I do not know of many instances of collaborative (novel length) fiction writing, outside of Science Fiction where Niven and Pournelle are the primary example.
But with wikis this approach becomes easier to manage, and it enables something that is more than the sum of the parts, enabling a fusion between, say, a good story teller, a great character describer, and someone great at critical editing, research and un-complicating sentences.
Wiki type links also mean that the story:
- could be written with various options/paths at different stages. This has been tried in paper books but always seems artificial
- could be read in different ways. Imagine a chapter where you get an an overview of this part of the storyline but detail being provided from the viewpoint of a character. We could provide a dozen viewpoints. This means that you have many ways of reading the book, depending on how many character based viewpoints you want to take.
Books tend to be printed in black on white - at least the text is, but if you wrote primarily for the electronic media, without accepting the limitations of the essentially one dimensional printed book, you might:
- represent the views of different characters in different fonts, or colours, or highlights
- provide music when one of the characters sings
- provide links to interesting facts, pictures or video at different parts of the book
- provide scope for on-line discussion linked to specific parts of the book
- ask readers for ideas for the next book, or optional story lines in this book
- encourage readers to write alternative storylines at nexus points in the book
Currently the e-book is just an electronic version of the paper book. Web and social media technology offer so many more options for writing, so it can't be long before authors start writing to take advantage of the flexibility the medium offers. And perhaps more will be writing collaboratively?