Experimenting With Story Forms

I’ve recently noticed an old post about taking an adaptation approach versus taking a transmedia (or crossmedia, as they say these days) approach gaining a lot of traffic (thank you). When I wrote that post, I was trying to learn everything I could about both adaptation and transmedia (crossmedia), but it was all reading and not a lot of practical application.

Nearly two years before I wrote that post, I was starting to work on an aspect of my story world, which led to my writing a lot of little scenes exploring netrunning and the more cybernetic aspects of the world. One of those stories, the vignette “Wired Out“, has found new life over the last month or so as I’ve recycled it a couple of times over.

It kind of started by accident. Last month, wattpad announced they had partnered with SoundCloud to allow writers to add sounds to their stories through the Android app. So, I decided to try it out and see what was involved. It was not easy. It was not intuitive. But if you check out “Wired Out” through the wattpad Android app, you can now hear me read it to you. (I’m still not even sure I set it up correctly. How’s that for sad?)

But just narrating a story as it’s written with no changes or embellishments really isn’t an adaptation. You’ve simply changed its form from text to audio.

Last week, hitRECord’s Comic Collective asked participants to to create a comic with a personified character. At first, I thought about a story I’m working on where elementals run a bit rampant. I thought about how elements are portrayed, their symbolism and associations, and it gave me a headache. (I’m more easily overwhelmed these days than I thought.) But as I lay there, hiding my head under my pillow, I suddenly had the thought: The data ghosts in New Glory’s net are energy personified. I had quite a few notes on how they worked…and I had a vignette where one of these creatures was wandering around.

So, I sat down and spent more time than I probably should have converting a scene of roughly 100 words into a six-panel comic script. It was an experience. I really had to think about how to convey what I see in my head so that someone else could do something with it (assuming they didn’t go their own direction with it). Effectively, the story has been split into its dialogue and its visual elements. To me, that feels more like an adaptation.

I’m going to keep looking for ways to change the form of some of my older stories. Who knows? I may even find another way to use “Wired Out”. It’s interesting to see what a story can become when you present it through a different medium.


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