of this beautiful photography!
Today I spent most of time working on the chapter I was asked to write as speedily as possible for the book I mentioned a few days ago about middle school literature programs. I am quite pleased with my progress and have to say that I found Matt Hills book on Fan Cultures really helpful. I’ve been working on making links with fan fiction writers emotional connections to their characters and the systemic functional grammar of appraisal, in particular, the markers or grammatical resources of affect. But its one thing to analyse the interview data for affect, and another thing entirely to situate that within a broader contextualisation of fan affect in general. Matt Hill doesn’t do the systemics analysis but he does the theorising of affect in a really interesting way, particulatly in chapter 4: “Fan Cultures between ‘Fantasy’ and ‘Reality’.” In fact, he uses psychoanlalytical theory to explore the dimensions of pleasure, emotion, desire and power. He talks about the engagement in the fan text as being a third space somewhere between the inner self and the outer surface of the text, where the creative play with the text is at the same time internal and external. He claims that pleasure is gained through the activities which allow individuals to challenge the boundaries between internal and external realities: i.e. affective play.
So if we can think of the fan fiction writing and fan art and fan forums (and all those other online fan practices) as affective play, then we can (well I am trying to anyway) make a case for fan fiction to re-engage young people to invest themselves in their writing and text production at an emotional level.
This is the idea behind one of my three arguments anyway. My three arguments for teachers using fan fiction forums in the English classroom are:
1) collaborative writing: critique, review, learning from each others strengths, engaging in a wide range of social and discursive practices with like minded people in the “community” - or at least a mini version of that in the classroom / school
2) critical literacy: allows young people to critically respond to the ideologies and assumptions of the text by inserting alternative characters / storylines which challenge the dominant ones of the canon (especially in science fiction for example, which doesn’t have too many strong female leads)
3) motivation and engagement in the process of creating fan fiction - i.e. through inserting themselves into characters and engaging in imaginative and affective play (that can also break boundaries of traditional texts/narratives/visuals/multimodal forms etc).
I am having fun with the chapter! I’ve written 5000 words today - if only I could write that much every day of my SSP leave!!! Now I really need to make myself a schedule to follow with deadlines and targets otherwise I am really worried that I won’t focus enough and not be productive. If anybody has any secrets about managing sabbaticals to get the most effective writing achieved I’d like to know how - please let me know!! I see such a split between colleagues who come back with mountains of achievements, and other colleagues who come back saying they were disappointed. I want to know the secret to the former colleagues’ successes! (Then I will publish a book: “How to get the most out of your sabbatical”)!