National Novel Writing Month is an annual tradition for writers looking to compete a body of work within one month. Former winners have actually secured lucrative publishing contracts and its an interesting way to force yourself to write a torrent of prose everyday. Last year, a small alternative movement has been gaining momentum called NaNoGenMo, for National Novel Generation Month.
The premise of NaNoGenMo is to spend all of November writing code that will allow a 50,000 page novel to be automatically generated by a computer program. Organizer Darius Kazemi started the project, not knowing how many people would find this idea strangely compelling. “I got a ton of people responding saying ‘Oh my god, I’d totally do that,’” Kazemi says. The next day, he opened up a repository on Github where people could post their projects.
Twide and Twejudice is one of the most interesting projects. It basically is a rendition of Pride and Prejudice, but with each word of dialogue substituted for a word used in a similar context on Twitter. The result is delightfully absurd, a normal-seeming Austen novel where characters break out in almost-intelligible gobbledegook. For instance, here is Mr. Bennett telling Mrs. Bennett that plenty more wealthy young men will move to town for their daughters to marry.
I think this idea is very interesting, but the idea of a computer generated novel is nothing new. These sort of automated bots have been writing scientific research reports for years and likely you have received a Blackhat SEO email to you inbox that that has a story, that does not make any sense at all. Maybe one day authors can sit back, enter a few plot points, establish the dynamics of the heroes journey and just kick back and play video games all day.