Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

June 22, 2010

Are You a Novelist? Then Hold the Phone! Are You Prepared to Write for the Transmedia Generation?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Frank Fiore @ 10:19 AM

There’s a storm coming in the publishing industry and if you, as a novelist and you are not prepared for it, you will miss out on the next great game changer in publishing fiction since the printing press.

OK. Those are pretty strong words. BUT – there is  a lot of truth to it.

That storm coming is called Transmedia Story Telling. Let’s start with a definition.

“Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience.”

Or in other words:

“Transmedia story telling means telling a story across different platforms, each element of which may or may not stand on its own but contributes to an enriched, dynamic, more participatory and “lifelike” experience.You can see pieces of that definition in place now that represent the storm front approaching.”

Examples today are book teaser trailers, browser games, and social networking and e-Books containing hyperlinks to the Web. But transmedia story telling will go beyond those meager examples.

Far beyond them.

But the concept is not new. In fact, it goes back decades.

Henry Jenkins, the learned voice most  associated with the term transmedia, points out that “Batman lived in comic books, on radio, in Big Little Books, as a movie serial and a TV show before Tim Burton got a hold of Frank Miller’s graphic-novel remake — and that was only another beginning.”

We have entered an era of media convergence and the current crop of under 40 consumers have no problem moving across multiple media channels. Multi-tasking is a given and in most cases, demanded. See the new iPhone OS for an example.

Here’s Henry Jenkins again.

And the push isn’t just coming from the big media companies. The kids who have grown up consuming and enjoying Pokemon across media are going to expect this same kind of experience from The West Wing as they get older. By design, Pokemon unfolds across games, television programs, films, and books, with no media privileged over any other. For our generation, the hour-long, ensemble-based, serialized drama was the pinnacle of sophisticated storytelling, but for the next generation, it is going to seem, well, like less than child’s play. Younger consumers have become information hunters and gatherers, taking pleasure in tracking down character backgrounds and plot points and making connections between different texts within the same franchise. And in addition, all evidence suggests that computers don’t cancel out other media; instead, computer owners consume on average significantly more television, movies, CDs, and related media than the general population.

While the technological infrastructure is ready, the economic prospects sweet, and the audience primed, the media industries haven’t done a very good job of collaborating to produce compelling transmedia experiences.

Read that last line again and you’ll see the demise of the traditional publishing model.

The t-Books are coming and novelists and their publsihers will have adapt to it.



  1. It’s Nice Post, keep posting and have a nice day… 05:44

    Comment by The Best Blogger — July 20, 2010 @ 10:44 PM | Reply

  2. […] posted before about the coming of the next generation of books called Transmedia Books. Now, a major publisher has entered the fray. Scribner and Simon & Schuster Digital have […]

    Pingback by Simon & Schuster Enters the t-Book Market « Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter — August 1, 2010 @ 9:18 AM | Reply

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