Early last year (Salem’s Fire #3), I wrote a piece on the possibility of a collaborative online effort being made to generate a work of fiction. The novel, the article said, would be the product of a group of people pooling their talents in a forum and led by a few very dedicated individuals who kept the project moving. Needless to say, not everyone found this idea to be workable.
Much of the criticism centered on the idea that anyone who had ideas worthy of being published would submit those ideas to a group for communal use. Even the possibility of shared profits, the critics said, would not be enough to persuade anyone with ideas that good to sacrifice to a pie-in-the-sky web fiction concept.
Then there were those who said that no group of people, no matter how well led, could ever agree on basic plot elements, let alone things such as character development, settings, atmosphere, and all those other aspects of a great work of fiction. The project, claimed the critics, was doomed to failure before it began because no one could ever on enough to get the project written.
Even so, I remain unconvinced. There are plenty of examples throughout history in which individuals have set aside their own potential for personal profit to achieve something greater. It is questionable in this case whether a combined work would be greater than one written by a single person. I think it would be.