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A Service that Helps Fiction Writers Get First-Hand Experience for their Books

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Oguntola Tobi
Oguntola Tobi Dec 16, 2021
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A platform that helps authors, both new and veterans, get the experience they require to write books that are factual and relatable.
Introduction
Fiction writing, while fun, is also arduous. And while there are many bad fiction writers who can't string two interesting sentences together, there are also very good ones who write bad books due to bad research.
Why
One of the hardest things about writing fiction is research. I have witnessed writers who wrote seemingly good books castigated online because they misrepresented a detail pertaining to a group or setting they are unfamiliar with. For example, a Dutch author who sets a scene in Lagos but misrepresented certain details about the city. Regardless of how good the book is, that mistake can have damaging effects on it.
I took a Coursera course on Creative Writing in 2020 and I remember, in one of the videos, a tutor mentioned an author who fully immersed herself in the lives of her major characters to understand them before writing. For example, if her major character is a stable boy, she would work at a stable for a couple of weeks, observe the language style, people, and relationships, and use this information for her book.
I believe this style of research is the best, especially since the author gains first-hand experience that will inform the psychological makeup of their characters, help them better appreciate unfamiliar cultures, and accurate settings.
That got me thinking, what if there were a platform that makes this style of research easily accessible and provides it at scale? It would be tedious for an author to arrange for these things themselves and if they can pay a platform to do that, it would be of great help.
How it Works
Once a writer has determined where they have a knowledge gap for a novel they want to write, they will contact the platform. And for a fee, the platform will help them fill this gap.
For instance, if the author has a paediatric nurse as a major character, the platform will pair them with a paediatric nurse, who they can converse and work with. From their interactions, alongside their online and library research, they should be able to develop a great, indepth character for their book. The same process works if the author is writing about members of a marginalized group or a location they are unfamiliar with.
People can sign up on the platform like they would on any other platform. They can then wait to be activated - that is, wait till someone requires their insight and knowledge. For researching settings, the platform can pair authors with natives of these locations who they can then converse with to ensure they get things right. The platform can also arrange tours of these locations, if the author thinks it is necessary.
What do you think of this idea? Where else do you think this service is applicable?
3
Creative contributions

Great Idea

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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie Dec 17, 2021
I believe you are tackling the topic of cultural appropriation and combating stereotypes. This platform you mention could be a great starting point to not only bring about more authentic stories but diversify the experiences of authors and their characters too.
One way to streamline the process would perhaps allow users regardless of whether they are authors or not to create journal entries about their livelihood. For example, the nurse you mention would have the options to create entries about her life, sort of like a public diary that invites authors interested in nursing life to read up on their entries. Thereafter, if the authors are interested to reach out personally, they can.
Another suggestion in order to improve the writings of inexperienced authors would be to pair them up with experienced seasoned authors who are already in the writing industry.
I think this idea can be implemented in other industries too. For example, actors or actresses who want to know more about the livelihood of the characters they are playing. Scriptwriters or film directors who are writers too can also use this platform as a way to flesh out their characters. Anything that has a relation to storytelling could definitely find this platform useful.
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
I liked your proposition for various professionals registered on the platform to write their experiences down themselves. This simplifies things for the writers and also the whole thing might potentially be developed into some collaborative-writing platform.
Many ordinary people might be lazy to write about their experience, but some would likely enjoy it. The platform could give incentives (money or other forms) to encourage non-writer users to present their experiences in a written form.
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Oguntola Tobi
Oguntola Tobia month ago
I agree they can be used in other industries. And yes, creating journals is something I believe will help. I especially like that you mentioned reaching out after reading through their journals. I think that can serve as a way for authors to vet the people the platform connects them to.
What do you think?
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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jiea month ago
Oguntola Tobi Yeap, that was my intention!:) However, there should still be some form of moderation in order to ensure it is not simply any tom,dick or harry who can list their experiences like say reddit. At the end of the day, we want the experiences to be authentic and truthful too.
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Movie making

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Povilas S
Povilas S Dec 17, 2021
The service would be even more applicable for movie making. That is because in the movie the details have to be visually demonstrated and this at times might require some in-depth research. Directors sometimes go to great lengths to hire professionals from certain fields to consult with them on how to realistically represent certain aspects in the movie. Even though famous directors making big-budget movies can arrange such things themselves, the service might nevertheless be useful, especially for rising talents having limited resources.
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The focus on the speed and search function

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JN
J. Nikola Dec 20, 2021
There are three questions that define my way of thinking:
  • Why would you need this platform, when you can go to the place or to meet people by yourself?
  • Why would you use the platform for fiction-writing? Isn't fiction better if it's not "inhibited" by the real world?
  • What would make this platform a better way of finding what you need than just your own search?

On the first one (and the third one, too), I was able to find an answer myself. First, people usually start writing without money for traveling, meeting, and living their future scenarios. Having a platform where you can catch a glimpse of the experience from the first hand (by platform users or platform-engaged individuals) could be much cheaper and faster than moving to another city and living the moment.
Second, since fiction writing requires a substantial dose of creativity and imagination, visiting a real place and people could "inhibit" it. Although that way could be suitable for people writing novels or travel diaries, for fiction writers even a glimpse of the experience gained through the platform could be enough to ignite the imagination, without making it too "real".

In my opinion, focus should be on making it extremely fast and easy-to-use by good and comprehensive inputted content digestion and advanced search algorithms. Then the writers could save time, money and focus more on their imagination.
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General comments

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JN
J. Nikolaa month ago
The fiction literature searching platform
When I first read the idea, I thought you are about to present the idea of a platform that works like the search engine for fiction proses. In other words, I thought you will create a platform that every fiction writer can use to search all the existing novels or other literature by entering keywords, locations, names, motifs, or other components of the act. It would be like PubMed for fiction writers, where they can check if someone wrote something with the same idea, motifs, characters or their idea is mostly original.
Having a platform like this would point out the field with no literature work and could serve as an idea generator. These ideas could be sold to the authors in the field and help the fiction literature to become more creative and known.
What do you think?
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia month ago
Juranium Yes, that could be useful. However, it may not receive the attention equivalent to that of Pubmed. Science is more objective and one of the main criteria for publication in science is novelty. Therefore, searching for unexplored areas is common science. However, in arts and literature, the same story could be retold with a few changes. Or even the same story could be retold using different words and the author could be rewarded for the exceptional use of language. We, therefore, have movie remakes that are successful. Because it is subjective and some people may like the earlier version better and others may like the latter one. Both versions can, therefore, exist in harmony. Such is not the case with science (and hence, Pubmed). Therefore, a simple fiction novelty search platform, though a great idea and may be useful to some people, may not receive sufficient support to maintain it for decades. Also, literature is vast compared to publications in science - vast with respect to the number and length of the manuscripts. Listing every available one on a Pubmed-like database will be a daunting task (which is one of the hurdles with your idea).
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JN
J. Nikolaa month ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni Yes, I get your point and I agree. I didn't look it that way.
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