Well, perhaps less of the "now", more of the "mid-January" and a bit of a flirtation with the past tense would have made the introductory sentence more accurate. In fact, the whole project it due to close in less than a week. But the DIY comment stands. Some bright sparks at said publisher's have clubbed together with some other clever folks from De Montfort Uni and through the modern miracle of software-enabled collective authorship, have come up with a wikinovel project.
To slightly deflate the party balloons, it's not exactly the first wikinovel in the world. But it's probably the first one run by a major publisher of Serious Literary Work. Oeuvres even. Ones with classy covers featuring Art and nary a bemulleted Viking or exploding spaceship in sight.
Their site terms the whole project an "experiment" to see if such a collective adventure can really come up with the goods. It also raises a few interesting questions about the notion of collaboration in art and authorial ego and so on, which are always fun things to think about.
In a bit of a hat-tip to that well-known theory about an infinite number of animals inclined to put
So far, the penguins in question have been working mighty hard to duck
On good days, it feels like reading a Choose You Own Adventure novel straight through, with no brakes and a blatant disregard for the instructions to "Turn to page 67 if you disguise yourself as a shrub and follow the Wild-Eyed Chanting Monks into the Cave of Sacrifice." Just like then, you can even scribble alternate endings on the back flap if you like, as well as crossing out and replacing all the page numbers. Ahh... the heady joys of summer holidays and unlimited time at the library. The big difference in this pool of creative anarchy is that some other jolly comrade-in-flippers will probably come along and delete all your work two hours later. But at least you can then do the same to them.
Actually, there's one alternative version of the novel where someone has attempted to impose a conceptual unity by introducing a banana theme
The novel does seem to be settling into some kind of shape as the end of the project draws ever closer.