What happens when storytelling encounters 21st century communication and the options it offers for dialogue between the writer and reader? Michael Grey is attempting to find out with his novel Brood Parasites, currently being serialised on Patreon.com.

 

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“I suppose you could call it a collaborative novel,” says Michael. “What I’m doing is presenting the beginning to a story and asking opinions from the reader. Which characters do you like, who would you like to see more of, what do you think will happen next? Knowing that will alter the story’s direction as I write. I’ll be doing the driving, but the readers will have the map.”

 

And what of the world the novel takes place in? Brood Parasites is a fantasy novel taking place in the waterlogged city of Dunholm. Across the sea a growing empire is systematically conquering the continent until only Dunholm remains. While the city prepares itself for an invasion it has little hope of repelling, a lone smuggler receives delivery of a package which could make the difference between victory and defeat.

 

In the age of mass communication, publishing still largely resembles the same business model it has been using for centuries, and Michael’s engagement with the reader is a refreshing change. “It’s not for everyone,” he says. “It’s actually quite terrifying when you’re inviting open and ongoing feedback. But I do think Brood will benefit from it, and it will be one hell of ride to find out what happens.”

 

In another step from the norm Brood Parasites has been made available to read free on Patreon’s main page, with that backers being given access to the ebook files of their choice, and will even also include an audio version.

 

You can read Brood Parasites on Michael’s Patreon page at www.patreon.com/michaelgrey or reach him through his blog at michaelgrey.com.au.