From a craft point of view, dealing with inbound and outbound links on a fiction blog is less problematic than allowing readers to post comments. While concerns about the fourth wall should be paramount in any storyteller’s mind, links are an indirect threat. Between the functionality of modern blog software and the limits of authorial control in an open medium such as the internet, there isn’t a lot of innovating that needs to be done. [ Read more ]
I’ve got a few posts up about blog fiction and on Neil’s site, and I wanted to follow up with a bit more explanation about what I’m doing. If you’re interested in character blogs or what fiction on the internet might become, check out NeilRorke.com. If you’re interested in how I’m approaching that site from a craft perspective, take a look here..
Neil Rorke is the main character in a novel I wrote, which I hope to publish in e-book and POD versions fairly soon. As such, presenting him in a character blog fits what I think is the evolving definition of transmedia: exploring different facets of a single storyworld through various (if not also appropriate) mediums. But it’s also the case that Neil himself fits the description of someone who would blog, and I think that’s critical. The overarching goal is for both works to explain more about Neil, and to work together to fill out his character.
The intent with Electric Fiction is to explore and document the move away from simply presenting traditional fiction for consumption on the web. A movie may be fiction, but it’s hand-crafted fiction that uses techniques specific to film. Most of the online fiction I’ve seen could also be a book, or a story in a magazine. Yes, they’re all text, but to omit the connectivity and pacing and structure of blogs or comments in internet fiction seems to me a mistake — in part because reading long works on a computer screen is difficult. (I’m not denying the utility of using the internet as a pipeline to deliver fiction to dedicated e-readers. I’m doing the same thing, and plan to do more.)
As I continue to grow Neil’s site I’ll comment on the craft problems I encounter. I’m conscious of the fact that talking about Neil’s site blows the fourth wall to smithereens, but I don’t see any way around that. My hope is that Neil’s site will be enjoyed by readers, while comments about Electric Fiction here will be of interest to writers.
— Mark Barrett
I’ve been thinking about publishing and fiction and the internet for over a year now, in a dedicated way. I’ve been thinking about storytelling my entire life.
How do stories take hold in the mind of the audience? How is any story changed by the medium of expression? What are the necessary ingredients of a story? What is the craft knowledge any storyteller should have?
I don’t have all the answers. I can get fifty pages into a work and be as lost as anyone who ever wrote. But I also think I understand the basics, and after fifteen years of thinking about interactive storytelling I think I know where the limits are as well.
In time the internet will become a storytelling medium itself. It’s not there yet, but the potential is considerable. To further that goal I’ve put up a site that I hope to grow over time. It’s a storytelling experiment in low-tech transmedia, aimed at entertaining an audience while also discovering and advancing useful internet-based storytelling techniques.
I’ll be discussing NeilRorke.comin greater detail, but for now I wanted to let you know that it’s up and ask for feedback. What do you think?
— Mark Barrett