Writing as a P2P-Process?

Our idea of creative objects -- be they pictures, songs, or stories -- has for decades been a rather capitalist concept of intellectual property. The author owns the story, its characters and it world. There is no better way to see the absurdity of this than looking at disclaimers of fanfictions: Authors being legally sorry to take advantage of someone's property, although the text they share stems obviously form their pen.

Are ideas the capital of a writer? Ideas are, let's be honest, a dime a dozen. Also: It's all been here before. There is no purely original work. Ideas are like events in gymnastics. Just having them in your routine does not count towards your ranking. It's the execution that matters.

So, is it viable to distribute "ideas as means of production" and work on a world or a story in a peer group? Well, I hear the nitpickers wail, look at Wikipedia! The folks there can't even decide on a version of the bloody real world. How on Earth do you get a cohesive World or Story when just about everybody can add their grimy thoughts? Easy answer: Not at all.

There seems to be little merit in pondering the subject when you forget the tiny detail that the world still exists, no matter what everybody and their cat writes about it in the Wikipedia. It doesn't care. And one world view doesn't cease existing, just because someone somewhere on this planet dares to utter a second one. A hypothetical original thought isn't un-thought because there is a second one.

So in Owesys, a German project for collaborative World-Building, there are rumors. Wild and foreign lands with other rules. There is no singular truth. Not even in reality. Why should we pursue it when writing? Creative and digital content in particular shares this feature: The original isn't affected by its derivatives. It just keeps ... existing!

And have I missed the memo that said stories could only exist in one versions? (They haven't done that at all in the past.) Let's adopt the P2P-model and treat a story or a world as a repository to be forked. Hell, we don't write on paper any more. Let's make use of that!

In my opinion, P2P-practices can work just fine for telling stories. We just need to bid the old idea goodbye that ideas are owned by a creative overlord called author. But considering the authorial hubris in all its splendor, this step is difficult enough.

Just remember: The Lord of the Rings doesn't die because there are Me-Toos. Literature doesn't die because a lot of people write trash. And your ideas don't wither away when someone else has one, too.

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