This was by far the coolest chapter in the book, and also a very educational one. I came into the chapter knowing absolutely nothing about fictional blogs. I did not know these things existed. Looking back, I suppose I knew a little about fictional blogs used for commercial purposes. TV shows, novels, movies, and radio shows now have their own blogs that play with their readers mind (in a fun way).
The chapter starts off with Angela Thomas saying:
Fictional blogs have been lauded by journalists as a “hot new literary trend that has revolutionised publishing.”
I did not believe her at first. I have heard little about fictional blogs, but as my readings went on I found a lot of like about the idea of blog fiction. Some blogs real/fiction status is up in the air, and I have heard things in this nature surrounding Twitter and Facebook where celebrities are impersonated by strangers (against there will).
Thomas herself says that fictional blogs “revolutionizing publishing” might be overstated, but that they are an “emerging phenomenon” with potential for young, emerging writers. These blogs are a way for authors to experiment with their style and narrative voice, not to mention the feedback from readers.
A relatively unknown “Faleiro” had this to say:
the blogosphere thus acts as a cocoon; a space where writers feel appreciated and encouraged, and can identify and define their skills.
That just about sums it up, but there are other ways fictional blogs can be used. There are fictional blogs used as publishing tools, a writing device, a full story world, partial story world, fan fiction, and commercial use. I will touch on each.
Authors can use a fictional blog to publish a chapter or part of a story they are working on regularly. This garners feedback, while there is nothing unique about the writing style or narrative. It is used simply to get quick and easy feedback and critique. Thomas calls it a “comment” facility.
I think this is a wonderful concept, and one that should be used to up-and-coming, struggling, or digitized authors. If I were an author I would utilize this tool, although I could see problems with copyright issues–people taking story ideas.
This concept deals with authors writing experimentation, as stated earlier, through the use of hyperlinks, graphics, and the commenting system. This, as well, is worth a try for aspiring authors. Experimental writing helps shape your writing. I would know from experience. Blogging helped, slowly, shape my writing style and my voice. It’s still, and always will be, a work in progress.
Full Story World:
Thomas talks about a blog called The Glass House. She shows us how this James character uses standard literary devices, flashback, allusions to explain the state of his current life. James also includes out-of-character comments to explain things. He also leaves fiction comments by his friends, which cleverly adds another layer to the narrative.
Sounds a little creepy, claustrophobic, demented, genius, and interesting for some reason. It is a brilliant concept. Sounds like a lot of work, but a lot of fun. Does he get donations for all this constant overlapping? I could not find The Glass House in my research, which is disappointing.
Partial Story World:
This is where only part of the world of the story is represented in the blog. Sometimes a group of writers define the world together, then individually post from the perspective of different characters in that world. I could not help but laugh at the thought of this “Jack Chan” character. I do not know why it is so funny. I can not get Jackie Chan out of my head for obvious reasons.
This concept is popular in the fan fiction writing community
We will get more into that in a second.
This was fascinating. A group of adolescent girls created a fan fiction blog where they combined the worlds of Star Wars and Middle Earth (Lord of the Rings) to develop a plot. Wow, this is awesome! You can see why people went nuts over this stuff, I am surprised this is the first I have heard about it. There is mention of Yoda Clones and Jedi Master Jandalf in there, which is pretty sweet.
This is simply a means of exploration and self-construction. A mechanism to explore feelings and experiences that were difficult or unexplored by the girls. This is commonly known as “fusing-identities” or “hybrid identities.” The girls admitted that their characters were very much like themselves. Here is what “Tiana” had to say about this experience:
I model bits of myself into my characters by just letting go, per se. It’s really the other way around: I infuse the characters into myself, more. You let the characters become a part of you, let yourself be able to think like they would, and it workds the other way around. You can’t have a character that doesn’t have come of your personality without losing yourself.
Well said, young lady. I thought this was just the coolest thing. Now, if it were six 45 year old dudes, then it would be a different story because that probably happens all the time.
Most people have seen this put into action, but do not realize it. These are commercially produced blogs to support a franchise (of any kind) or a more general product. This alone is a recognition of the significance of blogs and their power. These types of blogs can make Internet legends. The characters are recognizable and heartfelt. Readers are never quite certain where the fiction ends and the reality begins. It’s entertaining, never feels forced, intense, and intelligent. The book mentions Barbie’s blog as an example.
Thomas sums up the article neatly:
Fictional blogs have provided innovative writers with new ways of exploring narrative form, including the use of text, images, audio, and hypertext…it is particularly exciting to consider the opportunities for fiction blogs such as character diaries to give emergent writers the temporal space to develop their own narrative voice
This is a fun article, and one that tears open a large hole of the blogosphere and exposes something that I really did not know existed. It is amazing just how creative people can be sometimes if you let them. Hell, if I had time to do something like this I surely would.