Putting Multimodal Writing on the Page
Somewhat belatedly. I am posting information about an article I had published earlier this summer in The National Association of Writers in Education journal, Writing in Education. The paper represents a development of ideas first shared at the conference in York back in November 2018 and which I am still expanding within my Creative Writing PhD exegesis, and soon to be published elsewhere (more anon). I've wrestled long and hard with how to write about my ideas for bringing multimodal forms of writing, including screenwriting and the language of social media, into a prose fiction for young adults. Critical writing doesn't come naturally to me, especially when I'm writing about creative writing. I find it like trying to yolk two opposing sides of my brain for a purpose neither knows to be common. However I believe i have made some progress within this article. I describe some of the challenges and opportunities I've experienced expanding my film making practice into prose fiction for young adults, and share some of the lessons that I’ve taken forward to writing classes with undergraduate film and media students, as well as to the public.
"The challenges of representing multimodal and digital languages within fiction are multiple, varied, and, I would say, unavoidable if you’re writing contemporary realist novels aimed at young readers. Young adult literature readers are more likely to be immersed in social technologies than other demographics. With this in mind it would seem that learning how to better represent the stories and languages of digital culture in our fiction should be a real concern for writers wishing to connect with those readers.... This material fixing of the ephemeral digital world is a central part of my creative writing PhD project and inseparable from my core research questions: what is the long-term impact of digital technology on the lives on young people? How does digital technology affect behaviour? And, how does it shape a young person’s sense of self and others? ....
The challenge of achieving the right voice for this novel has taken me through many drafts. Finding a writing style that conjured the voice that matched my intentions for the work was in part troubled by my insistence to include a range of digital elements of form such as instant messaging, videos, podcasts, photo sharing, blog posts, geo-location maps, etc. alongside conventional prose passages. In retrospect, I see that this project was a difficult starting proposition for a writer still learning her craft but I have since understood that the problems that beset me around finding the right voice and right mode of stylistic expression are central to the problems many writers might encounter faced with the challenges of putting multimodal writing on the page."
You can read more about the content of Issue 78 here, as well as order a copy for purchase.
If you'd like a free pdf copy of the article please e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org