Podcast Episode 6: Putting the ‘Cyber’ in Writing

Podcast Episode 6: Putting the ‘Cyber’ in Writing


We finally get to talk about our favorite topic: writing digital fiction! What are the most frequent questions we get as digital writers? How is it different from prose writing? How is it the same? Since we’re practice-based researchers in creative writing, these are just the sorts of questions we are looking to answer in our creative work.

Links mentioned in this episode:

See Lyle’s profile and work on her website, and Jordan’s research and writing musings here.
Many thanks to Bangor University’s School of Creative Studies & Media for use of their recording equipment and support of this podcast.Produced by Lyle Skains & Jordan Glendenning. Music from Kurt James Werner.

Podcast Episode 5: Transmedia Rabbit Holes

Podcast Episode 5: Transmedia Rabbit Holes


Our deepest apologies for the unplanned hiatus! As working academics, end-of-the-year marking and administration tasks overwhelmed us for a while. 

Digital media has the ability to both transcend and combine narrative forms: film, game, text, music, and more. As a result of the mutable quality of digital media and the networked capability of the internet, narratives now spill over multiple media, with different elements of the story spread across film, forums, TV, books, and more. We go down some transmedia narrative rabbit holes, discussing what transmedia storytelling is and how it’s being used.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Bonus Pic:

Lyle’s horse in his “bunny suit”.

This episode’s “Pick a Card” topic:

See Lyle’s profile and work on her website, and Jordan’s research and writing musings here.
Many thanks to Bangor University’s School of Creative Studies & Media for use of their recording equipment and support of this podcast.Produced by Lyle Skains & Jordan Glendenning. Music from Kurt James Werner.

Podcast Episode 4: Losing My Digital Fiction

Podcast Episode 4: Losing My Digital Fiction

Note: It appears the podcast feed wasn’t coming through to this site – sorry for the slew of updates, but didn’t want anyone to miss out on episodes!

Like all things digital, digital fiction is prone to obsolescence, and we’re already losing key works. We chat about the evanescence of the medium, archiving digital fiction, and what we do as writers to make our works accessible for as long as possible – and whether we should even bother.

Links mentioned in this episode:

See Lyle’s profile and work on her website, and Jordan’s research and writing musings here.

Many thanks to Bangor University’s School of Creative Studies & Media for use of their recording equipment and support of this podcast.Produced by Lyle Skains & Jordan Glendenning. Music from Kurt James Werner.

Short Fiction Anthologies, Digital Fiction Podcasts, and More!

Short Fiction Anthologies, Digital Fiction Podcasts, and More!

Kickstarter campaign promo
Click to go to Kickstarter

It’s been a busy, busy, busy few weeks here at Wonderbox. DeAnn Bell and I are drawing down to our final days working with Normal Deviation, our short story anthology of weird fiction based on that super-strange image, and the Kickstarter campaign for it is well underway. If you want to get a taste of the stories, hop over to Kickstarter and back us: if we can get to £1000 by Wednesday 2 May, we’ll preview a short story for backers only!

Wonderbox Podcast

On the podcast front, Jordan Glendenning and I have released a steady stream of episodes on digital fiction in the last few weeks, starting with a discussion of the works you see around the web that you might not have identified as digital fiction. We just recorded our discussion on what it takes to write digital fiction, and we still feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface! So if you’re interested in learning more about digital fiction, and engaging in our ongoing chat about it, head over to the Wonderbox podcast, subscribe, review, and share!

We’re always interested in feedback, in posting reviews of works, and suggestions. Post a comment, drop us a line, and let us know what’s going on!

Normal Deviation’s Kickstarter Campaign Has Launched!

Normal Deviation’s Kickstarter Campaign Has Launched!

Kickstarter campaign promo

Just a short announcement post on our Normal Deviation Kickstarter campaign. In case you missed it, we’ve spent the last year putting together a short fiction anthology based on one very weird picture (as you can see).

We’ve collected some fantastically weird stories from a seriously rad group of writers, including Olivia Berrier, Josephine Bruni, Dan Cox, Josh Dygert, Sam Hirte-Runtsch, Jonathan Howard, L.G. Keltner, Chris LoudAmanda Marples, Charlie Wilson, Cath Barton, Jetse de Vries, Joanna Michal Hoyt, Dean Knight, Molly McLellan, Arathi Menon, Jesse Rodriguez, Nicola ThompsonEmma Venables, and Clare Weze. Oh, and DeAnn and I wrote stories, too!

The campaign, if funded, will help us afford to pay our authors at least semi-pro rates for the stories, something that as a fledgling company we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. It will also give us some room to print hard copies in advance of our book launch.

We’re offering some fun extras, including donation copies of the anthology to libraries, copies of the Blue Pencils anthology, and some hand-made cone-head crafts – because why not?

Please join us, and share to all you know!

Podcast Episode 3: Hypertext for the People

Podcast Episode 3: Hypertext for the People


Hypertexts are one of the oldest and enduring forms of digital literature, dating from the 1st gen in 1987, to the explosion in indie games thanks to Twine. We chat about how hypertexts form the foundation of digital fiction, what role they play in culture, and we share some of our favorites.

Special shout out to Astrid Ensslin, Lyle’s co-writer on our chapter on the history of hypertext, “Hypertext: From Storyspace to Twine” in The Bloomsbury Handbook of Electronic Literature. Her research into hypertext forms the backbone of our knowledge in this area!

Links mentioned in this episode:

This episode’s “Pick a Card” topic:

See Lyle’s profile and work on her website, and Jordan’s research and writing musings here.
Many thanks to Bangor University’s School of Creative Studies & Media for use of their recording equipment and support of this podcast.Produced by Lyle Skains & Jordan Glendenning. Music from Kurt James Werner.

Podcast Episode 2: Interactive Fiction & Text Adventure Games

Podcast Episode 2: Interactive Fiction & Text Adventure Games

Interactive fiction (better known as text adventure games) is the forerunner of narrative-based video games. In this episode, we discuss the origins of IF, its commercial heyday, and what contemporary IF has become.

(Apologies for my voice – I’d been rather ill that week! -Lyle)

Links mentioned in this episode:

This episode’s “Pick a Card” topic:

See Lyle’s profile and work on her website, and Jordan’s research and writing musings here.
Many thanks to Bangor University’s School of Creative Studies & Media for use of their recording equipment and support of this podcast.

Produced by Lyle Skains & Jordan Glendenning. Music from Kurt James Werner.

Podcast Episode 1: You Already Read Digital Fiction

Podcast Episode 1: You Already Read Digital Fiction


The term “digital fiction” may not be familiar to you, but the works probably are. “3rd generation” electronic literature often goes viral on social media; we enjoy it and pass it on without really thinking about what else is out there. But there’s a lot else out there! In this episode, we discuss DF you may have already seen, and some you might want to look up.

Links mentioned in this episode:

This episode’s “Pick a Card” topic:


See Lyle’s profile and work on her website, and Jordan’s research and writing musings here.
Many thanks to Bangor University’s School of Creative Studies & Media for use of their recording equipment and support of this podcast.

Produced by Lyle Skains & Jordan Glendenning. Music from Kurt James Werner.

What’s happening in the box of Wonder? Oh, so many things!

What’s happening in the box of Wonder? Oh, so many things!

We’ve been quiet for a while here not because we’ve fallen off the Earth (it’s flat now, have you heard?), but because we’ve been spectacularly busy!

We’ve got several projects on the go: the Opening Up Digital Fiction Writing Competition, our Normal Deviation anthology, a brand new Wonderbox podcast, and more Hyperstories on the way!

Opening Up Digital Fiction Writing Competition

Opening Up Digital Fiction Writing CompetitionThe 2nd annual contest closes tomorrow (15 March), but we’ve already gotten a slew of entries from all over the world, in all kinds of different formats. I can’t wait to go through them all and see what we’ve got. We’ll be shortlisting over the next couple of months, with winners announced in July.

In the meantime, why not have a look at last year’s winners and shortlist – there are fantastic works in there from Alan Bigelow, Kaitlyn Ensley, Dean Hammer, StoryMax, Robin Johnson, Phantom Williams, Lynda Clark, Serge Bouchardon, Mez Breeze & Dreaming Methods, and more.

Normal Deviation Anthology

Normal Deviation anthologyIt’s almost there! All the stories are in and edited to perfection. DeAnn and I are about to sit down and puzzle over the best order, along with font choices and all the ephemera that is involved in pagination, bios, and intros (maybe an outro?). We’ll be re-launching our Kickstarter to support the anthology in April, and expect to release in May, so keep an eye on this space and/or subscribe to our Normal Deviation mailing list.

The Wonderbox Podcast

Wonderbox PodcastI’m pretty excited about this one. I’ve been wanting to do a podcast for ages, but could never pin anyone down to chat with me/keep me from making each episode 3 hours long. Jordan Glendenning, a digital writer and one of my PhD students, is luckily just as enthusiastic about podcasts as I am, and a lot better at timekeeping.

This twice-monthly podcast will delve into all things digital fiction – what is it, where is it, what are the cool things it does, what role is it playing in culture, and just about anything else we can think of. Have a listen whether you’re new to digital fiction, or you’re a digital writer/researcher yourself – we hope everyone will find something interesting and entertaining in it. Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, and Podbean (or through your preferred podcast app).

Hyperstories

The Pyxis MemoI have more hyperstories in the works, building on The Futographer and my latest, The Pyxis Memo. We had a fantastic 24-hour Create-a-thon last week, and I spent a good 12 hours of it brainstorming my next hyperfiction/ebook hybrid: Death After Death. The ex-geneticist geek in me even got to Punnet Square the number of possible endings I’d created for the story (and then backtracked quickly – 1024 is ambitious, even for me!).

These hyperstories are the key focus of Wonderbox’s current publishing aims, so if any writer out there has work (such as Twine games) that you could envision becoming an ebook, get in touch.

For the Future…

As many may know, my vision for Wonderbox isn’t just for it to be a review site and publishing imprint. The ultimate goal is to create a marketplace arm where digital writers (of any and every genre and development platform) can self-publish their work – the Kindle Direct Publishing of the digital fiction world, as it were.

Toward that end, I have various funding applications out, in order to develop the site, provide server space for hosting the works, market them, and bring greater mainstream awareness to the form.

Until these come in, however, we’ll keep doing what we do – reading and writing about great digital and speculative fiction!