#digiwrimo The DigiWrimo Novel in a Day

So earlier I posted about how insane it is to draft a 50,000 word novel in a month, which is why I disliked NaNoWriMo. #DigiWriMo, as I suggested, is different. How is it different?

Well, we're drafting it in one day, that's how.

Yes, we plan on getting hundreds of writers together for a big orgy of writing in one 24 hour period. We're going to write a novel about #digiwrimo 's mascott, a stuffed duck named Digi. So far we've come up with the idea that we'll each write a series of storylets (or vignettes if you've been to too much film school) to be tied together somehow. Digi the Duck must appear at least once, and each vignette must either begin or end in an unspecified city square.

What kind of city square? Well, that's just it. It could be New York or Chicago or Johannasberg. It could be in space, or the future, or in your mind. It could be in multiple timelines at once. It can be quantumn-leaping through your flower garden. City squares are versitile like that.

The city square idea was mine, which is why I'm making this post, and why I'm being so smug about it.

Also because some people are having trouble accessing Google Docs.



Digital Writing Month

Novel in a Day

The task: 1 Day. 1 Novel. 50,000 words. Hundreds of Authors. Breaking Google Docs will be half the fun.

Collaboratively Generated Instructions

We can’t pull this off unless we have lots and lots of participants. For example, if we have 100 participants, each of us will need to write an average of 500 words. If we have 200 participants, each of us will need to write an average of 250 words. So, before beginning, drag in a few friends by sharing http://www.digitalwritingmonth.com/2012/11/01/a-novel-in-a-day/.

Guidelines for Participants:
1. Writers shouldn’t feel like they need to read the entirety of the current text before contributing. Nobody can read all the words and contribute new words during a single 24-hour period.
2. If more than 50 people are in the Google Doc simultaneously, new writers won’t be able to edit in real time. If this happens, compose in a separate document and cut and paste when able.
3. Writers should defer to text already in the document, rather than wildly deleting without consulting the author of any text in question. Small revisions are encouraged.
4. The novel will be a series of vignettes. Each vignette may (but doesn’t have to) incorporate characters or ideas from other vignettes. Each vignette must feature Digi the Duck in some way, either as the protagonist or more subtly. (Some literary examples that function this way: Pulp Fiction, Magnolia, Short Cuts, Nashville, Angels in America, Winnie the Pooh.)
5. Each vignette should either begin or end in a non-specified city square
6. When you contribute to the novel, you can either begin a new vignette or add to an existing vignette. Vignettes can be any length.
7. A draft should be complete by 9pm EDT so that we all have 3 hours to revise.

The Google Doc for the novel itself will be embedded at the following link and opened at midnight EDT: http://www.digitalwritingmonth.com/2012/11/01/a-novel-in-a-day/


List of Features we have decided on and are sticking with:

Protagonist: Digi the Duck (can we all agree?) :)

Setting (s): Starts or Ends in a city square - no setting confines from there.

Be sure to address narrative issues, such as:

  1. What’s the plot of the novel?
    1. Thinking about the use of Digi in the story and incorporating a mystery plot, I like the idea of using Digi the Duck as an object that is placed in a number of scenes but not necessarily a main character.  I am thinking about a murder when Digi is sitting on the floor and the victim sees the duck as his/her last image.... Digi is then noticed by an intern working in the evidence room at the police station and takes it home to his/her house... (maybe Digi is bad luck)... Something unfortunate now happens to the intern and the duck moves on to another unlucky individual.  *Not really liking the idea of Digi the Duck being the object, but maybe something else... an ornamental statue of ________. This kind of story could easily have many different characters, subplots and story lines.
  2. Who is the protagonist?
    1. How about Digi the Duck? If Digi the Duck is the protagonist, are we looking at first person, third person? - 3rd person makes more sense - and it would be hard to give digi a consistent voice.
    2. Could be multiple protagonists ( would allow for parallel story development involving collaborative groups writing on subplots)

What characteristics do we want for the characters? Physical? Linguistic? Personality? Perhaps if each person writes their own vignette (see below), each person could determine POV and specifics of character as s/he writes?


  1. What is the central conflict?

power outage?
lost while traveling?
stalked by cat? (should we go for one of those plots that happens in a very short span of time? this might be easier to keep consistent) - cat would make a very potent antagonist and a rather paranoid duck. The cat in turn could be stalked by a coyote - a triangle of protagonists/antagonists that would cause considerable turmoil.
Maybe he witnesses a crime? (Murder of the cat by the coyote?) And the newly instated Animal Witness Protection Society are trying to get him? (for protection of course)
--Digi could be lost, and then found by multiple folks. Original loser could/could not refind at the end. Digi could accidentally be dropped in a bag, then returned to the bus or subway car where it happened, then reclaimed and washed...each person finding could be a new vignette, and would work with changes in voice.  I like this vignette idea. Could make a great solution to the “problem” of multiple authors. Also, may innovate a new kind of digital novel... A novel digi-novel.

We’ll need a setting as well. If the duck is traveling, we could have several settings. Personally, I like multiple settings to illustrate movement.

As well, be sure to resolve organizational and collaboration issues, such as:

  1. How will the writing take place? In shifts?

a. Collaborative subgroups could develop subplots that would be resolved at the end.

If we’re going to have different subplots, it might be useful to use a different color for each so that it is visually clear to everyone participating where one ends and the other begins.


  1. What are the editing / revising guidelines? Who will be responsible for revision?

I think we should be finished with the draft by 9 PM ET so that revisions can be made before midnight.


  1. Who will lead the charge?

a. Does anyone get the “final say”,
b. or will the process be democratic?
c. or anarchic?
d. it might be smart to have another google doc going with summaries of major plot points so we can keep the narrative tied together well. Then we can split up the sections into revision teams.

  1. What are the major challenges? And what are their solutions?
    1. Because one of the issues with making a collaborative novel will be keeping up with everything everyone else’s writing in order to avoid inconsistencies, it might help to have an outline and character sheets (which can be edited as the novel is being written). (See 3. d. above too)
    2. I think an outline would be good, as sub sections could be fleshed out separately
  2. What rules need to be established?
    1. Once the writing is underway, don’t drastically change scenes without consulting others working on the document.
  3. What will the authors consider a “success”?
    1. Having some sort of product to point to at the end if Google Doc survives it



  • Vanessa Vaile
    Comment from: Vanessa Vaile
    11/02/12 @ 06:40:16 pm

    Is Digi from Malta?

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