Reinventing Storytelling

23 03 2012

Digital fiction is the new wave in writing. For those of us who cling to the past with contempt for the future, you may need to get your toes wet before you do a canon ball. I was (and still sort of am) hesitant to embrace this reinvented storytelling. The use of audio clips, visuals, and interactive navigating are innovative and a way of adapting literature to this increasingly digitally-based world. I tend to find it distracting rather than enhancing my understanding or enjoyment of the story being told. This need for multi-media fiction speaks volumes to the necessity to multi-task. People can’t just sit down and indulge in a great book, they need to click graphics, hear irrelevant music, and choose the path of the story (Goosebumps did it first).

Digital Fiction Pieces

“My Body” by Shelley Jackson

The first thing you see is an illustration of a body with named parts. There are a multitude of short stories waiting behind each part, with short prose pieces hiding inside each story–all just a mouse click away. This is a less in-your-face version of digital media, requiring little interaction other than choosing which body part you want as the inspiration for what your read. There are some illustrations included within the pages of text, but it is rather simple. And enjoyable, she is a talented writer.

“Underbelly” by Christine Wilks

This piece was absolutely infuriating, in my humble opinion. You are forced to click on floating graphics, listen to mini-clips of videos, and listen to bizarre voices that echo from a distance. I would describe it as schizophrenic mixed-media. There is no ease in the flow and it can be rather confusing at times to decipher what your next mouse click should be. If you don’t know what to do or where to go next follow the crawling woman. She will take you further into this disjointed land of a frazzled woman and her issues.

Welcome to Pine Point by The Goggles

Although I myself am resistant to this innovation in fiction, I quite enjoyed this piece. At first it was slightly awkward and distracting to have sound and movement while trying to read but as I clicked on the digitization seemed warranted. It was interesting to see actual photos from the town on which the story is centered, the people who lived there, and their stories. It wasn’t an overwhelming interactive piece that confused the reader more than intrigued them, it was cohesive and organized. You had the option to further explore the subtopics of each page or to just continue on without loosing anything from the core of the story. It was comical, informative, and heart-wrenching all at the same time. A town flourished and then dissapered, leaving fragmented memories of half-truths. “Absence preserves, and prevents what might have been,” this is my favorite quote from this piece. It is from the post-abandonment of the town, talking of peoples’ memories of where they grew up and how they are affected since the town no longer exists. I thought it was bittersweet that “someone still mows the grass in Pine Point’s cemetery,” the only thing that remains of the town is the bones of those that died in it.

So, are these new leaps in the literary world a response to our inability to…