Online writing

I thought some of you who were part of the online novel event at The Site that Must Not Be Named or those of you working in computer technology might find this article interesting. But I warn you: it was written for a scholarly conference so it’s written in academic style. Not charming but interesting, I hope.

Corduroy Mansions: The Implications of Publishing an Online Novel

This paper examines the online publication of the serial novel, Corduroy Mansions, by Alexander McCall Smith, as well as other online novels, and their implications for writing, publishing and the cultivation of a global reading audience.

[The paper was delivered at the 7th International Conference on the Book in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Oct. 18, 2009.]

The remainder of the article can be found here.

11 thoughts on “Online writing”

  1. “Multiplicity extends not only to the copying of manuscripts but also to the participation of the author, as an abstract concept”

    i’m not sure what you mean by the author as an abstract concept, or what that has to do with multiplicity. and how is browsing in a bookshop any different, if you have no interest in the celebrity authors and are just pulling something down at random and seeing whether it takes your fancy?

    was this a transcript of your presentation?

  2. Yes, Bunny, this is the paper I delivered. Only missing the PowerPoint presentation in the background. I’ll have to reread the paper to answer your questions. It’s been six months since I delivered that paper—too long for my tiny brain to retain its contents!

  3. OK I suppose what I mean by that is that the individual writer is less “necessary” than in the 19th and 20th century. We care less “who” has written the book. Each book could be written by any number of people whose names are real or assumed. To be quite truthful, I’m not sure if that’s true or not because I’m not that sure of the “mentality” of online reading communities. But the web with its ability to foster multiple “unverifiable” identity sort of sets that up.

    There would be no difference between the internet and a bookstore with no celebrity authors, except that there are no bookstores without celebrity authors or without publishers paying for shelf and table space, or in other ways promoting specific books.

  4. Thanks, Pseu. I have trouble reading online also. Though, shocking, I’m getting used to it. The best part of writing the paper was that I got to interview McCall Smith, who is very entertaining.

  5. jaimeatdnmyt :

    OK I suppose what I mean by that is that the individual writer is less “necessary” than in the 19th and 20th century. We care less “who” has written the book. Each book could be written by any number of people whose names are real or assumed. To be quite truthful, I’m not sure if that’s true or not because I’m not that sure of the “mentality” of online reading communities. But the web with its ability to foster multiple “unverifiable” identity sort of sets that up.

    There would be no difference between the internet and a bookstore with no celebrity authors, except that there are no bookstores without celebrity authors or without publishers paying for shelf and table space, or in other ways promoting specific books.

    that shows i am out of touch with the way things work, i hadn’t come across celebrity tables. when i go back home i tend to only visit second hand book shops partly because they are cheaper but also because they generally ahve a more obscure selection.

    The reason i asked the transcript question was because i found it a little difficult to follow because i wasn’t clear what you were arguing for, or against. i was guessing there was probably an abstract somewhere from the meeting….

    i’m still not clear about the multiplicity thing

  6. Yeah, Bunny, that was one of the complaints of one of the peer reviewers: that there was no hypothesis argued. I decided against having one and I say that in the abstract: that the paper is only there to point out possible directions of study. One of the problems of the topic is the rapid changes on the Web and how difficult it is to make hypotheses given the constantly morphing way in which writing is published online. So rather than make myself insane trying to build and prove models I decided to let others do that and just point out some models and their historical links.

    Thanks, by the way, for your careful reading. I may pursue this topic more in the future, so any ideas are great.

    And the multiplicity thing? I need to clear that up in my own thinking, I guess.

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