Last Edited 03 October 2018
Hi there, I’m Jordan. I’m doing my PhD at Bangor University, located in the picturesque North Wales, and this blog is a research aid for said PhD study. It’s easy to forget amazing ideas you have in the early hours of the morning, and I can collect some here. Check the About Me page for more about… me.
I also needed some kind of semi-public forum to put out thoughts on my PhD, to ultimately encourage myself to write something academically productive every so often. This blog was started in September last year, but I had three posts and nothing profound within its digital pages so I am starting again.
What am I researching?
Digital fiction, mostly. In the past year or so, I’ve been introducing more concrete ideas of transmedia narratives to the process, instead of digital fiction as a whole.
I’m coming at this as a practitioner, using a practice-led methodology to analyse the creative process. Almost all of the research I’ve undertaken has been practice-led, or practice-based, I’ll stick with one term eventually, and this has served me well so far.
My basic method is to write in a “born digital” medium, WordPress and Twitter and never having the opportunity to be printed and retain its functionality, and then apply critical theory in a pre- and post-textual analysis of the created text and the creative process.
I’ve engaged with the theory from authors such as Espen Aarseth, Janet Murray, Nick Montfort, and N. Katherine Hayles. These are all strong places to start, and are some of the many authors I’m reading; but it gives you an idea of the critical discourse I’ve entered.
Why Digital Fiction?
Because it’s awesome fun, that’s why! Also, because my interests have lain forever betwixt video games and books, and to drag them together in harmonious unity is pretty fantastic. Except when the code doesn’t work, and then I’m tearing my hair out wondering what I did wrong and whether it’s too late to just write a novel.
But, I like the coding aspect too, actually. It’s great to see something build up from nothing to working code. I’ve made small concept video games, too, and it’s amazing to see it go from *moves left* all the way to *moves in 4/8 directions, picks up items, kills enemies, randomly generates levels, randomly populates with enemies, randomly populates with items, character death, saving, loading… etc.*.
Why Transmedia Narratives?
So this is a new section that needed clarification. I am no longer using the broad term digital fiction solely to refer to my creative practice. Doing so is like saying you study literature, when really you study the texts of Mexican magical realism writers of the 90s. I’m narrowing my field.
Transmedia narratives are stories told through multiple media at the same time. Concurrent representation of the narrative through different media, in fancier language. Most of the transmedia narratives you’ll be familiar with are those that are centred around a really successful franchise.
The Matrix and LOST are two of the bigger ones. No Man’s Sky, a game, is another you may have heard of.
I don’t have the backing of a major games studio, or television executives with bucket loads of money, so I’m looking at this from the point of view of an independent practitioner. How can I create a sprawling transmedia text in a way that is engaging and actually doable? Are there ways that the creative process adapts to the new medium for writing a story? In what ways does the creative process stay the same? What does this mean for writers of transmedia narratives?
These questions, and more, are what I’m interested in.
Alright, I think that’s enough to be getting started with. I’ll be writing irregularly, I’m sure, but this is a research blog for my study as I go through this process.
Watch this space!
Or don’t, I’m not your mother.