1st Edition

Interactive Narratives and Transmedia Storytelling Creating Immersive Stories Across New Media Platforms

By Kelly McErlean Copyright 2018
    210 Pages
    by Routledge

    210 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Interactive Narratives and Transmedia Storytelling provides media students and industry professionals with strategies for creating innovative new media projects across a variety of platforms. Synthesizing ideas from a range of theorists and practitioners across visual, audio, and interactive media, Kelly McErlean offers a practical reference guide and toolkit to best practices, techniques, key historical and theoretical concepts, and terminology that media storytellers and creatives need to create compelling interactive and transmedia narratives. McErlean takes a broad lens, exploring traditional narrative, virtual reality and augmented reality, audience interpretation, sound design, montage, the business of transmedia storytelling, and much more.

    Written for both experienced media practitioners and those looking for a reference to help bolster their creative toolkit or learn how to better craft multiplatform stories, Interactive Narratives and Transmedia Storytelling serves as a guide to navigating this evolving world.


    • Who is this Book For?
    • Defining Interactive Narratives and Transmedia Stories
    • The Author
    • New Modes of Storytelling
    • A Summary of the Chapters
    • Commercial Imperative
    • The Command to Read
    • Lateral Thinking
    • Pitching your Idea
    • Developing an Ideas Book / Visual Diary

    Traditional Narrative Texts

    • Talking Pictures - Finding Narrative in Photography
    • Geometry in Photo Composition
    • Story Sequences in Stills
    • Pedro Meyer’s The Illusion of Real Space
    • Navigating Linear Texts
    • Verisimilitude
    • Brechtian Realism
    • Aristotle’s Poetics
    • Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress
    • Baudelaire’s l'Art mnemonique
    • Film Editing - Walter Murch
    • The Rule of Six
    • The 3rd Effect
    • Eisenstein’s Diagrammatic Score
    • Precipitant Sounds
    • Embodied Sounds
    • Narrative Progression
    • Interpreting the Author’s Intent
    • Narrative Reality versus Audience Reality
    • Text on Screen
    • Constructing a Storyline
    • Narrative Distance, Depth and Alignment
    • Bazin’s Invisible Witness
    • Story Rhythm - the Haiku
    • Silent Era Techniques
    • Bonitzer on Hitchcock
    • The Macguffin
    • Zizek on Hitchcock

    Subjective Interpretation

    • Narrative Perspectives
    • Entgrenzung: The Dissolution of Perspectival Boundaries
    • Linguistic Flexibility: Blending Words into Chords
    • Narrative Deconstruction
    • The Loop: IF, THEN, GOTO
    • Cause and Effect
    • Relinquishing Authorial Control
    • Attentional Blink
    • Confabulation: Emotional Experiences Without Context
    • Evolving Language
    • Calvino: the Malleable Relationship between Reader and Narrator
    • Subjective Responses to Colour and Form
    • Active and Passive Colours
    • Emotional Responses to Colour
    • Digital and Analogue Colour Palette
    • Instinctual Responses to Geometric Forms
    • The Will-to-Art
    • Knowing Your Audience
    • Controlling the Narrative / Owning the Text
    • Kandinsky’s Chain of Related Sensations

    Sound Design

    • Primal Responses to Sound
    • Classifying Harmonics in Terms of Emotional Response
    • Narrative Soundscapes
    • Affective Audio
    • Cueing-In Emotions
    • Separating Dialogue from Background Noise
    • Prosody and Syntax
    • Musical Motifs
    • Representations of Emotions
    • Universal ‘Palette’ of Sound
    • Memories of Feelings - the Limits of the Codification of Musical Forms
    • Anticipation and Resolution
    • Rhythmic Organisation and ‘Percussive Barriers’
    • Psychological and Ontological Time
    • Musical Notation
    • Accidental Counterpoint
    • Communicating Emotion through Music
    • Syncopation
    • The Soundtrack
    • Cinematic Allusionism
    • Sound Elements of Film
    • Imitative-Denotative Instrumentation
    • Limitations of Visual and Dialogue
    • Leitmotif
    • Empathetic / Anempathetic Soundtracks

    Visual Montage

    • Montage: Juxtaposing Visual Elements
    • Affidavit-Exposition
    • Vertical Montage
    • Photo Montage: Hockney’s Joiners
    • Burroughs’s Literary Cut-Ups
    • The Lettrists
    • Brueghel’s Micronarratives
    • Marker’s La Jetée
    • Spatial Representation of Temporal Sequences
    • Multiple Narrative Perspectives On-Screen
    • Vertov’s Kino-Eye

    Codifying Story Elements

    • Propp’s Morphology of the Folktale
    • Narratology: How Narrative Structures Affect Our Perception
    • Narratology Terminology: Synecdoche, Contiguous, Metonym
    • Embedded Narratives: Fabula and Syuzhet
    • A Perspectival Approach to Narrative
    • Subjective Retroversion
    • The Photograph: A Message Without a Code
    • War Primer: Brecht’s Photo-Epigrams
    • Talking Pictures: Photographic Stills and Audio Vignettes
    • Perec’s ‘Infra-Ordinary’
    • De Quincey’s Record of Regency London
    • The Photograph: Flat Anthropological Fact
    • Brecht’s Theory of Distanciation
    • Primacy of Lexis Over Plot
    • Visualisation of Large Data Sets
    • Metadata - Tagging Archived Content
    • The Photo Archive
    • Photogrammetry: Cyber-Archaeology
    • Trend-Identifying Algorithms
    • Netflix Quantum Theory
    • Authoring Multiple Narrative Trajectories
    • The Database
    • Hypernarrative
    • Extractive Hypertext and Immersive 3D
    • Associative Linkage
    • Genre Classification
    • The Cinematic Metaphor
    • Non-Traditional Film: Gordon’s ‘Temporal Deceleration’
    • Emergent Narratives
    • Triangulating Content

    Interactive Narratives

    • Textual Interaction
    • Char Davies - Osmose
    • Proprioception
    • Artist and Audience: Atherton’s Interactive Discourse
    • Non-Linear Texts
    • Syncretic and Synaesthetic Language
    • The Disrupting Effect of Latency Within Simulated Stories
    • Interactive StoryTelling
    • Immersion in the Textual World
    • Visual Writing
    • Temporal Immersion
    • Backstory
    • Ergodic Texts
    • Constant Recontextualisation
    • Depth-First Exploration
    • Structures of Interactivity
    • Spatial and Emotional Immersion
    • The Greek Chorus
    • Audience Participation: Living Theatre
    • The Perspectivist Approach
    • The Freytag Triangle
    • Narrative Constraints
    • Joyce’s Epiphany
    • The Language of Television
    • Impositional and Expressive Narratives
    • The Objective Correlative
    • Virtual Identities
    • Flat and Round Characters
    • VR Storytelling Techniques
    • Performative Gestures
    • Gesture Controlled Interfaces
    • Technology and Art
    • Hoey’s The Weight of Water: Manufacturing Presence in VR
    • Mixed Storytelling: Fran Bow
    • Interactive Poetry: Dear Esther
    • Location-Based AR
    • The Narrative Architect
    • Experimental Narrative Riffs: Grammatron
    • Remediating Stories
    • Interactive Design: Twine

    The Business of Transmedia Storytelling

    • #FindTheGirl
    • Blast Theory - Ivy4EVR
    • Karen
    • Content Creation Departments - Going Viral
    • The Digital Newsroom - Transmedia and VR
    • Storytelling on Social Media Platforms
    • Data Analytics
    • Story Development Tools and Technologies
    • Augmented Reality
    • Recreating the Theatre Experience


    Appendix 1 - Making The Little Extras

    • Towards a New Film Paradigm
    • Storytelling using Spatial Montage
    • The Spectator’s Gaze
    • The Primacy of the Author
    • Abdicating Authorship
    • Deconstructive Cinema
    • The Function of Embedded Narratives
    • Learning New Modes of Interaction
    • Narrative Immersion
    • Foveal and Peripheral Vision
    • Altering Perspective
    • The Little Extras Sound Design
    • Interpreting and Re-Interpreting the Textual World
    • Storyboards and Animatics

    Appendix 2 - Digital Data Compression

    • Spatial and Temporal Compression - Exploiting Redundancy
    • Quantisation: Threshold Levels and Banding
    • Coding Compression
    • Frame Prediction: Keyframes and Checksum Values




    Kelly McErlean has developed graduate and postgraduate programs in film and new media for local and international delivery and successfully delivered eLearning and onsite contracts for international broadcast organisations on behalf of the European Broadcasting Union. Kelly lectures on new media, film and entrepreneurship at the Department of Creative Arts, Media and Music, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland. He has won several awards including a Golden Spider Award and a Digital Media Award for his film, new media, and photographic works. Kelly holds a PhD in visual culture from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.

    "In an age of ubiquitous social media, interaction is the new normal. Pitched precisely on the leading edge of media theory/practice and industry/academy interests, Interactive Narratives and Transmedia Storytelling is a best-of-both-worlds, how-to guide for practitioners (AKA creatives) across the relevant multidisciplinary and cross-platform fields of research, pedagogy and commercial production. Grounded in a confident, non-jargonistic understanding of narrative (and narration and narratology), this book deep-mines scholarly explanation of the customarily closed-circuit of ‘classical’ (linear-consequential) and non-linear (avant-garde) storytelling in TV, cinema, photography and fine art, in order to apply key conceptual insights, tools and techniques to the aesthetic practice of making of innovative digital forms, open to two-way and multilinear fictive plotting. Staying current with fast-changing genres and supporting technologies will of course always be tricky. To that end it is surely wise, as in this instance, to situate the work conceptually and in relation to a range of writers and approaches. In debt to the modernist praxis of pioneers such as Brecht as well as the example of Hollywood auteurs, notably Hitchcock, the reader will appreciate McErlean’s skilled use of recurring focus on key objects of analysis, illuminated through a critical compass of perspectives and practices."

    —Dr. David E. Butler, Independent Academic Consultant (University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts)

    "A storytelling future has arrived and here is its Book of Revelation. McErlean shows us how, five centuries on from Caxton, we can engage with new technologies to transform the familiar immersive experience in ways previously only imagined, and be inspired to connect anew both inside and outside of ourselves."

    —Dr. Daniel Meadows, Photographer/Viusal Storyteller; Former Lecturer at Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies

    "The digital world is full of paradox; reading is crucial to master its development. If you want to be serious about interactive narratives and transmedia storytelling, this book is for you. The author is adamant about it: ‘Reading is not always easy as many worthwhile texts require significant effort to get through . . . I have always promoted the importance of critically analysing narrative texts.'"

    —Nathalie Labourdette, Head of EBU Academy – EBU Geneva