|An image from Raghava KK's Pop It on iPad|
New media and the book of the future
Once upon a time, there was the oral tradition, stories passed down through the generations, adapted by the storyteller. Then, stories were written, illustrated and bound by hand. In 1439, along came Gutenberg. For more than 500 years since, the printing press has defined the format of books, influenced the way we write and read -- and how we conceive the story.
Now the story becomes malleable again. I was fascinated to read a couple of recent articles on how technology is influencing the way stories are written and envisioned. Given the adaptable nature of digital technology, why be confined to the parameters of conventional books? For instance, now writers can easily develop multiple endings, inviting the reader to take control of the story, as discussed in this great article from the Books section of Canada's Globe and Mail.
On even more boundary pushing, here's an article from Mashable about Pop It, a new children's book for the iPad by the ingenious artist Raghava KK. The narrative can be adapted by the child reader, who can change the character line-up with a quick shake -- for example -- choosing whether the parents in the story are heterosexual or homosexual, male or female.
I love the notion of a new range of freedom for a story concept to go in any direction.
As a writer -- or reader -- how do you feel about using new technology to adapt, push or change the arc of the story?
Coming up later this month, an interview with Joanna Philbin, author of the YA series, The Daughters. I recently read the first three books in her series, and am delighted to have the opportunity to interview her. She was also kind enough to provide a signed copy of, The Daughters Take the Stage, for a book giveaway.
Tuesdays in August, I'll be featuring a series of guest articles by students and graduates of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program on writing for children. Please check back...