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.