I’m pretty excited about the latest developments at my collaborative writing site Pan Historia. Traditionally Pan has always maintained a high level of privacy for its membership – it’s a place to feel safe in the maelstrom of the internet where you don’t know who is reading, who is watching, and who might make off with your most prized piece of prose. It’s also allowed people to feel free to experiment with personas and characters that they might not otherwise feel if using their own names on a site freely available to be viewed by all. While this has always fostered a deeper sense of community with our writers and role players, as well as safety and trust, it has made it a lot harder for people new to the site to see what we’re doing and to feel like they’re welcome joining in.
A few weeks ago we decided it was simply time to open up our community daily postings to the general public (i.e. it is not necessary to be logged in or registered to the site to read these posts) to better give possible newcomers a chance to savor the flavor of the site. Of course this led to our wonderful volunteer administrators to discuss the best ways to increase the activity on the dailies and how to make them more representative of the site as a whole. This led to the creation of Panopeia, a new collaborative story play that happens outside the context of the rest of Pan’s novels (collaborative story lines that can include anything from two to a hundred writers working together on one theme/story), that allows people to use their creativity and their current characters. It’s also totally open to newcomers to the site. Of course it’s possible to read without joining Pan, but if you want to write you will have to register.
Some of our admin, staff as we call them at Pan, are portraying characters that are holding the keys to the mystery of Panopeia, which is currently taking place in an strange and supernatural hotel, in order to help guide the story, and keep all the elements straight, but otherwise the possibilities are pretty wide open. This is a great way to get an introduction to what we do at Pan, and from there I am genuinely hopeful that people will find their way deeper into the site to enjoy all our other features and stories. One of the greatest pleasures I have at Pan, as I stretch my writing muscles over dozens of stories, is finding new writers to interact with. Instead of writing being a solitary lonely business at Pan it is a social one, where new lifelong friends have been made (and a few marriages too!).
As Panopeia grows and develops I’ll report more on this social experiment in writing and its impact on Pan.