Unfinished Austen Novel Finds New Life Through Collaborative Web Series | Wired Magazine | Wired.com
With The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, the primary purpose of the show’s transmedia storytelling elements was to create a biome for Austen’s characters to inhabit. For Welcome to Sanditon, that focus shifted to finding ways of extending that biome out to include the audience. The day that Gigi Darcy released a video announcing she was on her way to Sanditon, fans of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries flooded social media sites to set up virtual shingles as residents and small business owners in the town. Drawing on a literary fanbase, it’s little surprise that Sanditon, California can boast 37 different bookstores, putting the town in contention for having more bookstores per capita than any other community in America. While bookstores were the most popular establishment, Sanditon businesses ranged from ad agencies,schools, and even exorcists (helpful, when the town is actually haunted). Fan-made news outlets likeThe Sanditon Sun were essential in keeping up with all of the fan-generated stories.
The romance between Annabell Jones and Horace Smith serves as the strongest example of the more organic storytelling that took place within the virtual city of Sanditon. The drawn-out courtship of the two fan-run accounts played out in part through text, audio, and video uploaded to the Domino platform, with plot points from the main storyline like the glitch in the system interweaved throughout the couple’s more private romance. Pemberley Digital compilation videos even drew attention to the developing romance on more than one occasion. For the handful of Sanditon townsfolk role-playing or even following this additional love story, the eventual engagement of the happy couple served as just as meaningful a conclusion to the series as the final video.
I’m so proud of our collective work in this universe, and I always will be.