CNET Releases Crowdsourced SciFi Novel

CNETEarlier this week, CNET published the first installment of a new scifi novel, Crowd Control: Heaven Makes a Killing. What makes the work unique is that it was crowdsourced exclusively through CNET readers, and is, according to CNET, the world’s first massively multiwriter online science fiction novel.

In October 2015, CNET asked readers to help the tech site write the novel, and dozens decided to contribute, with hundreds of others reading and providing feedback, collaborating in a single Google Doc under a Creative Commons license to shape a rough draft of the story.

The venture was inspired by National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and its goal was to produce “a novel-length work of fiction at least 50,000 words long in the span of just 30 short days.”

CNET contributor Eric Mack, who came up with the idea, outlined the basic story and began writing it November 1. He intended to act more as an editor rather than a writer, however, as his aim was to recruit contributors to help.

“I’m going to open up the writing process so you can not only follow along as the story comes to life in real time, but you also can contribute to shaping the story, the characters and the worlds they inhabit as we go,” Mack wrote in October. “We’re talking about the world’s first MMOSFN — Massively Multiwriter Online Science Fiction Novel.”

Mack posted his progress every night in the doc, where anyone was able to make suggestions. He then integrated the best ones daily into an official working draft.

Finally, in February, Mack took the community-written draft offline and spent nearly three months editing it, filling in plot holes and adding some color.

The final result is what is now being released.

“We hope you enjoy it,” Mack wrote, “and we look forward to reading the sequel that we’ll write together someday.”


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