Week 9: Algorithmic and Appropriative Writing

This week we’ll be looking at appropriative writing, fanfiction, and other forms which make explicit use of the ideas and words of others. In talking about these works, we’ll look at a lot of examples from the history of “experimental” writing and examine how techniques developed over the last century are given new life in digital media.


Assigned Reading

It’s Not Plagiarism. In the Digital Age, It’s ‘Repurposing.’ Kenneth Goldsmith (also of note: “Authenticity Obsession, or Conceptualism as Minstrel Show” by Ken Chen and “Kenneth Goldsmith Says He Is an Outlaw” by CAConrad.)

Bronwen Thomas. 2011. “What Is Fanfiction and Why Are People Saying Such Nice Things about It??” Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies 3. University of Nebraska Press:1–24. https://doi.org/10.5250/storyworlds.3.2011.0001. [Available through the Bath Spa Library Website.]

The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin. William S. Burroughs

Additional Reading

The Ecstasy of Influence. Jonathan Lethem

Tradition and the Individual Talent. T.S. Elliot

“One hundred million million poems.” (“Cent mille milliards de poèmes”) Raymond Queneau. About the work.

The Two. Nick Montfort

Opened Captions. About Open Captions.

From Instrumental Texts to Textual Instruments. Two examples of textual instruments here.

John Cage on Wikipedia.

Vito Acconci

Language is a Virus (site dedicated to text generation with lots of online text manipulation tools)

Even More

Week 8: Locative Writing / Ambient Literature

This week we’ll be looking at forms of digital writing that take advantage of the locational  and contextual possibilities offered by contemporary technologies. We’ll be meeting in Bath to try out a piece of “ambient literature”.

Assigned Reading

Dovey, Jon. 2016. “Ambient Literature: Writing Probability.” In Ubiquitous Computing, Complexity and Culture, edited by Ulrik Ekman, Jay David Bolter, Lily Diaz, Morten Søndergaard, and Maria Engberg, 141–54. New York, NY: Routledge. [An online copy of this book is available through the Bath Spa Library website.]

It Must Have Been Dark By Then. This is a hybrid work which combines a smartphone app with a physical book. You can download the app for Android or iOS. We’ll be doing this in class this week.

Additional Reading

Ambient Literature

Janet Cardiff

The Cartographer’s Confession and interview with James Attlee (You need to be in London to actually do this one, but you can still experience the content through the “armchair” mode.)


Week 7: Writing and Performance

We have a guest lecture from Dr Panayiota Demetriou this week. She’ll be talking about refiguring narrative through audio-visual performance and immersive theatre. In this, the aim is to think about how writing for digital platforms can start to move away from the computer and into the real world.


Dr Yiota Demetriou’s slides

Assigned Reading

The potentials of spaces: The theory and practice of scenography & performance edited by Alison Oddey and Christine White. p. 35 – 40. [This is available as an ebook through the Bath Spa Library, just make sure you are signed in to the library before visiting the link.]

Documenting performance: The context and processes of digital curation and archiving edited by Toni Sant. Read the chapter “Remembering Performance through the Practice of Oral History” (p. 83) [This is available as an ebook through the Bath Spa Library, just make sure you are signed in to the library before visiting the link.]

Unstable ground: Performance and the politics of place / edited by Gay McAuley. Read the chapter “Haunted Spaces” (p. 111–124). [This is available as a print book through the Bath Spa Library, with most of the text of the chapter available on Google Books.]


Love Letters

Additional Reading

Love Letters – Wearing Stories Told: A performance-technology provocation for interactive storytelling

Love Letters – Performance, Creative Technologies, Audience Participation


We’ll be workshopping some of your early work for your final projects, so be sure to bring something that you’ve been working on that you can share with the class. If necessary, write up a brief explanation of your project so that other students can get a sense of what you are doing in the project.

Week 6: Games and Chatbots

Building on the discussion of interactive writing last week, we’ll be turning toward a more dynamic form of interactive writing that looks to establish systems that mimic real life interactions.


Assigned Reading

Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Studies by Noah Wardrip-Fruin. E-Book available to Bath Spa University students can be found here. (Read chapters 2 and 3).

Additional Reading

The Inspection Chamber

Experimenting with Low Intelligence Dialogue




  • Workshop the pieces of interactive writing that were started last week.
  • Create a short chatbot-based interactive dialogue.

Week 5: Writing for Interaction

This week is focused on how to write for interaction, focusing on interactive narrative. The aim is to start to build on the relationship between duration, rhythm, and reading that we started considering last week when discussing writing and social media.

At the start of class, we’ll be workshopping your social media writing started last week, so be sure to spend time this week finishing them.


Assigned Reading

Writing Interactive Fiction with Twine by Melissa Ford (Read the start of the book that is available on Google books, particularly chapter 2). This will just give you some sense of the general terrain of interactive fiction.

Take some time to read and look at a few of these examples:

And start to familiarize yourself with Twine.

Additional Reading

Interactive Fiction Database

Laura Michet

Twine 2.0 Beginner’s Guide


  1. We’ll be workshopping your social media writing from last week, so be sure to finish them up.
  2. Create a piece of interactive writing using Twine.

Week 4: Writing for Social Media

This week we’ll focus on writing for social media platforms, both in fiction and non-fictional settings.


Assigned Reading

Theory / Criticism
Andersen, Tore Rye. 2017. “Staggered Transmissions.” Convergence 23 (1). SAGE Publications Ltd: 34–48. doi:10.1177/1354856516675256. [GET THIS FROM THE BATH SPA LIBRARY WEBSITE]

Crown, Sarah. 2012. “Twitter Is a Clunky Way of Delivering Fiction.” The Guardian, May 25.


Additional Reading

Segar, Emma. 2017. “Blog Fiction and Its Successors.” Convergence 23 (1). SAGE Publications Ltd: 20–33. doi:10.1177/1354856516678369.

A [S]creed for Digital Fiction by Alice Bell et. al.

The RIght Sort by David Mitchell

Jellybone by Kate Pullinger

Social media has turned Republican & Democratic Parties into host bodies for 3rd party candidates by Clay Shirky

Anselm Berrigan’s Twitter


Set up a (free) WordPress.com site

  • The blog is a medium
  • It can be any kind of site (blog, webpage, etc.)
  • It should fit with the writing you produce (eventually)
  • It should make clear what is going on (or not)

It should have (at least):

  • Theme
  • Title
  • About
  • Picture (look at Creative Commons or Wikimedia)

Post a link to your site in the discussion forum in Minerva

Activity for next week

Write a nice piece of social media content

Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or drama

Include some other media with it.

Target whatever platform you want. Make sure to attend to the affordances of the platform.

Can be in the platform itself or just drafted.

We’ll be workshopping these next week.

Be sure to think about
Timing / Temporality
Interactivity (the invitation)
Reading in the present vs the archive
Cognitive model of the platform
How to lead readers in from your blog / website

Week 3: Collaborative Writing

This week we’ll be discussing collaborative writing. As digital platforms make it possible to more easily collaborate on texts than ever before, being able to effectively collaborate on writing is an essential skill to develop and understand.

Assigned Readings

  1. “The Death of the Author” by Roland Barthes
  2. A report on A Million Penguins
  3. The Distributed Cognition Perspective on Human Interaction by Edwin Hutchins (read pages 375-380)

After you’ve done the reading, please post a response of about 200 words to Minerva in the “Week 2:Collaborative Writing” discussion forum”. (Select “Assessment” from the left column, then select “Week 2: Collaborative Writing” and create a new thread to post your response in.

For these informal responses, pick out a few key terms from the readings to discuss, challenge something said in the reading, or reflect on how you might think about approaching the form (in this case, collaborative writing) in your own writing.

Additional Readings

In Class Activities

  1. Using another student’s transmedia bible from last week, write a brief piece (for any media) that fits into the narrative world they have laid out.
  2. In groups, create a piece of writing in the tradition of flash fiction in a shared Google Doc. It can be a poem, a short story, nonfiction, but aim for around 400 words. Make it a nice, finished piece of writing.


Slides from this week.

Week 2: Transmedia/Extended Narrative/ARG

This week we will consider transmedia narratives. The objective is to get you thinking about how different media can be interleaved as part of either a fiction or non-fiction narrative. In addressing transmedia early in the module, you should start to think about how your final portfolios might make use of different media and the affordances that they offer.

Slides for this week.

Assigned Readings

The first two readings are available via the Bath Spa Library website.

  1. Abba, Tom. 2009. “Examining the Future of Transmedia Narrative.” Science Fiction Film and Television 2 (1): 59–76. (Read pages 59-62 for a good introduction to transmedia. You can read the whole thing if you’re interested in sci-fi or want more insight into alternate reality games.)
  2. Hancox, Donna. 2017. “From Subject to Collaborator.” Convergence 23 (1). SAGE Publications Ltd: 49–60. doi:10.1177/1354856516675252. (This is great in that it expands on how we think about transmedia to include non-fiction and other kinds of writing.)
  3. A History of Transmedia Entertainment, Derek Johnson. (This essay gives some extra insight into how transmedia can be understood, particularly as it relates to intellectual property and marketing.)

After you’ve done the reading, please post a response of about 200 words to Minerva in the “Week 2: Transmedia” discussion forum”. (Select “Assessment” from the left column, then select “Week 2: Transmedia” and create a new thread to post your response in.

For these informal responses, pick out a few key terms from the readings to discuss, challenge something said in the reading, or reflect on how you might think about approaching the form (in this case, transmedia) in your own writing.

Examples Discussed in Class

  1. The search for the zone
  2. Southern Reach Trilogy
  3. One Millionth Tower
  4. 18 Days in Egypt
  5. 2097: We Made Ourselves Over
  6. I love bees
  7. lonelygirl15

Additional Resources

  1. Transmedia 202: Further Reflections. Henry Jenkins.
  2. Transmedia. Baldur Bjarnason and Tom Abba.
  3. Jenkins, Henry, Sam Ford, and Joshua Green. 2013. Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture. NYU press. (The book is available in the library).
  4. Spreadable Media Essays
  5. Norman, Don. 2013. The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition. Hachette UK.
  6. Jenkins, Henry. 2010. “Transmedia Storytelling and Entertainment: An Annotated Syllabus.” Continuum 24 (6). Routledge: 943–58. doi:10.1080/10304312.2010.510599.

In Class Activities

  1. In groups, pick one of the examples discussed and perform an analysis of the different ways media are used.
  2. Start to write a transmedia story bible / guide. We want to be able to use these next week to support in class activities about collaborative writing.

Here are a few things to be sure to include in your transmedia story bible/guide:

  • For fiction, include descriptions of characters, setting, circumstances
  • For non-fiction, include topics, facts, sources, strategies, aims
  • The core defining properties of the property.
  • A description of the intended audience(s).
  • Plans for at least three different media: video, social media, blogs, stand alone website, real life events, print, games, chatbots.
  • A discussion of plans for each media platform you are going to deploy.
  • An overall description for how you will seek to integrate the different media platforms to create a coherent world.
  • How do you invite audiences in (down the rabbit hole)?

Examples of pitch documents / story bibles are on Minerva.

We’ll be using these next week to share and work from in class, so be prepared to share them. The aim is to create a framework for a transmedia work which will allow another student to pick up your guide and then create a piece of writing that will fit into your world. Write in Google Docs, if possible.

Tools, Platforms, and Resources

This is just a list of some of the tools, resources, and platforms that might be helpful in the module. There are, of course, many more. We will discuss some of these tools in class, but it is up to you to choose the tools that are right for you and your projects.

College of Liberal Art Publishing Workshops

These are opportunities for learning how to use a variety of tools for digital publishing. We won’t be discussing many specific technologies in the module, so these workshops are an excellent opportunity for learning how to use a variety of tools for digital creation.



Bath Spa Writing Centre



Creative Commons Guidelines 

We’ll be following creative commons guidelines in the course.



Tools for Content Creation


Final Draft

Text Editing

MS Word/LibreOffice

Google Docs


Video Resources


Windows Movie Maker




Adobe InDesign

Image Editing

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Suite (access via uni macs) : http://www.adobe.com/

Adobe Premiere Pro

Adobe Spark https://spark.adobe.com/

Visual Studio Code (free) – code.visualstudio.com

Interactive Fiction

Twine: http://twinery.org/

Undum: http://undum.com/

Quest: http://textadventures.co.uk/quest

Korsakow: http://korsakow.org

One More Story Games: https://onemorestorygames.com/

HypeDyn – for creating “text-based interactive stories that adapt to reader choice” – www.narrativeandplay.org/hypedyn

inklewriter – www.inklestudios.com/inklewriter

Inform 7


TextAdventures (Quest)

Cloudnovel (Visual Novel browser-based creator)

Ren’py (Visual Novel engine)

Visual Novels

Cloud Novel: http://cloudnovel.net/

Ren’py Creator: https://www.renpy.org/

Manga Studio

http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/ ,


Multimodal Literature

Racontr: https://racontr.com/

Klynt: http://www.klynt.net/

Prezi (robust presentation software): https://prezi.com



Audacity: http://www.audacityteam.org/

Garageband (mac standard): http://www.apple.com/mac/garageband/


Podbean: https://www.podbean.com/

Podomatic: https://www.podomatic.com/login



Social Media Platforms









Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/

British Library (flikr): https://www.flickr.com/people/britishlibrary/

Macaulay Library (nature media): http://macaulaylibrary.org/

Looper man (audio resources): http://www.looperman.com/

Free images (stock photos): http://www.freeimages.com/image/movie-music

New Old Stock: http://nos.twnsnd.co/

Sound Bible


Vimeo (CC)







Week 1: What is Digital Writing?

This week will serve as an introduction to the course, provide a brief introduction to the field of electronic literature, and start a discussion about the way in which digital writing intersects with traditional writing and social practices around reading. Some key ideas that I want to keep in mind this week are reproducibility, imitation, expression, and the reasons for creating works of literature. The task this week is to start thinking about what kind of project you would like develop for your final project.

Module Handbook.

Slides from this week.

Assigned Readings

  1. Electronic Literature: What is it? by N. Katherine Hayles. This provides an overview of the field of electronic literature.
  2. The Electronic Literature Collection 1. Take some time to look at several of the works in the collection. The note of any problems you encounter in experiencing these works.

By looking specifically at “electronic literautre,” the aim is to be able to identify some of the opportunities and challenges offered by digital writing in general.

In Class Activities

  1. Perform “digital audit” about current digital writing practices and aims for the module.
  2. Start “blue sky” thinking about final projects.

Additional Reading / Viewing

Electronic Literature Course from EdX

Acid Free Bits by Nick Montfort and Noah Wardrip-Fruin

The Future of Storytelling Vimeo: this is a conference in NY; they have posted a series of very interesting videos about the future of storytelling on their Vimeo page: 

Inanimate Alice

Margaret Atwood: A State of Wonder – Future of Storytelling: animated video talk

Karen by Blast Theory

Jellybone  by Kate Pullinger

Pry by Samantha Gorman and Danny Cannizzaro

Even More

What is e-lit? – eliterature.org/what-is-e-lit

Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 1 – collection.eliterature.org/1

Electronic Literature Collection, Volume 2 – collection.eliterature.org/2

ELMCIP Anthology of European Electronic Literature – anthology.elmcip.net

I ♥ E-Poetry – iloveepoetry.com

I ♥ E-Poetry Games – iloveepoetry.com/?p=10359

Drablr: Streaming Drabbles 100 words at a time – drablr.com

A History of the Drabble – drablr.com/history-of-the-drabble

How to Write a Drabble – drablr.com/how-to-write-a-drabble

The Hangup – by Mary Flanagan & Nick Montfort – nickm.com/poems/the_hangup.html

Lede – by Nick Montfort – nickm.com/poems/lede.html

jason.nelson’s.digital.poetry.interfaces – heliozoa.com

P.o.E.M.M series (Poems for Excitable Mobile Media) by Jason Edward Lewis & Bruno Nadeau – www.poemm.net

Blackbar – by Neven Mrgan & James Moore – mrgan.com/blackbar/press

ELMCIP Electronic Literature Knowledge Base – elmcip.net/knowledgebase

The New Media Reader – edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin & Nick Montfort, MIT Press, 2003

Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary – by N. Katherine Hayles, University of Notre Dame Press, 2008