How is a community novel project organized?
We are documenting our process on this page to give you a behind the scenes look at the 2015 Community Novel Project. “Behind the Scenes” combines elements from a project scrapbook, commentary, and archive to create a meaningful look at everything involved in publishing a book from creating the premise to distributing and marketing the final printed book and ebook. Our 2012-2014 projects are documented in the Past Project Archive.
Launching the 2015 project
We have learned that many previous participants in the Community Novel Project choose to contribute to future projects, and we want to always be engaging new participants as well. Our participants bring widely varying interests, skills, and goals. We try to find ways to balance the expertise of previous participants and continue to provided returning participants with new skills and opportunities, while introducing new participants to collaborative writing and independent publishing.
We started the 2015 project by posting reminders about the initial 2015 Community Novel Project event to local writers groups on Facebook, distributing flyers at related library programs like the Local Author Workshop and the Great Writers, Right Here Author Fair and emailing all previous participants a reminder. The initial event was also advertised in the Library News publication, which was mailed to all library cardholder households.
First event: Create the Community Novel
Saturday, January 31, 2015 | Noon-2 p.m. | Marvin Auditorium 101BC
Learn self-publishing from start to finish with the library’s Community Novel editorial team. You’ll work with other writers to write, edit and publish a teen novel set in Topeka. Bring your premise ideas for a futuristic chooseable-path adventure. Learn more at tscpl.org/novel.
- Potential participants will express interest in writing, editing, publishing and a variety of other tasks related to writing, editing and publishing a novel.
- Group will reach consensus on a premise idea, setting and character ideas.
Agenda and 2015 Premise guidelines (2 page PDF)
- This handout was emailed in advance to interested participants and posted on local writer Facebook groups to help writers prepare for the 2 hour facilitated meeting.
- Copies were also distributed at the meeting and referred to frequently.
- More examples of chooseable-path adventure books, with links to Amazon.com to view book descriptions and sample pages.
- The Abominable Snowman/Journey Under the Sea/Space and Beyond/The Lost Jewels of Nabooti/Mystery of the Maya/House of Danger (Choose Your Own Adventure 1-6) by R. A. Montgomery
- The Civil War: An Interactive History Adventure (You Choose: History)by Matt Doeden
- What If . . . Everyone Knew Your Name (A Choose Your Destiny Novel) by Liz Ruckdeschel (Author), Sara James
- Pretty Little Mistakes: A Do-Over Novel by Heather McElhatton
- Night of a Thousand Boyfriends (Date With Destiny Adventures) by Miranda Clark, Pamela Hobbs (Illustrator)
- Tangle in Tijuana: Miss Adventure #1 by Lilla Zuckerman and Nora Zuckerman
- Whatever You Want: We Write, You Decide: A Pick-Your-Own-Ending Escapade by Rachel Timms and Laurence Hayes
- To Be or Not To Be by Ryan North
- What does a chooseable-path adventure novel look like? We brought dozens of example library books for writers to examine, but this handout helps people focus on the choices at the ends of scenes and on the artwork.
- Why aren’t we writing in the second person “you” voice that characterizes other chooseable-path adventure novels? Helping people practice writing limited third person is much more useful!
Participant Interest Survey (1 page PDF)
- How do you choose which writers to select for which sections of the project? Mostly, we help people self-select areas of interest where they want to increase their skills.
In the News: The Community Novel Project is featured in a Trends/Perspectives article in American Libraries magazine. “Leading Self Publishing Efforts in Communities.” Lissa Staley. American Libraries, January/February 2015, pages 18-19. View online or download the PDF.
Premise Meeting Followup
Here is the photo of the premise that was agreed upon by the participants and further developed collaboratively during the meeting:
Each year we work to improve the production of the community novel project. Read more: Past Project Archive