Penguin publishers and De Montfort University recently launched the first wiki novel - an experimental project designed to see if "the wisdom of crowds" can apply to more artistic disciplines. Contributors to "A Million Penguins" will include Masters students in Creative Writing and New Media, who study writing in the evolving fields of online communities, blogs, and wikis. The project went live on February 1st, and the wiki has already seen a flurry of editing activity. The novel's current cast of characters includes a penguin "trying to save mankind from its own destruction" and the mysterious "Tango Prisoner".

The experimental novel will be online for at least six weeks, according to Penguin, who insists that this project is not a talent search for the publishing house. Even if fleshing out the character of the "Tango Prisoner" won't lead to your big break, writing in this new collaborative medium will certainly be a great challenge.