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You Can Watch This Guy Write A Book In Real-Time Right Now

It's like Twitch, but for books.

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Joshua Cohen, the author of Book of Numbers, is writing a serialized novel online this week, every day Oct. 12 to Oct. 16 from 1 to 6 PM EST.

You can watch Cohen's progress on the novel, titled PCKWCK, in real-time on its website, where people can anonymously interact with Cohen through a chat sidebar (much like Twitch).

Readers can either comment in the sidebar, or "critique" Cohen's writing by clicking on the text of PCKWCK, which leaves a heart (just like in Periscope).

There's also a daily questionnaire that can be filled out to "generate useful analytics to shape the novel."

PCKWCK is a reinterpretation of The Pickwick Papers, Charles Dickens' first serialized novel, and the project is a collaboration between Cohen and Useless Press, an independent online publishing collective.

Adrian Chen and Alix Rule, two of the founders of Useless Press, told BuzzFeed how they came up with the idea for PCKWCK:

Adrian:


I'm fascinated by Twitch, the video game live-streaming service. I love how it transforms this essentially solitary and repetitive act — playing a video game — into a spectator sport. The work of writing is similarly solitary and repetitive so I always wondered, What if there was a Twitch for novelists? Would anyone actually watch someone write fiction? I mentioned it at a Useless Press meeting, and within a few weeks Sam Lavigne had whipped up a prototype, Alix Rule had convinced Josh Cohen to do this crazy thing and it was really going to happen.

Alix:


And then of course, it's interesting to invade a writer's normal sphere of privacy as a writer. It's interesting to see how much privacy as a writer they'll give up — as many of us do online — to know they're being seen.

Sam Lavigne built the entire site from scratch. Nothing else exists on the internet quite like it — yet. To give you an idea, we approached Josh less than a month ago. The whole project came together very fast.

Useless Press will also produce a limited run of physical books based on PCKWCK, and all profits will be donated to the ACLU.

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