Are there really so many stories? We're about to find out, because everybody is getting a chance to tell one. Even with deep research revealing that there are actually only seven basic plots in the world, the appetite for them seems insatiable. So what if everything--Lolita, a whole season of Glee, Silence of the Lambs and the Canterbury Tales--is just a wrinkle on the themes? Those are some pretty roomy wrinkles. That's the thinking behind of a whole anthology's worth of start-ups now focused on storytelling. (Not to mention traditional publishers, who despite all the nails in their coffins, still publish more than 300,000 titles a year.)
Hey, somebody's got to build platforms: there are eight million stories in the naked city! And then there's the city after that. Betaworks, the NYC-based owner of lots of digital goodies - Digg, Instapaper, bit.ly etc. - is part of the smart set betting that everybody's story is somehow compelling. For its Tapestry app (just out: version 2.0), it's got storytellers like General Electric (yup, GE--How Does a Jet Engine Work?) and Sophia Coppola (Movies in Color)--and next up is you. In fact, you're welcome to start right now: just register and write. There's good news, too, for neophyte tale-tellers: Tapestry says that "If we can help people turn ideas into beautiful stories, we will." Terrific, because Gordon Lish is getting old--and his classes fill up fast. Tapestry certainly has its narrative head screwed on straight, "embracing some of the most important pieces of telling a great story: succinctness, pacing, and creativity." Important, indeed. We'll soon see how many people have those tools in the bag. Get ready: the great cacophony is coming.
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