We launched this last week, but that was also our big time to push for Dave Wolverton’s son Ben, with the book bomb and the donations and whatnot, and I didn’t want to overshadow that or dilute your attention. A friend in need will trump my own stuff every time, and since the book bomb was a crazy success that turned out to be time very well-spent–you bought so many of Dave’s books that we spiked the Amazon ranking on books we weren’t even bombing, and drew enough attention that I saw a few news stories floating around. Good for you.
But! I don’t want to forget about Massive Fiction, because it’s pretty awesome. This kickstarter has my name on it, but it’s the brainchild of my friend Marion Jensen, a writer and teacher who’s always looking for cool ways to use new media and reach new audiences; he was using twitter to teach history lessons before most of us even knew what it was. Massive Fiction is an exciting writing tool/program/opportunity based on the idea of scaffolding: teaching someone how do to something by doing all the big stuff for them, allowing the learner to focus on the smaller stuff until they get their feet under them. It’s like those special instructional airplanes, where the teacher can fly the whole thing from one seat, taking off and gaining altitude and all of that kind of thing, and then passing the controls to the student so they can practice the basics like “flying in a straight line.” Inside of the scaffold, the learner has both freedom and safety, and the ability t master one skill at a time while still working on a full-size project.
The classic scaffolding opportunity in fiction is fan fiction: when you write a story about Star Wars or Harry Potter, for example, a lot of the heavy lifting has already been done for you: the world is big and rich and fully realized, yet still open enough for you to add your own twists; the characters are well-developed and familiar, ready to be dropped in to your own cool new situations and adventures. Fan fiction is a great way to get your feet wet as an author, and a lot of the professional authors I know have gotten their start there, but the problem is that you can’t then go on to sell or publish any of your work, because you don’t own the legal rights to any of it. That’s where Massive Fiction comes in.
The idea behind Massive Fiction is simple: Marion, my brother, and I will create a shared world designed for aspiring writers to use as a playground, donated to the world to be used by whoever wants to. You’ll be able to read our novellas, study the backstory, and then write your own stuff and use it in any way you want. Backing us up, and helping to expand the shared world, are a bunch of other writers, including awesome bestsellers like Kiersten White and Larry Correia; because it’s a kickstarter, there are stretch goals with even more cool authors.
I could keep talking, but Marion made a video that explains it all better than I can:
As for the details of the world we’ll create, I don’t know yet; something fantasy or science fiction; maybe something familiar like urban fantasy or near future, maybe something wild and huge like epic fantasy or space opera. We have a lot of ideas, but we haven’t pinned anything down yet. The stories we write and the world we create will be free and available to anybody, whether or not you contribute to the kickstarter–but the project won’t happen at all unless the kickstarter funds. There are a lot of authors involved with this project, and we want to be able to pay them adequately for their time. (For example, I have three full novels to write this year even without Massive Fiction, and I’m not even the busiest writer on the project.) We love to give back to the community as much as we can, but we can’t always do it for free. Help us make this awesome idea a reality.
If this sounds cool to you, contribute. Whether you’re an aspiring author who wants to write, an interested reader who wants the stories, or a wealthy patron who loves investing in the arts, renaissance royalty-style, this is a wonderful project that can use your help. Check out the donation levels and the cool rewards and jump in, and then spread the word to everyone you know; the more people who donate, the better the project will be.
I’m really excited about this, and I hope you are too.