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Writing 2.0 March 28, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Web 2.0, Writing.

Writers have always been resistent to change when it comes to accepting new technology as useful tools. It probably started with writing instrument replacements such as the quill, pen, pencil and later the typewriter which most writers resisted in the beginning. Ultimately, these new gadgets all became a common writing instruments. The same thing happened with computers and word processor programs. Most writers didn’t make the switch at first, but in time the majority of them did. The same pattern has repeated with the Internet and web 2.0 services that have been launched for writers. Fortunately, there has always been maverick writers who enjoy testing new things and experimenting with new technology and inventions. Eventually, others follow their lead until it becomes an accepted tool. While many writers are still resistent to these new online tools and services, the new age of writing technology has indeed begun. History will continue to repeat itself as the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Here are some of the best writing websites that I’ve seen thus far.


Invent-a-Story is another collaborative story writing site but this one does it just one line at a time! It’s silly but fun stuff.

Glypho is a story-by-committee type of service where everyone works together on a story and vote on the best chapter contribution. This all leads to many twists and turns in the direction of a story but it can be fun for those who are into this type of thing. It appears to be a good way to exercise your writing chops or breaking any writer’s block you might have.

Ficlets is a unique service. They describe themselves are literary legos and here’s why. Everyone can contribute their own ficlet which has a maximum character (not word!) count of 1,024 (as in one megabyte) and a minumum 64 character count. Others can contribute a prequel or a sequel to your ficlet and you can do the same with other ficlets. I told you they were different.

Novlet is similar to ficlets in that you are writing a story with others online, but the limits are not as low. Each Novlet story is divided into passages or sections of texts (usually 2-3 paragraphs long). Each passage can have one or more different continuations: it’s up to you, the reader, to decide how the story you’re reading should go on. And if you don’t like any of the potential continuations that have been already written, you can always write your own one, and start a new storyline.

NovelMaker is an interactive community for fiction writers, readers, critics, literary agents, editors, and publishers. Authors can upload completed works, or works-in-progress, and receive editorial suggestions, comments, reviews, and ratings. Those reviews and ratings may take new and unpublished writers into a realm never before accessible to them – a large, interactive community participating with them in the creation, and potential commercial success, of new works of fiction.

Authors can get instantaneous feedback, cover art, factual information, maps, pictures, and all manner of useful information to advance their literary endeavors to new levels. Readers can participate in an author’s creative process, rate and review an author’s work, create a user group to discuss the author’s work, or buy the author’s completed novel – in paper format or one of several e-book reader formats.

Literary agents can seek talent and worthy works of fiction online instead of just the old methods of over-the-transom submissions, query letters, and word-of-mouth. They can now read new works of fiction online, see the results of ratings and reviews by users on the site and see whose works may be commercially viable – because of the voting by the online community.

Editors and publishers have the opportunity to review new works of fiction, provide comments, and, most importantly, see what will sell based on our community response to new works. It can become a “testing ground” for an editor looking for the next best-seller.

StoryLink is an online networking and educational site for the creative community. They were conceived with both professional and aspiring writers and filmmakers in mind. Here’s what they offer:

  • StoryLink allows you to connect with peers with similar aspirations and experiences. Store, share and swap stories with other writers. Make invaluable contacts that will help launch your writing or filmmaking career.
  • Communicate with professional writers and filmmakers.
  • Up-to-the-minute events calendar featuring workshops, seminars, retreats and lectures. Be informed of the thousands of grant, fellowship and contest opportunities.
  • Articles and educational lectures hosted by professionals.

BookSpoke claims to be a dual-purpose site. One for readers and one for writers. It allows you to setup a blog of sorts so you as the writer can keep your legions of readers informed on your every move.

PlotBot is an excellent service for screenwriters that was previously covered on here in “Your Ticket to Hollywood“. You can work on your screenplays privately online or collaborate with others.
Final Thoughts:
I am still looking for that killer social network for writers, a sort of MySpace for literary types or a facebook for authors. I know it will happen some day very soon. In the mean time, I will keep an eye on this space and maintain a list of the best writing tools and services in a public spreadsheet called Writers Tools.


1. gabrielgrimes - February 9, 2008

Thanks. I enjoyed the blog. I’m interested in any and all tools online. My concern is that I may overextend myself. But for now I’ll try NovelMaker. Thx

2. *robert - February 10, 2008

Great share Pai… thanks!

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4. Merlene Paynter - February 12, 2008

Great list Pai!
I’ve bookmarked this and will take some time to play with all the shiney new toys 🙂

5. Nick Bouton - March 1, 2008

If you’re into these sites, you might also want to check out Protagonize (http://www.protagonize.com), a collaborative fiction writing community launched a couple of months ago.

6. Stephen - March 13, 2008

Hmm, all of these sound interesting! Maybe I’ll use it to elicit some NaNoWriMo help this fall.

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9. Ryan - April 12, 2008

There’s also a pretty cool site called http://www.scripped.com that is basically a Google Docs for screenplays.

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