Penguin’s We Tell Stories is fun

Week One: We Tell Stories, Charles Cummings: The 21 Steps
I have to think more about this before I write about about it’s implications but as an experiment it sure pays off much much more than did A Million Penguins.

The build up is great even if the pay off is a little disappointing (if only because they are setting up week two but I don’t know if they are). I can see it going strong for longer than six weeks but then who knows.

The use if Google Maps gives it a really gaming quality and the clicking makes it feel like you control the action to some degree even though you have absolutely no effect on the movement or plot! Fun.

Go Read

PS In the credits, they include a youtube video of a performance of a song mentioned in the text. It is this that to my mind shows the full capacity of this storytelling format to really blow paper books, television and radio out of the water. When you can combine all these elements in a web story you have endless possibilities.

6 thoughts on “Penguin’s We Tell Stories is fun

  1. Hi Eoin,

    There’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. If you pay attention while you’re traversing the map, some additional “clues” are displayed which set off a whole other hunt of sorts (making it more of an ARG). This ARG aspect blends very well into the plot itself and already has people scurrying around St. Pancras station looking for answers- although it really helps if you’re living in London!


  2. Harry,

    I noticed that alright and was going to write some more on it soon!

    The story had it’s problems I can accept but given the form I thought it was well matched!


  3. Eoin,

    I cordially beg to disagree – unless you’re being sarcastic with ‘well-matched’! It’s precisely this image of online writing that I’m struggling against. Why shouldn’t the very best find work its home on the net, not just the not-good-enough, or barely-good-enough?


  4. Lee, with equal respect,

    I think you are missing my point!

    It’s not that the story is great or that it is without merit, I like that it is a decent story, packaged with an engaging platform and using some nice techniques.

    Its not the best nor the worst writing but the overall effect is strong. Does that mean that I’ll not read good fiction online? NO, better fiction is around as you well know and easily read online.

    I like what they have done because it shows that there is potential to use the tools of the web to weave stories. I suspect that the skill in doing that will improve rapidly.


  5. OK, we’ll have to disagree. I think it’s a dull story, and that the overall effect is even duller. Obviously, we have different taste!

    However, I do agree about potential, though I still suspect that a lot of mainstream publishers don’t quite believe that ‘real writing’ is to be found online. When an indie writer wins the Booker, then maybe there’ll be a change of mind … (But don’t hold your breath.)

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