The Read/Make Digital Writing Adventure


I’m popping in and out of an interesting adventure this weekend built out of last year’s Digital Writing Month. This year, over the course of a weekend, the goal is to construct a collaborative novel in a project called Digital Writing Makertext, or read/make. Sort of.

Check out the premise:

Prompt: The novel we construct will be driven by a basic premise — not a plot, but a prompt. How that premise changes and evolves during the writing will depend on the contributions and their effect on the overall narrative.

  • The author is dead. Print is dead. “Storytelling has changed. Stories are no longer told to audiences, but by audiences.” And now the very notion of the story is threatened.

  • You are part of a crack team of storytellers, educators, students, and concerned citizens sent online to investigate the death of narrative. For this mission, you’ll need all the resources of the Internet at the ready… and cooperation from every corner of literature itself.

  • Your job will be to write, film, record, and otherwise digitally construct a story about story itself — weaving your way through literary worlds and digital landscapes to write an account of the precarious health of narrative. It will also be up to you to resurrect the names, voices, and words of the greatest — and the most underrepresented — characters from literature, poetry, drama, television, movies, the Internet and more.

  • We intend this to be a truly global writing experiment. Therefore, all languages are welcome in the text, any form of narrative is welcome, and any and all hyperlinks should link to open (not paywalled or password-protected) sites.

The project is unfolding in a Google Doc and on Twitter, and who knows where else. I’ve been adding a few lines here and there, and created two “pieces” early on. The first is the video at the top of this post, and the second is this podcast poem called A Ransom Note from the Reader.

Watch me now:
As I fold myself up —
all arms and legs; mouth and mind —
into the swirling sounds of your story.

Your tongue unfolds;
I bend myself tighter.

Waiting — ever patient as always —
for the moment to pounce.
Sinewy muscles extended to grab the pen, and then
I wrestle the words right out of your head
in order to make what you wrote
my own.

Peace (come join us!),


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