Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Can Creative Writing Survive Our Digital Obsessions?


I use a Kindle.

I also still read physical books.

Sometimes they feel like different activities but, usually, as I fall into the words and sentences, I forget to notice whether I’m holding a book or a digital device.

Yet, there are folks who absolutely love one way of reading and heartily damn the other

And, there are many people working hard to take reading further from its traditional environs.

At least, with a Kindle, the words and sentences still add up to an enchantment with creative writing.

A week ago, in the post, A Mild “Rant” About An Extremely Serious Situation, I shared a link to an article about the Head of HarperCollins UK talking about taking storytelling back from digital rivals. Here’s some of what I said:

“You might think the boss wants a war with rivals over traditionally published books.

“Nope, this man’s war is ‘going beyond ebooks to apps, games and video’.

“Nothing about the quality of books or the importance of the author as creative producer—merely a move to make more money

I usually try to stay just this side of spilling my biased guts on this blog but there are times I feel, if I don’t speak out, I’ll burst

The Atlantic recently had an article called This Video Game Could Revolutionize Publishing—and Reading.

Here’s a quote from that article:

“When the Best Books of 2013 are listed, the most important may not make the cut. That’s because the most exciting literary innovation of the year is not a book at all, but a video game for iPad and iPhone.”

O.K., they say it’s not a book but also imply it should be on a best books list

A video game pretending it’s a book?

Another quote:

Device 6 is a metaphysical thriller in which the world is made almost entirely from words. Playing it is like reading a book—except, in this book, the words veer off in unexpected directions, rather than progressing in orderly fashion down the page. When Anna, the game’s protagonist, turns a corner in the narrative, the text does too, swerving off to one side at a right angle, forcing the player to rotate the screen.”

Hmmm…

I have to admit that, when I’m writing, the words in my head sometimes do things like that; but, I have this obsession about taming their antics before I put them into my computer

I also use mind maps when I’m in the initial stages of the writing process; yet, again, I straighten them out later in the process.

Device 6 is only the latest in the digital “war” against books; though, I’m sure most of the developers aren’t thinking about supplanting books—they’re mostly just being creative and probably trying to make money

Nothing wrong with making money—I recommend it to all aspiring humans—yet, when money drives the creative process, I’m more than fairly certain the project becomes less than truly creative (as in, Creative Writing).

My personal answer to the question in the title of this post—Can Creative Writing Survive Our Digital Obsessions?—is, “Absloutely!“.

Yet

I’m concerned about the folks younger than me

How hard will it be for their offspring to re-discover the magic of surrendering their minds to the creativity of another person and coming away from the experience refreshed and more than likely a bit wiser?

We shall see

Now, I lay before you evidence of the attempt to highjack creative writing, to interfere with the reader’s ability to create their own mental and emotional interpretation of the written word


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