quite good at taking criticism might object to having their work changed to something they perceive as worse. Sorry to be all negative. Maybe you'll prove me wrong.
     
  5. Ádám Gólya
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    Ádám Gólya New Member

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    But the final decision will be the owner of the character or palce (decision hierarchy), therefore the all process could be authentic. And the arguments could be exciting. I think you were not negative, just tried to imagine how it works. And of course this is a research, these question what Im looking for, and Im looking for the answers, and I will share it. :) Therefore Im looking for members who can work together effectively. :)
     
  6. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    This, juxtaposed with another recent thread and the RP room makes me think the interest is growing for a more interactive form of storytelling. The most interactive is definitely the video-game platform, in my opinion, as it literally takes audience intervention to progress the story. With games becoming more free-range and story-based, it seems that writers have to think a bit differently. I don't think that would translate vary well to multiple writers advancing one story. That's like having multiple directors make a movie The truth is, everyone has a different vision...
     
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  7. Ádám Gólya
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    Ádám Gólya New Member

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    The basic concept in the traditional novel writing is an author imagine a world and imagine characters, places, and reactions between characters. But can it be more authentic if the reactions comes from individual members? I think I will never travel to Japan for example, but if we have a Japan member, then she/he can write really faithfull about Japan.
     
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. And it's individual vision that makes a great story, in my opinion.

    Sure, people can get together and cooperate and churn out a story that passes muster. It might even be entertaining and enlightening.

    Some writers already do collaborate, and very well, so this isn't as unique a project as it might originally sound. However, these collaborations work well, because the people involved have similar ideas and goals. They may have different writing strengths and the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. But these people are already used to being together and working together and feeding off each others' ideas.

    What's more likely to happen with the project you've proposed, however, is the whole thing WILL become an exercise in compromise for those who elect to stick it out. Some will get along better than others, and they'll end up being the ones running the show. Most other people will have to give up their own vision in service to the commonality of the project. They'll either compromise their ideas or leave the project.

    This is not the same thing as writers' brainstorming sessions. Brainstorming is great, and can generate ideas ...but then the authors go away and write the story these brainstorming sessions have inspired. Having to AGREE on an outcome? No, that's not the same thing at all.

    There is nothing wrong with compromise in daily life—in fact it's necessary if we're not going to kill each other. However, the reason compromise is necessary is BECAUSE people have different visions. Writing and other forms of art is the one sphere where we can indulge our personal visions and NOT compromise them.

    This project might be interesting in some respects, as insight into group dynamics, but why bother? It's original, individual vision that makes good writing unforgettable. I reckon.

    However, I'd be more than delighted to be proved wrong. If the final story is a good one, and ALL the people who worked on the project stick with it and agree that their individual contributions were as equally valued (and retained) as everybody else's, then I'll eat my hat.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
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  9. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Bear in mind, there might be quite a few areas where there is an overlap of responsibility. Setting is rarely a static element that is independent of everything else. It's often shown by what a character happens to react to and that's based on who the character is, what his goals are at the time and what is actually happening at the time.
     
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  10. Ádám Gólya
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    Ádám Gólya New Member

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    You are right in lot of things but everything has an another side. I really now how express myself, and as an artist I have duty to do that. But this is just one form and purpose of the arts. As an artist have duty to looking for new things, unknown things. Ask question that answered by the given work of art, so if I want create my own vision then I will do that, but if I want to looking for question about how can I work together with unknown people and how can I write a novel with unknown members or how can I teach the future of the novel writers then I have to do it. And of course as in every research will be unexpected events etc. But I think we shouldn't confused about what is the purpose of this research. After the research maybe I will tell you that you were right, maybe not, our quarrel is theoritical at present.

    The another thing is 'If the final story is a good one, and ALL the people who worked on the project stick with it and agree that their individual contributions were as equally valued (and retained) as everybody else's, then I'll eat my hat.'

    This is not the purpose. I do not want that every member feel the equal amount of work. If someone just want to add only one line that its available too. And she/he will feel that is not the main value of the novel. The best example is the software development. There are lot of open source project, you can send a pull request even just one line of code change, and if the project members accept it you will be very happy with your contributions (This is a fact, and I want to prove that it can be true for this project too). Not every people has a possibility to create an own novel, but really want to participate in one of it.

    This project not just for create a valuable novel, but its important that you can learn from it, because all of the change history is available for you. You mentioned 'this isn't as unique a project as it might originally sound' but can you show me a novel that have a change history and it published from the begining? (If its exists then let me know, becaues Im really want to examine the changes, because I can learn from it.)

    Anyway, I thanks for your post, it was necessary for me, and I hope we will continue this conversation. :)
     
  11. Ádám Gólya
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    Ádám Gólya New Member

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    Im not sure that cannot be a quiding factor. What will happen if the two writer do not want to doing the same thing as character? We can write it down into the novel. Anyway I know the experimentation could be dangerous, but I like it. :)
     
  12. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Hi again, @Ádám Gólya

    I think your project sounds interesting, and I'd like to hear what happens with it.

    By the way, I didn't mean to imply that each person will contribute equal words and time to the project ...as you said, some will only do a line or so. What I said was I would be interested in hearing if each person felt their contribution was equally VALUED. In other words, did that single line they contributed get dumped because several others didn't like it?

    Experimentation is fun, though. And good luck with your project.

    By the way, I don't think it's a dangerous project at all–unless the participants start clawing each other's eyes out! I just don't see what purpose it serves, other than as a study into how people can work, or don't work, together. I don't see any point in deliberately trying to create art as a group. (But that's just me.) I'm sure people will 'learn' from the experience—but what they'll learn is another matter. Will they become better writers? Will they find it difficult to work on their own after this?

    Strange. This most definitely is not me! :)
     
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  13. vera2014
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    vera2014 Contributing Member

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    It sounds fun to try. I'm not sure how it would turn out.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't see how writing by committee can turn out anything worth reading...
     
  15. Ádám Gólya
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    Ádám Gólya New Member

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    If someone could have seen it then the whole project would be unnecessary. :) This is the question, I try to leave my comofort zone and answer the question.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A single clear voice always trumps the babble of a crowd. I'm with Maia. Writing by committee is doomed to mediocrity.
     
  17. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I hated working in a group in school where anything artistic was concerned. If you were good, your talent was dragged down by the talentless, and if by some miracle you managed to produce something good somehow the ones who did the least amount of work took/got the most credit.

    I'm also reminded of lousy movies that have twelve writers

    or the expression - too many cooks in the kitchen.

    Might be interesting though it was free form - Person A writes Chapter 1, Person B reads 1st chapter and writes Chapter 2, Person C reads both chapters and writes Chapter 3 - etc.
     
  18. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i think switching writer 'voice' from chapter to chapter would be just as bad, or even worse than having a slew of writers tossing in bits and pieces throughout...
     
  19. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I thought I read somewhere about legitimate writer's doing this - but I can't remember who was involved and when I looked up collaborative writing, I couldn't find anything.
     
  20. Ádám Gólya
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    Ádám Gólya New Member

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    Oh, How I yearn to join to us, our perpetual contrary can be the most original and effective breeding ground, but the obstacle of this contribution is the physics. You and me are functional if we are stateless, together. The fact of contribution explode our natural synergy for authentic dissimilarity that an example about struggle of every unique person. Im starting to undestand you therfore I should give up the idea, but if you understand me you should convince me of the blessed collaboration. It is a beautiful eternal circulation based on the clash between the state and stateless. I have instinctive desire to recognize the contrast, and I admire about the conformist power of the nausea. Of course this is a some kind of invocation.
     
  21. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think your original post asked if 'we' thought this social writing was a viable option. Many of us appear to have reservations as to its ability to produce either a saleable product or simply good literature. And I'm of the mind that I don't admire collective thinking, when it comes to art.

    However, I personally don't have any reservations about you trying this project! I'm sure it will be an exercise in lots of things, and people will grow from having had the experience, however the final product turns out. Everyone should think of it as a journey, I suppose. Please don't give up on it, just because many of us aren't really keen to jump in. We're all busy with our own projects just now, which might account for some of the reluctance.

    However, the learning has already begun, hasn't it? Collaboration isn't always an attractive option. Some folks just don't wanna do this!

    I appreciate cooperation, but I'm less happy with collaboration. Cooperation gives everyone their moment on the floor, allows everyone the best chance to shine. Collaboration may produce ideas that are bigger than a single individual, but I think it often results in watering-down and compromise. Not sure this is desirable, when it comes to art.
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    huh? :rolleyes:
     
  23. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    It sounds like corporate writing. Not my thing at all. Maybe you could impose an ISO9000 process on the writing to make it even more... whatever it would be.

    I cannot imagine what the point would be. It would be as much fun as writing papers in college was. Everyone writing their part and one person pulling it all together. Very un-fun.
     
  24. HallowMan
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    HallowMan Banned

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    I studied fiction writing in college (300 words, submitted every weekday for an entire semester). I came away from that experience with the conviction that writing every day would make it possible for me to write something substantive — if and when I had something substantive to say. I certainly didn’t in college. But I learned to watch, analyze, and describe the people around me. This led to Columbia J-School and a career in journalism (which is another story).
    [links removed]
     
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