Talking Tech Friday – Glypho

At one of our previous TechTalk meetings, Rick mentioned using Twitter to collaboratively write stories with teens. When I saw a mention of Glypho at Lifehacker, I just knew I had to review it!

What is it?

Glypho is a collaborative writing site. Members can post story ideas and chapters, and get contributions from others. All writing submitted to Glypho is covered by a Creative Commons license. An interesting note: Glypho has been around since at least 2005 – and I wonder how much of the development is current.

How does it work?

To become a member, all you need is an email address, user name, and password. Glypho’s Terms and Conditions do restrict membership to age 13 and up, so keep that in mind when considering uses for the site.

Once you’ve become a member, you can either start a story, contribute to other stories, or just browse. Options for contribution include character ideas, plot ideas, writing part of a chapter, suggesting a title, or adding to a story dictionary.

If you start a story, you can invite particular friends to contribute by email, and they can subscribe to an RSS feed of story updates.

Starting a story begins with a title and brief synopsis (minimum of 150 words), and tagging it – usually by genre. The interface is a simple WYSIWYG editor, not many bells and whistles – but they’re not really needed for just writing.

Contributing to stories is equally simple. A character idea has windows for Role, Appearance, Demeanor, Public Persona, and Private Persona – so it gives you some ideas of how to frame your suggestion. Plot suggestions bring up a basic text window. A chapter suggestion brings up the same editor as a story submission.

You can also write reviews of stories (like making comments), and rate them on a scale of 1 to 5.

Some of the procedures are a little confusing for me – from the FAQ page:

How does this work?

  1. A user submits a fiction project idea
  2. The first chapter is opened for contribution
  3. Users submit plot ideas and characters
  4. Multiple users submit chapter contributions using tips from 2. and 3.
  5. Readers submit reviews and rate the submissions generated in 4.
  6. After an interval of 30 days, the best contribution is selected as the chapter
  7. The next chapter is opened for contribution
  8. 2-6 are repeated till the project closes

I’m not sure if this means that Glypho chooses the best contribution, and when a project closes, or the original author does? I’m not certain how much control one would have over a project.

Possible Library Uses

I think there’s a lot of potential for using this as a program for both adults and teens, however, I would like to have more information about control over a project – e.g. can only certain people contribute? Can there be a moderator to state when a project is open or closed? With clarification issues out of the way, the interface is very simple and easy to use, so I think it would be an ideal forum for a collaborative project.


I’ve been looking for some review from people that have actually used it.  I haven’t found any.

After writing this post, I wonder if Glypho is really very active.  Maybe I should have reviewed Ficlets instead.  What do you all think?  Anyone try it out, or heard of anyone trying it out?


~ by Anali on April 11, 2008.