Author Topic: IF Lit Mag Musings  (Read 3230 times)

dacharya64

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IF Lit Mag Musings
« on: November 15, 2013, 09:51:30 AM »
I've been doing a lot of searching in the publishing industry, especially the world of literary magazines. As far as I can tell, there's really not any literary element aiding in the distribution and promotion of interactive fiction as a literary medium.

Right now, many sites dedicated to IF--think ChoiceofGames or Textadventures.co.uk--seem to focus mainly on the "game" aspect of the genre rather than other uses of the medium. It's not that I don't think literary works can't be entertaining or that games can't be literary, it's that this tends to exclude a large range of IF--IF can be used for more than the narrative structure, for instance. There are remarkably few examples of, say, poetry or vastly multimedia works without these traditional IF elements--but I think that there is a lot of untapped potential for the genre. Some of my favorite IF games are ones that mess with tradition (think The Space Under the Window [http://ifdb.tads.org/viewgame?id=egtt6j8vif0plzrc])--the same as the role of innovative new fiction of any sort.

The problem with promoting IF as a literary genre is the same as any medium that has been used in the past primarily for entertainment. As far as the literary world goes it might even be "lower" than so called "genre fiction" especially for the low caliber of writing and production for much time--the old CYOA books were not exactly fine literature, and IF is infamous for parser bugs and "guess-the-verb" nightmares.

On another tangent, what about other mediums? There are clearly many examples where "entertainment" genres have been groundbreaking and done more than just entertain--I'm thinking of rock opera, but there are many other examples. Could there be a "literary album?" Could web comics be considered fine literature?

Chris

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Re: IF Lit Mag Musings
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2013, 01:17:49 PM »
In the game community I've often heard a mirror image of that - the debate over whether video games should be considered art, Roger Ebert et al.

It seems that gradually the discussion has shifted from "ought video games to be regarded as art by the critical community?" to "will video games ever have their own critical infrastructure - articles discussing games from an artistic perspective?" That's kind of badly worded, but the idea in that that appeals to me is: that games can be criticized as games, rather than as if they were some branch of some other medium. It would be suboptimal for a film critic to review all the cutscenes in video games - it would be cool, but also missing out on an essential dimension - that which makes the game a game, rather than a movie with some buttons in it.

While the community of literary critics could discuss interactive fiction more, perhaps what we need to study interactive fiction with a thoughtful eye is a new batch of people - authors, writers in the IF community who spend time discussing interactive fiction as its own medium. I think a number of authors - Emily Short and Andrew Plotkin being among the most well-known - have spent quite a bit of time talking about their craft, but I agree that we could expand that. We could use a literary IF journal - I've been thinking of starting one for a while.

I don't think there's anything that stops a web comic from being fine literature! Though, I'm not sure we have one yet.

@dacharya64: Have you ever read Brainy Gamer? If you haven't yet, you might like it.

dacharya64

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Re: IF Lit Mag Musings
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2013, 10:26:39 AM »
Haven't seen Brainy Gamer before, but it looks neat!

Quote
It would be suboptimal for a film critic to review all the cutscenes in video games - it would be cool, but also missing out on an essential dimension - that which makes the game a game, rather than a movie with some buttons in it.

True, very true. I hadn't really thought of it that way before. I agree that the most desirable thing would be to have a community of writers and thinkers that could discuss interactive fiction and its role in the world. This is a bit tricky, though, seeing as IF walks a very thin line between "game" and "narrative" and oftentimes there are definitely distinctions as to how these two mediums are treated today. I'm not sure if there's anything inherently wrong with viewing IF as one or the other, but I'm also finding it difficult to fathom treating it as something completely independent of either games or literature. Of course with more reviews/analysis/promotion of IF a new style and treatment of the medium will probably happen naturally.

Update on literary journal news: after some more in-depth research, I've found that there actually were some literary journals or something of the sort dedicated to interactive fiction, but most are closed down now or no longer updating. It'd be neat to see who else might be interested in getting something together.

The nice thing is that the medium lends itself to online display; it'd even be possible to tailor the stories the reader views to the reader's own choices or desires. Although it's just speculation right now, I wonder what a print version of this "journal" would look like.

dacharya64

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Re: IF Lit Mag Musings
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2013, 10:58:21 PM »
Okay, so time to make this thing a reality:

Hello, you wanderer of the internet! I've started an interactive fiction literary magazine, Inky Path.

What is Inky Path?

Inky Path is the first literary magazine that showcases interactive fiction and provides readers with the tools to create their own game. It is about fostering a community of thought and discussion around IF works, seeing pieces for more than their entertainment value, and providing greater exposure of IF to the literary world.

What are you looking for?

We are looking for talented IF writers like yourselves to submit your interactive fiction to the site. There can't be a literary magazine without submissions, so we welcome everyone to bring forth their best work!

It's fine if your work is published elsewhere. You can also submit excerpts or the beginnings of pieces if you want. We welcome pieces of all lengths, types, and flavors. Bring us your best hypertext historical fiction, or parser-based paranormal romance. Or get even more experimental and send in some multimedia medley that defies all convention or classification. Have fun with it.

Check out the submission guidelines for more info on submitting. We are accepting year-round.

NOTE: We are also currently looking for more readers and graphic designers to help staff the magazine. Click here if you would like to know more about becoming part of the staff.

How can I help?

Since this is a relatively new publication, please, spread the word! Even if you are not personally interested in submitting, pass on the info to someone you know would love to. Since this really is the first of its kind, I'm hoping that it will succeed--I think it's something that the IF community has needed for a long time.

If you want to help fund the project, we also accept donations .

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Thanks! Please submit your work and share with friends! For questions, comments, etc. you can reply here or email the mag at inkypath[AT]gmail.com.

Inky Path: http://inkypath.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inkypath

dacharya64

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Re: IF Lit Mag Musings
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2014, 11:42:50 PM »
UPDATE:

We are now accepting guest blog post entries for Inky Path's blog. If you want to write about the state of writing, fiction, or interactive fiction today, or post any reviews for IF pieces, this is the place you can do it! We will also accept re-posts of entries you might have already posted to your own blog.

We are also still accepting submissions for Volume 1. Remember that your piece can be published elsewhere, and we accept most types of interactive fiction.

For guidelines on submitting your interactive fiction piece, or your blog entry, check out the submission guidelines here: http://inkypath.wordpress.com/submissions/

Hope to be hearing from you soon!

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Inky Path: http://inkypath.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inkypath
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/InkyPath
inkypath[at]gmail.com