AirBorne, the upcoming novel will feature 30 chapters, each written by a different author except the first and last - those will be written by Patterson himself. With the release of this book, it appears the Web 2.0 movement of collaborative writing is about to hit the mainstream.Best-selling crime author James Patterson will release a new kind of novel next month - one that's been collaboratively written with the crowd. Called
About the Novel
Earlier, Borders Australia and Random House held a contest to find twenty-eight writers who would be able to write the bulk of the book. The chapters they produce will need to be less than 750 words so, obviously, this book will be a little lighter than Patterson's other novels.
Once complete, Airborne will be released electronically, one chapter at a time, starting on March 20th. Later, a print edition will be published, but only as a prize of sorts for the participants in the competition - it will not be mass produced.
Collaborative Writing is So Very Web 2.0
The roots of the collaborative writing movement can be found in many web startups, including those like Novlet, Potrayl, Ficlets, Unblokt, Protagonize, and others we profiled here. A popular activity for creative writers, these communities offer various takes on how a co-written story should be developed, some focused more on "choose your own adventure"-style stories while others focus more on linear narratives.
Although the James Patterson novel is more of a marketing campaign than anything else - and, in this case, the "crowd" is actually a hand-picked selection of aspiring writers - it's still interesting to see such a widely-read writer embracing the co-writing trend. While those passionate about the subject may say this particular effort doesn't qualify since it isn't truly written by "the crowd," it's events like this that take the general idea behind the trend and cross it over to where it can make a mark on the minds of the mainstream.
What remains to be seen at this point is whether a crowdsourced, co-written novel can actually be any good.