In collaboration with Uncanny Valley, Artifice Books is releasing EXITS ARE, an ongoing collaborative e-book by Mike Meginnis “and many players” (player #1, up now, is Blake Butler, author of the novels Scorch Atlas and There Is No Year, as well the memoir Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia).
EXITS ARE is updated weekly.
Explain EXITS ARE. What’s the idea here?
Basically, I’m using text adventures as a model for collaborative writing as a mode of play. The way I explain it to the writers I play with is that the only rule is that we take turns — a rule I follow very strictly, even when I realize that I’d like to change or correct something. I tell them that I’ll default to impersonating a text adventure, like Zork, and they can default to interacting with me as a player would. That means that I mostly describe rooms and situations to them, and they mostly say what they want their character to do. They’re free to step out of their role, though, and I’m free to step out of mine. Sometimes they narrate, and sometimes I ask them questions or speak to them directly. When the game is done (usually it takes 2-4 hours) I save the transcript and come back to it weeks later. At this point I gently massage the text, correcting small errors and occasionally making more substantial alterations, in an attempt to make the resulting story a better experience for readers. Continue reading