In my role as a reviewer for Hornbook Magazine I’ve recently encountered two fictions that began life on-line and then turned into paper books. Daniel Pinkwater’s Bushman Lives started its life as an on-line serial and The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff began as a website. This got me thinking about David Hockney. Hockney has always been an “early adopter” of new technologies, playing around with the potential of photocopying in the 70’s, and now using the iPhone and iPad as his media. I was lucky enough to see his exhibit “Fresh Flowers” at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. He says, in the catalogue:
“I was aware immediately when I started drawing on the iPhone that it was a new medium – and not only a new medium but also a very new way to distribute pictures. I have always been an advocate of drawing. The teaching of drawing I always thought was the teaching of looking – very good for everybody! I joked about it – who would have thought that the telephone could bring back drawing? One quickly realizes that it is a luminous medium and very good for luminous subjects. I began drawing the sunrise seen from my bed on the east coast of England. The iPhone was by my bed; it contained every thing you needed, no mess; so you didn’t even need to clean up. I wouldn’t have drawn the sunrise with just a pencil and a piece of paper. It was the luminosity of the screen that connected me to it.”
What is the story equivalent? What can you do with a cell phone novel or blog fiction or twitter-roman (I made that one up) that is new? How does the very method of distribution affect the writing? What is our equivalent of the luminous subject?