Monday, May 31, 2010

Fear Not, My Fellow Writers

Storytelling has been around for centuries. The method, however, has been fluid.

From poems like Iliad to stories told orally around a fire, literature always seems to be evolving and changing to best suit the needs (and sometimes attention spans) of its audience.

Which leads me into the territory of the enhanced book.

It's scary to think of books changing, although technically commercial fiction hasn't been around all that long. I want a career in writing just like the rest of you, but will the books I'm writing be the books that are selling?

I don't want to fear that what I love will no longer exist years from now. However, while change is difficult, stories that touch the heart will always be around, no matter what format they're in.

Below are links to two different agent posts on the future of books. What do you think? Will there be a place for fiction as we know it? Do the coming changes worry you or excite you?

PubRants
Janet Reid

25 comments:

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

I'm a little worried, to be honest. Works of commercial fiction are almost like film scripts dolled up nowadays. Everyone wants action action action. I'm worried that poetic prose writing is going to fade. People's attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. It's so sad.

Melissa said...

While yes people's attention spans are shortening and things are changing, I don't think the changes will be as drastic as everyone worries it will be. There are still far too many people who love books, too many people who won't let it happen. While things constantly change and we constantly have to adapt, if we change with it, grow with it, there isn't as much of a culture shock. But really, people are still reading and loving classics from hundreds of years ago (shakespeare anyone?) so I have no doubt that fiction, the way it is now will still play a part in the future.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Not excited yet. Maybe in time.
~ Wendy

Jessica Nelson said...

Jessica, it feels sad to me too, honestly. A friend mentioned that it takes a different kind of creativity though to create these enhanced books, so even with the loss of attention spans, there seems to be a complexity of creativity (if that makes any kind of sense). Anyway, it'll be interesting to see what happens, but I do hope traditional, commercial fiction is around for at least another century. Long enough until I die. lol

Jessica Nelson said...

Wendy, maybe... :-)I think it's like our grandparents trying to figure out an iPod. I think most grandparents are content to just turn on the radio, you know?

Jessica Nelson said...

Melissa, I agree that there are many of us who love books, but what happens when our generation starts passing away?
Still, you make a good point with Shakespeare, the only thing being is that 1) Shakespeare wrote screenplays (I believe) and 2) Didn't most people know him by watching the play rather than reading it?
But your point is right on: Great storytelling, great stories, last.

Thanks for popping by! :-)

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

yeah, tell me about it! A fantastic writing coach I worked with taught me how to write cinematically. It's quite hard, but once you get the hang of it, it's just like writing what you see in a movie. I enjoy it, but I still think it's sad that this type of writing may eventually overpoweer the traditional arty prose, even though that's exactly how I write! :)

Diane said...

I was going to give my two cents in next weeks post. I'll link back to you. I had similar thoughts. :O)

Jessica Nelson said...

Diane, I'm looking forward to reading your post!

Jessica, very cool that you learned how to do that! I know,I love "traditional arty prose" too. Overpower is a good word, perfect actually.

Karen Lange said...

I'm not crazy about some of the changes that I see. I think that there are readers like me who still prefer the traditional format. Thanks for the links. Happy Memorial Day!

Jessica Nelson said...

Karen, of course there are readers like you! (me, heeeheee)
The readers who aren't like us are probably ages ten and under right now. lol
Hope you have a great day!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

Interesting posts. One identifies a particular technology and the contract problems involved, while the other worries about publishers understanding and dealing with an unknown product.

Contracts that worked 20 years ago are as outdated as the manual typewriter. Agents, writers, and those dealing in contract law face new challenges in protecting author rights.

I don't think I'd be overly thrilled to see enhanced e-books. We have media the tells stories in visual form. They're called movies, DVD's, and TV.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Diane J. said...

I worry too, but I have this little optomistic bubble that keeps me looking on the positive...sometimes :)

Love your blog.

Jessica Nelson said...

Diane, that bubble sounds comfy.
:-) Thanks for the sweet comment.

Susan, yeah, I thought both articles were pretty intriguing.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

As with all of life...there is continous change. The technology of reading and writing has changed so much since I first began to read and write soooooooo many years ago!

For me, the computer, its software and the internet are a major blessing. I'm enjoying my Kindle, but still also enjoy the smell and feel of a good book! No matter what techno changes happen, I can't believe that the world will stop craving books for both education, information and enjoyment.

And we writers will always be writing no matter whathappens!

Terri Tiffany said...

I agree with Susan. I amm not going to worry yet:) Too much other stuff going on! LOL

Jeanette Levellie said...

Images seem to be taking the place of words in our society, which I think may show a lack of depth. However, many of us will continue our love of words, and the "older style" books will remain through the ages. I'm not worried.

I think Heaven will have its libraries and bookshelves in homes. At least my manision will!

Nancy said...

I am not worried. For one, I'm at the end of my writing time, as far as being seriously published is concerned. For another, I'm sure there will always be places for just plain books to be sold and loved. If not, I've got quite a nice collection of classics to read.

Hector Macdonald said...

Jessica, this is a really interesting subject. I think there are lots of grounds to be positive, simply because enhanced books offer the opportunity to include so much that was previously impossible. At Book Drum, we've enabled contributors anywhere in the world to upload images, embed videos and music, and add information and links about any book ever published: www.bookdrum.com. We'd love to hear what you think...

Stephanie Faris said...

I think it will change...but the same basic system will exist. Just like YouTube and Hulu have revolutionized the way we watch TV, people are still paying for both...and will continue to do so until we have some major generational shifts. But even if e-books take over the industry, the publishing system will still exist, I think. It HAS to. If anyone is allowed to publish a book, the public won't know where to find "the good stuff" without some sort of filtering system.

Dara said...

Slightly worried but I figure I'm still going to write no matter what happens.

I just hope they don't start wanting authors to come up with ideas for the "enhanced content" along with everything else :P

Lynn said...

In the last few years I saw modern theatre merge with film on stage. At first I was resistant but as the play unfolded, it fit. I wonder if the future of stories are really changing, or if new ways are just being created to tell a story. In other words, maybe, just maybe there will be demand and room for all ways and new ways to tell a tale.

Deb Shucka said...

Story is essential to humanity, so whatever the form, as writers we have the job/honor/calling to share the stories needing to be told.

Warren Baldwin said...

Didn't read the links, but I think story telling will always be around, so fiction will be as well. And as long as I can keep writing, there will be at least a couple of books around!

patti said...

It's all in the hands of my Audience of One, so I don't get too prickly (with worry OR excitment).

SOOOO glad to be back reading this blog!!!

P