Writing Wednesdays: Interactive storytelling

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People have experimented with online storytelling for as long as the Internet has been around; remember hyperlinked choose-your-own-adventure novels?

Lately, the New York Times has produced a few very beautiful interactive long-form stories like Snow Fall and The Jockey and, more recently, on the lighter end of things, Planet Pasta.

I’ve enjoyed scrolling through these pieces, but I’m still not sure that the interactivity actually enhances the writing. With a short, fun piece like Planet Pasta, it probably doesn’t make a difference, though I’m not sure how I felt about the eye-rollingly flip treatment of Barilla’s comments about the LGBT community. With longer pieces, interactive elements are often positively distracting, such as when the reader is invited to stop and watch a video before continuing with the rest of the piece.

Being online is already distracting enough; I prefer stories that help me focus rather than catering to my wanderlust.

However, I’m glad to see people continue to experiment, because, you know, that’s what new media are for.

What do you think? Do you like interactive stories, or are they overhyped?

2 thoughts on “Writing Wednesdays: Interactive storytelling

  1. I feel old. For me, an interactive story is when I am listening to a storyteller who asks questions and invites the audience to participate.

  2. Over-hyped I think. Like you, I don’t mind them for a short story, but I want to get on with the story. I think interactive might work better if the story was narrated. I don’t think it would be as jarring to leave the story to watch a video or respond if I didn’t have to switch my eyes from reading to watching.

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