Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Power of Collaboration

Ficly.com and Protagonize.com, as well as a few forums, offer places for writers to collaborate. I prefer sites without messy sidebars and ads, and with easy navigation.

Forums often require lots of clicking and have small print in large quantities making them my least favorite.

Protagonize offers space for long pieces, inspirational groups to join, and the choice to collaborate or keep the work all your own. It can be visually cluttered.

Ficly limits you to 1,024 characters (letters, spaces, punctuation marks), and every story is collaborative, with a creative commons license, so it cannot be copyrighted as yours.

Both sites offer feedback from other writers, with Protag having a critique group you can join to ask for critique especially. The feedback is positive, sometimes helpful, but not like a real critique or how an editor would go over a piece.

My home is on Ficly. I've made friends there, and once you get involved, you are family. Most of my work is there. I love it so much, I have Ficly items in my zazzle store!

Working in an environment that promotes collaboration allows people to take your story whim, because on ficly you barely have room to develop anything, and turn it in another direction. The small space teaches you to write great hooks, be succinct in your descriptions, and build plot, setting, and character in one fell swoop. Entire stories CAN be written in 1,024 characters. I've done it and I've read many others who have blown my socks off in that short a space. :)

Gror Methonyg and the Abyss of the Unknowable

It also allows you to add characters, switch POV, and experiment with story flow by changing the setting like going from one chapter in a book to the next. These are all great ways to beat writer's block; to write past a difficult part in a story. This site has helped me develop these skills.

One of the best features is the challenge feature, where a challenge is laid down and it's your job to write to meet it. If you can think of it, it's been challenged! This is a great place for inspiration as well as practice. Some challenges are grammatical, write without using the word 'the', or write without repeating words, or write a story in a few words. Some are more about craft, like write about this list or words, write cyberpunk, or write a love story that ends badly. Some ideas are so great, there is a push to create a writing challenge book, a fat tome of inspiration.

Even these entries to challenges can be sequeled and prequeled for collaboration on a longer work. In fact, I've had a challenge entry inspire my writing friend ALRO to write a long series/story of many ficly pages.

Martyr for Culture

I've been inspired by a challenge entry many a time. :)

Feeding off of each other is how we communicate, the conversation changes as another speaker adds in a tale of their own with a spin that leads us to the next topic. It's only natural that we follow the same patterns in our writing.


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