A Modest Proposition

  • What if someone makes a MUSH to gather material for writing in media, with creative credits and maybe even royalties to people that come up with plots, characters, gimmicks, theme, etc.?

    It would have to be extremely difficult to make the cut to get onto the server, but it would be turning a hobby into an actual way to influence more than just a bunch of friends.

  • Pitcrew

    Sounds like a legal nightmare tbh

  • We'll clearly need the Baroness, then.

  • I've actually seen people try to do this before more than once in other RP mediums and it always went south, sometimes very very badly. I took part in one myself on a PbP forum when I was a teenager and the creator just up and ghosted on all of us after we'd been playing for a few months, turned site access off for everyone involved and then the site itself disappeared. I never saw anything come of it that I recognized, but still.

    (Also, I'm not sure if I dreamed this or some shit but I feel like I heard about something very, very similar happening in either IRC or even a MU* before several years back -- some admin deleting everything and then actually releasing a novel with the names/places changed, but I may be wrong.)

    I'd say especially in MU*-world you would be fighting an uphill battle for credibility with your playerbase the entire time and would have to have a legal contract with every possible angle set in stone written well in advance, and that's not even touching how creative differences will -- not if, will -- come into play. I'm honestly not sure that would be worth whatever the end result would be.

  • Pitcrew

    If you're thinking of doing something along the lines of 'Wild Cards', whether it's superheroes or not, it's probably not going to work for all of the above reasons and a few dozen more that haven't been stated. As an example...

    Let's say you organize this where each player has sole control and copyright over their character, while you get control and copyright over the world at large. Now, how are you going to publish these stories? Online via a game website where revenue is generated through Google Ads or something similar? An official submission to a publishing house? Self publish in e-book or other format?

    Next, there's the question of how the stories are written. Are you just cleaning up and editing game logs for publication? Or are the individual players writing stories about their own characters? Will there sometimes be stories about a group of characters and if so, who writes them and how are they written? One individual writes the group story or everyone writes their own character?

    Then, there's the matter of payment or revenue sharing. Who gets what and how much? If character A turns out to be more popular and generates more interest/story clicks/whatever, does the owning player get paid more than other players whose characters are involved in stories? That's an express train to apocalypse-level drama on the game.What happens if a player leaves the group through inactivity or a desire to pitch the character on his/her own? How do you split any advances or royalty payments on published books?

    There's the pre-printing stuff. You're going to need to pay the writers before publication. If a player agrees to their character appearing in a story they're not writing, you'll have to pay for the character appearance.

    How are you going to advertise the stories? Are you going to set up a booth at local conventions to sell copies? Unless you have a publishing deal, that's all coming out of you. You can always set up a 'group trust' that gets paid into, but that opens up more questions and headaches (how much from each story goes into the trust, should there be a 'participation fee' that goes to the trust, will any money you personally put up as seed funding be repaid to you and at what point would the repayment happen)

    In short, you're asking for all the headaches of opening and running a MU, along with all the headaches of managing a self-publishing group.

  • Also: not nearly as much child eating as the thread title (hopefully) was suggesting.

  • I think that Wes Platt of Otherspace infamy basically did this, though it was mostly a case of him self publishing 'books' of uneditted logs and selling very few of them.

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  • Just collaboratively work with a group of people on a series of short stories, with the aim of publishing them within a singular world or setting.

    If you just crumple everyone's RP into a cobbled-together "story", it will be as disjointed as reading logs on any game site. No continuity, mistakes in continuity, and clearly flawed perspective changes constantly. Not to mention that, even with the sign-off of everyone involved, the writer will come off as a plagiarist to the readers.

  • Agreed on it being a nightmare.

    One major issue is that without any sort of binding contracts going in about who gets what, this sort of idea always devolves into an issue regarding who is entitled to what when it comes to any royalties made. It usually goes the way of Animal Farm, where a small group declares Two Legs Good, Four Legs Bad and begins deciding for other people what their take is.

    The only way to ensure this sort of thing goes correctly is with legally binding contracts going in, and in trying to turn MU content into novel content's case, it likely wouldn't make much money.

    BUT...what if one person takes their logs and roleplay, turns it into a story, goes off on their own, and the other players in this collaborative MU find re-writes of their characters and content and it becomes the next Harry Potter? Surely that's content stealing, but if the stories are retold to a degree, characters renamed...

    I've worked with musicians and artists before and the only way I think I'd ever do something collaborative is if it was in writing and with a concrete idea going in.

  • Pitcrew

    The way @Chet phrased the first post makes me think that it is upfront with the understanding that the RP on the server could be turned into a book. In that case, if you don't want your ideas stolen, don't play there? Didn't Firan operate sort of like that?

  • @Ominous You could also turn, for example, character concepts and RP relationships into characters for screenwriters or comic book authors. Steve Ditko gets royalties on Spider-Man and Dr. Strange, and he's worth $84 million at the present.

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