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OT: Open-ended fiction (was: Re: Art is when someone says 'Now' -- or is it?)

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Monday, August 11, 2008, 13:41
On Fri, 8 Aug 2008 14:54:31 -0700, David J. Peterson wrote:
>With the web, a project like this might be possible, since >publication is a free. I always thought it would be ballsy >of one of these marketeer fantasy writers to write a live >novel. Consumers don't pay for a finished novel: They >pay a *subscription*, not unlike many online video games >nowadays, to literally *watch* the author as s/he types. >This will include the creation of new material as well as >editing and revising. The project can end when a normal >novel would end, or it need not: the author could just >keep on writing, since an endpoint isn't needed for the >audience to enjoy the work. I imagine the technology >would be extraordinary for this (the author's computer >would have to be linked to a live server and updated >by the second), but given how rabid genre fiction fans >are, I bet it'd be profitable, if the right person did it.
That doesn't sound too different from the typical webcomic... installments (typically, one page or strip, so shorter than comic book series) are published on certain schedule, no endpoints have necessarily been set yet (another difference from typical comic books), and it may even occur that the artist(s) go back and revise older installments. However, changing past story details while still continuing the work is very rarely done; more typical is to revisit the artwork (which may have been very amateurish in the beginning), or to close the current story as a "version zero" and re-start. Most webcomics are however free to read; some of those that require a subscription to read are seemingly open-ended, but I can't offhand think of an example that's both behind subscription and has retouched its past storyline. Published collections may sometimes include older sketches of the storyline as bonus material, but dunno if that counts for anything. John Vertical