The Medium in the Story: How the Intent to Work in Digital Media Affects the Writer’s Practice

Great Writing Conference
Imperial College London
June 2011

Click image for PDF of presentation.

Later published as a journal article: Skains, R. Lyle. 2017. “The Adaptive Process of Multimodal Composition: How Developing Tacit Knowledge of Digital Tools Affects Creative Writing.” Computers and Composition 43: 106–17.


Knowledge of and immersion in the digital interfaces and technologies fundamentally changes the writer’s perspective on story structure, character, their relationship with the reader, and the way they write stories. As I have discovered through my practice-based research into multimodal and multimedia storytelling, both the intent to remediate a story into digital media and knowledge of digital fiction techniques and theory alter the shape and outcome of the creative writing process dramatically. A character’s voice might change depending on whether they are narrating in print, or communicating through a blog. A once-linear structure might branch out into a web of possibilities – and the author can write and include all of them, rather than choosing one road less traveled.

This presentation included readings from several stories, both print and digital, composed as part of this research, which will demonstrate the effects of producing fiction in multiple media on narrative and structure. I also discussed ways in which my writing process evolved as a result of my developing awareness of, and intent to work in digital media.

Cite as: Skains, R. Lyle. 2011. “The Medium in the Story: How the Intent to Work in Digital Media Affects the Writer’s Practice.” In Great Writing, Imperial College London, June 2011. London, UK.

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