Joho the Blog » A million penguins at a keyboard…
Everyday Chaos
Too Big to Know
Too Big to Know
Cluetrain 10th Anniversary edition
Cluetrain 10th Anniversary
Everything Is Miscellaneous
Everything Is Miscellaneous
Small Pieces cover
Small Pieces Loosely Joined
Cluetrain cover
Cluetrain Manifesto
My face
Speaker info
Who am I? (Blog Disclosure Form) Copy this link as RSS address Atom Feed

A million penguins at a keyboard…

Stately, plump Penguin Books is off on an experiment that is likely to fail in delightful, unpredictable ways…for which my hat is off to them. They’ve started a wiki and given us—any and all of us—six weeks to write a novel. The wiki has a blog (but does the blog have a wiki?), and the Penguin blog talks about the experiment as well. (But does the Penguin wiki blog about the wiki’s blog? No? That’s so Web 1.27! :)

Anyway, a novel seems like an unlikely venture for a wiki. Too many dependencies. Change “Carlo” to “Conchita” in Chapter 1, and who’s going to make the updates throughout all the chapters? Add a penguin who invents pockets in Chapter 2 and now Freida in Chapter 9 actually does have a place to put the souvenir shot glass from Las Vegas. Not to mention that Wikipedia has reality to hold a page together (or at least a settled criterion for resolving disputes), while a novel has nothing but the sensibilities of a million penguins at keyboards. (Penguin Books has sicced some MA students on the wiki to seed it. )

So, I’ll be surprised (and delighted) if a novel emerges from this. But two caveats: 1. If you’d asked me four years ago if Wikipedia would work, I would have guessed wrong. 2. A novel is not the only worthwhile result that could emerge from this experiment.

I’m impressed Penguin Books is doing it. I look forward to seeing if the writing gets better or worse, if the discussion page is more interesting than the novel, what the sexy parts of the crowd are like, if good triumphs or gets into an edit war with irony…

[Tags: ]

Previous: « || Next: »

Leave a Reply

Comments (RSS).  RSS icon