19 January 2010

Welcome to my research blog

Since I'm now officially a research student at Edge Hill University, and blogging is part of my research, I should really be keeping a blog about it. This is in part a way to keep my supervisors, family and anybody else with a passing interest informed on what I'm up to, and partly a guide to remind myself what I've done, what I have to do and when I'm meant to be doing it.

My Ph.D., for the above interested parties, will be in Blog Fiction and Narrative Time. I'm researching from a Creative Writing perspective, so the main part of my thesis will be a work of Blog Fiction. I'm currently almost certain that this will be called Bad Influences, hence the title of this blog.

Somewhere on this page you will find a link to the full version of my research proposal , but in brief, my plan for the next year is to write Bad Influences. This will consist of the fictional blogs of four characters during a worldwide influenza pandemic in the year 2025. The story will consist not only of these four characters' survival stories but their comments and interaction on each other's blogs, and the comments of other bloggers and minor characters (whose blogs will be either locked or less extensive and included as the hypertext equivalent of a DVD extra). The idea is to deal with the usual apocalyptic themes - loss, societal breakdown, survival, isolation, community etc. - all set amongst the confusion of distance and intimacy that comes with online relationships.

The year after writing the story, I'll post it in real time - that is, the time lapse between posts and comments being revealed to the reader will match the narrative time experienced by the characters. It is the narrative time aspect of Blog Fiction that interests me most, and I'll be writing a critical analysis or mini-thesis on this topic to accompany the fictional work that makes up my main thesis.

This critical work will take up the remainder of my research time. I've spend the last year or so preparing background research to the story and providing the evidence of methodological and ethical consideration that my research department requires, so I'm hoping to complete the Ph.D. within three years. However, I am on a part-time programme and I'm also going to be working three to four days a week, so this time may be extended. In short, if you're holding your breath for the story to appear, I take no responsibility for any symptoms of oxygen deprivation.

In the meantime, I'll keep you updated on my current research and anything about the writing process that I deem to be interesting enough to record here. This is mostly for my benefit, as a record of the research and writing process will be useful when the time comes to write up the critical part of the thesis, but I'd love to chat about it to anyone else who reads, writes or researches blog fiction.


  1. Hi Emma,

    Eli here, from Novelr. Am glad to hear that you'll be doing your thesis on blog fiction (been some time since James Smythe that anybody's tried to do that) and am looking forward to your thoughts.

    If you need any help - just send me an email (Novelr's got a contact form) and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

  2. Oooooh my love-hate relationship w/ the realtime thing! Working on a story that takes place in the future, you'll be able to avoid talk of "current events" that will have happened a year or more hence by the time you post. Though, I guess you COULD lose some of the immediacy that is an (potential) advantage for blogfic, as well. (only musing, here)

    For my part, since that time-lapse is such a unique aspect of the medium, I'm toying w/ the idea of RE-POSTING my blog in it's entirety once it's finished, tidying up some of the references to not-so-current-events (maybe even updating them w/ something more relevent...)

    look forward to reading more!