The unfulfilled promise of digital technologies for collaborative writing
McKenzie, V. (2008). The unfulfilled promise of digital technologies for collaborative writing. The unfulfilled promise of digital technologies for collaborative writing. The Creativity and Uncertainty Papers: The refereed proceedings of the 13th conference of the Australian Association of Writing Programs.
Beyond the uncertainty of reception that accompanies all writing other than the strictly personal, an added uncertainty attends working with others to produce writing in collaboration. The digital age appears to be a boon to collaborative writers, with its myriad tools for overcoming geographic distance. However, these tools cannot replace the primacy of physical presence, only supplement it. The connection fostered by a physical meeting of bodies is a necessary precursor, if not an ongoing requirement, of a successful collaboration. More complex technologies move towards increasingly clever ways to mimic physical presence, tacitly acknowledging the value of the real thing, and yet, as digital technologies saturate our lives with our increasing complicity, there seems insufficient value placed on the real thing. My paper will examine the architectures of a variety of collaborative novels and aims to demonstrate the significance of the writers’ physical presences in their successful construction. Digital technologies are tools sometimes misused as ends in themselves, presenting a process as a product. Intentionally collaborative stories, to succeed as such, need to be seeded or ignited with human touch.