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Writers in the Secret Garden: Fanfiction, Youth, and New Forms of Mentoring

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An in-depth examination of the novel ways young people support and learn from each other though participation in online fanfiction communities. Over the past twenty years, amateur fanfiction writers have published an astonishing amount of fiction in online repositories. More than 1.5 million enthusiastic fanfiction writers--primarily young people in their teens and twenties An in-depth examination of the novel ways young people support and learn from each other though participation in online fanfiction communities. Over the past twenty years, amateur fanfiction writers have published an astonishing amount of fiction in online repositories. More than 1.5 million enthusiastic fanfiction writers--primarily young people in their teens and twenties--have contributed nearly seven million stories and more than 176 million reviews to a single online site, Fanfiction.net. In this book, Cecilia Aragon and Katie Davis provide an in-depth examination of fanfiction writers and fanfiction repositories, finding that these sites are not shallow agglomerations and regurgitations of pop culture but rather online spaces for sophisticated and informal learning. Through their participation in online fanfiction communities, young people find ways to support and learn from one another. Aragon and Davis term this novel system of interactive advice and instruction distributed mentoring, and describe its seven attributes, each of which is supported by an aspect of networked technologies: aggregation, accretion, acceleration, abundance, availability, asynchronicity, and affect. Employing an innovative combination of qualitative and quantitative analyses, they provide an in-depth ethnography, reporting on a nine-month study of three fanfiction sites, and offer a quantitative analysis of lexical diversity in the 61.5 billion words on the Fanfiction.net site. Going beyond fandom, Aragon and Davis consider how distributed mentoring could improve not only other online learning platforms but also formal writing instruction in schools.


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An in-depth examination of the novel ways young people support and learn from each other though participation in online fanfiction communities. Over the past twenty years, amateur fanfiction writers have published an astonishing amount of fiction in online repositories. More than 1.5 million enthusiastic fanfiction writers--primarily young people in their teens and twenties An in-depth examination of the novel ways young people support and learn from each other though participation in online fanfiction communities. Over the past twenty years, amateur fanfiction writers have published an astonishing amount of fiction in online repositories. More than 1.5 million enthusiastic fanfiction writers--primarily young people in their teens and twenties--have contributed nearly seven million stories and more than 176 million reviews to a single online site, Fanfiction.net. In this book, Cecilia Aragon and Katie Davis provide an in-depth examination of fanfiction writers and fanfiction repositories, finding that these sites are not shallow agglomerations and regurgitations of pop culture but rather online spaces for sophisticated and informal learning. Through their participation in online fanfiction communities, young people find ways to support and learn from one another. Aragon and Davis term this novel system of interactive advice and instruction distributed mentoring, and describe its seven attributes, each of which is supported by an aspect of networked technologies: aggregation, accretion, acceleration, abundance, availability, asynchronicity, and affect. Employing an innovative combination of qualitative and quantitative analyses, they provide an in-depth ethnography, reporting on a nine-month study of three fanfiction sites, and offer a quantitative analysis of lexical diversity in the 61.5 billion words on the Fanfiction.net site. Going beyond fandom, Aragon and Davis consider how distributed mentoring could improve not only other online learning platforms but also formal writing instruction in schools.

47 review for Writers in the Secret Garden: Fanfiction, Youth, and New Forms of Mentoring

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hanners

    So rad to see the focus-group stats on fanfic reader feedback, alone; 30% of reader feedback being "positive reflection on specific aspects of the text"?! 22% corrective/constructive feedback?! 27.6% "update encouragement"?! Readers providing eager and engaging peer review! Writers receiving steady encouragement to continue writing and improving! That's sick af! We spend thousands of dollars for the same thing in a classroom! And it's never "just for funsies" in a classroom! Awesome academic st So rad to see the focus-group stats on fanfic reader feedback, alone; 30% of reader feedback being "positive reflection on specific aspects of the text"?! 22% corrective/constructive feedback?! 27.6% "update encouragement"?! Readers providing eager and engaging peer review! Writers receiving steady encouragement to continue writing and improving! That's sick af! We spend thousands of dollars for the same thing in a classroom! And it's never "just for funsies" in a classroom! Awesome academic study. Would love to find more like it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra

    I received a complimentary copy. I think that the book requires a lot of time to really get deeply into as it includes so many excellent ideas. Just jam packed with valuable resources and the best information to really help benefit writers or really anyone who is interested in learning about the topics.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rae Storey

    An extremely interesting academic piece covering work done by a team at my very own University of Washington. They read loads of fan fiction and plus comments in their study of distributed mentoring.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Engaging and impeccably researched, Aragon and Davis have explored online mentorship through the lens of fanfiction communities. The internet is a tool, and they argue that fandom has used it for good in many cases. Fanfiction writers, especially, have created a model of digital and distributed mentorship. Whether or not this is scale-able remains to be seen, but this kind of organic collaboration is enviable. Really well done. Tagging this as Library Science too, because of the UX component. Li Engaging and impeccably researched, Aragon and Davis have explored online mentorship through the lens of fanfiction communities. The internet is a tool, and they argue that fandom has used it for good in many cases. Fanfiction writers, especially, have created a model of digital and distributed mentorship. Whether or not this is scale-able remains to be seen, but this kind of organic collaboration is enviable. Really well done. Tagging this as Library Science too, because of the UX component. Libraries wish they could cultivate this. Or at least, this librarian does.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sara Strand

    This was actually really fascinating and really well researched. I went into this with my original opinion about fanfiction sites and I'm coming out of this book with a completely different opinion and a greater understanding of what fanfiction sites actually are and what they can do, and I really think the ideas and information in this book could be used easily in a variety of classrooms from middle school all the way up to university level. A very interesting tool in teaching. This was actually really fascinating and really well researched. I went into this with my original opinion about fanfiction sites and I'm coming out of this book with a completely different opinion and a greater understanding of what fanfiction sites actually are and what they can do, and I really think the ideas and information in this book could be used easily in a variety of classrooms from middle school all the way up to university level. A very interesting tool in teaching.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    Great book! I learned a lot

  7. 5 out of 5

    Boxofdelights

  8. 5 out of 5

    Keith Johnson

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paul Mamani

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Spachuk

  11. 5 out of 5

    Samfreene

  12. 5 out of 5

    David Joyner

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cecilia Aragon

  14. 4 out of 5

    Meghan Herbst

  15. 4 out of 5

    Karen-Leigh

  16. 4 out of 5

    Fran

  17. 5 out of 5

    Toni A

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jen Lyn Fisher

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    Lori Kaufmann

  20. 4 out of 5

    Laurence Li

  21. 5 out of 5

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  23. 4 out of 5

    Chazlyn

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    John

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lieve Snellings

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    Livus

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    Tracy

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    Jarrett Braden

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    Siobhan

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    Gina Chen

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    Julien

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    Josh Matthews

  35. 4 out of 5

    Marlena

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    Jenny

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    Samantha Zee

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    Lauren

  39. 5 out of 5

    Jenazepol

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  42. 4 out of 5

    Marissa

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    Sevia

  44. 5 out of 5

    Aditi Shiva

  45. 4 out of 5

    Eri

  46. 5 out of 5

    Lianne Burwell

  47. 5 out of 5

    Hope Guzman

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