Digital media have provided new avenues of distribution for serial fiction and created new narrative possibilities for the form, including the widespread use of what Margolin labels "concurrent narration" and Page terms "real-time narration." This form of serial publication, where a story is distributed in installments coterminously with the events being reported, is enabled by the Internet's possibilities for instantaneous transmission, and it appears in narratives on various platforms that rely on the web for content distribution. To discuss this temporal confluence of the narrated, narration, and publication, we analyze the use of concurrent narration in two digitally distributed serialized narratives, David Mitchell's Twitter story "@I_Bombadil" (2015), and the Norwegian webserial Skam (2015–17), both of which were originally transmitted piecemeal in near-concurrence with the narrated events. Furthermore, we analyze the participation surrounding the two stories. Serial fiction has always encouraged the active engagement of its audience, and this tendency becomes especially pronounced when stories are distributed via social media that allow for rapid exchanges between readers. The participatory practices that emerge in the wake of digitalization are often conceived as inherently democratic forms of engagement, but this predominantly positive conception may be questioned, since participation is a complex concept that covers a range of different practices. By analyzing the participation that surrounds "@I_Bombadil" and Skam we nuance the perspective on digitally enabled participatory culture and thus contribute to a better understanding of how new digital forms of distribution affect the modes of narrating and engaging in serialized narratives today.


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pp. 83-106
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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