Online creative writing collaboration tools?
June 6, 2006 1:09 AM   Subscribe

A friend and I want to embark on a collaborative creative writing project, and we're looking for online tools to make the management of bouncing ideas and story elements etc off each other easier.

Basically we're hoping to find tools that will help us develop our project when it's convenient to each of us, instead of when it's convenient to both. For that reason, tools such as Instant Messaging or collaborative / meeting applications where you communicate in real time aren't ideal. Currently we're looking at creating a private Google Group and using that to flow ideas and development back and forth, but I have begun to wonder if there are better tools out there for these kinds of projects? So, I'm curious to know what the MeFites would suggest?
posted by planetthoughtful to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think GoogleGroups is a great way to keep track of certain topics and be able to bounce ideas back and forth between each other via the web or just regular email access.

One other idea is to have a blog, to serve as a journal for each other. You can write what you are up to in the project and personally. This gives you a timeline of the project to keep track of where you are and what you are working on.

Then we have the wiki. This is where the real development occurs. You can both update the end product and keep track of each other changes. With each change associated with a date, you can then track the blog and GoogleGroup topics to see what led to it.
posted by nibaq at 2:24 AM on June 6, 2006

Perhaps Writeboard?

A blog would work well also. You could sign up for a free Wordpress blog.

If you want to go the wiki route there's PB Wiki.
posted by frenetic at 4:13 AM on June 6, 2006

Writely is an excellent collaboration tool: you can watch your co-author's changes happenning in real-time. However, sign-ups are currently closed and have been for some months so you may be out of luck.

But, yes: a wiki or a writeboard would be ideal.
posted by blag at 5:43 AM on June 6, 2006

If you're both on on MacOS, there's always SubEthaEdit. It may be more suited to realtime collaboration than what you're doing. I think the wiki/writeboard tip has it.
posted by Alterscape at 5:48 AM on June 6, 2006

I second PBWiki.

It's so easy to use.
posted by Wild_Eep at 6:51 AM on June 6, 2006

wiki, wiki, wiki.

There are all sorts of wikis out there depending on how elaborate you want to get (some are even hosted for free). I just finished my master's project on wikis and online collaboration and they are ideal for what you're doing.

If you want recommendations about tools or set up you are welcome to email me (email's in my profile).
posted by Kimberly at 7:23 AM on June 6, 2006

You can use a wiki, or use one of the collaborative real-time editors
posted by Sharcho at 10:21 AM on June 6, 2006

I third or fourth or whateverth the wiki. I'm using PBWiki for exactly the kind of project you're talking about and it's insanely easy and useful.
posted by papercake at 11:35 AM on June 6, 2006

I've found Rallypoint works well for two writers working on multiple collaborative documents. We can edit separately, then alert the other via email that changes have been made.
posted by Scram at 1:14 PM on June 6, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone for your input! I'll take a more serious look at a wiki solution, and in particular PB Wiki, as mentioned by several.
posted by planetthoughtful at 8:10 PM on June 6, 2006

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