In the digital age, a writer who defines their craft by a specific medium has a serious employment problem.
It’s a multi-platform world. The old fashioned hierarchies of primary and secondary mediums have faded. Audiences distribute themselves across platforms, rather than conglomerating around one. To be a professional writer in the 21st century means flexibility. The ability to not only work across forms, but to conceive and develop ideas in a way that doesn’t pre-determine the medium. Storyworld before Story.
This week I’ll be appearing at the prestigious Brisbane Writers Festival to talk about some of these ideas - the strategies and creative processes that allow writers to work with a kind of platform-agnostic flexibility without throwing away the fundamentals of good narrative storytelling.
And the timing is good, as of late I’ve been putting these ideas into some very direct practice with my current endeavour ‘Transgressions’ - a supernatural gothic horror project with cross-platform execution.
In 2013 I signed a new 3-book deal with my publisher Simon and Schuster to write a series of gothic horror novels, due for release mid next year. Two of these books are complete, The Mothers and The Scrimshaw Marionette are now knee-deep in the editing process, and I will soon begin work on the final book (Amaranth), a collaboration with my creative partner Leonie Jones.
So, whilst the labour of penning prose fiction ploughs on, I have signed on with eminent multi-platform production company The Project Factory to simultaneously develop the Transgressions series as an interactive production.
Working with producers Guy Gadney and Zoe Brown, along with director Enzo Tedeschi, we’ve been putting together a proof-of-concept for Transgressions as a live-action interactive production for tablet devices - an experience that is creepy, cinematic, sinister and personal. A series of driving narrative ghost stories that build on the long gothic tradition and which wrap the audience up in the fate of the characters, an experience that makes you complicit in their fate, a story that won’t happen without you…
It’s the most fun you can have in the dark with your pants on! Here’s a little taste of the whats to come…
I’ve been writing about the process of writing Transgressions:Transgressions: Imagery and probelm Solving and - Transgressions: Scripts, Games and Gothic Horror. So stay tuned - much more to come…
And if you’re in Brisbane for the Writers festival this weekend you can catch me at a few events over Friday and Saturday. I’ll be giving a keynote at STORY+ on the future of ‘Authorship’. This will be followed by a panel session on ‘Writing in Collaborative Environments’ where I’ll talk about such things as my process for running writer’s rooms for TV, multi-platform and interactive productions.
Then on Friday I’ll be delivering an intensive masterclass workshop on ‘Storyworld Design’, getting into some of the nitty gritty of the ideas mentioned above - that in the digital age, a writer who defines their craft by a specific medium has a serious employment problem.