The results were (at least in our minds) heart-warming. The participated were early-adopters of innovative storytelling and were essentially asked about their dream storyworld interactions. A bucket list, if you will. Their sentiment generally requests that stories get...
"Out of the screen and into my life"
Our answer? Done.
Stories that live and breathe are our favorite kinds of stories. We love the ones where you read about a fictional character going to a place and then you pull up a map and see that you drove by that place on your way home from work. And the ones where you follow the character on Twitter and she replies back to you when you ask her what her favorite look was from the red carpet the night before. Oh, and even the ones where the protagonist is chasing down some Russian shapeshifter and you stumble upon an article telling you that what you thought was fiction was actually fact.
The 4 I's of Storytellin
Take The Survivors for example. We start with Immersion by taking you inside the storyworld by tying in real-world history, mythology, locations, and more. You can dive into the character profiles where you'll find everything from a character's A/S/L to the car they drive and clothes they love to wear.
Next, is Interactivity which is probably one of our personal favorites. There is incredible potential with social media to develop full-on freak-out worthy realness with characters. In The Survivors, you'll find 6 of the main characters on Twitter where they live out their lives (and have been doing so for years). Since the protagonist even references tweeting in the narrative, it makes perfect sense that some of the characters would be there with her.
Sprinkle in some Facebook profiles and original music from the perspective of the character and you've got a serious case of getting into your world. The best part? They're there. Talking back. Erasing the line between fiction and reality.
Now let's talk Integration. How does the arc of the story actually integrate into the reader's world? How can the reader influence the story? Well, this can be a thousand things. Maybe it's how the characters on Twitter are actually following the arc of the story down to the exact date and time things are happening? For instance, you've got to keep up with the text to try and piece together what they're talking about and where they're going. Maybe it's giving readers the opportunity to write their own song? Many times it's merely a nod to the "choose your own adventure" type of story. The challenge here is to create a central narrative, found in multiple mediums, that let's anyone and everyone play in the storyworld as they choose. We both go to a theme park... ride a few of the same rides but also a few different ones. We still come out with the same overall experience but took a different path to get there.
Finally, there's Impact. This could be thought of as the most important of the I's, because it sparks an action. Does seeing that outfit that Sadie wore to Corrina's rehearsal dinner inspire a reader to find a similar outfit? Let's give her options of a similar dress at different price points. Just remember to make the action process as easy as possible.