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Mixed Media Literature

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.


Read the Rest.

Learning About Your Characters

This post is by thriller author, Nicole Wilson.

Read more at nicolewilsonauthor.com or facebook.com/nicolewilson31author.


While I was working on the first draft of my novel, I realized that, despite all of my planning, plotting, and outlining, I did not know who my characters were. Nor did I realize that I needed to know who they were. I figured they would just come alive in the story, take on a personality by themselves. Right?

Wrong. At least for me. There was no flair. No personal touches to any of the dialogue. Not until I got to a scene where I needed a guy in a mask did I add some personality traits to my characters. The guy ends up wearing a Reaver mask, which is an entity in the TV show Firefly. But two of my main characters recognize it as a Reaver, while another character simply thinks it’s a monster. This helped develop that the first two were 1) good friends, 2)Firefly fans, and 3) a little bit geeky. It also helped me see that the other character wasn’t into cult classics like Firefly and helped build her as an outsider in that relationship.

That one little entry into my story made me realize that I needed to really dig deep into my characters, especially since I’m planning other books with some of them. Once I finally did my digging, I felt like there was so much more that could be added to my story, whether it be backstory, little conversational bits, anything that allows the reader to bond with the characters.

To go about exploring my characters, I googled “character profiles” and found a ton of hits. I picked out three that seemed to be pretty extensive and combined them into one Excel spreadsheet for a total of 200-and-something questions. Good grief. I decided that I would answer these to the best of my ability, and that I would do the best I could, but I was not going to answer 200-plus questions for seven characters. No thanks.

Read the rest.


Nicole Wilson is a thriller author, who loves her husband, Jesus, books, running, and Microsoft Excel. She has two short stories published and is at work on her first novel.

More Transformational Storytelling Revolutionaries

My research centers around transformational storytelling, multimodal, interactive storytelling, and (to a large degree), differentiated instruction . I advocate using new technology as one means of telling these life-altering stories. It all basically comes down to

How can we tell engaging stories that teach, heal, and transform lives?

That’s a pretty simple, pretty powerful concept. A while back, I posted several other revolutionaries. Here are some more:

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The Stanford Storytelling Project

The Stanford Storytelling Project is an arts program at Stanford University that explores how we live in and through stories and how we can use them to change our lives. Our mission is to promote the transformative nature of traditional and modern oral storytelling, from Lakota tales to Radiolab, and empower students to create and perform their own stories. The project sponsors courses, workshops, live events, and grants. 

This is one of my favorite research organizations, and they have a lot going on. While they focus primarily n the tranformative nature of oral storytelling, a lot of the principles can be related to written, visual, and whatever else. They produce a lot of episodes, podcasts, and material. Not to mention that it is Stanford University, so the professors publish on these topics as well.

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Training for Running and Writing

This post is by thriller author, Nicole Wilson.

Read more at nicolewilsonauthor.com or facebook.com/nicolewilson31author.

This summer and fall, I have undertaken two projects: training for a half marathon and writing my first serious novel. In the last few months, I”™ve come to realize that running and writing are not as different as they may seem.

Training
This is my second half marathon (I completed the same race last October), and I”™ve been running for a few years now. In preparing for a race, especially a relatively new distance, training is very important. You don”™t want to go straight from munching on chocolate on the couch watching Star Wars all day (what a life) to running 13.1 miles. You”™d hurt yourself! (Unless you”™re Barney Stinson, but then you couldn”™t walk afterward and you”™d get robbed, so really, I don”™t see a net gain.) You need to train. For runners, that means creating a plan and (for the most part) sticking to it. Eat healthier, sleep longer, and rack up those miles.

The same can be said for writing. Not all writers are like this, but for me, I had to start with short stories which, over time, became longer, and then I decided to attempt my first serious novel-length manuscript. However, researching and doing character profiles can also be considered training. Training really is anything that helps you get ready for that long race (i.e. your novel).

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Fellow Revolutionaries in Transformational Storytelling

My research centers around transformational storytelling, multimodal, interactive storytelling, and (to a large degree), differentiated instruction . I advocate using new technology as one means of telling these life-altering stories. It all basically comes down to

How can we tell engaging stories that teach, heal, and transform lives?

That’s a pretty simple, pretty powerful concept. And, like all things simple and powerful, it is shared by many others. Educators, scholars, artists, pastors, counselors, and many others are tackling the ideas of digital and transformational storytelling. This is a revolution — a revolution worth joining.

To that end, I wanted to start a conversation in hopes of bringing some of these revolutionaries together. These are a few of the individuals and groups who have inspired me by tackling difficult challenges in innovative ways. This is not a complete list, and it isn’t meant to be. Nor does this list include many of the scholars on whom I draw for theoretical foundations. I will post about the giants upon whose shoulders I stand another time.

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Future of Storytelling: a Conversation with Transmedia Creator Andrea Phillips

Transmedia Creator, Andrea Philips, talks about what Transmedia is, how the field of transmedia is growing, what the future looks like, and what she does and how she broke into the industry.

Andrea Phillips is a transmedia writer and game designer and author. Her work includes a variety of educational and commercial projects, including America 2049, The Maester”™s Path for HBO”™s Game of Thrones, Routes Game, Perplex City, The 2012 Experience for Sony Pictures, Cathy”™s Key, and True Blood. Her book, A Creator”™s Guide to Transmedia Storytelling, will be published by McGraw-Hill in spring 2012.

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, Andrea. You have a very impressive resume. Can you tell us a little about what you do?

I”™ve been calling myself a transmedia creator lately, but what I call myself depends on who”™s asking and what day it is. Sometimes I call myself a game designer; sometimes I call myself a writer. None of it really quite hits the mark. There just isn”™t really a very good title for the specific set of things that I bring to a project.

How did you break into the “transmedia” space in the first place?

I came into the space originally long, long ago just as a writer, and then I moved into game design while working on an alternate reality game called Perplex City, which ended about four years ago.

I”™ve been doing so much lately, too””just in the last year I”™ve worked on The Maester”™s Path, which was the HBO Game of Thrones project, a game with Thomas Dolby called The Floating City.

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