Markides explains the details:
The premise is simple. As in elimination-style reality television, there is a host (me), there are contestants (twelve writers), and there are judges (you, the readers). Each of these twelve writers will embark upon a novel that will be published in installments on Fourth Night for as long as that particular contestant remains in the competition. Three times a month—every 4th, 14th, and 24th—I’ll announce the literary guidelines for the next installment, which the writers will all have to complete before the readers vote to eliminate one of them. Every time I announce the next criteria I will also name the newly eliminated contestant. On December 4th, the competition ends, with one writer having survived all twelve rounds and completed a novel.
This blog-based reality show—which will go by the name Fourth Fiction—will launch, as I mentioned, on July 4. However, the actual competition, with its rounds of literary challenges and elimination voting, will not begin until August 4th. For the month of July, the twelve contestants will only post on Twitter.
This pre-competition, warm-up month gives readers an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the writers. As a text-only medium amenable to anonymity, Twitter is ideal because, unlike other reality shows, the identity of the contestants will remain hidden until the end of the competition (all of the contestants have pledged secrecy). The reason for this anonymity is that Fourth Fiction will exclusively be a blog-based reality show. The contestants are to be judged not on how they look but on what they write.
Markides also put out an open call for guest participants. I have actually put myself forward and will be taking part from the August 4th start. It sounds like an interesting event and a great way to kick start writing a larger project, a win-win as guests don’t have the pressure of being contestant proper or the threat of being voted off, while having a crack at one of the more challenging and interesting events on the literary side of the internet.
Looking forward to taking part. In the meantime, check out the above links to the Fourth Fiction site and look out for the contestants on twitter.
6 Responses to Fourth Fiction launches
hmmm, looks to me like it may have already imploded! but it is an interesting concept.
Perhaps a month of tweets is just too long….
The other thing is not all the contestants are Twitter savvy – some having never used it prior to entering the competition. I guess a month was to ensure everyone was well versed with the technology and to give everyone an equal chance to developing a following before the competition starts. Given it is an elimination style competition – you need readers to vote.
Maree it swings in round abouts the potential for implosion – but Constantine's got his finger on the pulse of it all. What looks like absence on the Host's part is actually close scrutiny from behind the scenes.
I think it will help when there's more interaction between contestants and their readers … and well I guess, between all the readers on the contestants – or have I now tied myself up in knots! Though four tweets is a minimal amount of interaction per day. I don't think I would be able to do it.
Dan I'm signing up to participate too. Can't wait to see how it is all structure and what happens with Fourth Fiction collides with NaNoWriMo!
Glad to hear you are taking part too, Jodie. I'm very excited about the 4th August start.
After watching the twitter feed for the last few days I can see how it is working to bring the contestants up to speed and it is giving a surprisingly clear view of many of the contestants personalities already (whether real or assumed via the anonymity filter the pseudonyms provide). And, as you say, already HOST is playing games with them.
I tried to explain the idea of Fourth Fiction to my non-twittering, non-writing, not-so-internet-savvy mates at the pub last night and got back blank faces. Should have taken my laptop and showed them the launch video.
I loved the video launch and I have it on good authority there is another vid on the way! And perhaps some more interesting stuff soon via twitter to extended the contestants.
I can't wait to vote Tuck off – the rude, crude nasty personae he is. And I should tell Constantine that I'm up to participate in parallel also.
What did your pub buddies find the most difficult to comprehend – or was it just all of it?
They don't really get twitter. Or the idea of a reality show where the contestants don't actually meet. Or the whole fiction writing challenge aspect. So kind of all of it. Might be my failure to explain it clearly though.
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