Tag Archives: elit

Underbelly in The Future of Reading?

The Future of Reading? An Exhibition of Digital Literature

Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, UK, from 22 Oct to 14 Nov 2014

‘The Future of Reading?’ exhibition shows how recent forms of experimental writing use digital technologies to enable new ways of reading, which complement and sometimes challenge more established media like books, films, and videogames. It includes Interactive Fictions (IFs) and electronic text adventure games, hypertext and hypermedia fictions, Flash and App-based fictions, kinetic poetry, and literary videogames.

A screenshot from Underbelly

I’m thrilled that my work, Underbelly, features in the exhibition in Gallery 3: Engaging the Senses. There are many wonderful digital and pre-digital works in the whole exhibition tracing the historical development of digital literature. Check out the online version of the exhibition, which will remain on the Reading Digital Fiction website indefinitely:

Read Digital FictionThe exhibition, curated by Dr. Alice Bell and Prof. Astrid Ensslin, is part of the Reading Digital Fiction project at Sheffield Hallam University and Bangor University, funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and sponsored by the Electronic Literature Organisation (ELO).

Also, earlier this week, as part of the Reading Digital Fiction project, I was delighted and honoured to give a Creative Writing Master Class in digital fiction for the MA in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University.

My E-Lit Workshop at Festival of Writing

What are playable stories and how to start writing them

Computers and the internet have given birth to a new literary genre – Electronic Literature, or E-Lit for short. The genre covers a wide range of forms, from digital poetry to literary games and playable stories. The one thing all E-Lit works have in common is that they’re created on a computer and meant to be read using a computer or mobile device. Many are freely accessible to read or play on the internet. In this workshop, we’ll look at some examples of e-lit, playable stories that I’ve created, and how you might go about starting to write your own.

That was the title and description of the workshop talk I gave at the Festival of Writing 2013 in York on Sunday 15 September. I showed some of my own e-lit works and discussed how I approached writing them (e.g. about writing Fitting the Pattern or a peek into the process of creating Underbelly). Then I shared some suggestions of useful tools for writers who want to start creating their own born digital works.

Want to start writing your own digital stories or poems?

Here are some suggestions of web apps and writing tools you might want to try:

  • slid.es – a web-based editor for creating presentations. Here’s a wonderfully witty example from renowned e-lit author, Alan Bigelow, My Life in Three Parts, which he created using the source JavaScript framework that slide.es is built on, reveal.js.
  • Prezi – a powerful zooming presentation tool that you can use online, on your desktop or on your iPad/iPhone. Böhmische Dörfer is a very moving example of what can be achieved, created (in English) by Alexandra Saemer:

“Böhmische Dörfer” is a piece, created in Prezi, about the impossibility of reconstructing the failing memory of a traumatic historical event : the “March of Death” of the Sudeten Germans from Brno in winter 1945.

  • Storynexus – a platform for exploring interactive story worlds and writing and creating your own.
  • Scratch – a platform for programming your own interactive stories, games and animations.
  • Webmaker – “a global community that creates the web by making, teaching and remixing” – an open source project from Mozilla.
  • Varytale – a publishing and writing platform for interactive books.

Useful tools for writers and digital writers alike:

  • Scrivener – a “complete writing studio”, it has just about everything you need for researching, writing, structuring and revising your projects.
  • Scapple – a freeform text editor, similar to a mind-mapping tool.
  • Evernote – a powerful notetaking, web clipping, scrap-booking that helps you “remember everything”.

The New River publishes Rememori

Founded in 1996, The New River is a biannual journal devoted exclusively to digital writing and art. I’m delighted that the Spring 2012 issue, just published, includes Rememori, my “game that is an experience in lyrical prose,” which New River also describes as:

An eerie twist to a child’s matching game puts the reader in the minds and hearts of both the Alzheimer’s patient and his fading loved ones.

The four works in this issue “were chosen for their duality” and in her note from the editor, Khalilah Boone goes on to say:

Developed to entertain and make the reader think deeply, the creative works we’re presenting invite the reader to ponder the origins of scholarship, question definitions of human identity, reflect upon who we are as patients or relatives of the ill, and carefully ruminate on the nature of our cultural belonging.

The other works are by Eric Lemay, F.J Bergman and Nanette Wylde.

Out of Touch in Mad Hatters’ Review

The new “explosive” issue of Mad Hatters’ Review is a wonderful and fitting tribute to its late founding editor, Carol Novack. This issue of the annual online multimedia magazine is bursting with marvellous “poetry, fiction, art, multimedia and genre-benders” from around 100 international contributors and I’m delighted to say that my work, Out of Touch, features in the multimedia section.

Digital Literature featured in The Independent

Underbelly and Fitting the Pattern recommended works

In an Arts & Entertainments feature in The Independent, Lisa Gee “explores the unbound possibilities of digital-era fiction” and announces the shortlist for the 2011 New Media Writing Prize. She asked a number of people working in digital writing and/or publishing to nominate their favourite works of digital literature and I’m delighted to say that Tim Wright and Jim Pope both recommended Underbelly, and Sue Thomas picked Fitting the Pattern. Here’s what they had to say in the accompanying video:

Underbelly screenshotTim Wright, digital writer/consultant, on Underbelly :

It’s a really interesting use of interactivity, Flash animation,  amazing sound and it’s a story about women miners but then also a thought piece about bearing children and motherhood and balancing work and home.

Dr James Pope, academic & judge/co-founder, New Media Writing Prize, on Underbelly :

I still maybe think it’s the best piece I’ve seen in terms of emotional connection to a piece of interactive work.

Detail from Fitting the PatternSue Thomas, professor of new media, De Montfort University, on Fitting the Pattern:

It’s beautifully designed, but it also has very clever tools within it that you have to learn how to use before you can actually navigate the piece and read the story.

Here are the other recommended works:

New Media Writing Prize 2011 – shortlist

Also announced yesterday on the New Media Writing Prize blog, the shortlist for the student prize:

Student Entries

  • Chasing Pandora – Emily Devereux, Allyson Cikor, Trent Redmond, Mathew Vickery  (Alberta, Canada)
  • 5 Haitis – Simon Kerr  (Nottingham)
  • Maybe Make Some Change – Aaaron A. Reed  (Santa Cruz, California)
  • Unravelled –   Spenser Wain, Zac Urness, Kollin Branicki  (Alberta, Canada)