What is GrammoWriMo?
During NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November I took part in a Grammarly initiative called GrammoWriMo. The premise was for a large group of (750+) writers to write a novel together during NaNoWriMo.
How did that work?
I don’t envy the organisers, but it was really well executed. Before the month began they put out a couple of surveys to the authors to come up with an idea/theme for the novel. There were questions on what gender the main character should be, what the supporting character would be like, what genre the novel should be, what tense it should be written in, etc. From this survey Grammarly put together a main premise and 30 chapters were divided up and given a group of authors each. I was in the group for chapter 29.
Can too many authors spoil the book?
It was an interesting experience. I’ve worked on a group novel before where each author wrote a separate chapter (The Life and Times of Chester Lewis), where we got to read what all the previous chapter authors had written before adding our own. This was different, as within our chapter group we were assigned one day out of the month to add to our assigned chapter and we had a small word limit to work with (just a few hundred words). The hard part about this was that every chapter group was working the same way and although we could read what had so far been written in the previous chapters, they weren’t yet complete (though each chapter had a general overview of what would happen plot-wise so we had some idea how it would play out).
The other thing I found difficult was when it came to my part (I was given a day about halfway through), I wasn’t left with anywhere to go by the previous authors as they’d already written to the conclusion of the chapter! After consulting our Grammarly team leader, I was told we could go fill in earlier parts of the chapter as long as we didn’t delete what another author had written. This worked well for me because I had felt there needed to be more focus character development earlier in the chapter and I was able to go back and explore that with my snippet.
I bet you’re thinking it’s starting to sound a bit messy by this point? To a degree it was.
Pulling it all together
Obviously with so many different writing styles and different writing skill levels, it wasn’t completely cohesive at this stage (though having the plot summaries for each chapter helped keep the story on track). There were plenty of plot holes where strands of story from one chapter never appeared again in later chapters. But then came stage two.
The Grammarly staff put a call out for editors and I put my hand up and became the editor for my chapter. We were given directions to make sure the chapter itself was cohesive and that the chapter worked cohesively with the novel as a whole. I was given certain points from earlier chapters that needed to tie in to our chapter (especially as ours was basically the final chapter, with chapter 30 as more of an epilogue). At this stage my part of the chapter had actually been shifted to chapter 28.
There was a call for titles and a survey to pick the best one.
Then a call for a cover and another survey to pick the favourite.
After our edits, the novel fell to the Grammarly editors (including putting it through their Grammar checker) and we authors were left to wait.
Yesterday the novel was finally released with the exciting announcement that all proceeds would be going to the Make-a-Wish Foundation to tie in with the theme of the novel.
So what’s it about?
The story follows a wish-giver named Audra who questions her purpose. She leaves her wishing fountain in search of other wish-givers (and herself), accompanied by a man who long ago gave up on wishes. While she is gone she learns her fountain is in danger from a rogue wish-giver.
Interested in seeing what a novel written by hundreds of authors looks like and help raise money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation in the process? You can get The Lonely Wish-Giver as an ebook from Amazon. It’s only 99c!