I wonder if every new novel in the near future will be required to be paperless, to save trees for brochures. Novels could all be wikinovels: living, shivering, online, and editable by the author. That way, months after publishing a novel on the web, an author could delete a passage in her novel that never worked for her, throw in a few lines to streamline some bumpy places, and even add some words at the end to embellish what had seemed to some “e-editors” (hired to review 100 wikinovels per week at $5 per book) “kind of an abrupt conclusion” and “I skipped a lot in the middle but the end made no sense?!” On the web page, off to the side on a panel, could be reader comments via Twitter—a community of browsers scrolling by, asking what kind of pets the author has, debating and deciding the meanings of words (since the advent of wikidiktionaries) and questioning everything, including the right for the fictional characters to exist at all in any universe (this from a group charmingly called Anarchronists). To keep her readership engaged, the author would be required to respond to each comment within 3 minutes. Soon would come trollers, creating arguments where none had been in the printed book: “Why wasn’t the heroine a straight white male, for once?” Then ads, of first a few at the bottom line but soon pop-up videos and spam. Then by natural progression, everyone would be welcome to edit and write their own novel passages, until what was once the author’s paid work will be free common source material. Finally, when the book was deemed by crowd vote (2/5 stars) no longer necessary for the time or just “boring,” a white screen would pop up, blank except for the words “404: Page Not Found.” Gosh, I hope not.
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Comments (1)

Janet Carey

July 9th, 2020

7:05 pm

Ack!! a nightmare.

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