The Memory Store PhD Research Project – Overview
The Memory Store is a collaborative online writing project. Set in 2114 in Liverpool it will be organised and orchestrated through a central system, the memory store – a technology that in this fictional world everyone is connected to. Readers will be invited to contribute content that imagines this narrative universe. Released in three phases the narrative developing will be influenced by reader contributions.
This proposed research project sits in the context of new and emerging reading experiences online and through devices such as e-readers and the ipad. Publishing companies are seeking ways to exploit these new mediums as vehicles for a different relationship with readers. We can see this interest in projects such as, Penguins, We Tell Stories (http://wetellstories.co.uk/) and Faber and Faber’s Pepys Rd (http://storythings.com/2012/03/13/pepys-road-reading-repetition-reflection/). Both of which explore new ways of delivering a narrative and engaging a readership. My research will explore not only new ways of telling stories but also new ways of engaging readers in the narrative experience. What are the possibilities for this way of reading and writing? What might digital technologies offer that could be considered new for storytelling?
I have recently completed an MA in Writing (with Distinction) during which I created a fictional world related as a radio play, online (http://www.henriettamaddenfox.info/) and as a novel. The story of the novel was expanded upon in content spread across blogs, google maps and a website that augmented the characters, provided them with an existence outside of the novels plot and developed subplots. The radio play took a section of the novel and retold it from a different perspective, placing the user in the action, literally in the soundscape of the story. This experience of not only writing a long piece of narrative fiction, the novel, but also of considering extending this story world on other platforms leads into this proposed research project. Leading me to investigate the following;
The convergence of new media and writing practice to consider new ways in which we might read and write with digital tools;
The creation of a story world that orchestrates user submitted content to connect and reveal characters, locations and plots;
The role of authorship in a collaborative environment and ways in which we might collectively construct stories;
How essential storytelling elements (character, perspective, location, time and narrative structure) are best deployed in an online, collaborative narrative project;
How a transmedia experience, that requires exploration by the reader and delivers a dispersed reading experience, might be presented.
The research project will be carefully constructed, informed by theories of fiction writing, taking techniques that successfully convey plot, character and action and applying those to these new mediums. All technology employed will be freely available consumer level applications.
The proposed project also concerns the theme of memory. The internet is packed with photographs, videos, blogs and memorabilia of all kinds. It is a vast digital archive. What stories are we storing up for future generations to trawl through? How might we piece together collective memories? How does technology through the media generate a collective memory that we all contribute to?