On the topic of the Evolution of Storytelling


So, recently my Digital Humanities class did a Twessay (a Twitter essay) on the evolution of storytelling in digital media. The results of our responses can be found here.

And what did I have to say on the topic? Well I said ‚ÄúStorytelling is changing in our digital revolution, everything is online and it opens new avenues of creativity to us all.” (a) Even after all my research has been done, I mostly stand by what I said here. Mostly I now disagree on that “everything is online” that is very much untrue, storytelling is still very much alive offline too. However, I stand that the digital medium has creative new ways for us to share our stories and expand the types of stories we can experience.

Just look at the very successful web comic, Homestuck (by Andrew Hussie) can help more readers finish your story (currently Homestuck is 6,000 pages long and unfinished). This web comic truly is a success when you look at it’s massive fan following and the kickstarter for a Homestuck Game reaching over $2 million in funding. It’s safe to say that the inclusion of digital media (such as videos, interactive games, changeable music) brought a new edge to the web comic style and was the main attraction that spear headed it’s popularity compared to the regular web comics which do not allow fans to so directly interact with the characters.

From Sean Hegarty’s Twessay “Storytelling has evolved in a certain way that it still holds the old meanings, but has evolved mostly in accessibility”. (b) This is something I agree with fully, I mean what is storytelling? Storytelling is the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination [1].

This fact will never change about storytelling, the goal, to put vivid imagery and interesting characters into a listener or reader’s mind will always be the primary goal of storytelling but the mediums we can achieve this goal have now changed and we have more opportunities than ever. Even when we look at more recent novels, we see ways of interactivity being introduced such as in S [2] a book which split by both a section in the book which is a novel called “The Ship of Theseus” written by an unknown author and another part of the book are the hand-written notes capturing the conversations of two college students attempting to discover who the true author is, it is up to the reader how to get through S and no two people will reach the conclusion the same way. While it is a very unique concept as of right now, I would not be shocked to find more clones of this idea in the not so distant future!

Finally, we have this little gem from Luke Crowley, “People interact with stories & change them through new types of games;this interactive medium is the evolution of storytelling” (c) In video games in particular, we can be our own character (or another protagonist) and the actions we take shape the world around us. A recent example of this being executed beautifully is Until Dawn [3] where any little decision you make can literally be the difference between life and death for some characters. This is known as the Butterfly Effect system and is exclusively used in video game medium as it is irreplicable with other medium.¬† (it even comes with an autosave function so if you want to undo your choice later, well too bad!).

Thank you all for reading my article, perhaps I was able to introduce you to a new way that digital medium is changing storytelling around you? If so, leave a comment below! Until next time, this stream is going offline.

References :
Twessays Referenced :
Andrew Douglas (a), Sean Hegarty (b), Luke Crowley (c)

[1] What is Storytelling?http://www.storynet.org/resources/whatisstorytelling.html
[2] S (2013) – Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams
[3] Until Dawn (2015) – Supermassive Games


On the topic of the Evolution of Storytelling