Help Write This Crowdsourced Sci-Fi Novel
By Anna Green
Eric Mack is writing a novel, and he needs your help. In honor of National Novel Writing Month, the CNET journalist wants to complete a 50,000 word (roughly 175 page) science fiction epic called Human Capital by November 30, and in order to get it finished in time, he’s crowdsourcing the entire project.
The novel is being written in a Google Doc, which anyone can contribute to. Basically, Mack is encouraging any addition you can make, large or small: he wants people to write their ideas and suggestions, but he’s also letting contributors jump right into a random chapter and start writing the story.
You might imagine that letting the entire world simultaneously scribble out a story on what, essentially, is a shared piece of piece of paper, would yield a bunch of nonsense. But as people contribute their ideas to the group document, Mack is continuously editing and shaping the story in a separate Google Doc that only he can make changes to. Essentially, he’s taking the chaos of the shared document, and translating it into a coherent story in real-time.
But while the novel, so far, is surprisingly readable, it’s clearly the product of many voices: it’s a fun and slightly loopy conglomeration of futuristic technologies, philosophical questions, and goofy sci-fi names. Mack is incredibly open to all new ideas—so jump into the shared Google Doc, and let your imagination run wild. Or, check out Mack’s official working draft to see how the story is progressing here.