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Creative Research

My research explores multimodal creativity through print and digital stories. Please feel free to comment or contact me!

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Posters that don't involve women draped on cars

Fresh off mid-semester vacation, our New Media Research Circle had a mini-poster session today.  I threw together mine based on the method I'm using to take my stories from print to digital, pompously titled "From Pen to Screen: Remediating Stories from Print to Digital Media." 

It's a process in development, as that 4th step you see in the image there only emerged a couple of weeks ago.  It will be a major portion of my PhD writeup, far too much to go into here.  The abstract gives the basic gist:

Ubiquitous and mobile applications such as SmartPhones and Tablets are attracting growing numbers of readers to digital stories. Many experienced print writers may see this trend as an opportunity to direct their storytelling skills toward an emerging genre, but lack the skills and knowledge needed to remediate their own print stories into digital form; they may also prefer a remediation methodology that begins in their comfort zone (print), and moves step-by-step toward the unknown (digital).  This poster sets out a methodology designed and employed by the author during her PhD research into the topic of multimodal (print and digital) storytelling, moving the potential digital author through a step-by-step process of story analysis, media evaluation, story visualization, and remediation based on fundamental aspects of the print story such as character, theme, and tone.
Not only did the session turn out to be valuable in terms of learning how to create a poster, but in the feedback on this methodology.  In just a few minutes, the group asked several questions and made several comments, all of which helped me consider a few angles I hadn't looked at before:

  1. Section titles - "Visualize the Story" is a bit off, as "visualize" is a term that can be applied to a lot of different things.  This step, adapting the print story to a visual script (an amalgam of film and game script formatting), is also a remediation.  It might be worthwhile to call this step "Remediate the Story" and the last step "Realize" or "Produce the Story."  I don't love the word "produce," but it's the closest I have for now.
  2. Question: Is there any room in the process to return to the print text as needed/desired?
    • Yes.  The construct of the progression of steps here is just that: a construct.  The actual process is much more fluid.  For example, in my second story (Amelia), it wasn't until I chose the medium (step 3) that it occurred to me her print narrative didn't reflect her character.  I stepped back and started revisions again, with the new insight I gained from analyzing the text and brainstorming the most appropriate medium for that story.
    1. Question: Do you find the print and digital text start to diverge at all?
      • Yes, but that's not a bad thing.  It's actually expected, and beneficial.  Some things expressed in text can't be exactly duplicated on screen, and vice versa.  As I remediate, new aspects emerge from the simple process of trying to express theme, character, and story in a different mode.  This makes both pieces unique, but still part of a whole.  It means that a reader can experience the story in two ways, which are not duplicates of one another, but unique experiences.
      1. Question: It seems the process really emphasizes and relies on story.  Is that ever an issue?
        • Not so much for me, as I'm a writer.  I write stories, and that's what I've always been interested in.  If I were a game or website designer, it might get frustrating.  But as a creative writing, the story is the most important aspect.  I'm talking about "story" in my creative definition of the word: a character with a conflict.  It's as simple as that; it doesn't confer restrictions beyond character and conflict.  Story doesn't need a beginning, middle, and end, or a chronology, or linearity.  These are print constructs, and they absolutely don't have to be forced on the digital texts.

        Something that emerged as I was answering that last question: It's fascinating that my experience as a writer is (hopefully) mirroring the reader's eventual experience as they move through the storyworld.  I can work on the story that interests me at the moment, in the medium of my choice.  If I lose interest, or want to shift focus, I can go to another story.  I may be inspired by events in a story along the process to start a new story, hyperlinking through the writing to a new character, a new conflict that intersects other stories.

        My goal is to primarily have the stories themselves work linearly, and the world nonlinearly; thus the reader can exhibit the same behavior in reading the stories as  I do in creating them, and even move into the creation themselves.

        ...and that's the exciting extent of my notes from the session, at least with regard to my own poster.  It  was awesome to see what others did with theirs, and why, and to see how the posters' designs mimicked their message.  It's a pretty useful exercise, not only to create the poster, but also to present it and talk about it, even briefly.

        Now, more conferences.  Here we go!

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