Resource: A [S]creed for Digital Fiction

This creed for the screen, written by the Digital Fiction International Network (DFIN)--composed of scholars from all over the world, including Sheffield Hallam University, Bangor University, The University of Otago, Hedmark University College, Grant MacEwan University, and Yale University--is explicitly concerned with Digital Fiction. It is meant to reflect “not so much on what digital media will mean for literary practice and literary studies, and reading itself, but what it has already meant.” In the rapidly growing constellation that is all things digital, this “[S]creed for Digital Fiction” takes time to slow things down, ponder, and elucidate on literary art that may (or may not) emerge from new medial affordances.

This essay, published in ebr, illustrates “a platform of critical principles to guide us in our exploration of digital-literary art, a foundation for any claim to the cultural and literary significance of fiction written on and for a computer screen.” This [s]creed offers up a list of exactly what the DFIN embraces, from the practices of close analysis, to the importance of code, to an emphasis on narratological approaches to (digital) narrative fictions. The group believes that narrative theory provides a basis hinged on print-oriented narratological criticism that can be extended to non-print texts. But they also focus on the distinct “(inter-)medial and ludic qualities” afforded by the media-specifics of the digital terminal.

The Digital Fiction International Network is highly concerned with ‘reading’ in digital environments. They ask the question: “Is there really any place for a contemplative literary art in digital environments inundated with the audio-visual, the animated, and the immediate?” Ultimately, the group does believe that “literary complexity can - and has - migrated to digital environments.” They conclude that digital fictions require re-reading even more than their print counterparts; the inherent qualities of nodal connections and (hyper)textual links means that re-reading digital works is essential to the comprehension of the art.

Also noteworthy of the [s]creed is what it excludes. The network deliberately neglects “blogs, communitarian digital fiction, digital storytelling, e-books, and games we can’t ‘read.’” The group concludes that “digital media do not dispossess us of the interpretive reading practices that we have developed relative to print, but we are certain that they do imply a new mode of literary study and analysis.”

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