Get A Free Book for Easter! Visitor's Day (The Metafilter Collaborative Novel) April 5, 2009 12:49 PM   Subscribe

Remember that proposed Metafilter Collaborative Novel? It's here! It's called Visitor's Day, it’s free and you'll find the links you need to download it inside this thread.

Visitor's Day is the end result of almost a year and a half worth of work; a workload shared between nine authors, three editors and an amazing artist. All of those involved were members of the Metafilter community.

The book is best described by the simple, one-line idea that inspired its narrative; "Extra-terrestrial life discovered." From that one-line idea, each author wrote a single chapter of the story, handing the baton to the next author once they were done writing… and eventually a single coherent story we named Visitor’s Day was born.

Interested in reading about what happens once humanity discovers alien life? Or just looking for something free to read over the Easter break? Excellent! Then all you need to do is download two small files. The first is the book itself and the second is the front cover, created by talented MeFite artist picea.

The book.
The front cover.

The nine MeFites who authored this great bit of holiday reading material are;

WPW
Mister_A
cortex
It's Raining Florence Henderson
rtha
never used baby shoes
croutonsupafreak
robocop is bleeding

And myself, of course.

There were also three editors who graciously donated their time to tidying up the book back when it was just a first draft. Like the authors, they’re also members of the Metafilter community. They are;

Airhen
Unicorn on the cob
sadiehawkinstien

And as I mentioned earlier, picea was the talented MeFite artist who turned in an incredible cover for us in a very short amount of time.

Visitor's Day is free and it's available now via the links above. I dare say it’ll make a great piece of holiday reading while you scoff down your Easter eggs, or whatever else you do to recognise this time of the year. So with the compliments of all involved in this project, please download it and read it!

And please do share your thoughts about the book in this thread once you’ve read it, or even as you’re reading it! I think I speak for everyone involved when I say that we'd love to hear your feedback. We wrote it for you, after all.
posted by Effigy2000 to MetaFilter-Related at 12:49 PM (71 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite

I hope the readers have as much fun as I had participating, because it has been a great experience. Effigy2000, you deserve a HUGE thank-you and heaps of kudos for this because your energy and enthusiasm has kept this project together from day one.

To the extent that I'd totally be up for doing it again ...
posted by WPW at 12:57 PM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


What fun! Just what I needed for porch reading on this sunny New England day. Nice work!
posted by cocoagirl at 1:24 PM on April 5, 2009


I second WPW. Effigy2000 rocks, and deserves a huge amount of credit for the fact that this came together.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 1:29 PM on April 5, 2009


Quick suggestion: a graphic designer would have been helpful when it came to typesetting, helping to give the book more of polished, professional look. This doesn't mean it's terrible, but the use of Word and Arial is pretty jarring, IMO, when I'm use to reading books that are professionally typeset.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:32 PM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


At least it has a professional white background.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 1:58 PM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


OMG!

Many thanks to Effigy2000 and all the wonderful collaborators. Y'all are amazing, and this project was a lot of fun. I'm deeply impressed that we finished it!
posted by rtha at 2:30 PM on April 5, 2009


You had writers, graphic artist, editors and now readers. What you need is a publisher. That story should sell and could make an excellent movie.
posted by Cranberry at 3:08 PM on April 5, 2009


Oops. Maybe you need an agent before the publisher.
posted by Cranberry at 3:09 PM on April 5, 2009


tl;dr

Yet.
posted by ColdChef at 3:15 PM on April 5, 2009


What a cool project. Can't wait to dig into it. Congrats to all involved!
posted by lysistrata at 3:24 PM on April 5, 2009


From that one-line idea, each author wrote a single chapter of the story, handing the baton to the next author once they were done writing… and eventually a single coherent story we named Visitor’s Day was born.

Did the authors literally just pick up where the other had left off or was there an overall plot decided beforehand?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:45 PM on April 5, 2009


Did the authors literally just pick up where the other had left off or was there an overall plot decided beforehand?

There was no plan. Each author was free to take the story in whichever direction they wanted to. What this means is that it twists and expands in quite a pleasing fashion.
posted by WPW at 3:54 PM on April 5, 2009


"Effigy2000, you deserve a HUGE thank-you and heaps of kudos for this because your energy and enthusiasm has kept this project together from day one."
posted by WPW at 6:57 AM on April 6

To you WPW as well as crouton and rtha, I say thank-you. I only wrote one chapter and provided gentle encouragement along the way. It was the rest of you guys who did the heavy lifting.

"To the extent that I'd totally be up for doing it again ..."
posted by WPW at 6:57 AM on April 6

Me too! But talk to me after I'm married on October 3rd. All my energy is going into organising that day at the moment.

"You had writers, graphic artist, editors and now readers. What you need is a publisher. That story should sell and could make an excellent movie."
posted by Cranberry at 9:08 AM on April 6

You read it already, Cranberry? Wow! You really must have liked it!

"Did the authors literally just pick up where the other had left off or was there an overall plot decided beforehand?"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:45 AM on April 6

We literally picked up where the last one had left off. Each author had complete freedom as to how they moved the story along.

Each month, when the current author turned in his or her chapter, it was a revelation for all of us to see where the story had gone. The only time we started trying to steer the story was towards the end, when we needed to start winding it up and tying off loose ends, but even then it was only a case of "we really should make sure we answer this question" as opposed to "this is how we will write the ending to this particular plotline."
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:54 PM on April 5, 2009


It also means that if you don't like a chapter, there'll be another one along in a minute!
posted by WPW at 3:54 PM on April 5, 2009


Did the authors literally just pick up where the other had left off or was there an overall plot decided beforehand?

Just like BSG, man. It's about the characters, not the plot.

heh
posted by rtha at 4:00 PM on April 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sitting here, on this rock wall looking out at the vast blue expanse of water stretching out towards the horizon, it seemed to him as though nothing could spoil this pristine moment.

How little you know, Peter Stryker!
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:07 PM on April 5, 2009


This was just the thing I needed for a cloudy quiet Midwestern day. I've read the whole story, and might have to go back and read it a couple of additional times, now that I know what I know. :)

I particularly enjoyed this image from cortex, "inky pox of his frustrated gotta-think jabbing."
posted by HopperFan at 4:12 PM on April 5, 2009


Apparently there's a few typos in the final draft. All I can say is thank god you didn't have to pay for it! Heh.

Seriously though, let me know via MeMail if you find any typos (would prefer just one MeMail rather than one MeMail per typo) and maybe when I have holidays next week I'll spend a couple of hours fixing them up and we'll put up a corrected file. I'll post here in-thread letting you know once/if that's been done.
posted by Effigy2000 at 4:37 PM on April 5, 2009


Just like BSG, man.

Mmm, I kinda felt that way on that last chapter.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:39 PM on April 5, 2009


But thank you for the Sunday afternoon diversion, it was nice.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:43 PM on April 5, 2009


I had no idea this was being written. What a wonderful surprise!
posted by Pastabagel at 5:08 PM on April 5, 2009


Effigy2000 is being far to modest - he was gentle, yes, but also extremely patient with everyone involved in the project and he kept it moving along past several points where I would've lost patience with the exercise and given it up as another good idea gone wrong.

And my hat is off to all the other contributors, the folks who had the patience to edit it, and the artist. Whatever else this project may be, it is also a really fine testament to the great people who inhabit this site and their willingness to get involved and contribute something.
posted by never used baby shoes at 5:55 PM on April 5, 2009


you guys rock! I just read the story and its really great. an awesome collaborative effort and lotsa fun! congrats on the completion of a very cool project :D
posted by supermedusa at 6:06 PM on April 5, 2009


Congratulations!
posted by not_on_display at 6:54 PM on April 5, 2009


Yay for doneness! This was a lot of fun, and I'm glad we pulled it off.

Quick suggestion: a graphic designer would have been helpful when it came to typesetting, helping to give the book more of polished, professional look. This doesn't mean it's terrible, but the use of Word and Arial is pretty jarring, IMO, when I'm use to reading books that are professionally typeset.

Yeah, it'd be great to get a designer eye on it; if anyone wants to volunteer, we could probably try and aim Effigy's proposed "send me your typo reports" revision toward that for a graphical-polish pass. At this point, I think we're all just happy to have gotten it written and through some editing passes and out for public consumption, but a shinier final-final draft of the PDF in the future would be great.

We literally picked up where the last one had left off. Each author had complete freedom as to how they moved the story along.

Some of us were sort of bastards about it, too. Heh.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:27 PM on April 5, 2009


Congrats guys, that's quite an accomplishment!
posted by jerseygirl at 7:40 PM on April 5, 2009


Nifty! I'm really looking forward to reading this.
posted by deborah at 8:11 PM on April 5, 2009


Bravo!!!
posted by cashman at 9:20 PM on April 5, 2009


I made the horrible mistake of reading the first few pages right before I was going to go to bed. That was about an hour and a half ago.

What a marvelous and intriguing little story. I especially enjoyed the ending. Great job to all of you!
posted by anifinder at 11:05 PM on April 5, 2009


if anyone wants to volunteer, we could probably try and aim Effigy's proposed "send me your typo reports" revision toward that for a graphical-polish pass.

Shoot me a the Word file and take a stab at it. May is going to be busy month for me though, so there might be a long break in finishing it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:31 AM on April 6, 2009


Man, now I wish I'd volunteered for editing or cover art or writing or something cool. I'm definitely in for whatever next huge-ass project we embark on.
posted by Phire at 2:38 AM on April 6, 2009


I'll see if I can't convert up an ebook version today.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:15 AM on April 6, 2009


This is awesome and I want to be part of it in the next go-round.
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:34 AM on April 6, 2009


So who's gonna read it for the audio book?
posted by Liver at 6:25 AM on April 6, 2009


Liver: "So who's gonna read it for the audio book?"

I am speechless at your audacity and brilliance.
posted by Phire at 6:26 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh man. That's a terrible, wonderful idea.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:36 AM on April 6, 2009


I'd also like to get in on the ground floor for the next. And if the price is reading it as an audiobook, I could get that done -- I have a bit of experience and all the gear.
posted by Shepherd at 7:59 AM on April 6, 2009


Audio book? Holy cow.
posted by rtha at 8:36 AM on April 6, 2009


Yes! Yes to the audiobook! A+ suggestion!
posted by lysistrata at 8:45 AM on April 6, 2009


Audio book? What's next - speculative casting for the movie?

And I don't think there's any price for getting in on the next round, Shepherd, except possibly being willing to be the person to herd the project along.
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:48 AM on April 6, 2009


Screw audio book.

I'm waiting for the authors to put the sock-puppet reenactment up on YouTube. This should be mandatory retroactively and going forward.
posted by allkindsoftime at 8:54 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll do the 30 Second Performed By Bunnies version.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:09 AM on April 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Where are the groupies? I was told there were going to be groupies.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:40 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


*throws keys to the server room*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:22 AM on April 6, 2009


*gets drunk, flirts way onto tour bus, pukes on Flo's shirt, passes out*
posted by deborah at 11:36 AM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Liver: "So who's gonna read it for the audio book?"

James Earl Jones! Is he a member though?

Also, dear mods; any chance of a side-bar for this post, so as many MeFites as possible can get the book?
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:40 AM on April 6, 2009


James Earl Jones! Is he a member though?

Metafilter's Own&trade: Edward James Olmos

ok not really..
posted by odinsdream at 1:22 PM on April 6, 2009


I had fun working on it, and would definitely do it again... if anybody's up for it, that is! I always feel like I should contribute more to the community and was happy to do something a little different this time.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 1:50 PM on April 6, 2009


Metafilter's Own&trade: Edward James Olmos

Gimme the fraking book and get the hell outta my CIC!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:52 PM on April 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is too awesome for words.
posted by dg at 3:27 PM on April 6, 2009


Unquestionably the first time I've read Narre Warren referenced in any work of fiction.

Awesome so far.
posted by wilful at 5:06 PM on April 6, 2009


*frames shirt, sells it on eBay*
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:55 PM on April 6, 2009


For the graphical touchup: Having the chapter number & author at the top of the pages would be good.
posted by Pronoiac at 7:10 PM on April 6, 2009


No. Chapter numbers are old school, so very 20th century. We are the avant-garde and will usher in a bold new era of chapter delineation will break us from the chains of something something something and allow the people to finally something something something.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:30 PM on April 6, 2009


How about you pass a little of that something something my way, eh Brandon?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 7:42 PM on April 6, 2009


Hey, I've done a book design! I could probably whip out a more pro version pretty quickly (all you need is a PDF right?)

Here's a link of what the interior of the book looked like.

But as I'm really busy with school and a couple of freelance projects, it might be a one-or-two shot sort of thing.
posted by Brainy at 8:30 PM on April 6, 2009


I finished reading it this afternoon. Awesome story! Really enjoyable, and full of plot twists and surprise left turns - just enough to keep it full of energy, but not overdone. I especially liked how each individual author's "voice" came through, without detracting from the coherence of the overall story. What a great effort by all of you. Kudos!

(Suggestion for the next version: Include bookmarks for each chapter in the PDF, so it's easier to get back to the right page if you have to break up your reading.)
posted by gemmy at 9:57 PM on April 6, 2009


I just finished it. Sweet! And thank you all!
posted by Pronoiac at 11:27 PM on April 6, 2009


Congratulations, The Nine! As an long-time editor/writer who can't not comment (mass market, trade, dissertations, speeches, etc), I offer a couple of easy suggestions:

On the credits up front, take away The Writers and leave it The Nine, no quote marks. We get it, and it's cooler. Take out the foreword about the American vs British chapters -- not knowing that and being drawn into understanding it could be part of the fun, thematic, global, less literal -- the changing voice adds to the whole.

I am sorry I missed the call on this, I would have loved to participate. All in all, great job.
posted by thinkpiece at 7:25 AM on April 7, 2009


I am sorry I missed the call on this

Be it's nature, it's a bit of limited call, as once you get over 5 or 6 people it gets unwieldily. Still there's nothing stopping anyone from starting up another one...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:39 AM on April 7, 2009


Metafilter: I have some terrible news, have some dilaudid.
posted by odinsdream at 8:10 PM on April 8, 2009


Just finished it. Really very very good. Should submit it to some novella competition or something.
posted by wilful at 10:59 PM on April 8, 2009


Storming work guys. Something for the train up the road tomorrow.
posted by YouRebelScum at 12:18 PM on April 9, 2009


Hey, late to the party here (been on vacation w.sporadic email access), but thanks everyone for taking the time to read it–it was a blast to work on.

I would very much like to see this sort of thing happen again or more frequently or something...
posted by Mister_A at 10:08 AM on April 10, 2009


Like Mister_A, I'm hopeful this happens again or something similar.

I keep kicking around the idea of a shared world type thing, where we could all set stories (kinda like Thieves World), but a) I think the last attempt at that here really fizzled; b) I lack the web programming skills to set something up for it. I think it would be fund to have a place where we could all play with stories, uploading when and where we can.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:46 AM on April 11, 2009


If by November no-one is working on Visitor's Day 2 or a similar collaborative novel project, I'll set up a new one. But as I said up-thread, gotta get married and have a honeymoon first. After that, I'm totally game for a second round.
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:47 PM on April 11, 2009


Just finished it. That was fucking amazing. Awesome job everyone!
posted by odinsdream at 6:23 AM on April 13, 2009


Brandon Blatcher has just completed his graphical touch-up of the novel. Cortex should hopefully have it up on his webspace soon, replacing the original file.

I think Brandon did some good work on this one. Thanks mate!
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:16 PM on April 24, 2009


I hope by "soon" you mean "already", because that is totally the case. BAM!

And it looks great. Thanks a bunch to Brandon for giving it a final pass for us.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:32 PM on April 24, 2009


Holy cow, it's all kinds of gorgeous! Thanks, Brandon!
posted by rtha at 3:37 PM on April 24, 2009


No problem, it was fun.

If something like this is done again, a designer should definitely be included for the final layout.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:12 PM on April 24, 2009


« Older Embarrassing stories site thing   |   Let's hear it for popechunk! Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments