NEARLYWRITING NEARLYOLOGY > A Practice Based PHD incorporating WHAT DIDN’T QUITE: A Novel of Nearlyology by Chris & The Ifso

The novel starts like this:

And here’s the ABSTRACT of the whole PhD:

Through contextual research and creative practice, this PhD explores the composition of fiction for today’s mediatized society. Digital technology allows people to have multiple virtual personas, to be immersed in personalised media bubbles, to take one path but continue to keep an eye on the roads not taken; it also gives the writer new tools for mixing media and interacting with readers. Nearlywriting involves using whatever media and methods seem appropriate to convey a story, then seeking digital or analogue means to produce the results. The transmedia comic novel, What Didn’t Quite, was created using this approach; a story about Nearlyology, exploring how things that people nearly do influence who they really are.

Both components of the PhD explore how a transmedia literary fiction can convey the texture of everyday life and the inner lives of its characters while giving space to reader-generated responses and live collaboration. While scholarly writing on transmedia narrative and other related fields examines the potential for telling stories across different platforms and genres, how does the transmedia literary writer approach the production and publication of a multimodal text within the context of a complex publishing ecology?

Contextual research uses the concerns of the novel’s three protagonists to examine models of creation, distribution and performance of literary works. Concepts drawn from writing on transmedia narrative by Jenkins, Scolari and others are placed alongside insights from other fields relevant to multimodal composition; these include community arts, aboriginal storytelling, shamanism, outsider art, immersive theatre, psychotherapy, museum curation, songwriting and musical improvisation. Informed by McCluhan’s analysis of the limiting impact of writing and print technology on the concept of literacy, Ingold’s critique of academic writing which stands apart from the subject it explores and Solnit’s comparison between writing and walking, this is nearly a conventional academic treatise, nearly a personal reflection on creative practice.

Redrawing the boundaries of a book to include the total experience of time spent in and around its story world, What Didn’t Quite includes songs, soundscapes, reader-generated stories, workshops, artworks and live performance as well as the printed text.