Friday, May 9, 2008

Participating in stories...

So many of the new toys today can be used to add to or build upon stories. Layer onto that social media, and you get an environment where the readers are pulled in, no longer passive – where they become puzzle solvers, commentators, contributors. It’s a frontier where the novel meets Alternate Reality Gaming. Oh, cool – Neil Gaiman could partner with Jane McGonigal – that would be awesome!

I’ve been playing with some of the latest. As usual, I haven’t yet finished fully exploring, but I’m very excited to check them all out - when I get a hunk of time.

One of the first examples I found was a Penguin wiki novel
Which reminded me a bit of Twittories, though the latter is a stricter, more linear contribution style.
But the best example is Penguin’s latest – We Tell Stories – where 6 authors told 6 stories over the course of 6 weeks. Each story has close ties to classic tale
  • Story 1 – A mesh of storytelling and Google Maps – follow the narrator on his crazy adventure.
  • Story 2 - Story of a young girl, told via her blog, her parents' blog, and Twitter streams.
  • Story 3 - Looks like a fill-in the blank/ mad-lib style story.
  • Story 4 - Written/posted real time over a week. In the moment, you could watch it unfold.
  • Story 5 - Page views of slickly designed pages stacked with factoids.
  • Story 6 - Choose-your-own-adventure style

There's also a mysterious 7th story lurking somewhere - I've found it, but don't want to spoil your fun - about a young woman named Alice....

I can see so many interesting permutations on all of this that I could probably keep typing all day - but I need to keep it reasonable. But just as the opportunity for public participation impacted journalism - maybe it will twist and tweak literature as we know it, too. I don't think novelists need worry - we'll always need their creativity and bigger ideas - this is just a fun offshoot.
More on this soon, I'm sure....

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