Blog Fiction Defined


As the chart below shows, my definition of Blog Fiction has narrowed again. I think it is a definition that makes sense and now has a flowchart to help determine if something is "blog fiction". I think that this definition makes sense and keeps the sense that blog fiction is fiction based on the blogging format.

Blog Fiction: (noun) Serialized literature published to a blog that is written in a diary format. Often, but not necessarily, the fictional writer of the blog will interact with its readers.
Looking below, I have compiled a list of the different characteristics and possible iterations of those characteristics. To follow the chart to see where your blog(or any blog with fictional content) lands is easy. Start at the top node. At each node determine which characteristic better describes your blog. If it's an "ebook" go one way, if it's a "serial" go the other. Written as a diary go one way and if not go the other. Keep going until you get to an end point. If the endpoint is orange, then it means the blog is "Blog Fiction". If it is green then it means it's not only "blog fiction", but a "Blog Novel" as well. If no color, then it is something else. I'll be looking forward to all of your comments and thoughts.

Blog Fiction Chart

Text vs Multimedia

This is the first choice on the chart. Is the fiction in the form of text, music, pictures, or video. If it's text, keep going. If it's anything else, then it's not blog fiction and you can stop. Of course, with the internet any blog can contain all of these elements. To figure out which way to go, figure out which is the primary story driving element. For instance, a blog could be primarily text with a couple pictures thrown into each post, and an occasional video. However, as long as text is driving most of the narration, it is a textual blog and should follow that route.

ebook vs. Serial
This will be the next question. If the entire narrative is delivered and\or written (Update: See Comments for the reasoning behind this phrase being struck) at once, then it's an eBook. It might be published on a blog, but it's still an eBook.

Diary Format Vs. Non Diary
Is the text written like somebodies blog or diary. An entry doesn't have to start out with "Dear Diary" to be considered diary format. However, time and actions will occur between each entry. To be considered a diary format, there should be some indication of how much time has elapsed between each post.

One Author Vs. Many
This should be obvious.

Narrative Vs. Character
I touched on this before. However I wanted to expand on this because I think it's an important characteristic. A Narrative Diary means that you can actual experience a story from the viewpoint of one of the character's diaries. A "Character" diary just gives us insight into a character's thoughts and opinions. It would not include a plot arc in it's posts. Blogs that would be "Character" diaries would be "Fake" blogs like "Fake Steve Jobs" or the blogs at NewsGroper. Also some blogs that are based on an existing character from a movie or blog or narrative blog fiction.

One Character's Diary Vs. Multiple Characters' Diary
Another characteristic that shouldn't require much explanation. Can the readers read more than one of the character's diaries. If yes, then it's "multiple". If there is only one character keeping a diary that we can read, it is "Only one".

There is a one subtle thing to note. If a site has lots of diaries, but all of them are character diaries, I consider each to be their own separate diary to be considered by itself, not a collection of "Multiple" diaries. The reasoning here is that if none of them are narrative than there is no reason you would need to study them together. Each blog could be analyzed and read in a vacuum and it would have no effect on your understanding. A site like Newsgroper is what I'm thinking of when I talk about this exception.

Blog Aware Vs. Non Blog Aware
"Does the fictional person writing the diary interact with his readers?" What it means is, does the person writing the diary acknowledge that it is being written on a blog. Hence, "blog aware". Or could the whole thing very well be transcribed from a personal diary - "non blog aware".

In either case, I consider both to be Blog Fiction. I admit that a strong argument could be made that even though a writing is written in a diary format, published online as a serial, if it isn't "blog aware" then it's not blog fiction. The argument has a point. Once there are thousands of quality blog fiction sites I will revisit my decision.

Hazy-Time Vs. Real-Time
The distinction is simple. Is one day for the reader one day for the character writing the diary? So if the character doesn't post for an entire week, then that character will have to account for a week's worth of story. Or does the character's story unfold at a different pace than the reader. In that case then the character indicates how much time has passed since the last post.

General Collaberation Vs. Role Play
If there is more than one author, how do they collaborate? Obviously, if there is only one character's diary they would just do a general collaboration as you would in any format. However what if there are multiple diaries, do they all work on multiple characters, or does each one take on just one character?


Purple Pooka said...

Great definitions - thank you!

Do you have a larger version of the image somewhere?

I disagree that something written all at once is necessarily an e-book and not a blog fiction. If a blog fiction is pre-written, it can still be posted as a serial, and who but the writer's to know? Even if it's all published at once, this makes it no different, from a reader's perspective, to a blog fiction that has been completed and remains online to be read in its entirety.

I would agree that non-blog-aware diary fiction is still blog fiction. There are plenty of real blogs in which the writer takes no part in comments.

Also, sorry to pick holes, but you have a spurious apostrophe in the definition - "interact with it's readers". I only point this out because I don't want to have to use "(sic)" when I quote you, which I will no doubt be doing ;-).

DustinM said...

Whoops x2

I meant to have the picture be "click-through" so that you could click through to a larger image.

I also edited out my spurious apostrophe.

"I disagree that something written all at once is necessarily an e-book and not a blog fiction. If a blog fiction is pre-written, it can still be posted as a serial, and who but the writer's to know?"

I think it's alright if the whole things is 99% pre-written. However, the character should still interact with readers, or the author be ready to edit some parts, based on comments, to be considered blog fiction. Otherwise, what would set the blog fiction apart from any other literature written in a diary format?

Purple Pooka said...

The format would still be blog, not diary, and make use of the specific differences. There could be comments from other fictional bloggers, also pre-written, but no audience interaction in the blogs themselves (though the audience may be commenting and interacting with the author on a separate forum).

I say this because the blogfic I'm planning will do exactly this, but it's still very much about the nature of live blogging and interaction, just with me writing all the characters, including the commenters. I look forward to seeing whether you let it change your definition or not :-).

DustinM said...

Wow. I never thought of that possibility.

A completely pre-written blog performance with fictional commentators and interaction published as a serial.(but no audience interaction) With the exception of being entirely pre-written, my chart would already call that a blog fiction. Even though, if published as a serial, I don't know how you could NOT call that blog fiction.

This doesn't really change my definition, but does change the chart and characteristics. I think the easiest fix would be to cross out the words "and\or written" from the eBook vs. Serial characteristic. Agreed?

Purple Pooka said...

Yes, that makes sense.

Trust me to be a square peg...

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Jason said...

Nonsense. A writer can write what he, she, or it chooses, no more or less.
Letting you, the vultures, pick meat from it's bones, is the point.

DustinM said...

Nothing written here suggests that someone cannot write what they want. This is an attempt to categorize and define what's being written - not limit it in anyway.

Smithford said...

I started my blog, Paramour Is Unrelated, without knowing what type of blog it was. Now that I'm trying to get more traffic I'm learning way more about fictional blogs and our necessary niche in the blogsphere. Thank you!
P.S. Latest Entry: Jenny Jones's 4 Stages of Twice Told Tales

Actionlad said...

I've just started my blog. Enjoy...

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