I write this topic to poll the writing side of yourselves, not the diaper side. Awhile ago I had a vision of creating a website in which one could not just post and submit their stories but they could actually edit other people’s stories… not just fix typos but actually alter the story/plot in any way they should so choose. Additionally, there’s be famous public domain stories that are also editable. The whole idea is based around some Borgesian concepts I studied a few years ago. It wouldn’t be difficult to make a site like this; this could easily be achieved with a wiki. It’s sort of an “open source writing” project.
Before I go ahead and invest in this idea, I’m curious what you guys as writers think. Would you participate in a website where you can read and edit a library of stories?
I wouldn’t ever be able to accept an idea like that. Sorry, my work is my own, if I put my heart and soul into something, even if its the shittiest damn story on the planet, I still wouldn’t let other people screw with it.
I wish you luck if you decide to go forward with this, but I would definately not participate. My work is my own. Anyone can propose changes, but any changes actually made would have to come from me.
Further, I see a couple of problems with the concept. Open-source writing creates some perverse incentives. If you know your work will cease to be yours after a certain point, why would you put your all into it? It’s also likely that many of the stories produced will have a stitched-together feel to them simply because no two writers think alike and accurate mimicry takes a lot of precision. This isn’t to say that the results won’t be interesting, but I have a hard time believing they will be any good.
Then again, the true value of something like this may not be in the finished product, but in the process used to create it. Because participants would be able to see exactly what effects their changes have on a story, they would hopefully become more conscious of the decisions they make as writers.
The whole purpose is that you do not claim the story as your own. A concept that Jorge Luis Borge explores in several of his short stories is that a story is never completed because it can be revised and revised forever. That is the whole concept behind this.
The idea is not so much to critique each other of writing but rather to see what can be created as a group. Think of it as one of those Choose Your Own Adventure things where it’s reached the end and you have to continue the story. Except instead of continuing at the end… why not go back and change something up at the beginning? Or the middle? What I love about wiki software is that you can go back and view the history to see what changes have been made over time.
I like to create. I’m willing to accept collaborative efforts and editorship etc. but I am totally unwilling to accept that some dick head from the internet could pop along and wantonly change my text without any kind of interaction aside from a final edit.
All stories can be changed, but not all stories need to be. Further, even if a story does need to be, this does not mean that a given contributor is the best person to change that particular story. Change for change’s sake may yield interesting results, but it is NOT a sound rationale for good writing.
Aside from the ownership of creative ideas that most of the above have remarked on, I’m inclined to think such a story would be too disjointed to be worth reading, if only for differences in style between writers. Looking at the contributors here, it’s a little hard to imagine how a story jointly written by BabyButt, Long_Rifle, Teekabell and Jaks would work; the styles are just too unique and different to make sense together, I think.
Now, a wiki for story ideas might work, if it was adequately moderated. So, if I have a story concept that I’m not ready to write about or is still germinating, I could post it up and see what other people can add to it, or allowing someone else to take it and run with it. The biggest obstacle I see with that idea is that different people want very different things in their story, so the suggestions you get might not be to your liking. Some writers prefer not to write about (or read about) poopy diapers, some prefer mental to physical regression, some prefer male vs. female characters… you get the idea. So, there might need to be some moderation to prevent people from hijacking an idea just to change relatively minor or gratuitous detail in the wiki itself. However, if you chose to take an idea and develop it into a full story yourself, then you could alter the details however you want, since the wiki idea is only an inspiration or a starting point.
Seems like Google Wave will be useful: everybody edit a story, playback to see the process…
Seriously though, I’d be annoyed if I changed a story (IMO) for the better, only to have it changed for the worse by someone else.
The punctuation correction idea sounds good, but then people just wouldn’t try, they’d just let someone else sort it out.