For the past few days, I have been overseeing three different collaborative stories that jumped off from the same starting point:
To say she was connected would be too simple a statement. She was never disconnected. Even in her sleep, her dreams came to her in bursts of 140 characters. (She knew this because she often woke up and jotted down her dreams, a habit she acquired in her college psychology course. Her notebook was full of nighttime ramblings.)And so, the night of the storm, with the weather forecasters freaking out about the high winds and possible lightning, she, too, began to freak out. She checked for batteries. She stood waiting near the electrical outlets, ready to pull the plugs at the first flash of lightning.
The last thing she expected was the knock at the door, but then, the unexpected always comes at the least convenient moment …
One story has been evolving at Google Wave; another at our iAnthology networking site; and the third, on Etherpad. I am calling the adventure DataStream because of the parallel stories but also because the ending will have to do with a stream of data coming together.
My aim is to close up the stories tomorrow (Sunday) and to weave the three together with a common ending, so that they all start and at the same place but the heart of the stories are different. I’m fascinated by this but also struggling with it.
You can join us — I need more writers at the Etherpad site, in particular, and the beauty of Etherpad is that no registration is required: you just go and write. So, please come join us, even if it is only for a few lines:
The Etherpad Story: http://etherpad.com/cY2ufkguQ2
Here are a few observations that I have:
- It’s not easy to keep three stories in my head. I am dancing between the stories here, trying to keep the plot moving along with clues from the writers (There have been about 20 people writing with me on these three platforms).
- Google Wave may have some potential but I have not been impressed with it, to be honest. It is slow, and not so easy to use. Not intuitive at all. I started the story to experiment primarily with Wave, and so, that has been helpful, but I don’t really like it.
- Writing on a Ning (the iAnthology) is nice because you can thread the story as discussions. I was hoping I could get a few more of our teacher-writers involved, but the holidays make that difficult, and I don’t want the project pushing into next week, when school starts up again.
- The Etherpad is probably the easiest to set up and use. It is so simple. But it has had the least amount of traffic, even though I have blasted about it on my Twitter network.
- I’m working right now in Google Docs to create a master document with all three stories together, in tables. It looks kind of odd this way, but it was the best way I could think of.
Peace (in the collaboration),