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An Open-Canon Story

I mentioned in my previous post that while I very much want to share my stories with a wider audience, I am having difficulty settling on a medium. Insofar as writing goes (and that's probably my strongest suit, as I stand), novel or short story seems the most obvious choice, but something about that form fails to inspire. I imagine a story of mine as a completed novel, and in that fantasy I am indifferent happy, yet still unsatisfied. A novel would be a great deal of work to slug through for mere `indifferent happy'.

But what about the form do I dislike --- what more am I looking for? Perhaps I really will settle for nothing less than a visual story. Or perhaps words would suffice if I could find a more suitable way of sending them out to the world. I have a hunch that the problem may be my difficulty imagining readers for my work. They seem so remote, so uninspiringly passive: I hardly believe in them. I first proposed to myself that I might remedy this by posting my fictions serially online and engaging with my fandom (assuming it exists) throughout the writing process. I could be a fan and an author both---I could read fan-fiction for my own worlds. This led to a more intoxicating idea: why not just open up the canon itself to said hypothetical fandom? Why not do away with the authorial dictatorship altogether? After all, it is not that authority, that control, that I personally crave. What I want is the forum for creation.

Say I draw up the bones of a world and write a few developed fictions to set it in motion. A few places, a few times, a few people in that world spring to life, but most is still uncharted. I draw some pictures, perhaps even compose a song, and I put it all up on a website devoted to this world. I then seek out a few collaborators, and ask them to help me bring other times, other places --- other timelines, even --- for this world to life. First perhaps I share authorship with just these, but as time goes on we invite more and more co-authors into the project, until at last I deem the world substantial enough to stand on its own and remove the supports: I and my co-authors abdicate any authority over `canon'. From here on, there is only a mythological and contradictory 'fanon'. The work generated by myself and the oritinal co-authors is no more objectively canonical than anything else created for it. And so much could be created, and so swiftly! Assuming the fandom garners enough members, that is. Even if I were a Tolkien I could not rival the depth of detail, the breadth of perspective, the variance of style and talent, the sheer magnitude of material that can be churned out by fandoms working as a whole. It hardly matters that it would not all fit together perfectly. The world does not fit together perfectly. And I would continue to create for it, of course. I would moderate the forums, maintain the website or whatever --- but as a writer, as a creator, I would be merely one among many.

This is an exhilarating fantasy. This is something I could work for.