Sunday, September 26, 2010
How do you plan to tell your story?
As writers, we tell stories. Some of them are true and factual, the most ideal piece of journalism, non-fiction or biography. Some stories are imaginative and wide ranging like one of my favorite tall tales, The Legend of John Henry, or The Lord of the Rings fantasy series. Like all things, the modes of storytelling evolve as human beings make technological advances. We've moved from firesides and wall drawings, to paper and illuminated volumes, to the e-book and electronic readers, and now enhanced e-books.
An enhanced e-book does more than imitate a printed book on a digital screen. An enhanced e-book may contain graphics, pop up windows, audio of author interviews or commentary and more. If you've ever seen the animated film, Treasure Planet, a retelling of the classic novel Treasure Island, you may recall a scene where holographic renderings of the story being "read" by the young protagonist illuminate his face as he enjoys the book under the covers when he should be sleeping. Holographic add-ons mean, no need to sneak a flashlight or reading light into the room to read that last page.
Some people may argue that something like this imagined holographic book and the current generation of e-books, including enhanced e-books, are not truly books. I would respond that reading is a unique experience very different from veiwing a film or in the future a holograph. Reading happens mostly in our heads. I believe this makes it a more intense and personal experience as the reader renders the story in their imagination. No, they are not exactly books, but they are still part of the reading experience as long as some portion of text goes directly from some surface to our brains.
As technology facilitates the evolution of the modes of storytelling, I think that every writer should keep in mind our ultimate goal. Our goal is to tell the best story, fact or fiction, the best way it can be told.
I'm just as attached to the tangible experience of reading a book as the next die hard bibliofile. I also enjoy having digital copies of several books at my finger tips.Which mode of publication is best for the future of publishing--tried and true paper or digital? Think of it this way. We could still be hammering words into clay tablets on the off chance that it would be around for posterity--hoping that the village liked it enough not to shatter the tablet in drunken revelry. Instead, we writers and readers have options.The beauty of the current publishing revolution is that we don't have to choose. We can offer our stories in multiple formats to reach our readers' hearts and minds however they choose to read.
Read one of 2009's the ten most challenged books in observance of Banned Books Week (Sept. 25--Oct. 2).
Write down the first sentence from five of your favorite books. Now take a good look at the list. What makes these opening sentences great? How did they get you to keep reading?
Science-fiction and fantasy fans should definitely visit Tor.com. Read short stories, comment, submit your work and download fantastic wall papers for free.
The Women's National Book Association posts a list of the best group reads annually as part of National Reading Group Month (October). Check out this year's list.
On My Bookshelf