Mixed media (or multimodal) storytelling is not my own creative idea, not am I the only revolutionary. This is a post from an author utilizing multiple forms of media in order to tell a story as it deserves to be told. Enjoy.

Originally from The Nathan Holic Collection:

Simply put, “mixed-media literature” refers to any piece of writing that utilizes additional mediums.

Generally, this means that the traditional text will be joined by some new visual element, whether that be an additional document (letters, schedules, scripts) or changes in the design of the page or in the text (additional columns of text, font changes) or a piece of artwork (clip-art, comic panel, photograph). This isn”™t a brand-new concept. Heck, magazines and newspapers have been employing a variety of mediums ever since their inception. But most forms of literature have stuck mainly to “traditional text”: most novels, memoirs, and essays generally rely upon the text alone to convey the message. And even when additional images or design elements come into play, it happens in non-intrusive ways (chapter breaks, or appendices). With the rise of mixed-media communication in our daily lives, however, and with the Millennial Generation growing so accustomed to constant mixed-media communication (from web sites with embedded images, to iPhone apps, to Powerpoint presentations, there are very few occasions when we ever see text standing alone anymore), I am interested in the ways that these mediums will manifest themselves in “traditional literature.” Where will we see web sites incorporated into novels, and facebook status updates incorporated into memoirs, and text messages incorporated into poetry? I ask “where” and not “when,” because quite simply, it is happening all around us”¦with greater and greater frequency.

On this page, I want to track some of the more prominent and successful examples of “mixed-media literature” to surface in the last few years. And to make my argument a bit more clear, I break apart the idea of mixed-media literature into three different categories. Really, every author determines to what extent he/she will actually break free of a single medium, so it”™s a sliding scale and the author decides when to start and when to stop. But here are the three different ways we can view this type of literature: (1) narrative voice, (2) hybrid narratives, (3) graphic literature.

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Chris Michaels

Storyteller. Researcher. Coder. Innovator. I seek to push the boundaries of storytelling and education.
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