Osric University

Collaborative Fiction of the Late 20th Century

Although co-authoring a text is nothing new, a work of fiction authored by 3 or more people is an unusual and new phenomenon, aided in part by electronic communications such as e-mail. But e-mail hardly made collaboration easy. What methods did the first collaborative authors use to make a cohesive text? Or was cohesiveness relatively unimportant in this experimental form? How much interaction did the authors have? And why did the authors kill off so many of each others' characters?

These are just a few of the questions we will try to answer in Collaborative Fiction of the Late 20th Century

Perhaps the best known collaborative novel to date is Yeats is Dead! A Mystery by 15 Irish Writers. We will examine this wildly-paced novel in detail. The plot, and main characters, seem to shift dramatically from chapter to chapter.

Another collaborative novel, available online only, is Quick Novel: A Novel in 7 Hours by 7 Authors. A feat of organizational prowess, if of questionable literary merit, Quick Novel weaves back and forth between characters in a convoluted story-line that converges and diverges.

We will also examine story sites based on on Valerie Mates Interactive Story software, which allows numerous users to collaborate on a Choose-Your-Own Adventure style narrative, and other forms of collaborative writing explored on mediacropolis, a site dedicated to collaborative literature.

Sample Reading:

Updated 08-16-2005. Problems? Contact chris@osric.com