Editor/publisher Victoria Blake (Underland Press), along with programmer Jesse Pollack, is the force behind a new literary form: the online serial novel, or wovel; NPR describes it as “Choose your Own Adventure meets Wikipedia.” A self-confessed blog addict who loves reading frequently-updated online content, Blake thought it would be great to have opportunities to read literature online in a serial form, a la Dickens (and more recently Chabon), and to have that experience be interactive.
Here is Underland’s official description of the wovel (from their website):
Every week, the author posts an installment. Installment length hits the sweet-spot of online reading—long enough to get interested, short enough to read in the cubicle at work. At the end of every installment, the author writes in a plot branch point. Does the heroine kill her lover? Will the zombies catch the soldier? Is the box empty, or is it filled with bees?
THE READERS DECIDE.
On Monday, the post goes up. Voting is open through Thursday. The author writes Thursday and Friday. The editors edit Friday and Saturday. The post goes back up on Monday. Part literature, part exquisite corpse. The pace of print journalism, the imagination of fiction, the spark of reader participation.