Fractal Novels is a collaborative art project, which means everyone is encouraged to submit! Read the stories, find a spot that inspires you, then tack on anything (anything– paintings, pictures, words, fragments, found art, sound, anything as long as it is your own creation) and take that spot in a new direction. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: This is an interesting idea. It's like a chain letter, but not. Please explain to our readers the idea behind this site and how it works.
EW: The idea behind the site is to create a sort of cooperative literary project that brings writers together while also allowing each contributor a place and a way to showcase a sample of their work (complete with a space for a link to the writer's other works, if they chose to share them.) Seeds of novel trees are created by the editor (me) or by contributors (with the approval of the editor) as a place for other contributors to join in and build up the world of the novel tree in a cooperative fashion. Each contribution to an existing novel tree is referred to as a "story branch," serving to either further a story within the novel tree, provide a background, flesh out an environment or anything else.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a story and why?
EW: Generally when it comes to contributions to Fractal Novels, I look for continuity and clear, error-free writing. Fractal Novels is a fun project, but having to clean up someone's error-laden submission sucks all the fun right out of it. I'm an editor, so I do edit posts before I publish them to the site, but I also expect contributors to have enough pride in their work to edit it before seeking publication on Fractal Novels.
SQF: What are the top three reasons a story is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to the above question and why?
EW: As long as a contribution is clean (error-wise,) and isn't outrageously violent or sexual, I'll try to find a way to work it into the tree it is aimed for. Luckily there hasn't been any competition for a particular set of coordinates, but that may change in the future as the number of submissions continues to pick up. In the case of competition, Fractal Novels also contains coordinates for alternate realities, meaning the original coordinate will usually go to the first contributor while the second would be listed as having occurred in an alternate reality.
SQF: All of the add-ons I read were short. Is this on purpose, or did it simply evolve as the project progressed?
EW: As an editor, I encourage writers to be brief, but there is no word limit for submissions to Fractal Novels. Submissions don't even have to be written-- all media types, as long as they pertain to the novel tree they are being contributed to (and don't infringe on anyone else's copyright) are welcome.
SQF: How will you know when a novel is completed?
EW: The beauty of Fractal Novels is each presents an open world for writers to play in; a literary sandbox, if you will. While individual branches might come to an end, the novels themselves are built to persist for long into the foreseeable future, with each new branch breathing new life into an otherwise lifeless story.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
EW: The Fractal Novels listed on the site are by no means the only novels that are planned for release on the site. Several others are currently in the works (keep watching the site for details!), and I have also been reaching out to other authors in the hopes of bringing larger, more established worlds into the fold as well. Anyone who is interested in planting their own Fractal Novel seed need only contact me at email@example.com with a clear idea and several sample submissions.
Thank you, Earl. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 12/05--Six Questions for Josh Goller, Editor, The Molotov Cocktail