What exactly is a Fictionaut?


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

First, there’s the who: Lizzie Skurnick is a fictionaut. Sean Lovelace is a ficitonaut. Kim Chinquee, Pia Z. Erhardt, Marcy Dermansky, Chad Simpson -- also fictionauts. You’ll probably recognize some of these names; others will be new.

And the what: Fictionaut is a new website that plans to be an innovative literary community. The website states:


Fictionaut brings the possibilities of the social web to literary writing. Part self-selecting magazine, part community network, Fictionaut is a way for readers to discover new voices and for writers to share their art, gain recognition, and connect with their audience and each other.

The site has a sophisticated, clean design, one which seems to assume that its members will plunge in and begin reading with little hand-holding.

To create a literary community, Fictionaut started out small. Its founding members sent out a handful of invites to short story writers and novelists and poets and teachers (and a few nosy journalists). Those people began adding short pieces and commenting on each others’ work.

Today, Fictionaut -- which is still in beta -- handed invites to every existing member (we each get three). For the site to function, there have to be as many readers as writers, people as interested in reading as they are to being read. ‘Fictionaut is an experiment,’ founders Carson Baker and Jürgen Fauth write,’and curiosity, talent, and a little bit of courage to try something new are more important to us than impressive literary bona fides.’

With its clean design and integration of social networking and magazine-style content, Fictionaut might just take off and be the next best version of Zoetrope’s Virtual Studio or NaNoWriMo.

-- Carolyn Kellogg