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.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.