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I’ve had this thought for a while, that interactive novels would be a huge development in the publishing industry over the next few years. So when I came across this article reviewing an interactive iPad App book I was curious as to how it all worked out.

Apparently, it’s exhausting.

Based on the description of how they’ve handled the interactivity of the book, it sounds a bit like J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore:

trace code symbols with your finger to unlock a door, search for a notebook and tap to look inside

so I can see how an entire book would take forever to get through when all you wanna do is read and progress through the story.

And yet I can still imagine the merits of interactive storytelling. Illustrations and footnotes could come to life, even music could help create atmosphere for a scene. I get the feeling that where the makers of the other interactive text went wrong is that they went overboard.

You can see from some of the screenshots from the book that it looks pretty spectacular, but just because it’s interactive doesn’t mean every page or every chapter needs to have something to click or scroll through or find.

I still think interactive books can make a big break through into publishing, especially in the children’s book market, but just because you can use technology to enhance every moment of a story, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. The point is to enhance the existing story, not destroy it’s beautiful phrases, images, and characters by taking over for your imagination.


14 thoughts on “Storyteching

  1. I like stories where you can, to an extent, determine their progress, like those choose-your-own stories from the 90s, or visual novels, like Katawa Shoujo. It’s definitely a lot more writing and everything, but I think it’s a better use of the technology than tracing code symbols while reading; I feel that would break immersion. I think the difficult part is making your choices feel important. Majora’s Mask did that really well, because you often saw what happened when you didn’t make a choice, too, so you could see your impact.

    • Oh cool, I’ll have to check that out πŸ™‚

      I feel the same, that too much technology would just ruin the experience of the book.

      I was watching an interview last night on TV with a writer who was talking about illustrations in books, and how all books in the 19th century had pictures, even if they were for an adult audience, but you don’t really see it today. Maybe that’s something that will come back into fashion. Who knows.

      It’s just interesting to think how much literature changes, and to wonder how much it’s going to change over the next few decades.

      • I love a book with good illustrations! Gustave Dore is goddamn amazing! He did illustrations for Don Quixote, Dante’s Inferno, the Bible, Baron Munchausen, and others, and he’s just incredible. The amount of detail is mind-blowing. Check out some of his things here:

        I just posted a bunch for you. If people did illustrations like that for books, I would love it. I tried to find a Bible once with Dore’s illustrations, but couldn’t find anything affordable.

      • Oh wow πŸ˜€
        I’ve seen that Don Quixote one before! The one where he’s being surrounded by all the knight’s from the books πŸ™‚ You’re right, this guy’s awesome.

        More books should be illustrated, I reckon πŸ™‚

  2. An amazing piece of kit.
    I have nominated your blog for the Liebster Award – you always give us such fascinating articles and share lots of opportunities with fellow writers. I am not sure if you collect awards, some people don’t because they are like chain letters! πŸ˜‰
    Here’s a link to the post and if you could pingback if you accept it, I’d love to read your answers to the 11 questions!

    • Wow, thank you! I don’t actually collect blog awards, but I’ll answer some of the questions anyway :]
      My pen name would probably be something like Renae Lyre.
      If I could go anywhere, I’d probably go to Machu Pichu.
      Three things I did this morning: attended a uni lecture on Junot Diaz’s ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar War’ (read it, it’s great), shopped for muesli bars, and bought Les Miserables for Mother’s Day.

      Thanks for the award, and congrats on being nominated yourself! :]

  3. I would love to see more done with this tech. I think we’re not quite at the stage where authors are thinking in terms of interactivity, though.

    • I don’t think many authors think that way either, but I’m sure over the next few years things will change. My favourite novel ‘A Visit From the Goon Squad’ by Jennifer Egan uses a powerpoint, which I find pretty innovative, and just goes to show that computer technology can infiltrate printed literature and win a Pulitzer!

  4. Pingback: Storyteching: UPDATE | little rockets

  5. Pingback: The 39 Steps – review | little rockets

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