Web fiction Community collabortive world. Thread one

So, based on some conversations we've had here, I'd like to start up a collaborative project if anyone is interested. The plan is to break it down into a few threads, first determining the type of world we are creating together, and then some of the details, and then some main history. Think of Harlan Ellison's Medea (look it up if you are not familiar! you won't be dissapointed).

So this is thread one. Do we want a realistic modern world, a past world, magic, future tech? Name some things you'd like, and we'll set up a poll.

I'm a big fan of large, sprawling fantasy narratives that involve lots of interweaving threads that eventually begin to spiral together into a tightening knot. However, something that complex requires a lot of forethought, and several people being on the exact same page--it might not work out very well. Not unless you have several very compelling 'centerpieces' everyone can agree on and work with (things like Wild Cards worked explicitly because of that notion).

Something a bit sillier and more fun might be a collaborative superhero piece; there's a lot of room to play without necessary screwing up someone else's narrative there (and superhero settings tend to have enough elasticity to allow for tons of nonsense anyway--the medium is used to multiple authors screwing up each other's storyline). Another alternative I like involves something akin to Planescape's setting, involving a city at the center of an immense multiverse, allowing for a vast variety of ideas to conflict and intermingle.

I think the most important piece of making collaborative projects like these work is getting everyone to agree on one or more 'centerpieces', and working out from there--allowing a flow of creative, individual ideas to extend out of that centerpiece. Otherwise, you end up with a lot of fractured ideas with nothing to attach themselves to.

I'm totally down for either the superheroics or a fantasy, or a sci-fi story. Those are me fav'rite genres, guvnor! That last sentence is funnier if you picture Dick Van Dyke from Mary Poppins tipping his hat.

A collective comic book setting is something I've wanted to do for a while (there's been a few stories in that vein--wish I could pull up the one I'm thinking of, it used to be done on a BBS); it might be a little too pulpish for most people's tastes, though. There's a lot of fascinating stories you could create in that genre, however.

If you go with fantasy, it might be a good idea to focus on a single city, to help focus the narrative (fantasy narratives can get a little unhinged with multiple authors, I've found, and it's a good idea to use something very solid as your anchor--like a single location).

And fantasy or superhero, it's not that hard to link a villain to everyone through their goons/minions -- if there's a central theme to the villain's abilities and recruiting.

My advice:

Come up with a stable of characters, each with a rough personality outline, and have the authors pick a different set of those characters to populate each story, from whichever ones aren't already occupied at the time. It's always interesting (to me, at least) to see how different people treat the same characters.



I actually really like Ryan's idea of a stable, and writers could rotate turns with each one, building the "mythology" around each character and playing with what the previous people did. That interests me too especially after Robert and Jim doing something similar on Legion of Nothing.

So like if we had Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, written by Schuster, Kane, Marston and Finger, and then Schuster would write Batman, Kane Wonder Woman, etc. etc. and rotate and lather rinse repeat as needed.

absolutely, the stable of characters is what I meant by main history. I really could have worded that better.

In addition to Wild Cards, Thieves world is the same thing, but a dark gritty fantasy setting.

I'm digging Superhero setting, I've been craving me some of AE's Star Harbor nights... maybe I need to fill that craving myself. I'm going to leave this thread open to discussion and general voting till friday, then we'll move on with the next step of building.

I'm willing to chip in. I've looked through my own story so many times in the past couple days trying to catch errors that I've grown a bit sick of it (and I can't really afford to keep cutting more out of it). Either fantasy or superhero could work. If we go fantasy, I agree with Robert Rodgers in that we most likely need to use a single city as an anchor. If we go superhero, a character stable may be necessary, but we'd also have to decide on the time setting (modern, slightly futuristic, highly futuristic; and possibly any differences from their world and ours). For populating that stable, we each may want to suggest a character and fine tune it based on what the others are doing.

Denizen, absolutely the next step, yes. When we get to the characters, I have an idea in mind for that, actually. but first we need to set up the time setting. It seems superhero has it, so on to the next thread.

Also, if this project works out long term, we can always start another one later thats fantasy or other. (I would love a nice mech based space opera, myself. )