Subject: scrytch.faq
Date: 12 Mar 1994 08:31:04 +0100

Q : What is "scrytch"?

A : scrytch grew out of a need to write. more specifically, scrytch grew out
of the need to try out collaborative prose in a networked forum. the idea was
that multiple authors could combine various approaches and ideas, and that the
finished work would be richer than the sum of its parts.

the problem was that the e.list environment [in which scrytch is now being
done] wasn't conducive to "finished" works, long works, or even necessarily
collaborative works. the first two problems were /almost/ limitations of the
medium, and the last had to do with a raging debate in lit circles about
authorial property and appropriation.

what we ended up doing to come up with scrytch was concede: "ok, let's say that
we treat this prose as a sort of compost-pile, memetic silage, idea-humus? and
more, what if we all agree that for the purposes of scrytch, words are fluid;
it's a writing exercise, so let's say we can all appropriate freely bits and
bytes from each others' scrytch? we can maybe publish 'anthologies' of scrytch
some day, but can't sell 'em, and can't claim it all as any one of ours? what
do we get out of this individually? well, we get to see if collaborative prose
can even WORK in the network environment. we get to try out those cut-up and
appropriation writing techniques that Burroughs warned us about. we get to
develop 100% net-rooted prose if we want. we get to try ANYTHING topic or
approach-wise, and we get to hone our respective styles in relation to the
other scrytchers, so that when we DO go out and write a larger piece for sale
or whatnot, we've had the hands-in-the-dirt practice with freedom of ideas and
style to do it well!"

so this is what we agreed on, and now a bunch of writers are scrytching.

Q : is there any more info available?

A : you should gnow already whether or not this is an approach which attracts
you; if you want to dive in and start scrytching, send a SUBSCRIBE message to
<> ... if you just want to be left alone to write
your work in peace, ignore this message and do NOT send it on to others who
might be interested. the rest of you, FEEL FREE TO FORWARD!
(ed note: the fixion list is long since defunct! scrytch itself is not!)

< >

"etceterate at your own risk" the sign above the button read. five billion
fingers reached out in a slow motion process, like dying, dying to push it,
dying to find out.. like standing on top of a huge building in a huge city
under huge ultraviolet skies and looking down at the rushing hour below, insekt
movements of cars and people, the giddy urge to leap intoxicates..

I meet this scrytch girl downtown today, scrytching with the high street
hubbub, ducking, weaving, sometimes crouching down listening, sometimes
scrytching the air with her hands, sometimes standing crane-like, taking it all
in. The bits of barbed wire and razor blades woven into her prismatic dreads
cut the sunlight into colours that no-one knows the names of.

We go for a walk down the motorway, six lanes of pure metal speed, hand in hand
down the fast lane facing the oncoming traffic, horrific pile-ups unfolding in
our wake:

"You know," she murmurs huskily into my ear, "the world wants plastic trolls.
It wants TV Dinners, it wants Poppin' Fresh Dough. It wants neon eyeliner,
FuckMe-Red lipstick, Teen Spirit, Gerry Curl. The world wants people dressed
as hot dogs."

-- and then there are only words --


To subscribe: Send email to with the text "subscribe scrytch"

Home . Featured Exhibit . Permanent Collection . Scrytch Archive . About the museum . WSA Members . Mailto