Jonah: I think the collaborative novel is a great idea! The advice to aspiring authors is always “Write about what you know,” so here’s my offering as an opening paragraph:
Slumped in his chair, Winston Smith stared vacantly at the computer screen. It was displaying a single window, a page from a well-known conservative blog he contributed to. The actual content of the page was an exchange between two of Smith’s fellow contributors, arguing the merits of a certain candidate for U.S. Senate in the upcoming elections. Smith had read both sides of the exchange and was now reading them again, in the hope that a second reading might ignite in his breast some actual interest, however faint, in the topic. As a contributor, he felt he ought to be interested; and the guilt induced by his awareness of his own failure to be interested was beginning to work as a seriously disordering factor in his life. Why, he wondered, could not the whiz-kids of the mighty American pharmaceutical industry devise some drug that would do for wilting political enthusiasm what Viagra had done for the sexual equivalent? From the next room he could hear the family dog whining for his morning walk. Beyond the study window, trees were surrendering their leaves to a chill late-October wind….