UConn Today: Humanities Institute Fellow Examines Archive of School Shootings Fiction. “Hayley Stefan is a doctoral candidate in English and a Humanities Institute Dissertation Research Fellow who is focusing her research on the growing genre of school shooting fiction. Her dissertation is titled: ‘Writing National Tragedy: Race & Disability in Contemporary U.S. Literature and Culture.’ From her dissertation research, she has established The School Shooting Fiction Archive, which investigates school shooting fiction. The archive currently includes 76 school shooting fiction texts published between 1977 and 2019, with more than half published after the shootings in Sandy Hook in December, 2012. She spoke with UConn Today about her research.”
Phys .org: Crowdsourcing plot lines to help the creative process. “Creative authors could soon have a new option to help overcome writer’s block, thanks to a system launched by researchers in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State. The crowd-powered system, called Heteroglossia, enables writers to elicit story ideas from the online crowd.”
The Atlantic: How to Murder Harry Potter. “Quantifying the amount of deathfic available online is difficult. It pops up in surprising places, tucked into comment sections on obscure fan pages and sometimes written—flash-fiction style—entirely in the tags of a Tumblr post. On user-generated-fiction platforms such as Wattpad, Archive of Our Own, and FanFiction.Net, the number of deathfic entries is in the hundreds of thousands. These sites ask authors to label these stories with ‘character death’ warnings, and authors also tend to tag them with notes such as ‘why do I do this to myself’ and ‘why did I write this.'”
Penn Today: ‘May the force be with you’ and other fan fiction favorites. “As a new Star Wars movie hits the multiplex, Penn researchers are launching a new computer-based tool to better understand fiction written by fans based on that blockbuster series and several other famous film franchises.”
Phys .org: Short story collection to entangle readers in the quantum world. “Are you ready to get entangled in the science of the very small? That’s the thread running through a new anthology, Quantum Shorts: Collected Flash Fiction Inspired by Quantum Physics. Available to download as a free e-book now, the anthology presents 37 stories shortlisted in three editions of the international Quantum Shorts competition.”
MakeUseOf: How to Plot and Write a Novel With 12 Free Templates & Worksheets. “Writing your first novel can be more daunting in life than actually putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard. The untouched page is a frank sign of how much work there is to do…. Yet getting started is easier once you’ve done some initial prep work on your story; its structure, characters, and how on earth you’re going to get this thing out of your head. That’s where these free novel-writing templates and worksheets prove handy.” This is for every single one of you out there who vows to do NaNoWriMo every goldang year, and every year you blow it to the point that you’re now anxious about it, and even though it’s only November 1 you’re already beating yourself up over failing this year. This is for you. You are my people.
The Verge: Inside National Conspiracy Writing Month, A Challenge For Creating ‘Fan Fiction About Reality’. “The project is called National Conspiracy Writing Month, an unofficial spinoff of the long-running National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) challenge. Where NaNoWriMo requires participants to write a 50,000-word novel, the inaugural NaCoWriMo asks them to produce a ‘deep, viable, and complete conspiracy theory.’ Its creator Tim Hwang hopes these fake plots can illuminate a pervasive cultural phenomenon — helping both participants and spectators understand how conspiracy theories emerge. He just hopes people don’t take them too seriously.” Oh dear. I don’t like this. It’s like forking National Fire Safety Month by having a kerosene-making contest.
Duke Research Blog: Hamlet is Everywhere. To Cite, or Not to Cite?. “Some stories are too good to forget. With almost formulaic accuracy, elements from classic narratives are constantly being reused and retained in our cultural consciousness, to the extent that a room of people who’ve never read Romeo and Juliet could probably still piece out its major plot points. But when stories are so pervasive, how can we tell what’s original and what’s Shakespeare with a facelift? This summer, three Duke undergraduate students in the Data+ summer research program built a computer program to find reused stories.”
The Daily Dot: Nonprofit fanfiction database Archive of Our Own wins a Hugo. “Archive of Our Own (AO3), the fan-run, nonprofit website that’s home to more than 5 million transformative works like fanfiction, fanart, and podfics, won one of science fiction’s most prestigious awards at Worldcon Sunday night.”
BuzzFeed News: YA Twitter Can Be Toxic, But It Also Points Out Real Problems. “However flawed social media may be, it’s still an important tool for giving marginalized voices and diversity advocates a much-needed platform. And if we set aside, for a moment, the focus on the authors; if we pause to remember that there are bad-faith voices in all parts of Twitter, not just YA; and if we step back and consider that the power to publish or cancel a book lies not with internet critics but with publishers and authors — then there’s another aspect of these stories that’s often ignored in mainstream discussions: What if these critics, with their focus on representation and diversity, have a point?”
Wired: Fans Are Better Than Tech at Organizing Information Online. “Kudos to the fans. One of the nominees for the Hugo Awards this year is Archive of Our Own, a fanfiction archive containing nearly 5 million fanworks—about the size of the English Wikipedia, and several years younger. It’s not just the fanfic, fanart, fanvids, and other fanworks, impressive as they are, that make Archive of Our Own worthy of one of the biggest honors in science fiction and fantasy. It’s also the architecture of the site itself.”
UK Web Archive Blog: Collecting Interactive Fiction. “Works of interactive fiction are stories where the reader/player can guide or affect the narrative in some way. This can be through turning to a specific page as in ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’, or clicking a link or typing text in digital works. “
New-to-me: a database of asexual and aromantic characters in prose fiction. The database covers various types of asexual (demi, grey, etc) and is sortable by a variety of factors. From the front page: “… I think these tables have the potential to do what I set out to accomplish: allow asexual and aromantic people to find themselves in a wide range of stories. Our narratives are out there, but too often it’s hard to find more than the same handful of well-known (and sometimes not-that-great rep) recommendations.”
Digital Library of Georgia: Digitization of the Pinebranch, the first student publication of South Georgia State Normal College and Georgia State Woman’s College (both earlier names for Valdosta State University). “The Digital Library of Georgia is pleased to announce the digitization of the Pinebranch, the first student publication of South Georgia State Normal College and Georgia State Woman’s College (both earlier names for Valdosta State University). The Pinebranch was a literary magazine published from September or October of 1917 to May of 1934. In addition to stories and poetry, the magazine included editorials, and news from campus and alumni.”
Via Reddit, I learned about a new database of Star Trek books. From the About page: “The purpose of this website is to provide a searchable database of Star Trek novels to make it easier for fans of written Star Trek fiction to find books to read. This unofficial database allows you to find books by keyword, author, series, captain, starship, TV show and year. I have attempted to sort all books in chronological order using the various sources listed below, but there were some contradictions and inconsistencies.”