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Chicago-Based Artist Is Crowdsourcing a Novel: Clever Idea or Recipe for Disaster?

Tech 2012/04/29 21:56:51
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Crowdsourcing has brought us some wonderful things: Wikipedia, Urban Dictionary, Threadless, Khan Academy—just to name a few. But a novel written by the Internet? We’re not so sure that’s a good idea.

The Collabowriters, which was conceived and created by Chicago-based artist Willy Chyr, is “an experiment in creating a crowdsourced novel.” To participate, all you have to do is register. From there, you can submit content and vote on what lines should make it into the story. The novel is being pieced together sentence by sentence as users enter submissions (of up to 140 characters) and the rest of the community votes—giving the proposed sentence a score of either +1 or -1.

According to the project’s website, “The submission with the highest score becomes the sentence in the novel, or at least until another submission surpasses its score. In order to proceed to the next sentence of the novel, one of the submissions in the current sentence must receive at least a score of 5.”



Here is an excerpt from the novel so far:

It was a dark and stormy night. Zachary, wet and miserable, had been dispatched by his father to scamper across town to pick up some drugs for his step-mother. From the road, he could see the still frozen river. It was only March but it was starting to melt. In a week, the ice would be gone. The barbed sweet stenches of sewage wafting up between the ice cracks on the canal were arrogantly broadcasting an early spring. From somewhere across the canal, a soft sound was barely audible over the moan of shifting ice and garbage: "Help."

Zachary stopped, at first unsure of what he had heard. But through the sound of the rain, he heard the cry again, this time louder. Apprehensive but curious, he gingerly approached the source of the noise with deliberate steps. Zack found the source of the sound and froze: a two-way radio. While common in the past, batteries hadn't existed for at least two decades. What was something so precious doing in the slush next to the canal? "Jackpot," he whispered.


Hmm . . . it’s no masterpiece but it isn’t completely terrible either. Frankly, we’re curious to see if this book will ever actually be finished. According to Publisher’s Weekly, the median length of a novel is about 64,000 words. So far The Collabowriters have agreed upon around 550. With no word or time limit, the end of this story could be a long time coming.

What do you think SodaHeads? Is crowdsourcing a novel a clever idea or a recipe for disaster?

Read More: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/04/29/would-you-read...

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Top Opinion

  • glass_butterfly ~YSU~ 2012/04/29 22:22:23
    Clever Idea
    glass_butterfly ~YSU~
    +8
    I love anything that brings together creative minds.

    Though the story sounds like the start of something I could have written in the forth grade with my handy-dandy thesaurus (using words like "dispatch" and "scamper" is so unnecessary, sometimes simple is better).

    But as long as they're having fun and don't take themselves too seriously I'm sure nothing but good can come out of multiple minds working on one thing. head nod GIF

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  • Omni KendraT... 2012/04/30 20:17:57
    Omni
    +1
    This is what's called "milking the masses"!
  • tweet_tweet 2012/04/30 01:46:33
    Clever Idea
    tweet_tweet
    could be fun. and it's just a novel, so what's the worst that could come of it?
  • Angie ♥♡Obama♡♥ 2012/04/30 01:06:51
    Clever Idea
    Angie ♥♡Obama♡♥
    +1
    but this story will blow, it's juvenile, they should be more strict about who posts
  • Connectification 2012/04/30 00:40:26
    Clever Idea
    Connectification
    Or a disaster. I'm not sure.
  • Osaka 2012/04/30 00:26:39 (edited)
    Recipe for Disaster
    Osaka
    I was on an anthology and make one mistake, you're demonized.. Although the ranting it took for anyone to actually talk to me when they pushed me aside was the worst idea and the only way I was able to get anyone but it wasn't the person I was trying to get.
  • The Inc... Osaka 2012/04/30 02:17:02
    The Incurable Pessimist
    People are curious and will ever be. Its a harmless little experiment, of course people can expect the occasional swear or two and people misusing the system but it's a step towards something new and exciting. It could be a disaster but hey, it is said that the greatest inventor is chance! We wouldnt have most of the things available today without people taking chances and trying new things out.
    It's not for me- I wouldn't want to be behind this idea but I'd gladly participate in it just to get my two cents out. I'm not worried about the money or other things. In this fast paced world where people rarely talk to each other and consider their feelings, it's a great global outreach and communication get together which I appreciate! Maybe new literary ideas and inventions can come out of this creative group thinking!
  • Osaka The Inc... 2012/04/30 04:30:58
    Osaka
    I get where you're at, I actually didn't care about money and even if I did this. I still wouldn't. I was following my dream to use my talents for to support something. Sad to admit but they broke my heart. I may have put too much into it. I suppose, I might find myself, one day in the same room with them and they won't know my face. If lucky, by pseudonym. I'll just forgive and love
  • Kigan 2012/04/29 23:27:48
    Clever Idea
    Kigan
    Quite interesting, and I look forward to seeing how it plays out.
  • Sterling 2012/04/29 23:23:41
    Clever Idea
    Sterling
    Clever and funny, it won't turn out great but it'll make for a funny experiment.
  • glass_butterfly ~YSU~ 2012/04/29 22:22:23
    Clever Idea
    glass_butterfly ~YSU~
    +8
    I love anything that brings together creative minds.

    Though the story sounds like the start of something I could have written in the forth grade with my handy-dandy thesaurus (using words like "dispatch" and "scamper" is so unnecessary, sometimes simple is better).

    But as long as they're having fun and don't take themselves too seriously I'm sure nothing but good can come out of multiple minds working on one thing. head nod GIF
  • Anna 2012/04/29 22:14:57
    Clever Idea
    Anna
    And a recipe for disaster, though a funny one. Hopefully he doesn't expect it to be the next Hamlet or anything.

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