What is OpenLit?
All writers are readers, and many readers are writers. By enabling community sharing and responding, Oort-Cloud catalyzes interactivity and engagement between writers and readers. This is how readers become better readers, and how writers become better writers.
...authors create and distribute their work, and readers, individually and collectively, including fans as well as editors and peers, review, comment, rank, and tag, everything.
-- from Social Publishing
- First, writers write.
- Second, writers share with others what they have written.
- Third, readers read what is available.
- Fourth, readers respond to what they have read.
Write - Share - Read - Respond
In a nutshell, though, the "Open" in OpenLit refers to the idea that the most essential quality of the written word is that it be shared. Oh, and the "Lit" part refers to the word itself, of course. ;-)
Ways To Be Open
Well, there, a lot of ways to be open, but here we focus on these two:
- Open Distribution
- Open Content
Open Distribution refers to the idea that writers desire to be read, and, for many writers, that means being able to distribute their writings as widely as possible. The internet provides a global medium which revolutionizes and accelerates this process.
Last week, I received the most remarkable letter from Jamie, a US Navy seaman stationed on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea. Because my novels are Creative Commons-licensed, he is able to download them and print them out onboard ship, and pass them around to his comrades.
-- Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing.net (Link)
Open Content refers to the idea that many writers feel that sharing their settings, characters, etc. helps readers connect to the author's work. Open Content means sharing your characters and/or setting for use by others as long as credit/attribution is given to the creator (sometimes with restrictions on plot and consistency with other works, sometimes with copyright, licensing, and fees). Here are some examples:
- George Lucas' Star Wars setting and characters
- Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek setting and characters
- Robert E. Howard's Hyborian Age and his character Conan the Barbarian
The practice of writing "fan fiction," supported by more authors than you might think, is an example of this kind of sharing.