Towards an ontology of transmedia worlds, part 1

Following Christy Dena‘s great 2009 dissertation and Henry Jenkin’s seven principles of transmedia storytelling (and his many older and more recent texts on transmedia) nothing is more important for transmedia fiction than the creation and development of fictional worlds.

A world is larger than a story, it involves things that not neccessarily are included in any story. If a world is something else than a story our regular tools for analyzing stories can not be used for analyzing the world. If we still try to analyze the world as a story we will not be able to understand those aspects of the world that are not part of the stories. We will thus reduce the world into a story.

On the other hand we can only use sociological or anthropological methods as long as those include tools for distinguishing between a world and mediated world. Transmedia worlds are not neccessarily man-made (I will return to that) but still, our main access to them are mediated (media understood as an extension of any object). So, we still need tools for understanding those extensions. More important, we also need tools for analyzing these worlds and their parts. Not only because the transmedia world, to be interesting, has to be larger than its stories, but because even its parts are hiding things, or aspects of themselves, from the whole and its stories.

My point here is that the parts that build up the whole of the transmedia world is not its distributed stories. We have to distinguish between the parts of the world and the parts of its stories. Next section will deal with the analysis of the parts, the withdrawn objects, of the transmedia world in order to develop a way to analyze the relations between these parts and the distributed stories.

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