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Friday, June 06, 2008

No More Writer's Block

Two weeks ago I asked the question of whether or not you’d give your novel away. This week, I’m tossing another interesting possibility the Internet makes available.

Would you join with other writers to take part in a novel?

I’m not talking co-writings—but a whole lot of people collaborating to write a novel. How many people? Oh, let’s say about 35 others.

Welcome to WeBook (pronounced 'we book.')

It’s an online community of writers and readers, whose goal seems to be to break beyond the publishing barrier. The thought seems to be that writing is an art and can be collaboratively done. The site can also be used to help develop your work (be it novels, non-fiction, screenplays, etc, . . . )

Projects (which are started by a leader) can be made private or public. Those you want to work with you on the project are admitted. Books are selected for publishing through WeBook by community vote.

There’s a lot of layers they’ve got going on, but for the most part it seems to be well thought out. Copyright is retained as long as the group is 35 and under. Books are going to be available in all sorts of formats—paper, ebooks, audio, (available for text messaging) and they’re ready to update their formats as needed.

Here’s my take:


This might be great for new writers or highly frustrated writers. There’s nothing like excitement over a story to get creative juices flowing and to remember why we love writing in the first place. This could be the key for getting someone to stretch out their wings and experience the fun part of this journey.

This might also be ideal if you have a story you love and could never figure out why it didn’t sell. It looks like you can submit your work for comment. Perhaps some real reader feedback will show you the flaws.

Lastly, there’s a good chance the writers will lend out their strengths to one another. One might be strong in 'Showing Not Telling' and another might be strong in writing 'Actively.'


On the down side, when you put groups of writers together—you’ll find that most believe “the rules,” which means you’re bound to get books without distinct voice, without any risks, and that stay inside the box. I don’t think it’s possible for there to be any Memoirs of a Geisha, Watership Down, or Lord of the Rings coming out of a group like this.

Writers might find it easy and fun to toss out words and ideas and get immediate success—which will make it more difficult to develop the perseverance a writer needs and the discipline it takes to become truly skilled in the craft.

Lastly, if you're bored, it's another place, another excuse, to kill time when you could be writing.

All in all, it's another interesting option.

1 comment:

  1. I've never heard of this Jess. Great breakdown of pros and cons. Interesting idea though I think I'll pass. But a Victorian lobbyist excorist? That might work! ; )


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