I do continue to have thoughts, however, about the nature of e-lit, e-publishing, digital narratives, tools.
Tools. Nick Montfort (et al) just released Curveship, which integrates interactive fiction and interactive narrating. Which is motto-speak for “it does cool stuff to allow linear storytelling or interactive nonlinear storytelling at the reader’s preference”. I think. I just downloaded it, and I probably won’t have time to play intensely (and intently) with it for another week or two, but I’ve been excited about this for a while.
The blogs and mags and news-rags seem to be filling more and more with blurbs on the “new wave” of storytelling. The New Yorker’s Book Bench blog was all over Choose-Your-Own-Adventures apps this week, and though that’s a baby-version of interactivity, it’s still good to see the big cahunas of lit start looking in this direction.
A lot of it makes me feel like I’m actually behind the curve, studying for a PhD while others are out there doing. But I keep reminding myself I enjoy the research and smarmy-smartiness of it all.
I’m looking forward to what people come up with, what I come up with. I know my mom probably won’t ever be into it, but maybe someday, someone will. I can’t wait to see what it’s like when it’s more than an artistic endeavor, building these things because we as creators love them; when people can go on a writing holiday and write an IF or Flash fiction as easily as they do a novel (tech- and skills-wise, anyway. I make no judgments about talent. Out loud. To people’s faces. Much). That’s the barrier at the moment: true digital literacy. Not just reading (because we’re not there yet, either), but writing, creating digital interfaces. I don’t know that we’ll get there without some sort of mass educational movement to really understand computers and software and how they’re all put together. Now, it’s so split between programmers and creatives, that few of us (and I’m definitely more on the creator end of the spectrum) span both skillsets, or are interested in spanning them.
Someday, though, I have hope that e-lit (okay, IFs, because those are my babies right now) sits right up on that stage with novels and film and…uh, the stage.