Networking the Novel Form (Week 11)

Start by reading this useful description of the “networked novel” by Amy Spencer (who has researched the genre):

The networked novel has emerged over the past six years as a form of digital book that is written, edited and published online. Whereas a printed book is closed, the networked novel is open.  It exists online and can include text, audio, video, links to other online sources and anything else you can imagine. Picture a piece of fiction that is constructed in the same way as Wikipedia and you begin to see how a networked novel can be possible. It is not written in isolation by a single writer. Instead, several writers work together to produce a more fluid form. As with Wikipedia, the networked novel actively asks its readers to become its writers and take part in the writing process. It is an opportunity for collaboration and innovation and a new form of narrative is possible.

In this open structure, the traditional view of who is a writer and who is a reader is challenged. A writer can potentially take on a role of editor or facilitator and support a piece of fiction to take shape. It can be a challenge, as a writer, to let go of control over the narrative but what is produced can be brilliantly unique.

The experience of both reading and writing the networked novel is a social one. As readers can actively collaborate, it turns reading from a solitary act to a social experience. What we think of as a book is challenged. It becomes a place for readers and writers to work together, a platform for invention and a space for collaboration. As this form of novel can be linked to other places online, the boundaries of what we know as a book are stretched.

(from … I’ve also posted her dissertation on Dropbox)

First text, The Silent History:

Now follow the link to the iTunes store… buy Volume 1 (for $1.99) (You may, of course, buy all of the volumes; I am only requiring you to buy and read the first one.)

Note that you will need an iPad or an iPhone to do this reading.

There is, fortunately, LOTS of material that you can read on this project, including interviews, book reviews, and various reader reports (on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere). I’ve selected just a few materials for you to examine; you are welcome to pursue other leads. Be sure to at least *glance* at the Twitter feed, looking in particular at how fans responded (and it is worth your time to go back to the beginning!).

Interview with Eli Horowitz:

Interview with Kevin Moffett:

Useful discussion of the development group:

The Twitter feed for the project:

Second text: Flight Paths, A networked novel

Read the posts on the project at Pullinger’s blog:

And now, our attention turns to Twitter fiction…

Start with this piece from a summer issue of the New Yorker:

Here’s David Mitchell’s “The Right Sort,” the last required text of the week:


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