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An Experiment: Multiple Authors

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Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:32 am
TheSage says...

It's always been an interesting idea in my mind. What if you took a handful of Authors (three to five) with a plot and theme that was generally agreed upon and set them free?
"Set them Free" being, they create one story. Together.

How, you might ask? That's a great question. More importantly, why would you even want this? It's come to my mind in writing, that the reason I have trouble expanding on my own topics is because I need something to work off of. Most of my stories are allegory or based off past experiences. If I try to create something completely new myself, I'll find that I get lost in my own imagination and I'll always be constantly changing ideas until eventually, it becomes unprofitable with all the changes.

But what if a group of authors took a story from chapter to chapter, taking turns. Possibly like a compilation of journal entries or even a, altering 1st Person story telling element.

I for one would love to write a novel with a group. It adds a support network and allows for great brainstorming and originality. Especially if everyone is interested in the theme/plot.

But what do you think on the subject? Would you enjoying reading a novel written by multiple Authors? Would you enjoy writing a novel with multiple authors as well?
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Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:27 am
Stori says...

It's been done, certainly.

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Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:14 am
Jagged says...

I've heard of it being done once or twice for published works, although one of them was more a joke project than anything. If we're looking at two authors only you only need to look at Gaiman and Pratchett's Good Omens for a really nice example. I've seen it done a lot more often in fanworks, though, and I've definitely enjoyed a lot of them.

The problem though with this kind of thing is finding a group of people you can:
    1. agree with when it comes to plot/characterization/etc on such a long project - and coming to a consensus can be pretty hard when you've got intricate plotlines and throw in butterfly effect, not to mention different people maybe having different ideas for what they want for specific characters or story arcs and the fact you probably won't be able to fit it all in, which might lead to arguing, tensions and generally a huge mess
    2. easily communicate and exchange with: timezones, work schedules, internet access, etc. will complicate things and require working around
    3. mesh with in terms of writing style (because nothing pulls you out of your reading half as fast as a sudden change in flow and general style, but not everyone can adapt to one another's quirks and stuff)
There's also agreeing on how to work, like, as you said, a succession of entries vs 1st/3rd person PoV chapters, limited vs. omniscient, whether it's everyone to their own chapters in succession or just anyone popping in the WIP and adding lines/paragraphs as they get inspired...

I've seen some storybooks on here that worked kind of like that, really. We'd work out where we wanted the plot to go and sort out character reactions, bounce ideas off one another and then make it happen within our group. It's hard to get to novel-lengths (although some have happily gone past 50k), but it's stuff that could theoretically be taken and edited into publishable content.

Again, IMHO, the big difficulty is finding people you can really work with - and of course, the more they are, the more friction there'll be. But there's absolutely no reason it can't be done, and if it's well written then I don't see why I wouldn't read it.
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Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:02 pm
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AJChambers13 says...

I really like this idea and it seems you've put a lot of thought into it. I'm a terrible procrastinator and I think that working with someone else would give me the necessary motivation to actually get working. Not only that, but I think that bouncing ideas off of each other would help immensely in the brainstorming process. I can still see issues with it though. Jagged basically covered it all, and while I love the thought of working with other authors on a project, I just can't see it working.

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