As many people may know from my recent kickstarter, I offered the opportunity for readers and contributors to create a character for inclusion into Iron Tribune, the third novel in the Steam Empire Chronicles. I know that this can be considered a strange idea. After all, as a self-published author, didn’t I go this route precisely because I wanted more control?
Yes. And No.
As an author, I want to engage people. My goal is to get people to buy my books, enjoy reading them, and tell other people to buy my books because they enjoy them. What better way to encourage people to share the news about my net novel than to let them have a hand in building it? Or at least a part of it?
As a result of the kickstarter, I’ll be introducing four new characters into my story. While I have some inkling of how to introduce them, I still don’t know much about the specifics yet! I have to see what their creators would like to include. That being said, I’m still the author, so I still get to make tweaks as necessary. The characters must fit the story, not the other way around.
I think of this as a professional challenge and opportunity. It’s pushing me to expand my story and not get ‘too comfortable’ so to speak. It is also making me plan my story to a much greater degree, as I’ll have to incorporate new characters and new situations.
What do you think fellow authors? Would you include reader generated characters into your stories? And readers, would you be more likely to read a story you had input into, either character or event wise?
Respond in the comments below! 🙂
One thought on “Turning your story into a community experience”
The idea is fun, and I might like to try it sometime for a random exercise/fun story, but for my serious published novels, probably not. The relationship I have with my characters is very important to my writing. I need to feel them, I need to know who I want and who I don’t want in a story. Sometimes I even have to change a character’s name because they are not working as a “John”. I don’t think I could write a serious novel using characters other people give me (except for historical figures, but that’s a totally different thing) I personally don’t think I would feel comfortable with it if the character didn’t come out of my own mind. I wish you luck with it!
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