online novel forum February 28, 2001 5:04 PM   Subscribe

As I don't have a forum for myself anymore, I thought I'd throw an obscure post into metafilter to see if anyone bites.

As you may or may not know, I've started an novel online... now, I was wondering what the interest would be in setting up a system where anyone could create an account and their own books (main advantage being ability to get instant feedback and edit anywhere). I've already set up a CMS with full CM pages. But if I made it public, would people come? It's not quite a journal, not a blog, and while some of the features are similar, there's different stuff behind this.

What do people think?
posted by Neale to Feature Requests at 5:04 PM (7 comments total)

Matt, if yer anywhere near interested, it be a metafilter network site, ala the 5k site. Just another thought.
posted by Neale at 5:29 PM on February 28, 2001

Hrm... borderline self-promotion, Neale, but since I'm going to use this as an excuse to do the same, I'll just keep typing. :-)

I'm interested. So interested, in fact, that I'm busily working on my own version of that.

(whee! an excuse to brag. :-)

I'm actually working on something (with a couple of friends that's more focussed as a writer's community, where people can write stuff and submit it to the community for editing, take and use suggestions as they see fit, then publish it for the world to view.

I think though, that we're geared towards somewhat different things. the lecturn (.org, but there's nothing there yet) came as a result of me looking for more stuff to read, and while it's setup to handle any length of text, writing a book there would likely be mildly difficult.

So, there's a few of us working towards a similar concept, which to me indicates that it's a good idea for both of us to move forward with it. Best of luck.
posted by cCranium at 5:50 AM on March 1, 2001

What's a CMS?

I think overall it's a fantastic idea. While we're self promoting, I've been running a progressive story blog for a while now, and while it isn't exactly Fine Literature, it is a boatload of fun. I think as the web matures, efforts like this will happen more and more, and it will make publishing writers' materials far easier than ever before in human history.

posted by norm at 10:04 AM on March 1, 2001

I always use it meaning Content Management System, but I've got a nasty habit of pretending I know what acronyms mean, so it's quite possibly wrong.

Before anyone takes the following out of context, let me state now that I like web logs, and I don't plan on abandoning mine or the ones I read regularily any time soon, they're a great foundation for a personal site.

Having said that, one of the things I miss most about the 1996-era of the web is rants. Man, everyone and their monkey had a page full of rants right next to their cat pictures and stale links page. I loved bouncing from link to link reading page-long rants about everything from losing a penny in a park to the varying ways Microsoft's evil to how stupid [author]'s brother is.

The following is not a new, or original statement:

There's room on the web for short text and long text, small media and large media, and everything in between. The web is not a zero-sum environment, there's no reason that having a blog should prevent someone from having a journal, and the journal shouldn't prevent someone from writing long text, or exploring flash, or playing with DHTML.

There's many, many people from whom I want to read lengthy pieces, but can't. Not because of their blogs or anything that boring, but because for the most part, I don't know who those people are. I haven't encountered them yet.

Um... topic? I think I lost it two and a half paragraphs ago.

(Which in itself is another reason I'm creating a community of writers. I need editors in a bad fucking way. :-)
posted by cCranium at 10:34 AM on March 1, 2001

I'm interested neale, albeit from a voyeuristic standpoint. I'm not in a novel-creating space right now...

Norm: Matt and I actually talked about a collaborative story space I had many many moons ago, but he wasn't in a position to work on it with me (he was starting work at a company called Pyro or something), and I have just never had the time to do it on my own. Maybe I'll get to it this year.

CC: I'm actually working on a space for my monkey to post his rants.
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 12:42 PM on March 1, 2001

Well, I'd probably have to create a second database, add a users table and what not and re-jig the table structure.

CMS here does stand for Content Management System. It's built around Pages at the moment, rather than Dates. Another point would be Chapters... how to deal with them?

I'd need someone to help polish up the interface... for a sneak peak you can ask me the URL (it's all online), but password protected :)

Then I'd probably need a good domain name and a place to put it. The coding is simple, but there are some considerations...

For instance, do it "diaryland" style, where it's all on the one server, or "blogger" style, where it's published to another server?

posted by Neale at 2:10 PM on March 1, 2001

create table Chapter
ChapterNumber int NOT NULL
FirstPageId int NOT NULL
NovelId int NOT NULL
Name varchar(255) NULL

or some such. Chapters would really be Meta information, only useful when viewing from an index.

Perhaps adding a ChapterId to the Page table to indicate which chapter it's in?

I would be no help with the interface. That's not something I do well. :-) Although, I've already got a domain name and a decent host. What's your current backend? I've got PHP and mySQL support. The mySQL support only allows one database, but if the tables don't refer to each other then it's just as good as a new database. :-) It'd fall under, but we could give you a subdomain or something if you were interested.

Do you get subdomains at diaryland? 'cause currently that's not something we're doing. We'll just be presenting the articles as subpages somewhere. I haven't thought about off-server publishing too indepth, but I'll likely figure out a way to do RSS stuff, and a few months down the line I may be able to figure out the perl necessary to offer ftp access. It's probably straight forward, but my perl skills are pretty rough. (Part of the reason I'm using PHP is to improve 'em)

posted by cCranium at 6:42 AM on March 2, 2001

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