NEW MEDIA: Weblogging and Such

I was delighted to discuss weblogging on a student panel as part of the Tunxis Writers’ Festival on Monday night.  Three former students of the New Media class, along with a professor who had taken writing into the digital film world presented, and it was a most interesting look into the world open to writers over and above written text hidden between two covers.

We had a glimpse of interactive fiction, and its obvious difference to the writer in the planning of story not only as a narrative structure, but as a game that must at all times consider the reader and where the reader may take the story.  Examples of IF may be found at John Timmons’ site, and if you’re up to a challenge, try playing Photopia–a classic in IF.

Mark, a student both of the NM course and currently in Creative Writing, did a wonderful presentation on comic books–graphic stories that also offer a unique challenge to the writer to develop a story based upon both words and pictures.  Usually a collaborative effort between writer and artist (example, Watchmen), the medium allows for each to progress story in its own way.  Text is usually dialogue, a tool used by all writers to give background, point to the future, set a mood, and tell what is going on.  Graphics can be responsible for setting, time change, and emotion as well as action that in truth prove "a picture is worth a thousand words."  Together, they manipulate story in a well planned out method that is exciting and interesting to the reader. 

My presentation on weblogging reminded me of the use of Spinning and some of its sister sites as mainly a tool to hone my craft of writing, but the fact is, is that I use them as well as a personal journal, a sounding-board, both a writing and an academic portfolio, and try to incorporate the elements of New Media into their existence by the interactive nature of blogging.  Some of you were used as examples and shown up on the screen to offer the audience some insight into the variety of graphic design and writing styles that weblogging encourages.

One of my favorite short story tellers is Patrice Hamilton, who with her frustration with the publishing business combined with her knowledge of Hollywood filming methods has enabled her short story to change into a film format.  With the help of actors and a small crew, she donned the director’s hat and was able to turn her imagined view of the story into visuals that more closely reveal her meaning and intent.  But the medium of film has its own demands, and narrative structure must often be changed to suit the medium–and sometimes it offers such opportunity that the changes that result are more intense and improve the original while maintaining the story idea.

All in all, it was a fun and enlightening experience, and probably has me hot again on the new media courses of action open to the writer.

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