The First Crowd-Sourced Novel Is (Naturally) Born Right Here In S.F.

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While crowd sourcing is a hot concept in almost all businesses at the moment, one realm it hasn't touched is the mystical world of novel writing...until now, that is.

Leave it to a San Francisco-based author to come up with an uber-tech-savvy way to write a first novel. Her name is Natalie Linden, she calls herself the Unreliable Novelist, and her project is something she dubs a "feminist fairytale spy novel."

After struggling to complete her novel all by her lonesome, the Mission-based copywriter-by-day decided to get the public involved by setting up a website — see it for yourself, here — that lets readers peek in and actually contribute their ideas to her in-progress novel.

"I tried to write my novel the traditional way: at home, alone in my PJs, overdosing on carbs, and discussing plot points with my cat," Linden tells us. "It really wasn't working for me. After a couple of years at it, I finally decided if I was ever going to get this thing done, I needed some help. My day job is copywriting for branding agencies, so I know first-hand that collaboration can really spur creativity. I also know the value of feedback. If Kickstarter could rally all that cash for art, I figured I could rally at least a couple hundred opinions to help me write 400 pages."

Now about a quarter through the writing process, Linden has secured help from folks across the interwebs to figure out conundrums like whether her character should have sex on a second date, what the very first sentence to her book should be, and what sort of vintage-cool car her protagonist should be driving (this is a spy novel, after all!).

For their contributions, Linden gives her helpers a shout-out in her video blogs, on the acknowledgements tab on her site (and hopefully on the dedication page of her actual in-the-flesh novel!), and a donation is made on their behalf to the locally loved 826 Valencia literacy program.

Sound like something you'd like to contribute to instead of, ya' know, taking the time to write your own work of fiction? Head over here and see how it all goes down.