Write Design Multimedia

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

'Collaborative Fiction' by Leisl

Collaborative Fiction is the process of multiple writers each contributing to a single story. This form of story telling has changed and evolved due to the introduction of the internet, but still maintains its traditional form. Collaborative Fiction now covers such mediums as Interactive Fiction, Hypertext Fiction, Storytelling Games, and Role Playing Games. In the process of Collaborative Fiction, each contributor writes a portion of the story, and then passes the story onto the next writer for further additions or a change in focus. There are no rules or enforced structures as the story moves from author to author, save for some forums adopting a set of guidelines on what is or what is not acceptable.

Interactive Fiction refers to software containing simulated environments in which players use text commands to control characters. Works in this form can be understood as literary narratives and as computer games. Whilst there is theme and storyline the players must adhere to, the character development and actions are there own choice.

Hypertext Fiction is a form of electronic literature found mostly online, characterized by the use of Hypertext which provides a new context for non-linearity in literature and reader interaction. The reader typically chooses links to move from one group of text to the next, and in this fashion arranges a story from a deeper pool of potential stories.

A Storytelling Game is where two or more persons collaborate on telling a spontaneous story. Usually, each player takes care of one or more characters in the developing story. The “story teller” or “narrator” takes the roles of various supporting characters, as well as introducing non-character forces (e.g. a flood). The most popular story telling games originated from role paying games, where the game rules and statistics made it hard to create a believable story and immersive experience. In a storytelling game each player must play within their characters traits, and any wish to develop the action of the character must be put to the story teller, who sets the scene of the story.

A Role Playing Game is a type of game in which players assume the roles of characters and collaboratively create narratives. The game progresses according to a system of rules and guidelines already in place, within which players may improvise freely. Player choices shape the direction shape the direction and outcome of role playing games. At their core, role playing games are a form of interactive and collaborative story telling. Simple forms of role playing exist in children’s games such as “Cowboys and Indians”. Participants in a Wild West role playing game will generate specific detailed characters and an involved plot. Their goal is to reproduce the themes and enjoyment of a Western Film or a Western novel.
The most obvious form of Collaborative Fiction still exists in Writers Forums, where a story is begun and each contributor will take up a thread or a character and continue the tale. Many authors use this medium to take on suggestions from their readers, who may suggest new characters or subplots. This form of Collaborative Fiction is perhaps the most popular of all, being able to reach a wide range of contributors.

1. www.wikipedia.org


  • Good clear overview of some of the major types of interactive fictions available online. It would be great to have some links to examples of each kind of fiction -- and the URL for the Snoot screengrabs.

    Do you think that is possible to produce 'great literature' in any of these forms? Have you found examples of either inspirational works that embody or suggest the potential of the medium, or complete failures that highlight the difficulties and pitfalls of these forms?

    By Blogger Administration, at 4:50 pm  

  • Really interesting, I'd also love some ideas as to where I can actually find examples of some of the things you describe - and maybe some of your ideas on whether they're actually any good/entertaining/fun etc. Cheers, -Suzi.

    By Blogger suzi taylor, at 12:12 pm  

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