I recently spent some time searching the internet for examples of online collaborations using wiki for fiction production. In particular, I was looking for science fiction examples. All I found were a few abortions of the concept. I would be very interested in working to get such a project going. JWSchmidt 05:05, 13 Mar 2004 (UTC)
An interesting approach to this is instead of creating an ever expansive choose your own adventure type novel, starting with a overall general plot and direction for the entire work of fiction (the overall plot itself can be added to or modified), similar to a treatment for a television series. This way, all users understand the general flow of the plot and where it all ends up from the very beginning. Producers start out with a treatment that outlines what happens over the course of the entire season and then ask their authors to fill in the gaps. Similarly, one of us can submit a general outline of what happens over the course of the entire series, and we can all work to elaborate on it, fill in the gaps, add dialogue and such continously refining it until we end up with a complete product. If the product is polished enough and we end up with a very complete script for an entire series, we may even be able to recruit a producer to create it under the agreement that the vast majority of profits generated from the series would be donated to charity.
I have an outline for such a series. I already opened up a test run of this idea here... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikifiction and am attempting to create a seperate Wikicity for it. It's a television series that features five seasons each of which are quite different from and progressively more dramatic and action packed than the last. Unfortunately, the scope of the series is far too much for one person to write by themselves. In brief, it's a series about an Illuminati type organization that works beneath the surface and influences many aspects of our geopolitical landscape. The series centers around the teen, Arthur, trained from birth and ultimately destined to lead it once his father, the current leader passes. The organization has been around for generations, who originally began working as advisors to kings and were rewarded with great sums of gold which they still use to finance their endeavors. Each season of the series is distinct and progressively more dramatic and action packed than the past, the first season centers around Arthur's training both physically and mentally, and ends with a mutiny within the organization that leads to the murder of Arthur's father and Arthur forced into hiding from the organization that now wants him dead. The second season ends with the death of Arthur's girl friend and best friends causing Arthur to take on a new identity and reentering the military wing of the organization in order to find out more about it and the men responsible for all this and exact his revenge but in the process also finding out more about his father's questionable actions as leader and ends ultimately with Arthur working against the organization in order to destroy it. But there are many many more plot twists and intricacies that I don't want to go into here. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to hear more about or work with me on this project. Something like Wikifiction would be perfect for turning it from a treatment into a full lenght television series.
I suggest that anyone who is interested in the idea of wikinovels should explore the Eversea website (external). There are some serious limitations and problems at that project, but they provide a learning experience that can help in thinking about how to produce a good wikinovel here. JWSurf 15:01, 21 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I think Wikifiction is a good idea. I suppose if we are going to have it we should think about how it would work. I'm wondering how the concept of NPOV will affect WF. It seems as if this would imply that we can't inject any themes or messages into the story, which sounds rather silly and hard to do in any case. (Practically every work of fiction in existence communicates values.)
- NPOV is a Wikipedia policy. I don't think it's necessary for all the sister projects, or am I mistaken?
- From the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Bylaws: "The goals of the foundation are to encourage the further growth and development of open content, social sofware WikiWiki-based projects." An example they give is the Wikibooks textbook project. I see no reason why guidelines for non-fiction projects would apply to projects dealing with fiction. JWSurf 16:50, 31 Mar 2004 (UTC)
By the way, does anybody else care or is this all just wishful thinking? Eric119 23:31, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC)
- In this case, NPOV should be "natural point of view" and for a community fiction project, that could mean anything the authors come up with. JWSurf 21:58, 23 Mar 2004 (UTC)
- "Natural point of view" makes plenty of sense as a general rule. An encyclopedia's natural POV is neutrality, a work of fiction's natural POV is the POV of the writing team. Of course, this raises a problem: What, exactly, will keep the story on-track, when a work of fiction cannot possibly go off-track in an objective way? Fiction is, or should be, deeply personal, and while I'm sure a team can share a deeply personal experience, one person's Citizen Kane is another's Yahoo Serious flick. Even if we decide on genre and a plot outline beforehand, who gets to say what sucks and what rules? If we try to use Wikipedia standards of community editing, will the finished product be worth a damned thing as art?
- I agree that it might be a problem to try to keep a group of collaborators all devoted to producing a single coherent novel. However, a collaborative novel might have certain strong points.
- Let me use Carl Sagan's novel "Contact" as an example. In that book, Sagan depicted an extended and intricate debate about the idea that our universe may have been created. The debate was between a character with a scientific perspective and another character with a religious perspective. Now, Sagan was a scientist and it can be argued that it was impossible for him to do a good job of constructing a fictional character who would do a good job of defending the religious perspective. In a collaborative novel, you could actually have one of the authors be a person who actually has the religious perspective.
- As a second example, if I wanted to have a novel set in 17th century England, the collaborators could include an historian who has studied 17th century England.
- "who gets to say what sucks and what rules?" I am not sure that the standard linear format of traditional novels will survive wikification. If two collaborators on a wikinovel cannot agree on a basic plot issue, then the novel might bifurcate at that point. Is this a problematical "bug" or is this a desirable "feature" of the wikinovel?
- "will the finished product be worth a damned thing as art?" This question can only be answered by working with the new art form. I suspect that it will depend on the talents of the people involved. JWSurf 16:33, 31 Mar 2004 (UTC)
- If different Wikipedians become experts at providing the dialogue of different characters, it sounds like you want to use wiki to play a giant multi-player role playing game and expect the transcript to be a readable novel. Unlike encyclopedia articles which can be edited anywhere without affecting the rest of the article, I can only imagine the plot of a novel being created linearly from beginning to end. I can just imagine the moans and groans if someone changes an important element of the plot early in the story, and the rest of the novel from that point onward would have to be entirely rewritten. GUllman 22:39, 22 Apr 2004 (UTC)
- If producing wikinovels was a trivial process then they would already exist! It is not unusual for wiki software to keep a record of changes to wiki pages. In the case of a wiki novel, there should be a way for people to establish branch points for a plot. If someone changes an important element of the plot early in the story so that later parts of the story have to be rewritten, that would creat a plot branch point. Both the old version of the novel (without the new change) and the newly suggested version could take on lives of their own. A wikinovel would probably end up with a branched tree structure and many possible endings rather than a single linear story line. We need software tools for managing such plot branch points.JWSurf 19:35, 24 May 2004 (UTC)
- Indeed. The ability to nominate selective views of wikimedia information will be necessary in order to fully support wikifiction — not only because it allows mutually incompatible or variant ideas to exist side by side (whether as codevelopments or schismatic rivals), but because it allows for the application of "spoiler-filters", ie. selective censorship to avoid ruining surprises afforded by the fiction. --JEREMY 12:16, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
An interesting idea may be not only addition but reduction. Now we know that a colloborative novel is likely to have a widely varying plotline without the plot goals and coherency that a renowned author has. You either have stringent rules as to how plot development, story climax and end point are produced and edited or you have perhaps a reducing approach. That is, once a novel has accumulated sufficient mass that the plot goals and story aims and character traits are known (or "felt") well enough to start reducing material in the story. Put simply, do like an author and pare out excess material. If the community does both addition and reduction then wiki-books could start having a coherent result. But could wiki participants accept the removal of something they added? Besides there a numerous other problems to handle in creating a collaborative novel. Perhaps wiki-fiction will only be viable when Wiki has matured even further than it has. It will come eventually (maybe not for every genre). I think if some of our intelligent wiki community sit down and think about it for a few days, perhaps the seeds for wiki-fiction can be thought up. Could you imagine hundreds of wiki-style fiction books being created a year? In its own way it would be no less a information age break through than quantum or dna computing or a crash proof computer. - July 6 2004
Collaborative fiction - funny email
This idea reminds me of a funny email that went around. Someone's put it online here. Maybe this illustrates the kind of problems we would encounter with a fiction wiki. -- 22.214.171.124 08:24, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)
I very much like the idea of Wikifiction, and but here I want to expand upon novel-writing alone.
- Worldbuilding (cf. Constructed World) is effectively a media-neutral undertaking, and the most encouraging examples of what effective collaborative art can achieve tend to be movies and games (both paper-based and electronic). Still, it'd be a pity to miss an opportunity to critique the novel as a virtuoso performance.) --JEREMY 12:16, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
I've had a number of ideas about a worldbuilding wiki, and this proposal seems to fit the bill. Ignoring collaborative novels for the moment, the alternative-world wiki would centre around "seeds". These would be the germ for a (theoretically potential) complete alternate world. A seed would be a general concept - such as a science fiction universe of such-and-such a type, or the real world, but with a certain modification in the past (e.g. Hitler won the war, the dinosaurs became intelligent), whatever.
- Support. :) Late last year, while attempting to define the data structures for a collaborative development extension to a friend's VB-based fiction writing software, I settled on the term "seed" for almost exactly this concept. --JEREMY 12:16, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
They would need to be general enough so that the concept would be accessable and anyone (with enough creativity) could write for it (by "general", I mean "not filled with esoteric and scientific concepts most people wouldn't understand", not "general" as in "Proposal: A world without donuts.").
- The beauty of wikipedia is that your esoterica is merely a click away mdash; and if it's not in wikipedia, you can add it. (My first wikipedia entry Calakmul was created as the result of the development of a worldbuilding seed.) --JEREMY 12:16, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Seeds would need to be explicit enough so that there wouldn't be a thousand tangents coming out of them that don't form a coherent built world.
- Conversely, they'd also need to be detailed enough to convince potential collaborators they're worth developing. Cruft can always be pared back (virtually, at least) later. --JEREMY 12:16, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
A seed would have to be proposed at a Seeds for approval type page, where the community at large would decide whether the new concept was general/specific enough for decent development.
- Hmm. Gotta oppose that one. While I'm far from a Follower of the Miracle of the Market, I expect that insufficiently promising seeds will simply lie on stony ground, perhaps providing grist for other mills. The best way to identify the "most significant" wikifictions to newcomers would be to provide a selected index at the bottom of the homepage — plus a link to a complete index, of course. --JEREMY 12:16, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
Once a seed has been approved, it gets a central page linked to from the main page, where development would build from. All sorts of articles could be created as a part of the fiction of the alt. world - organizations, characters, events, etc. Of course, considering that you could go on forever and ever creating largely unrelated material within any one alt. world, there would need to be some process to keep the world fairly tight, while still allowing for massive creativity. Pages would be compared to the original seed, and if they aren't in keeping with the defined milleu, get deleted.
- Again, I reckon coherence needs to be achieved through selective recognition rather than deletion mdash; the creation of selective pathways through the narrative components of the wikifiction. While few other media permit this kind of "consumer choice", gaming rule variants and Director's Cuts spring to mind. (Incidentally, as I discuss here, Iain Banks's The Crow Road includes such a seed concept.)
There would need to be some sort of "hotspots" created - core ideas within the seed world that allow for more defined development. These could be a city, or an even such as a war, or a particular family even. These would serve as a springboard into more and more ideas development, all keeping within the original "seed".
Collaborative novels/scripts/short stories etc. could then branch from a well-developed seed, and take up residence in the narative-building area of Wikifiction, as opposed to the world-building area where all this happens.
An example of a well-developed collaborative sci-fi worldbuilding project is Orion's Arm. It isn't a wiki, but you can still see the potential of collaborative w/b'ing in general.
TPK 15:20, 12 Jul 2004 (UTC)
- I must say this is a very interesting idea. Over time the world would get even more detailed than Tolkien made his. I have no idea what kind of things would result, or if it would work, but it sounds like fun. :-) Eric119 21:04, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)
- I'm keen to test the possibility, and will proceed to upload a prototype seed called The Alchemy Cycle. (WARNING: includes the dinosaurs became intelligent concept.) --JEREMY 12:16, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
WikiWorld: an idea
I actually had just been contemplating a sort of wiki-based constructed world idea, and only found this page through a Google search to see if anyone else was already doing it. The thoughts I had on it (both possibilities and restrictions) include:
- Separate worldbuilding would be needed for various types of fiction, for example:
- a fantasy world
- a swashbucking historical adventure world
- a realistic modern-day world
- a modern-day farce world
- a modern superhero-filled world
- a science-fiction world (or galaxy or whatever)
- and so forth
- and special "wiki-worlds" for specific collaborative projects.
- Material written for the wiki would have to be considered public domain.
- The material could take nearly any form, including:
- Self-contained short stories
- Single-author novels
- Collaborative novels and ongoing epics
- Play scripts (from "ten-minute" to full-length)
- Adventures and other materials for role-playing game systems
- Maps, drawings, models, and other illustrations
- Simple stubs with no direct value, for others to expand upon
- and so forth
- All of the above would, within the boundaries of each "wiki-world," be open to expand on what has gone before. If someone maps out a train station for a city, I could write an adventure for Dark Champions (action-adventure role-playing game), and then someone else could post new character statistics for D20 Modern, or write a short story using the characters I contributed, or use some of my elements in another adventure, or create and post illustrations for the adventure, and so forth.
- Who's going to enforce consistency between entries? How many people will actually care?
- For the stories to have a proper level of depth and meaning, NPOV would have to be suspended -- but not completely. Basically, my thought is that the POV of a story in the shared setting could not exclude a story in the same setting holding an equally strong, opposite POV. For example, if I were to write a story with a strong pro-life POV, I wouldn't be allowed to do it in such a way that pro-choice stories couldn't be equally strong.
- "Cyber vandalism" would have to be even more strongly enforced than at any other wiki -- and this, I think, would be the really hard part. What's to stop someone from editing my above-mentioned pro-life story into a pro-choice story (or vice versa)? This would, I think, be a very hard thing for those who want to express their POV.
This is only as much as I've thought it through. As others point out here, it's a hairy, difficult problem with no easy answers. BobGreenwade 19:23, 1 August 2005 (UTC)
- I've started a prototype page for just this idea. Its a Fantasy world to start with but if I can get some support for my proposal here: Wikiepic I would like to start a distinct potal for differant genred worlds. Check out my prototype page at: --Olsdude 07:58, 4 March 2006 (UTC)
Things kind of similiar to this...
- It's interesting how the zeitgeist manifests ideas — I notice both of those started in March, around the time I remember first using the term wikinovel (although I'd originally considered — and dismissed — using a wiki for collaborative fiction a few months before that). I think it's a good indication that "the time is right" for this particular meme. --JEREMY 06:41, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
- Not exactrly a Wikinovel, but some years ago a collaborative project started to build a fantasy setting with Mediawiki. It has been offline for a long time but has come back at http://www.dorgoth.com. Biggest challenge will be to give the world its own character instead of being ultra-generic.
Like all addicts, I found this proposal from the Recent Changes :) I like the idea and I was thinking about it for a long time. From time to time, last 15-20 years I am writing a parts of my own SF pseudo-history (in Serbian) and I have a couple of hundreds of pages about it. But, I don't have any complete story (except one very small). Maybe because I am too lazy, but I think that writing SF pseudo-history is not job for one person. It is not possible to make real pseudo-history, with good description fo cultures, languages, geography, technology, etc. -- alone. Even the best pseudo-historicians, like, for example, Tolkien -- didn't make real pseudo-history. All of them was writing novels with good background, not pseudo-historian books. So, Wikifiction would be the perfect place for doing on such projects. --Millosh 07:24, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Of course, this is not the only kind of projects. There are a lot of space for art experiments... Not only in writing. And I have to say that Wikifiction should be maden as soon as possible. --Millosh 07:24, 4 May 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, I support this too--Occono 10:31, 15 March 2007 (UTC)
Ideas section not pertinent here
The ==Ideas/algorithms/theories/problems== section of the article is not pertinent to a discussion of Wikifiction. I would like to demerge it to another page. Does anybody object? Can anybody suggest a title for the new page? --TheoClarke 08:35, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Check out www.noveltwists.com for an example of a collaborative novel.
I really like the idea of WikiFiction (I've been looking for first approaches on the web to this occasionally for about a year now) and I also started developing one project which is called Hacker's Guide to Future (Sorry, much of this is german). The goal would be to make an initial story which creates a world and characters for many more stories. However apart from small ideas and approaches (of which many disappeared rather quickly) I've not really found many interested people working on that subject and if I did there seemed to be no interconnection between them which I think is rather bad for collaboration and growth of interest. Wouldn't it be good to join forces and create a community? It would be helpful to have a board or a mailing list (or usenet group or is there one already?) to connect us all and to have more discussions about the subject because as far as I'm concerned it is not that easy to write every form of fiction in collaboration (at least not with 2+ people) involved. How much control does an author need over his story and how much power can he share? Is it possible to write stories in collab that are comparable (in quality) to the ones written by individuals? Or is it not suitable for every kind of story at all? These are some of the questions that might need to be asked (not solved) first.
I was considering an idea along these lines over this past weekend. However, I arrived at a very different sort of infrastructure for Wiki-based fiction. So far, every solution for this idea seems premised on a single wiki or a single story. From what I understand, the wiki concept was not originally a centralized one, but was also intended as a way of providing cross link (i.e. Interwiki linking).
For writers to participate in something such as this, I believe they need more fine-grained control over what can and cannot be done. Many would-be contributors may be turned off by the idea that everything they submit is now automatically under an umbrella license. Many may want to expose their writings, but only allow specific things to be used by other authors. For instance, the Fiction Wikia forces all contributors to use the GFDL (as I understand it), whereas I prefer to use the Creative Commons licenses.
The solution I arrived at for this is more similar to peer-to-peer networking than a central repository. The idea is to create a mesh of wiki-like sites, each under the control of a single author. On each site, the author would publish their own fiction, and optionally host that of other authors in their own namespaces. There would be a centralized wiki, but it would act as more of a directory of wikshun (yeah - bad name) sites than as an actual repository.
The author(s) would then enhance their fiction by providing semantially linked detail for each story. For instance, on the first appearance of a character’s name, it would be a link to a character bio, either in a generalized “characters” namespace, or under the exiting story (Story/CharacterName). The same type of linking could be applied to settings, dates, special objects or items (i.e. Tolkien’s “Ring of Barahir“).
What does all this get you? Well, with each new page standing as an individually copyrightable piece of work, each author can choose to apply different licenses to different pieces. For instance, I may not want anyone deriving directly from my short stories, but I’m more than happy to not only let people derive from, but directly copy and use my characters as described in their character sheets.
I might also be more than happy to let authors place their stories in some wonderful setting I’ve invented. With each new tale that takes place there, the setting itself can become expanded and enhanced. With using wiki technology, these stories can be interlinked relatively easily, allowing for writers to concentrate on doing what they really want to do - write.
--DDay376 02:20, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
- This sounds like a solid point to start from to me. Actually, I started writing my story by writing an outline and adding explanations for certain subjects, characters, items, groups, location etc. to it on a step-by-step basis on separate pages. I started using a wiki not because I wanted to have other people to write there but because it seemed so easy to write in an ordered fashion and to connect things. So it seems appropriated to break a project down into modules or whatever you call it even more when you plan to bring more people into it.
- But when it comes to "more fine-grained control over what can and cannot be done" I think it's quite a problem (more than just about licenses) because if it's your story you wouldn't want to let go of it (the control), right? So it really needs some thinking about how far cooperation on stories, universes (projects, if I may summarize this way) can go and how helpful a wiki can be OR what it should be able to do. If you say everybody should maintain his own wiki and they should then be interconnected (optionally through a central directory) isn't this pretty much like everybody doing his homepage (or more modern a blog) and then put it onto a directory service or setting links to eachother? I think this not really integrates the basic concept of the wiki and it poses the more general question if this is possible at all (or am I wrong?). Therefore I think a basic discussion is still needed and I don't see so many on the web right now. Writers don't seem to be very fond of cooperation, do they? --Yodahome 21:45, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
- I think that the basic idea of wiki is to facilitate multiple authoring. Allowing multiple authors does not have to mean that everyone can edit everything. In a wiki, if another editor changes something you wrote, you can always create a new copy of the original version and, if you need to, ask other authors not to change that new copy. Wiki is new technology and some effort needs to be put into finding ways to improve communication within wiki communities. It would be great if we could integrate audio/video chat into the wiki interface. Some writers need to learn how to collaborate and enjoy the diversity of styles and interests that multiple authors can bring to a wiki. --JWSurf 23:27, 13 August 2006 (UTC)
fanfiction not likely allowed
- Most fanfiction would not likely be allowed in a free open-source Wikimedia Wikifiction project due to the copyrighted ownership of most pre-existing fictional characters (excepting fictional characters from public-domain works such as on WikiSource and Project Gutenberg). Nicole Sharp (talk) 16:02, 11 October 2015 (UTC)