Narrative Interaction, Fandom and Christianity

Cover of the WyrdCon Companion Book.

The WyrdCon Companion Book has been published! It’s free, fully interactive and includes my paper that takes on Henry Jenkins, Harry Potter and 2000 years of Christianity. It’s called, “The Greatest Story Ever Interacted With.” Not for the easily offended…

Download the book PDF here.

Check out an excerpt from the first half of the paper:

Narrative Interaction: Filling in the Gaps

Narrative interaction entails the myriad ways in which audiences contribute to and celebrate their favorite stories. Fan fiction—defined as the fiction produced by fans based on a popular novel, movie, TV show or other franchise—is one of the best known forms of interacting with a narrative. According to scholar Francesca Coppa, fan fiction “fill[s] the need of a mostly female audience for fictional narratives that expand the boundary of the official source products offered on the television and movie screen.”[1] Transmedia storytelling pioneer Henry Jenkins says, “Fan fiction can be seen as an unauthorized expansion of these media franchises into new directions which reflect the reader’s desire to ‘fill in the gaps’ they have discovered in the commercially produced material.”

Fan fiction is only one type of narrative interaction or what Jenkins calls “participatory culture.” He explains, “patterns of media consumption have been profoundly altered by a succession of new media technologies which enable average citizens to participate in the archiving, annotation, appropriation, transformation, and recirculation of media content. Participatory culture refers to the new style of consumerism that emerges in this environment.”

But “participatory culture” didn’t begin with the emergence of new technologies.  Participation in the narrative of Christianity—including annotation, appropriation, transformation and recirculation—has been ongoing for centuries. The practice of storytelling to fill in the gaps predates Christianity itself.


[1] Bacon-Smith, Camille (2000). Science Fiction Culture. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 112–113. ISBN 978-0-8122-1530-4.

Read the whole paper now!

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