Joshua Cohen is turning writing a book into a spectator sport. The author is following up the publication of his last novel, the very meta Book of Numbers, with a serialized reinterpretation of Charles Dickens’ Pickwick Papers. Oh, and he’s doing it via livestream.
Between October 12 and October 16, the novelist will be cranking out the novel, pckwck, broadcasting his writing process to the world at pckwck.com from 1 to 6 p.m. EST. A chat room function lets readers offer feedback on the story and talk with Cohen and other readers. As I watched shortly before 5:20 p.m. on Cohen’s first day of live writing, he clicked between paragraphs, scratching his nose and looking a little lost. Paragraph breaks appeared and disappeared. Typos were fixed, and eventually, slowly a new sentence appeared, accompanied by interactive animations of little purple and green hearts on the site.
The sentences produced in real time on such a short deadline probably won't become the next great work of literature, but for anyone interested in the process of writing, it’s a fantastic look at the nitty-gritty practice of actually producing a piece of work—nose scratching and all.
Go watch him work here.
All screenshots via pckwck.com