I Want My Hat Back Adaptation

Project Summary

 

The project I have created is a literary adaptation of the children’s picture book I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. The adaptation is digital, in the format of a Mag+ app. However, it has a specific audience in mind, young readers with visual impairments – particularly the condition of Protanopia (a type of colour blindness).

 

Unsworth comments that ‘Stories for early readers composed for online distribution only, seem to focus mainly on supporting children in learning how to decode the text’. This is relevant for my adaptation, because it concentrates on enabling visually impaired children to be able to process a story in ways more effective to their needs. I have incorporated text, but also other media elements such as images, narration and animal sounds, to create further engagement with the story beyond the traditional formatting. All these elements will help young readers to be able to make connections and connotations to the characters as animals, and follow the storyline. In regards to Hutcheon’s theories on adaptation, my project participates in telling and showing modes of engagement. The telling mode comes from the verbal and visual texts that create the story. The showing mode comes from the animal sounds that show the reader what sounds that particular animal makes.

 

The concept of creating reading material for the visually impaired is not new, yet is substantially lacking. Therefore, I undertook market research with visually impaired people to get an idea on the most appropriate formatting for my project. One visually impaired individual I questioned claimed that ‘light colours on a black background are far easier to see if you have little sight and also inverted colours on an iPad’. In Photoshop, the editing mode can be set so that the colours would appear the same as they would to someone who suffers with Protanopia. I knew that a black background with white, bold text and illustrations with vibrant colours embedded throughout would reflect the inverted colour option on an iPad. In terms of navigation, my adaptation complies with Vandendorpe’s browsing mode theory, as readers will take in the whole text and the swipe motioning ‘allows the user to navigate the web from one node of information to another’.

 

Overall, I feel like the project was successful in providing digital reading material that allows multi methodical storytelling, for those who have difficulty reading in the traditional formatting. However, if done for publication, I would commission the appropriate professionals to enforce a strong design style.

 

Bibliography

 

Callender, G Conversation with Cindy Callender, 1st May 2016.

 

Hutcheon, Linda and Siobhan O’Flynn A Theory of Adaptation 2nd ed. [Online]. Abingdon: Routledge, 2013. Available from: http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/detail/detail?sid=e261e422-a2884e9ea7767939c76dbd21%40sessionmgr4001&vid=0&hid=4210&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwLHNoaWImc2l0ZT1lZHMtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=bs.a2331880&db=cat00939a [Accessed 15th May 2016].

 

Klassen, Jon I Want My Hat Back. London: Walker Books Ltd, 2011.

 

Unsworth, Len E-literature for Children: Enhancing digital literacy learning [Online] Abingdon: Routledge, 2006. Available from: http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/detail/detail?sid=ac6fd943-6257-40a5-880f-66d96b2e7920%40sessionmgr4002&vid=0&hid=4108&bdata=JkF1dGhUeXBlPWlwLHNoaWImc2l0ZT1lZHMtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=bs.a1915569&db=cat00939a  [Accessed 15th May 2016].
Vandendorpe, Christian ‘Reading on Screen: The New Media Sphere’.
In: Siemens, Ray and Susan Schreibman ed. A Companion to Digital Literary Studies [Online]. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2008, Part III, 10. Available from: Available from: http://digitalhumanities.org:3030/companion/view?docId=blackwell/9781405148641/9781405148641.xml&chunk.id=ss1-5-4&toc.depth=1&toc.id=ss1-5-4&brand=9781405148641_brand [Accessed 18th May 2016].

Vendetta – A Commentary

Project Links

Tumblr: stuckatthediner.tumblr.com

YouTube: Sophie Gracewell

Twitter: @stuckatthediner

 

My project is a digital adaptation of Vendetta by Catherine Doyle. I have chosen to use multiple platforms to tell the story through the characters interacting with each other online as ‘of all the pleasures of literature, none is more fulfilling to the embodied mind than immersing itself in a fictional world.’ Creating a transmedia online world for this story has been incredibly challenging as readers must be able to view the story on whichever platform they want and have all the available information to understand the plot and past events, ‘transmedia narratives are much richer across platforms, each narrative must be a complete story on its own (Jenkins 2007). Thus, if levels of narrative understanding are high in each medium, each can stand as its own story.’ I chose to use Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube to design this interactive and transmedia world from the original book published in 2014.

To get this project live I contacted the author and publisher to gain permission and they have been following the progression of the story online. The author has even interacted with several of the characters.

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries inspired me to create such an intricate transmedia narrative thread, using ‘each platform [to] provide[s] a unique contribution to the fictional world.’ The creators of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries managed to adapt Pride and Prejudice to a very modern version where Elizabeth Bennet’s diary is in the form of a vlog and change the third person narration to a first person. It was able to give details into other characters lives and so I decided to use a very modern piece of literature and see if that would translate just as well into a digital version of the book. The main protagonist has a great personality to be in front of a camera and as her world expands, due to the events that take place, it is a great way to show YouTube readers how these events have affected her.

I decided to use Twitter because the main characters are all in their late teens or early twenties. The social media site gives fans of the series a chance to interact with the characters and I have found that the main character’s love interest has actually been the one to be tweeted at the most. I have also been the subject of ‘fan-girling’ where one of the people who loves the Blood For Blood series re-tweets, replies and likes any tweet that I post from Luca’s account. The fans of the series are almost play-acting in order to immerse themselves in the online narration of the story, ‘through their act of make-believe readers, spectators, or players transport themselves in imagination from the world they regard as actual toward an alternative possible world – a virtual reality – which they regard as actual for the duration of their involvement in the text, game or spectacle.’ Because of the way fans of the story have been interacting with my characters is has been very tough to keep the narrative on track as they keep tweeting about things that haven’t happened to the characters yet. ‘This phenomenon, known as “transfictionality” … expresses the reader’s desire to free the fictional world from the control of the author and to see it live and evolve independently of the text that originally brought it to life’ making interactions between characters and the public seem more real as I have to tweet outside of the story in order to satisfy followers of the accounts and to give them more details about the characters as if they are 3D people with real lives going on even when they are not in the current section of the book.

Because I have created so many different character view points there are new parts to the original that I must always be designing and uploading for viewer consumption. As Linda Hutcheon writes about in reference to view points enriching a story ‘our perspective is much broader, thanks to voice-overs and other characters’ information, conveyed often through flashbacks (B. Thomas 2000: 222)’ it is imperative that each of the characters brings a new frame of reference to the novel and informs the spectators about events that have happened in a new frame of light.

As Sophie Gracewell is the main character of all the books, I decided to have a vlog dedicated to her version of the story as ‘YouTube is probably the most prominent example of media practice that allows the individual to record the minutest details of his or her life and to distribute them.’ During these vlogs, Sophie brings the other characters to life with the use of costume theatre as she occasionally dresses up like them and impersonates them on camera.

It has been incredibly challenging to make, edit and upload these videos in a timely fashion. The videos can take about five hours from start to finish and then have to be tweeted about as well as making sure that the characters have been talking about events that lead up to the events that Sophie talks about in her videos.

I chose to create a vlog because I wanted audience participation, whether that was on YouTube, Twitter or Tumblr, and the vlogs are ‘a form whose persistent direct address to the viewer inherently invites feedback’ automatically involving the watcher and at many points Sophie does ask her watches to tweet directly to her.

However, I have had difficultly trying to put everything into the videos such as the letters between Sophie and her father who is prison. This realisation made me think about how to structure my project and I decided that Sophie needed to have a base from which to give the extra information from the book. I settled on using Tumblr as a way of communicating other information and giving people who wish to follow the adaptation an idea of how to do it. As Tumblr is a blog site it ‘has attained the mainstream as a form of digital personal diary’ which gives me the ability to get personal information that Sophie wouldn’t normally share across to my audience, which is supported by Viviane Serfaty when she noted that ‘diarists feel they can write about their innermost feelings without fearing identification and humiliation, [while] readers feel they can inconspicuously observe others and derive power from that knowledge.’

By using Tumblr instead of WordPress or another blogging site, I have been given the opportunity to make my blog much more relevant to the age of the fans of the book as it is aimed at teenagers, and 61% of 13-19 year olds claim Tumblr as their favourite social media site.

This project has been enormously rewarding as I have been able to work with the author to create something lasting that can be viewed across multiple platforms and in many different ways. My aim in this project was to show that stories don’t have to be read in book form and that social media can bring a story to life in different and interactive ways that allow the story to change and adapt because the fans influence decisions made by the characters and can sway them from a particular thought process.

 

Other Twitter handles

Millie Parker @millietheamazin

Alex Parker @ParkerBasket

Luca Falcone @falcone_luca1

Nicoli Falcone @nic_falcone

Dom Falcone @falcone_dom1

 

C S Lewis trail of N.Ireland- A Commentary

C S Lewis is one of the most famous authors of the twentieth century. His enchanting novels captured the imagination of children everywhere as they second guessed their wardrobes forever in search of Narnia. However, there were many factors which all fed into Lewis to help him create these faraway lands. Not many people are aware that Lewis was Irish and spent the first ten years of his life growing up in Belfast. It was these years and the tragic events that occurred that left the young boy to escape into his own imaginative land.

My project is based on his early life in Ireland and the influences it had on his young imagination. Lewis often cited locations in County Down to be what inspired Narnia, The Mourne Mountains, Rosstrevor to name a few, even quoting in his essay On Stories, ‘I yearn to see County Down in the snow, one almost expects to see a march of dwarfs marching past!’[1] I have decided to uncover these locations through a C S Lewis Trail that will form the style of a blog. Each post will take you on the journey around C S Lewis’s life in Ireland, his experiences and the influences it had on him as a young man writing in Oxford.

I had originally intended this to be an educational guide, but after doing research whilst home in N.Ireland I realised that there was no C S Lewis trail available for the steadily growing tourist market. There was a booklet on the locations made in 2005[2] but I felt it needed a modern twist. There are plenty of Game of Thrones tours and trail apps and a C S Lewis walking tour around his native area of East Belfast, but there has been no attempt to modernise these locations with a blog or app based product. This project gives me the opportunity to correct this and provide a platform with everything you need to know geographically but also giving you the historical context of Lewis’s background and how it shaped his future to come. My aim is that if the blog is received successfully that I would plan to develop it into a C S Lewis trail app, similar to the Game of Thrones based ones that currently are supported by the Northern Irish Tourist Board[3].

 

 

Evaluation will be added in once project is completed

Bibliography list will be included once project is completed

[1] Campbell, Fiona If you didn’t find Narnia in your own wardrobe…2005 [Online] Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2005/dec/04/unitedkingdom.cslewis.booksforchildrenandteenagers [Accessed: 20/04/16].

[2] Discover Northern Ireland The C S Lewis Story, unlock your imagination 2005 [Online] Available from: https://www.discovernorthernireland.com/downloads/CSLewis.pdf [Accessed: 25/04/16].

[3] Northern Irish Tourist Board Game of Thrones Northern Ireland Filming Locations 2016 [Online] Available from : https://www.discovernorthernireland.com/gameofthrones/ [Accessed: 09/05/16].

 

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Commentary

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Commentary

My project is an interactive digital adaptation of Philip. K. Dick’s 1968 novel about a ‘Blade Runner’ who hunts down rogue androids on the apocalyptic remains of planet Earth. As with many Sci-Fi novels, Electric Sheep conjures up visions of future possibilities and applies them to social situations. One such idea is the Voight-Kampf test, one of several tests from the book that is used to determine whether someone is a human, or an android. The test is a series of controversial and often personal questions that are designed to provoke an emphatic response, something an android should not be capable of. Using reaction time, body language and eye movement as telling factors, the answers are then assessed by the Blade Runner who makes the decision on whether they are a ‘replicant’. My project was to make this test available to everyone, by filming myself asking a random series of these questions and embedding them into a hypertext game where participants could answer each one in a text box. The answers are then collected and assessed by the Blade Runner before the participant is given a response. The answers to each question were then published on the internet to allow people to see the wide variety of answers for each question.

Two digital Voight-Kampff tests already exist on the internet, and although one does manage to capture the tone of the book, neither do the test any justice as they are both very limited. By restricting the user to multiple choice answers, the most interesting aspect of the test is completely lost: Individuality. I felt it imperative to let the user answer with whatever they wanted, even if this meant some answers may be off topic (these responses may not be published).

In order to make the experience as immersive as possible, I thought asking each question through video, and creating a mock computer panel inspired by the film sets from Blade Runner (Ridley Scott’s film adaption of the novel), would be enough represent the dark, brooding tone of the novel.

I took as many of the actual questions that are used in both the book and the film as I thought were relevant, but in order to make this adaptation effective, I needed to create many of the questions myself. I felt that by targeting aspects of our daily lives, the test would have much greater effect, and may actual generate some emotional responses as the test intends. For example I imagined how various social media tools could be used to generate emotional reactions, as well as drawing from recent events from around the world that people may feel passionate about. Other, more generalised questions that targeted things like family were also included.

I felt that, because the test is specifically designed as a sort of provocation, it was best to include a warning before the test is undertaken. For those that are still interested in taking the test, another prompt is given asking them to answer as honestly as possible.

Vendetta – Commentary

My project is a digital adaptation of Vendetta by Catherine Doyle. I have chosen to use multiple platforms (Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr) to tell the story through the characters interacting with each other online. The book was published in 2014 and therefore I have had to contact the author and publisher to get permission to have the project run live.

I decided to use Twitter because the main characters are all in their late teens or early twenties. The social media site gives fans of the series a chance to interact with the characters and I have found that the main character’s love interest has actually been the one to be tweeted at the most. I have also been the subject of ‘fan-girling’ where one of the people who loves the Blood For Blood series re-tweets, replies and likes any tweet that I post from Luca’s account.

It is very challenging to keep the story on track when fans are over-excited about the characters being on Twitter and keep tweeting about things that haven’t happened to the characters yet. However, the interaction makes the characters appear more real as I have to tweet outside of the story to keep a flowing commentary going even when the story is not progressing at that particular point.

My vlogs are the main part of my project, these get uploaded onto YouTube and are the main narrative of the story. They bring the characters to life with the use of costume theatre when Sophie (the protagonist) dresses up and impersonates them on camera. I haven’t had any comments on the videos themselves, but I have been tweeted about the things take place in the videos.

It has been incredibly challenging to make, edit and upload these videos in a timely fashion. The book is very fast-paced but because I have other work to be doing I have had to slow it down considerably. The videos can take about five hours from start to finish and then have to be tweeted about as well as making sure that the characters have been talking about events that lead up to the events that Sophie talks about in her videos.

It is also difficult to put everything into the videos such as the letters between Sophie and her father who is prison. This realisation made me think about how to structure my project and I decided that Sophie needed to have a base from which to give the extra information from the book. I settled on using Tumblr as a way of communicating other information and giving people who wish to follow the adaptation an idea of how to do it.

This project has been enormously rewarding as I have been able to work with the author to create something lasting that can be viewed across multiple platforms and in many different ways. My aim in this project was to show that stories don’t have to be read in book form and that social media can bring a story to life in different and interactive ways that allow the story to change and adapt because the fans influence decisions made by the characters and can sway them from a particular thought process.

Nod – Commentary

My project is based on the dystopian novel Nod by Adrian Barnes. Within the novel the protagonist, Paul, creates ‘a book about the history of sidetracked words, of orphaned and deformed words. An etymological freakshow’.[1] This book is also named Nod and is integral to the proceedings of the story. After the vast majority of the world loses the ability to sleep and society crumbles, Paul’s Nod is appropriated as a religious text by a small sect of the sleep deprived population, which refer to themselves as ‘the Awakened’.[2] As the author of this religious text Paul becomes an unwilling prophet, and manages to survive and watch the effects of sleeplessness on society, despite his status as a ‘Sleeper’.[3] As the novel plays out Paul’s Nod also transforms into a kind of journal that details the collapse of civilisation, as such this book is integral to the novel in both a passive and active manner. My project lifts this imaginary book from Barnes’ novel, and transforms it into an authentic, albeit digital, version of how it might look.

I used Textwrangler and constructed Nod out of code, this allowed for the greatest freedom of design and possibility for interactivity. Interactivity is very important for the project and hypertext allows the user to transfer effortlessly between: journal entries, etymological definitions and important quotations. As Barnes’ novel is preoccupied with connections between words, and how they shape reality, hypertext was an ideal medium for demonstrating the multitude of connections within the novel. The user is not forced to follow the same linear path as the novel when interacting with the project; instead they can forge their own path by following any hyperlinked word or phrase that captures their imagination. In many ways the project has a similar functionality to a wikipedia, but is different in that it purports to be a genuine document in which the user has to actively uncover the story. It was integral to have the utmost freedom of design as I wanted the project to have an authentic feel. This was achieved by various means such as: using a realistic font that emulates handwriting, genuine looking pages, and evidence of amendments and erasure to the writing. I even included the presence of ‘The Admiral of the Blue’ to some pages, a villainous character whom appropriated Paul’s book and used it for his own cultish means.[4] The Admiral’s unique blue scrawled handwriting can be seen, commenting upon and amending certain pages.

The concept of my project is highly influenced by 88 Constellations for Wittgenstein ‘an interactive, non-linear net.art piece that explores the life and philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein’.[5] I wanted to emulate the interactivity and sense of exploration that David Clark created, his interactive constellations allow viewers to examine the associative relationships between his different vignettes. Likewise, my project aimed to create associations between different aspects of the novels such as the etymology of forgotten words and how they relate to the plot. I knew this task was viable as each chapter of Nod begins with a forgotten word or phrase that somehow relates to the main story. I also sought to imitate the philosophical, introspective and digressive nature of 88 Constellations for Wittgenstein in which the user is encouraged to diverge from linearity and consider philosophical musings. Barnes’ novel lent itself well to this idea as it is infused with introspection, philosophical and moral contemplation. As a result some hyperlinks lead the user to abstract content, such as a poem from Lewis Carroll or a passage from Paul considering Sartre’s Being and Nothingness. I included these aspects of the novel as I wanted the project to inspire the user to think upon the larger implications of the novel, rather than just search the project for the bare plot details.

Ultimately, the project compliments the novel by allowing the users to immerse themselves to an even greater extent into the story. My project lends itself to the premise of Barnes’ novel which presents itself as a record of the end of humanity. By creating an interactive version of Nod the reader can more freely and believably fulfil the role he or she is given by Barnes; the role of discoverer and interpreter of a book that chronicles the end of mankind. Free from the constraints of linear storytelling the user can actually interact with a form of Nod which looks like a genuine artefact from an apocalyptic world, and which requires interactivity to discover all its content.

[1] Barnes, Adrian Nod. London: Titan Books, 2015. p19

[2] Ibid, p

[3] Ibid, p41

[4] Ibid, p83

[5] Clark, David 88 Constellations for Wittgenstein. [Online] Available from: http://collection.eliterature.org/2/works/clark_wittgenstein.html [9 May 2016]

Ready Player One – Commentary

The digital adaptation of the novel Ready Player One is a riddle-based hypertext fiction. The novel is comprised of three main riddles, and the individual who solves the riddles, and gains the keys, will win the whole of the OASIS creator’s fortune.

While a movie deal has been signed, its release is not scheduled until 2018, and no other adaptations have currently been made for the novel. The entire premise of Ready Player One means it will make a fantastic hypertext adaptation. The possibility of the user encountering dead ends and being rerouted back to a previous screen is an important aspect of this hypertext adaptation.

The concept of storytelling has evolved during the beginning of the 21st century, and the audience is now a critical component in active storytelling. The user’s experience is vital to the success of the story, without interaction in a digital adaptation the user can feel a sense of detachment from the story. This is where my hypertext fiction is key. By focusing on user involvement, and enabling the user to interact with the text and essentially solve the riddles themselves, the user becomes ingrained in the story. This adds a new dimension that the book cannot offer.

Linda Hutcheon’s theory of ‘modes of engagement’ reveals ‘how adaptations allow people to tell, show or interact with stories’.[1] The majority of books would fit into the tell element of Hutcheon’s theory, whereas most hypertexts allow for interaction. My hypertext allows the user interactivity by immersion. Marie-Laure Ryan argues that ‘immersion remains the most fundamental of literary pleasures’.[2] It is fundamental to the progression of hypertext literature that the interactivity and reader immersion remain interlinked.

Hutcheon also argues that: ‘adaptations is repetition, but repetition without replication’.[3] By concentrating on the riddles aspect of the novel and developing it into its own story, I was able to ‘repeat’ the story, without ‘replicating’ it. This allowed me to enhance the story in the way I saw fit, and to add my own designs to the adaptation.

The use of code allowed me to experiment with how the hypertext looked and to develop the project to my own specifications, without the limitation of WordPress or other CMS sites. It was difficult to develop from scratch but also allowed greater use of links within the hypertext. Links are important for hypertext literature, and I have incorporated many within mine. This enabled the reader to fully be able to explore and ‘click’ through the adaptation.

The inclusion of questions and puzzle solving meant the user must be fully engaged with the hypertext at all times in order to progress to the next ‘level’.Linearity, while present in the book, is not necessary for a hypertext. My project maintains the impression of linearity, while presenting the user with a range of choices to jump between before the logical progression.

My overall aim was to create an interaction riddle based hypertext fiction, which developed upon Ernest Clines Ready Player One and encouraged users to immerse and interact in a new way with the novel.

 

[1] Hutcheon, Linda. A Theory of adaptation. Abingdon: Routledge, 2006 p23

[2] Ryan, Marie-Laure ‘Fictional Worlds in the Digital Age’ In: Schreibman, Susan and Siemens, Ray ed. A Companion to Digital Literary Studies [Online]. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. Chapter 10. Available from: http://www.digitalhumanities.org/companionDLS/

[3] Hutcheon. A Theory of adaptation. p7

Rebecca Commentary

Based on Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, my project is an online interactive adaption on the novel, with a gaming aspect to it also. Focusing on Manderley House, the central location of the novel, I decided to study the text and the descriptions of the individual rooms, which I have used in my project. Since I wanted to full control over the interactive features within my game, I decided to stay away from web hosters such as WordPress, and coded my project.

 

The website takes users to the front of Manderley house, with the infamous quote from Rebecca: ‘Last night, I dream I went to Manderley again.’. I chose to include this quote because it’s the first line of the novel, and it’s the iconic line that people refer to from Rebecca. From there, they can click on the house and explore the rooms inside, clicking on various objects in the room and reading information about it.

 

The gaming aspect of my project comes in as users have to try and find the previous Mrs De Winter’s possessions in each room. Upon successful completion, they will be rewarded with a trip to Rebecca’s boathouse, another room with key details from the novel, such as Rebecca’s ashtray with cigarette butts in. I wanted to include these key details so the project would directly relate to the novel, and include some intertextuality too.

 

The artistic way in which I’ve decided to create my project was inspired by the outline of the Sgt. Pepper cover from The Beatles[1] It had drawn around every person and object on the cover, to create a simple black and white drawing. Instead of drawing each room in immaculate detail, I would just draw the outline for everything, keeping the drawings black and white – this creates a simple yet clean and effective look to my project. Upon finding Rebecca’s possessions, those items would become fully coloured and more detailed, in order to indicate to the users they have successfully found the right object. I believe this adds another level to my project as a game, as it gives something for the users to work towards.

 

So far my project is contained to this one website, and only covers certain rooms from Rebecca. In the future, I’d like to expand the website and create some social media accounts, in order for users to share their experiences with each other, and create a talking point for Rebecca. As for the game itself, I would love to explore more rooms of Manderley House, including the ones we are introduced to later on in the novel, so I can cover the entirety of the novel, not just the parts that are talked about most. I would also consider including characters in the game, and perhaps introduce some interactivity, as if the users were a character themselves. This would allow me to build further intextuality, as well as work on characterisation from the novel, while also including the user a bit more into my project.

[1] http://www.thebeatleswebsite.com/album/pep%20cov.html

Wuthering Social Heights

Wuthering Social Heights

Wuthering Social Heights is a social media adaptation of Bronte’s novel, Wuthering Heights. Through Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, each character tells their version of the story in the novel. The characters interact throughout, frequently recreating famous scenes from the novel and other times using text I have adapted. The project also has a base website (www.wutheringsocialheights.wordpress.com), Twitter (@WutheringSocial) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/wutheringsocial), which posts updates and help to guide the user through the adaptation.

I chose to adapt Wuthering Heights for social media for many reasons. Wuthering Heights is a novel revolving entirely around relationships and is all about people communicating, or not communicating, and the consequences of this. Therefore, I thought social media was a perfect medium for Wuthering Heights, as it is a medium in which over-sharing about life is not only acceptable, but encouraged. I’ve often thought, when reading Wuthering Heights, that I could imagine the arguments and monologues reading as Twitter fights or vlogging videos, so I decided to make this a reality.

Social media is a place for interactivity and conversation; therefore, users can interact with Wuthering Social Height’s characters any time they choose. I have tried to encourage engagement with the project through the WSH’s base Twitter and Facebook through asking questions and creating polls about the narrative. I did this because I wanted to take Wuthering Heights from the ‘telling mode’ to ‘participatory mode’, as this would make a classic novel seem more fun and interactive. I believe Wuthering Heights is a beautiful novel that deserves to be shared with as many people as possible, which is what I am hoping to achieve with Wuthering Social Heights.

As well as including Twitter and Instagram, I wanted to include YouTube to include an element of transmediality. In the novel, Cathy has some very powerful speeches that I did not feel would be done justice in short bursts of 140-characters. I thought these would be better suited to a video blog format, which allows for Cathy’s self-absorbed personality to come through as she is sat by herself sharing her problems with the world. In the novel, she tells these problems to Nelly; however, I have not included Nelly or Lockwood in my adaptation. I have done this because I want social media as a whole to take on the role of Nelly and the audience to take on the role of Lockwood.

When I was looking into other social media adaptations to take inspiration from, I found the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. These videos are an adaptation of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, in the style of video blogs. This was my initial idea, to have the entire novel adapted as video blogs from Cathy’s perspective, but I soon realised that this would not be possible, as Cathy is too self-absorbed a character to tell the full story.

What I liked about the Lizzie Bennet diaries was the characterisation. Each character in the videos has a distinct personality and is very well written. I decided to follow this path, and give each character a distinct, familiar, social media personality. Cathy is the sassy girl that is always “indirecting” (posting about somebody without tagging them in the post); Isabella suited the sweet, make-up tutorial loving fashion blogger type poster; Edgar seemed to be the posh “lad” of the group and Heathcliff was given the role of the ultra-hip, sullen social media critic almost immediately. As the personalities of the characters so perfectly suited social media personalities we’re all familiar with, it seemed another reason to adapt Wuthering Heights for social media.

[This doesn’t have an evaluation yet as the adaptation is yet to be completed]
[This commentary needs theory + proper referencing; still researching theories]

Commentary – Etiquette Guide for Ladies.

Commentary

The original text, Complete Etiquette for Ladies and Gentlemen cannot be officially dated, but its publication can be placed within the period of 1914-1952, due to the mention of an English King at the throne and the inclusion of commercial air travel which first started in 1914 It is interesting that this text, is fiction as more frequently adaptations are based on non fiction text due to their greater creative potential. Despite this, the creation of a modern blog, in which to transform the text into something unrecognisable to the the original text creates not only a new reading experience but a new audience.

 

Whilst the audience for the original text would have been predominately middle/upper class educated ladies, this blog styled website aims to attract a wider more generalised audience where the parody nature of the site could be interpreted and therefore appeal to a wider class of young women.

 

It is argued that although nowadays that e-books can digitalise source texts through different media, ‘the e-book is arguably not much else than a reanimation of the printed book’[1], the blog can offer a participatory function and the creation of an emergent narrative, which ‘happens when a system allows for reciprocal interaction’[2] where we (as the readers) ‘feel ourselves part of the system’.[3] Creating an emerging narrative, where the reader therefore has the power to navigate themselves around the narrative has in this case been created through the use of a blog.

 

Through the use of different menu tabs, the blog navigates the reader throughout the original chapters in the book in a way that can be controlled exclusively by the reader, therefore creating a guide that is personalised to them. This function, however does not detract from the structure of the original text, and whilst looks entirely modernised, the format is still representative of the source text. Hutcheon notes the importance of this as she states, ‘for an adaption to be successful in its own right, it must be so for both knowing and unknowing audiences’.[4] The ‘knowing’[5], are those who have prior knowledge of the source text and the ‘unknowing’[6] are defined as those who do not know that they are reading an adaptation.

 

With this in mind the amalgamation of original and new copy can be defined by the use of italics. The subtle integration of the 20th century text throughout the use of italics can therefore be adapted without distracting from the aesthetic purpose of the blog. This also allows the blog to function without obvious features to both the knowing and unknowing audiences.

 

A similar attempt to create an online etiquette guide has also been presented in the form of a blog which can be found at http://aladysetiquette.blogspot.co.uk. However, the convoluted use of new media with an archaic format and appearance, doesn’t sustain a narrative as there is no form of reader engagement through navigation. The static nature of the site, makes this very hard to read and therefore doesn’t appeal to a digital audience.

[1] Weedon, Alexis ‘Crossing media boundaries: Adaptations and new media forms of the book’. The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. Vol. 20, (1), 2014, pp. 109-124.

[2] Utell, Janine Engagements with Narrative. London: Routledge, 2015, p. (tbc)

[3] Ibid.

[4] Hutcheon, Linda and Siobhan O’Flynn A Theory of Adaptation. London: Routledge, 2012, p. 121.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.