Interactive Narrative

The key take-out of the Douglas chapters for me involved the sequentiality of the interactive novel. Douglas says that although it is sometimes described as non-sequential, it definitely isn’t, because anything that has parts following after other parts is sequential – a box which interactive novels of course ticks.

Interactive writing becoming more prominent seems to make sense when you consider the relationship between interactive novels and conversational realities. Whilst they don’t currently address all the points of conversation that were raised, I guess they are a step in the same direction. But it’s important to note Douglas’ point on the tradition book and interactive novels co-existing, because traditional narratives work in a different way – they involve a total consumption of a created world. There’s a joy in being taken on a journey and not necessary agreeing with every turn.

This, though, assumes that people actually want to read like they converse, which I don’t think is the case a lot of the time. Of course there is a heavy shift to two-way communication in reading material (for example newspaper columns inviting immediate comments in their digital versions, blogs and blog platforms like tumblr allowing people to build on existing content with ease), these mostly rely on a story being told in full first, and expanded on second. One of the newest semi-social writing platforms to take off, Medium (created by one of the founders of Blogger), is dedicated to people taking short amounts of time out to read in a fairly one-way structure (although it claims to be dedicated to collaboration, in essence it’s just write and read). 

However Douglas’ point that interactive novels allow for the reader to decide when the ending is, that the ending comes when the reader is satisfied and that may come at the multitude of times, is very relevant to the reading habits of audiences.

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