Most writers have heard the classic writing advice: “Butt in chair.” Being a writer is about sitting alone in a room and staying there until the book is written.
But I’ve been wondering – now that a book can be enhanced with music, sound effects, embedded content, and graphics – how do you create that kind of a book? Not by working alone, I’ll bet.
Do you have to team up first with web designers and digital artists? Or do you pitch the idea to an agent or publisher, who then puts the team together?
I looked at Andi Buchanan’s process of writing Gift (an interactive digital YA novel released in March 2012 by Open Road). When Buchanan started writing Gift a couple of years ago, she was just beginning to read ebooks on a tablet. Wouldn’t it be great, she thought, to take advantage of the “shape-shifting, dynamic” aspects of the technology? And wouldn’t her book be a perfect fit?
Publisher’s Weekly talks about Buchanan’s process, from which we can learn a few lessons:
1. Think about potential ebook enhancements as you’re writing, and be open to where the new universe of possibilities takes your writing.
2. Know something about interactive design. (Um... Methinks I see a future post. After I’ve learned something about, you know, interactive design.)
3. Look for a music collaborator in the obvious places, like YouTube. Buchanan saw FreddeGredde’s performance there, liked it, and asked him to do the soundtrack for the book.
4. Stay true to the story. “I wanted to respect the reader and not just have wacky enhancements because we could,” says Buchanan.
5. Even as you’re staying committed to storytelling, have a vision for how the book might be on a tablet. Like Buchanan, come to your publisher with “a ton of crazy ideas.”