Since I’m not yet comfortable enough in my new office to hold private dance parties when I don’t feel like working, I tend to take to the Internet. This morning, I was spending my time with Dahlia Lithwick’s real-time romance novel, Saving Face, on Slate.com. The novel itself is a good read so far (with only two installments down, it’s kind of hard to tell, but I already like the characters I’ve met so far, so that’s a good sign) and it’s an interesting Internet experiment. Lithwick is writing in one of Slate’s short formats, which tends to work well for commentary in general and she’s taking reader advice from Facebook. So, in some senses, it’s in real-time and collaborative. What’s even more interesting is that she gives readers credit where it’s due. Little plus signs give us readers’ information and suggestions that Lithwick has used to help shape or improve her story. Also, at the end of every post, Lithwick gives us a general idea of where the next installment is going and solicits reader feedback; so, she’s got the plot skeleton, but she knows the experiment will be more efficient and the finished product more interesting if many minds help shape the novel.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to join her Facebook page as soon as I’m done writing. I’d like to get more information about the genesis of the project and Lithwick’s general vision for what she sees the project doing (or maybe that’s the writing teacher in me coming out). The fact is that this romance novel experiment is a well-written, smart, collaborative piece of writing about the love lives and neuroses of professionals in a college town has me somewhat intrigued. So, obviously, I’ll be needing to know more about it.