The Wovel

The way we read is changing. This short article introduces the Wovel -- a Web novel. The founder of a small press that publishes wovels says, "There's an installment every Monday. At the end of every installment, there's a binary plot branch point with a vote button at the end." Voting is open from Monday to Thursday, the author writes the chapter from Thursday to Sunday, and publisher posts the installment on Sunday night.


The above story is different from collaborative novels in that one person does the writing and the public gets controlled choices.

This website used to do collaborative novels:

Now when you go to the site all that is there is this message:

Collaborative internet novel writing does not work.

People never stick to the established facts of the story.

People are not interested in writing the story once it has been established.

It might be possible if you had 50 talented authors in one room working together on a collaborative novel.

But open it up to the 'public', and it is doomed.

This is fact, learned by experience.

One odd experiment with serialization-plus-branching does not make a general change in the "way we read." Serialization is nothing new, as Charles Dickens could tell you. Letting readers determine your plot tracks? Well, if the writer's clever, that doesn't really amount to much (as old choose-your-own-plot books showed: it all comes back to the same place in most cases).

Interesting to see in Bibliofuture's comment such a straightforward "This doesn't work" judgment on "collaborative novels." I had yet to hear of one that resulted in a worthwhile read--well, unless you count Atlanta Nights, and that was written by a group of professionals (as a deliberately bad novel). I suspect others will try it, regardless of noveltwists' experience.

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