I've been toying with this theory... I call it Collaborative Fiction Theory
I wonder if literature can be improved by open sourcing it.
I mean yea, it's already open source. It's the printed word.
but you never see writers collaborating together on fiction the way software developers collaborate on software.
You see one writer, maybe two sometimes coming up with all the ideas in fiction, and writing them. Then you have another party who edits it for grammar and proofreads it- maybe even offers idea suggestions but ultimately it's all still on the writer who conceived the idea.
What if multiple writers all collaborated to make a story better in ways that one or two authors couldn't have on their own. When Ian Flemming was penning James Bond, he originally had James using a gun that wouldn't actually be associated with a spy in real life, until somebody wrote him a letter to say "hey, thats unrealistic. Bond should be using a PPK." Flemming took his advice, upgraded Bond to a PPK, and the story was a little bit better for it.
I'm not saying divide the book into parts and let a bunch of different people write on it. For the sake of style and consistency, one person would have to write the whole book.
Suppose somebody created a self-moderated forum thread for the purpose of writing a book. Maybe the title of the thread would be "Let's write a book together."
They provide the basic plot just to get idea juices flowing. In a future dystopia the wealthiest 0.01 percent of the population are hoarding all the resources for themselves, successfully using robots created by fully automated seed factories to put down resistance from the human military of the non-wealthy population, who is starving to death.
Then post it to the thread.
Somebody comes along and says "Hey that's a great idea, this could be a basic outline of the plot, and here's what should happen in the first chapter."
Then the thread author writes the first chapter. People read it, and say "The robots wouldn't act that way, they should act like this."
Somebody else chimes in, "Do we really want the first chapter to end that way?"
A discussion ensues, eventually ending in either a consensus, or if not, the author gets to read about a whole bunch of different ways he could take the first chapter.
The author, motivated by improving the quality of his book, takes every idea into account and updates the text to best implement all the criticism that gets posted.
Eventually, an entire book gets written in the style of the person who started the thread. But it's a better book than that person could have written by himself. He doesn't have to research as much because he has the whole world discussing all the finer details right in front of him, he can focus on prose. He's even implemented many changes to the core plot derived from public suggestion. Everybody's ideas have made the book much more than it could have been if written the traditional way.
Of course, something like this could be implemented using just a centralized forum. I'd be surprised if it hasn't already been done actually.
Amazon has shown us that self-publishing can work as a business model.
Let's take it a step further.
What if, instead of just people who have the time and care enough to contribute for free to some random other guy's story, people had incentive to:
a) create and moderate these book writing discussion threads.
b) contribute to other's book writing threads- instead of writing being an every man for himself type thing
How much better would the product of a "Let's write a book together," forum post be?
What if there was a DAC that allowed somebody wanting to create such a thread to give incentive to the rest of the world to help him write the book?
Perhaps the actual means of sharing info with each other could still be centralized sure.
Author creates thread. The resulting book will still be the author's work, since one person is still writing the whole book. But, the author can offer a stakes in the book to people who contribute the most worthy ideas. This could be implemented in a system similar to bitshares ME. The author controls one hundred percent of the shares in the beginning.
Over the course of carefully crafting the book in the thread, somebody suggests that Bond use a PPK. Hey thanks! The author awards the guy suggesting the PPK with 0.1% of the books shares-- or however much the author deems appropriate. Somebody contributes something more significant, like a killer twist ending, or just contributes ALOT. Wow! The author awards him 20% of the books shares.
People work together on the thread, shares are awarded, the book gets really good and is completed. The author ends up with however many shares he feels he deserves for writing it. The thread is deleted (so the book can't be pirated as easily, although you know it will happen anyway). The book is then made available so that people can buy it for the steady price of an arbitrarily chosen number of shares. Let's go with a copy of the book costs one share, just for an easy example. That share gets destroyed in exchange for a copy of the book.
Demand for the book then drives the market value of one of the book's shares. As it becomes more popular one of the book's shares' value increases, enriching everyone who helped to write the book.
Writers who create the threads initially would have incentive to distribute the shares fairly to people who add ideas that he ends up using, because he wants people to continue to help him write even better books than he would on his own. Writers would develop reputations based on how fairly they distribute shares to people, and how well they transmute those ideas into the prose. Writers who have both style, and fairness, attract the most brains to their cause, and the book gets that much better for it.
There would also be more people actively seeking to help make other writer's works better, because now there's a chance they can get paid for it.
The DAC would basically be BitShares ME, combined with a centralized forum for throwing book ideas around, and an exchange where people can buy copies of the book in exchange for whatever price (in the book's shares) the author sets for it. If somebody else tries to sell copies of the book that becomes a legal copyright issue.
Say the book gets good enough to make a movie out of it. In case that happens, before publishing, the author sets a price to buy the necessary rights to do something like that. That price is set really, really high, so the studio has to buy a shit-ton of the books shares, driving the price for a share sky high. Contributors who held long on the book become wealthy. After that, the author see's that consumers can no longer afford to buy the book, so he lowers the price to a fraction of the share that prices it at the reasonable price level of a book again. That's messy though.
Even better, so that the book stays affordable for the public the entire time, a separate share could issued for the rights to use the book. Every contribution yields a certain percent of the book's sale shares, and the books rights shares. If the book goes big, people could sell their rights shares to the movie studios, but retain their sales shares for the bump that the book is going to get from the movie.
I call it LitUp.
People have motivation to help authors improve their works, everybody who helps gets paid, society has a more diverse spectrum of literature to choose from.
Think it could work?