Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Libboo: Crowdsourcing a Novel

It may not be as focused, or well constructed as Michael C Milligan‘s livewriting project, but Libboo aims to achieve a similar result – a novel written by the masses for the masses.

The man behind Libboo is Harvard teacher Chris Howard and his approach is to use 'crowdsourcing' to write a book which will have no single author but a multitude of them. The first chapter will be supplied by Grub Street and will set the scene and act as the inspiration for the rest of the book.

He is hoping that the first experiment which is a romance disaster called ‘Flight of the Burning Stallion’ will attract some 1,000 active writing participants. The contributors will be able to literally write the next chapter which can then be shared between the crowd. The pen can then be taken up by someone else who writes the next chapter and so on. However they will be not one but many different chapters and story line threads, with each effectively twigging off to form a new branch and each branch offering a different and new storyline.

What is determined to be the best storyline and end up being published, will be determined by technology that discreetly tracks the most successful or popular storylines. An Editorial team will be used to ensure consistency through the various threads.

All revenues raised by the project will go to the Literacy Trust.

So like many other ‘live’ experiments we are starting to see the shoots of social writing. Whether it proves successful or falls by the wayside is immaterial, as it is about trying to hardness the creative juices of many to create new works and to judge the best story by the level of activity it generates. It raises many questions about the rewards of writing and also the moral rights of contributors and like many of the experiments taking place today is certainly worth watching.

No comments: