I was listening to this story on NPR about a musician who was creating random songs from random experiences when my creative juices started flowing. I could create a mash-up of existing Web 2.0 technologies to publish collaboratively authored novels that are developed, edited and produced through user contributions (user generated content). This site would combine the creativity of many people with the feedback of even more. Think of it as a novel-based approach to loneygirl15 where the user base develops the direction and also generates the daily content.

The process would be divided into the following areas:

  1. Style guidelines
  2. Theme selection
  3. Content development
  4. Production

Style Guidelines

Guidelines would be developed by the users and would be easily available to the authors. The guidelines would direct the style of writing allowing for some conformity in a novel authored by many people. Guidelines may also specify the type of novels produced (science fiction, romance, mystery, etc.). The guidelines are the key to producing a successful novel and must be made easily accessible to all authors, editors and reviewers.

Theme Selection

Users would offer very high-level plots or story lines into a theme pool. That pool would generate interesting themes through a voting and bubbling effect, similar to how stories appear in Digg. The most interesting themes would then be developed until a compelling story line has evolved.

Content Development

The content for the novel can be developed in a wiki-like environment. It would consist of many people contributing story elements and others putting them together, following the high-level outline created during the theme selection and conforming to the style guidelines. Allowing all users to develop and edit content within stated parameters would combine the creativity of many and most likely be greater than the sum of its parts. The site would be self-governing giving the users ultimate control in the outcome of the novels.


A creative commons license could govern the release of the novels turning these user-generated novels into the hands of many. Electronic publishing methods are many and easy to execute making distribution a snap. There are also many options available for printed materials with on-demand printing and publishing available at many web sites. Viral marketing would be a natural byproduct of the process and guaranteed, interesting content would broaden appeal.


Combining style guidelines with an easily accessed and easy-to-use, collaborative environment could possibly create many “best sellers.” The tricks are concise guidelines and the right environment.