The wonderful Penguin UK and DeMontfort University have teamed up to create a massive wiki novel project. For the month of Feb (and beyond hopefully), anyone (including spammers you darn…!) can co-write a novel on a wiki. Here is their goal:
Can a collective create a believable fictional voice? How does a plot find any sort of coherent trajectory when different people have a different idea about how a story should end â€“ or even begin? And, perhaps most importantly, can writers really leave their egos at the door? Typically, a writer will acknowledge in print the efforts of their bookâ€™s editor, copy editor and agent, since they each will have read the work in draft form. But such acknowledgments regularly include a disclaimer along these lines : â€œAny errors that remain are, of course, my ownâ€. So the majority of published writers depend on collaboration, but only up to a point. After all, there is usually a single name on the jacket of a novel.
So is the novel immune from being swept up into the fashion for collaborative activity? Well, this is what we are going to try and discover with A Million Penguins, a collaborative, wiki-based creative writing exercise. We should go into this with the best spirit of scientific endeavour – the experiment is going live, the lab is under construction, the subjects are out there. And the results? Weâ€™ll see in a couple of months.