As a writer, and more specifically an author of fiction, I always feel that there is a paradox when I write any sort of story; to ensure that the story is told with little to no compromises made in the actual text, dialogue, or overall tone of the story, while also making sure that the plot remains coherent and engaging, and the reader doesn’t feel lost unintentionally, and even if they do, to pull them right back into it all before it’s too late.
While this sort of writing is something that is ultimately up to me, or whoever happens to be the author of the story, I feel that there is an untapped potential in groups. A certain brainchild of thoughts, ideas, and complimentary thoughts that can generate not just one great story, but many, many more.
And that’s where the idea of the Library Legendarium comes from. It’s a virtual library that will, in time, come to present It starts off absolutely, completely empty. But in time, it will be filled with novellas and short stories that are both byproducts of the authors who submit to the site, and the readers who read them.
To elaborate, the stories will be submitted in chapters and all mostly follow a choose-your-own-adventure style of direction, using a variation of Inklewriter, the most popular site for this style of storytelling. At certain crucial points in the story, there will be predetermined choices that will be voted on with brief explanations from the readers and the winner will be what the story will be continued with. This is meant to challenge the author as much as it is to engage the reader, for while most good authors know the direction of their story, few will have alternative plans in mind for when something drastic happens, just like in real life. This style of CYOA writing will prompt them to think on their feet from the readers’ decisions while simultaneously being in charge of the story’s direction from the choices made.
To keep things relatively reasonable, lead moderators are chosen from successful authors on the site, not to police the content, but rather to make sure that there is actual basis on a reader’s decision making, otherwise it could quickly be overrun by other websites hoping to flood the Legendarium with memetic content.
Expanding on this would be the implementation of “Prompto”, a bot who processes user-generated choices. This is intended to fill the gap for less-popular novels, to avoid a few certain readers from calling all the shots. Prompto will vote for not necessarily what is the most popular choice at the time, but rather based on the reasons why others are voting for a certain choice or decision. If a reader can provide a compelling enough reason, Prompto will side with it, with multiple votes counting towards its decision. Certain stories can have Prompto disabled, if the author feels the feedback is good enough.
As stories finish, the library, run by the omnipotent librarian Minerva, will be stocked with books, and as the shelves fill out, more bookcases and even rooms will be expanded. A successful author can even have a personal shelf, but no more than two stories a month will be accepted, to prevent overzealous novice authors from valuing quality over quantity.
The end product is a collaborative e-lit legendarium, a concentration of the best efforts of several online authors, and the choices of those who decide to read them.
Inklewriter is a part of Inkle, which would be producing the engine used. Inklewriter is found here: https://www.inklestudios.com