If you are interested in co-authoring a novel with others–or having your students participate in collective short story writing, check out The Novel Tree, a very cool site put together by writer Dave Tiesma. The site was recently featured in a Reuters news release. I’ll include the entire article here:

New Writing Community Website Offers A Whole New Way To Write A Novel – One
Book Written By Hundreds Of Authors.

FLINT, Mich., Aug. 13 /PRNewswire/ — TheNovelTree.com, launched in May of this year, presents a whole new way to write a novel. Members of The Novel Tree website work together on building the novel, each presenting their own pieces of the story. When the story is finished, hundreds of authors will have collaborated on one complete novel.

Dave Tiesma, creator of The Novel Tree, had the idea “What if I started a book and let other people add on to it? What if hundreds of people wrote one single book?” And with that and months of planning and building, this interesting new idea for a website was born.

Anyone can join and participate in The Novel Tree for free. Members read the novel as it is so far and then submit what they write for the next piece in the storyline. All the submissions for the next section of the story are read and one is selected as the next part of the book.

“An important part of The Novel Tree is the community itself,” says Tiesma. “Members can communicate with each other in a discussion group and talk about how the characters should develop and what direction the story should go in.”

One novel is currently being written, but more are being planned to allow members to write novels in different genres. The goal is to publish the novels once they are complete. The Novel Tree hopes to have thousands of members participating and a novel on its way to completion by the end of this year.

The Novel Tree is definitely worth checking out. One thing not mentioned in the above article is the discussion feature of the site, which allows would-be writers to discuss their ideas for characters, plot, and more. And there are now a number of novels in a range of genres being worked on–not just one.

The main idea of the site–collaborative creative writing–can be set up using a range of web applications. Blogs and wikis seem the most obvious, but you could also have students create collaborative podcast short stories. Makes me think . . .