11.19 Response

I love all the practical suggestions found in this week’s reading! As I was thinking over which assignments I like best–the playlist assignment from the Anderson (in particular the imagining of Bill and Monica’s relationship through song); Arola, Sheppard, and Ball’s interview project on subculture; the JDD interview projects described by Rice–I realized that these assignments have stories at their centers. They are not just arguments, but narratives.

At the risk of going a little off topic, this realization got me thinking about multimodality in creative writing (specifically, in fiction). Despite all the talk in the publishing industry about how the internet and accompanying technologies are changing how we write, publish, and read, we never discussed incorporating different modes (such as video, voice over, audio, pictures, links) into our writing in my MFA workshops. Nor did I encounter anyone who was very interested in creating fiction in any other way but by typing in a Word Document. Some of my classmates were and are working on multimodal projects outside of school. (For example, two classmates have a live reading series that is also recorded and put online. Additionally, the hosts often interview the readers and post these interviews as podcasts. Meanwhile, they maintain Instagram accounts displaying photos of the readings and interview sessions.) However, when it came to our fiction, we were all fairly traditional. Perhaps this was the nature of the school. Perhaps the nature of MFA programs in general.

If there are these interesting ways to create narrative, why aren’t we using them as fiction writers? Of course, there are some writers who are experimenting, but as a group, our form has remained fairly consistent. Are multimodal texts best suited for non-fiction? Or are we (fiction writers and readers) simply married to the traditional concept of a book? I will admit, I won’t feel like I am successful until/unless what I produce looks like a traditional book. I must write a novel, exclusively words, to feel like I am writer. But should I not feel this way?