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Wikifiction : Madness or Genius?

Sunday, 22 August 2010

You know how you get these bolt-from-the-blue ideas in the middle of the night? The ones that seem fantastic at the time and then in the morning you can't remember what they were and you spend all day with them nagging away at you? Well, I had one of those the other night and for once I can recall it. Thing is, I can't decide now if it's actually brilliant or crazy.

You're familiar with Wikipedia, I'm sure : the encyclopedia that anyone (more or less) can edit and extend. What, I thought to myself in the middle of the night, what if there was a web site for fiction that worked the same way? People could post up stories and then other people could come along and rework them if they wanted : change the ending, introduce new characters, put their own name in, whatever. Who knows what weird and wonderful stories you'd end up with? You could maybe even upload classic, well-loved texts/stories and let people loose on them.

Wikifiction, I thought/dreamed to myself. You could call it wikifiction.

Well, as I say, it may be a crazy idea and quite possibly wouldn't grab anyone's imagination at all. And I see from a quick Google that I'm not the first to have the idea at all : there are already Wikifiction sites out there that do similar sorts of things. Seems I haven't invented the word after all.

Still, I don't know, it might be fun. What do you think? Madness or genius? Fascinating, revolutionary literary experiment or stop-messing-around-and-get-back-to-the-damn-novel stupidity? I'd love to know ...


  1. I think it's a great idea, and I used it in my classroom with my 8th graders last semester. Granted, the fiction wasn't of the highest caliber and the tangents were endless, but the experience was a lot of fun, and the kids enjoyed it. Anytime they see writing as anything but a chore = a small victory.

  2. Milo,

    Ah, that's great to know. And also that I'm actually way behind the times!

  3. It'll be great and it'll be a great author to be able to let go of his or her story to be re-worked by all and sunder! I'm too possessive of my feeble stories (too scared people will laugh at them more like) that I'd cringe at the thought of anyone tampering with my story.

    Then again I can just stop being so serious and start a Once upon a time story and see where others take it!

    Yes, BRILLIANT and MAD idea - go for it!!

    Take care

  4. Old Kitty,

    Brilliant and mad? That's definitely what I aspire to!

  5. Madness, Simon! it would be like building sandcastles on the beach, only to find them washed away the next day...

    hold on, I already do this!

    okay, it's actually a really fun idea.

  6. I'll be the voice of reason here!! Why would you want all and sundry to come and tear apart your work? A great idea could be reduced to rubble in the clamour. Writing is a solitary business, just like reading. There are parts that are wonderful to share, but the actual writing is best left to one individual.

    I think you're awesome, Simon - but I'm going with the "MAD" tag!

  7. Thomas,

    Mad but in a fun kind of way. I can go with that!

  8. Donna,

    Bless you and thanks for the kind comments. I'm sure you're the voice of reason! Don't know though - I may experiment anyway!

  9. I've partaken twice in something similar - a kind of 'consequences' for fiction. The result in both cases, despite the quality of writing, was shite. The actual story meandered, changed direction, repeated itself and became ludicrous, not in a funny way. Some people thought it was brilliant, but in truth, I'm embarrassed to have my name in there. Try it - you may find it amusing, but prepared for a really hard edit if you want a coherent piece of fiction at the end. Sue.

  10. Sue,

    Thanks for telling me your experiences. I'm going off the whole idea now!

  11. Please tell me if Wikifiction ever becomes a reality. I'd be there in a heart-beat!

  12. Talli,

    Will do. I still can't decide whether it's a good idea or not. Perhaps it needs an experiment to find out ...

  13. I have this suspicion that many of the stories would turn into erotica.

  14. Paul,

    You might be right. Would that be a good thing or a bad thing? I suppose it would depend.


I'd love to know what you think.