Writing in a Digital Age –

Brilliant summing up of last weekend’s conference by writer and journalist Molly Flatt


who herself made an impassioned call for words not gimmicks as writers and technologists etch out mutual ground. An inspiring and thought provoking two days. Set up by Rebecca Swift and Jon Slack of The Literacy Consultancy  the conference covered both business and creative ends of the digital discussion.http://www.literaryconsultancy.co.uk/events/literary-conference-2013/2013-programme/

more anon no doubt


Week 6: Small is Beautiful / Micro Fiction


This week we are turning our attention to micro fiction. Whether it’s flash, just short or macroscopically micro we are interested in what makes good short fiction great.

There is much flash fiction about. David Gaffney has made a bit of a name for himself with the form and much of his subject matter makes a good match for our investigation in to theories of Everyday Life. Here is what he has to say about how to write it:


here’s where you can read two of his flash fictions from his Book Sawn Off Tales via Amazon’s Look Inside option  Your Name In Weetos and the Lost Language of Hairgrips. [more coming in printed form via hand outs in class]

And here’s somewhere to read more flash fiction and another short by David Gaffney Happy Places


He also performs words with a fellow writer – short fiction is growing a broader audience through quirky, imaginative performance presentations.

I also thought i’d throw in this link from MJ Hyland. A Guardian How To Write Fiction missive with a more general fiction writer in mind but nevertheless with some great tips and advice.


Week 5: Oulipo – Exploring Form / Exchanging Patterns



The Oulipo, or Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle, is a Paris-based group of writers and mathematicians that explores the uses of writing of constrictive form. Members include Raymond Queneau, Fran?ois Le Lionnais, Claude Berge, Georges Perec, and Italo Calvino.

The OuLiPo group has experimented for decades with various kinds of procedural writing, producing texts according to formal rules Ð inventing the rules themselves has been the primary focus for the Oulipians, producing actual texts is not nearly as important, thus the “potential literature” in the name. Oulipian writers impose constraints that must be satisfied to complete a text, constraints ranging across all levels of composition, from elements of plot or structure down to rules regarding letters. OuLiPo thus pushes a structuralist conception of language to a level of mathematical precision; technique becomes technical when language itself becomes a field of investigation, a complex system made up of a finite number of components. Constraints push writers into new linguistic territories–one might say that in Oulipian work is a sort of ongoing investigation into language itself: language is conceived as a complex system made up of a finite number of components, and constraints force the linguistic system’s itinerary off its usual well-trodden paths.

“The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees oneself of the chains that shackle the spirit… the arbitrariness of the constraint only serves to obtain precision of execution.” Igor Stravinsky ”

Above  extracted text taken from:

What is Oulipo?


  1. Extracts from Exercises in Style by Raymond Queneau. You can collect a hand out from Helmore 245 [Admin office] or there are copies of the book in the library.
  2. oulipo-manevich-newmediareader

Watch this:

Do this:

Writing Project 3 

Experiment with Queneau’s Exercises in Style model.

  • devise a simple scenario.
  • write 3-4 versions [minimum] of that scenario/story using a different strategy for each.
  • be clear about the strategy you have devised/chosen.
  • title your works acoording to their strategy.

Nearly Networked

I have changed the name of this blog to reflect a broader self remit.  AI wills this blog will be used for posting materials relating to two new modules I’m teaching this coming academic year which I’m very excited about – The Networked Image and Creative Writing. More coming soon.

The Writer’s Purgatory

My agent rang me yesterday congratulating me on my latest ms revisions but with little optimism with regard to finding a publishing editor willing to take it on. Based on feedback from earlier drafts and on another clients ms marketing books for the young adult / 16-30 age range is a bit of an anathema to publishing houses. You would have thought there were many obvious ops within the Internet – partvularly social media , but apparently none anyone that my agent’s spoken to can see. This is frustrating on a number of levels. This age group is e actly the place you’ll find the rich edgy, zeitgeisty offerings from film and TV so why not in books. Of course my agent could be unlucky and his experience  isolated but from what I can see or rather not see i think his interpretation of the current publishing world typography may be right. I’d love to hear from you if know otherwise. Meanwhile im left considering two options either rewrite or get a new agent – or do both [so three i guess] –  and while I consider those I’ll work on something that knows its place in the market before it’s begun.

Intertextual Story Telling – National Film Board of Canada’s Pine Point

What I find disappointing about multi media or transmedial, digital story telling projects that i have come across over recent years is their over reliance on gaming story structure to tell their story –  on ‘reaching increasing challenging and risk taking levels within a number of finite path options, etc, – as if gaming narratives are the only way narrative moments can be communicated transmedially. We have been putting together narratives from a variety or oral, written and visual media for years – way before computer games. The narrative of Christianity for instance has been represented transmedially: in text [the bible and it’s many spin offs]; orally [biblical stories adapated, parables and fables handed down from generation to generation];  musically  [some of the world’s most inspired and acclaimed musical compositions]; visual art/images [some of the worlds finest painting and sculpture]. Its representational transmediality is part of what made Christianity’s message spread so fast and what wove it into the fabric of Western culture for so long. Intertextual story-telling is not new so why then is it so hard to find contemporary examples of digital intertextual works that engage audiences on the emotional, literary, philospohical and psychologically rich levels? Just because the images, sounds and text are generated, stored and disseminated digitally must that mean we must check our hearts and heads at the door and seek only structured sensation where value is quanitfied by a point system?

Pine Point is a great example of the kind of work I’d like to see more of. It is not designed to maximize reader/viewer interaction [there are only a few basic operations and tasks you as viewer/reader/listener can alter] but Pine Point is designed to and succeeds in conjuring an evocative, literary address to its audience through a variety of media. It is an inspiring example of what intertextual, intermedial digital story telling can do when it concerned to engage more than fingers and pulse. It is not adrenaline or goal focussed. It is an evocative, moving, melancholy meditation on memory and place. Emotionally fluent and reflective.

It’s great. About 20 mins to watch.

Pine Point [duration 20 mins approx]