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.