This month, Nathan Weaver and four other writers published a collaborative crime novel through Lulu.com, titled Fatal Flaws. Besides Weaver, a videographer, the eclectic group includes a British accountant and published author, a professor from Chicago, a high school senior from Indiana and a soldier.
The group met a few years back through an online writing community called Storiesville. After that site closed, some of the members regrouped, and the relationships that developed led Weaver to an idea — what if several writers were to collaborate on one story, each writing a chapter in rotation? He created Emerald Dragon, a website to house the “string-along” story project.
“I provided a simple premise and the first chapter,” says Weaver, a senior video production specialist at Missouri University of Science and Technology. “It was surprising how well our styles blended. The story wasn’t disjointed or incoherent, but moved with a common thread and purpose, as if we all instantly knew where we here headed.”
Originally envisioned as an action-oriented “pulp” story, Weaver says the plot became more complex, a bit like “The X-Files,” and the process became even more interesting when other writers introduced new characters. “When it was your turn again, you’re like ‘oh, I see there’s a new guy to keep track of,'” he says.
Emerald Dragon now has more than 50 writer members. Many wish they had been included on Fatal Flaws, but Weaver assures them there will be other Emerald Dragon String-Along opportunities.
Recently, the site has been posting installments of serial stories by Neal James, another co-author of Fatal Flaws. James’ stories are the first in a new project called Emerald Dragon Serials, where authors can post serial stories over the course of a month and participate in online discussions on the social networking platform Google+ using Hangouts, a custom video chat room.
Additional co-authors of Fatal Flaws are Jessie Masoner, Max Booth III and John Cesarone.
Weaver also contributed to an ebook anthology of short stories, titled Everything, available on Amazon.com, and recently completed his first draft of a novel.