Another first for the Writers' Workshop as we offer a cutting-edge service for born digital writing, a sector which is booming as major publishers, independent publishers and technology companies all commission born digital work.
The course is led by Craig Taylor, who, writing as C M Taylor has published five novels. He is also a screenwriter with a movie script going into production in 2014, and has two born digital products in the pipeline, one with the British Library, and another with a technical software designer.
What is Born Digital Writing?
Put simply, born digital writing tells stories that could not exist solely on the page. It uses the technological functions of computers, tablets or smartphones to add new elements to story-telling.
Er, I Still Don't Know What You Mean
Fine. Understood. It is a genuinely new form of narrative art. Let's take a few examples.
This macabre app thriller plays out over five days and enters your world via emails, a diary, phone calls and creepy late night film viewings.
This web documentary combines found film footage with electronic music and text to wonderfully poignant effect.
This dark sci fi novel app arrives on your device daily in a serialised form, then asks you to make your own contributions to the story.
This best-selling surrealistic adventure app combines text with 3D photography, music and puzzles to create bafflingly original art.
Beginning to get it now? It's a lot of fun isn't it.
We offer two different services:
You might be a writer looking for the best way to use technology to enhance your story. Or you might be a programmer or designer who is looking for help with your story. Either way, we can help via a face-to-face consultation in which you'll spend time talking over your idea with Craig. Any resources you have can be emailed before the meeting, but if your idea is still a glimmer, that's fine too. Craig can determine what works about your idea, testing it against the current market, successful products, technological capabilities, and, of course, narrative power. You'll go away from this meeting with a clearer idea of what you intend to make.
We can help you with your text. That might be helping you work up text from scratch. Or it might be editing text you already have. Whatever the level of input needed we can help make your story sing, shaping it so that the technology you use increases the power of your narrative, rather than stopping it in its tracks.
We have extensive industry contacts with appropriate publishers, technology companies and app developers. And when your work is ready to be seen by the professionals, we can help with that too.
I first got into this area of writing a couple of years ago when I saw the sci-fi novel app The Silent History. I loved the way it used GPS technology to increase the power and the interactivity of the narrative and I thought, 'Why aren't I doing this?'
So I decided to do something about it.
I found my collaborators and established a company with a software partner and designed and started to build my own born digital story. I've also started a technology experiment with the British Library and organised the keynote discussion at the Writers' Workshop Festival of Writing on born digital literature, as well as lecturing publishers and undergraduates on the topic
With the wildfire spread of tablet and smartphone devices, this form of story-telling is moving closer and closer to the mainstream, with some stories already selling hundreds of thousands of copies, and even established publishers like Penguin Random House commissioning products
For the moment, many people are confused about what these stories are – are they games or books? - but I have no doubt that within a few years this new form of narrative art will become as popular as cinema is today.
Editorial: Assignments quoted individually