Now, don't get all hopped up by the title of my post. I'm just musing today on whether we are seeing a general shift away from the dominance of text to the dominance of other forms, such as video, pictures with captions, or hypertext.
The other day someone was talking about the new social media venue Pinterest. She was wondering what it's all about. Several people spoke up (okay, they were typing, but you know what I mean) to say that it was fun and interesting. I spoke up to question whether this is a trend away from long, analytical statements (using primarily text with illustrations as a helper) and back towards pictures and images alone as a way to communicate.
After all, haven't the last couple of generations grown up on video? On MTV and quick cuts and Short Attention Span Theater? Hasn't Twitter become a Must-Have (120 characters, as opposed to a page-long blog post)? Aren't we seeing lots of one-panel cartoons on Facebook instead of updates about people's personal lives?
I wonder. Perhaps with the move away from print books to e-readers and online texts, the form of *story* is changing. (Maybe even the very nature of story.) I don't believe that the human need for story (to explain the world and predict what people should and will do in various situations) will ever go away, but the FORM of story has shifted before. In fact, THE ILIAD/ODYSSEY and GILGAMESH were epic poems through the oral tradition. The oral tradition ended with the arrival of writing and later Gutenberg's printing press, and the print tradition became dominant. Are we in for another shift? A shift towards video and hypertext and e-texts with plenty of illustrations? Will we regress to a world of pictograms and one-liners?
I hope not, as the novel is one of my favorite forms of communication. We the authors of Oak Tree Press love novels, and OTP publishes a heck of a lot of good ones (you should try out some of our sample chapters on the Kindle today!) I fervently pray that the novel continues in SOME form or another.
What do you think? Do you see a shift coming? Has the ship already sailed? Am I, like the unicorns, doomed to be standing on the white cliffs staring at the sea saying, "Was that today?"
Or do you believe there's still room for all types and forms of STORY?