Can we have a think about collaborative writing projects?

So, each year for the last three or so, I've tried to kick off a collaborative writing project of some time in November, to tie in with NagaDemon, which is a NaNoWriMo for gamers. I think it has gone well, with the exception of this year, when I've been completely unable to do anything with it due to the arrival of my tiny, charming son. In my own case it led to some fiction work (Thirty Objects of Desire, The Tales of Marco the Liar) and to Vanilla Covenants. This years "Vaults of the Order" was a bit of a fizzer just because I didn't put the work in, although I still have the site and will tinker with it over time.

Now, the mistake I've made is what we librarians call the book club mistake: you don't pick the book and then try to get the book club, you get the club and then get them to pick the book. So, what I'd like to do, this time, is well before the kick off date for 2015, start a conversation about this.

Do we want to all write toward a single goal, or on a single theme?
What sort of stuff are we interested in getting together?
When are we interested in doing this?
Do we want a timeframe like a month?
Do we see a hole in the free information available to new groups we can fill?

I think the process of writing collaboratively like this is great for community building, and creates some interesting material.

Let me know what you all think.

This sounds terribly interesting, and I'm game for it, so count me in (time permitting).

As for your questions:

Do we want to all write toward a single goal, or on a single theme?
I think that would make the most sense, otherwise the sinergy of the collaboration seems a bit defused to me.

What sort of stuff are we interested in getting together?
There are a few things that come to mind.

I think putting together an index of rules by book would be an interesting, helpful resource. I don't mean a collation of the rules in the books, but rather an index pointing to where some rules can be found, which sometimes can be not so evident. For example, you can find rules for Tirbunal procedures in HoH:TL, rules for bearing children in A&A, rules for debates in HoH:S, rules for Breakthroughs in HoH:TL, and so on.

Also, on a more creative vein, I think it might be interesting to write some fiction regarding sea-faring magi. Or maybe mediterranean trade from an Hermetic point of view. You know, life and times of an Hermetic merchant adventurer. On a tangential note, it might algo be interesting to write something detailing the mundane politics of some area, though this of course bears the complication of deciding which area.

There's another opportunity that canon books can't use, which is integrating material from several books into one. I know that any published material must stand its own ground, referencing only the core rulebook, which makes a lot of sense since you can't expect people to buy half a dozen more books in order to use your new material. And older books couldn't of course reference what hadn't yet been published, due to the Limit of Time. :wink: So maybe it would be interesting to try to put something together that took advantadge of material drawn from several different books, though I must confess right now I'm at a loss for inspiration as to exactly what could be written.

In any case, I would be equally interested in working on other stuff, as that helps me get out of my comfort zone. :slight_smile:

When are we interested in doing this?
I don't have any particular preferences, except that I'm usually short of time during holidays and vacations (contrary to most, I know).

Do we want a timeframe like a month?
I personally find deadlines to be an incentive, keeping procractination at bay.

Do we see a hole in the free information available to new groups we can fill?
The only one I can think of right now is a good cross-book rules index or a more in-depth look at some aspects of the mundane world.

I just had another idea. It might be interesting to write up what we considered that could be in a typical "vanilla" Periferal Code. I'm not talking about writing a whole PC, of course, but at least give an idea of what could be in one. That way new SGs could use that as a basis for making judgement calls as to what's regulated and what's not, when the answer is not obvious due to story requirements.

I'm certainly interested in participating in such a project, but don't really having anything to contribute to the questions in the OP.

Someone mentioned fan fiction? I'd be down for that.

I'd be interesting kicking in on this one as well. I also rather like deadlines; they tend to crystallize things a bit, schedule-wise, but am quite happy to go along with whatever works for everyone else.

I would very much like to write some Ars fiction.

Perhaps we could compile a short-story anthology?

Sounds interesting. Though we'd have to have a central thing that ties them together, me thinks. Maybe something as simple as just a common theme, or as complex as a shared story arc or character.

An anthology could pick a theme or other unifying principle, but there's never been a short story anthology set in Mythic Europe before, so really that's unifying theme enough. And adding a theme or tribunal or covenant or something to base the stories around would only force a debate over what theme would be, resulting in some people feeling left out or estranged or "maybe next time when I like the theme better."

As a compromise, however, the editor of the project could solicit ideas for a unifying principle, then choose one and make it optional. So authors can write to the theme if they want, or choose not to, in the name of having as many authors in the pool as possible.

My suggestions:

  • Dead Cults: A collection of mystery cults that went extinct. The book presents adventure hooks to learn their lore and initiate their mysteries. Somewhere between The Mysteries and Ancient Magic. Lots of material for Seekers.
  • Demonic Portfolio: A bestiary of demons for all kinds of intents and purposes.
  • Mundane Bestiary: Expand on the free Mundane Beasts PDF and present stats for all kinds of animals there are in Mythic Europe - useful reference for all shapeshifters.

I think than I love that ideas.

My own ideas:
·Brand New Innovations - one collection about Original Investigation and Integration not suggested before, maybe included some Hedge Integration.
·Opening and broomsticks - apprentices examples and adventures ligated to them.
·Under the bed - demons and dark faeries related to dangerous places or stories, to being less than adversaries or villains, more related to terrors and things to evade.

A collaborative writing project sounds interesting. I don't know if I would firmly say I am in, but I totally would be looking at this thread consistently to see if such a thing is happening.

Personally, I think group writing in a theme or a setting project might be cool. Maybe develop an alternate history, modified location, variant covenant, or something. That way we could have maximum play and pull in what is developed and what is established.

Personally, I am better at setting writing than story writing or mechanical development so descriptive prose would be where I assist in.

Collaborative writing? Count me in. I'd be happy to do as much as I can. I admittedly don't have much experience working in the style of writing used in RPG books, but I'm definitely interested in helping write something.

Do we want to all write toward a single goal, or on a single theme?
That would make the most sense, yes. Or put together several strike teams to tackle a few smaller issues (such as the expanded Bestiary of Mundane Beasts mentioned above).
What sort of stuff are we interested in getting together?
Given that Hedgies have been around forever, I find it strange that literally none of them have tried integrating other traditions into theirs, or adopting other ideas. Bonisagus can not have been the first person in 500 odd years to actually try and adopt advantages from other traditions, and let them feed from you. I understand the Gift gets in the way, but Gently Gifted practitioners must have existed (and even so, repeated positive interaction is proven to allow people to ignore the Gift), and even then, most Hedgies can be entirely UnGifted, and those people would make perfect research subjects. So, my suggestion would be, rules/guidelines for Hedge Integration, as well as some examples from the canon Hedge traditions, or even the OoH.
When are we interested in doing this?
Any time works for me, really. I have uni starting in March, but I'll still have enough time to sit and write, and this is probably more productive than just writing short stories :slight_smile:
Do we want a timeframe like a month?
A deadline is useful, yes. If you mean an actual month to do this in, I'm cool with whenever.
Do we see a hole in the free information available to new groups we can fill?
A lot of it has been mentioned above, but in summary:

  • An Expanded Mundane Bestiary
  • A Collection of Brand New Innovations or Hedge Traditions
  • Rules and/or Suggestions for Hedgies wanting to Integrate other Hedgies, or even Hermetic concepts
  • A Cross-Book Rules Index such that people can find those obscure rules

So is there still interest in doing this.

There seemed to be interest in the fan faction/short story idea.

Yes, it looks like short fiction's the obvious choice.

So, shall we say maximum 5 000 words, copyright is retained by the authors but they grant an unlimited license to reprint to (Sub Rosa?

Do we want an editorial element? Do we want a competitive element? I'll put up some books as prizes if we do.

Also, as an audiobook recorder...short stories in an audiobook collection, hosted on a free site like Community Audio, are easy to do.

Sounds good to me. I don't mind if it's editorial, or competitive. I'm happy to grant that license :slight_smile:
In terms of audiobooks, sure, but who would voice them? I'm not sure I can do an audiobook without sounding like a twerp.

Depends on the voice of the character, but Librivoxians often volunteer for stuff like this. I can do some...I've finished a few books. ... et_results

One of my players records audio books for a living. I'll ask him if he can help.

Tim, perhaps we should call you Editor just so there's an organizing mind. You can wield as much or as little editorial power as you think best.

Well, can we discuss deadlines? Lengths? Thematic things?

I suggested 5 000 words maximum because it's a lot longer than it looks. 8)

As to deadlines...arbitrarily could we make it June 1? Earlier if we get a big enough body of work together (we can always do a second collection if this goes well). That's basically a month per 1 000 words.

As to thematic things...not fussed really. My two for the MP anthologies were a familiar and a spirit having pretty normal days.

Yeah, 5,000 words is more than you think it is :stuck_out_tongue:
So, no particular theme, but it should be a short story format in the Ars Magica universe, mmyes?