This is a post that will be ignored and/or misunderstood by most people.
I know that going in.
This post is specifically for the very, very few who will trip across it, follow up on it, and produce.
Anyone who is serious in creating the first true digital novel needs to be aware of two breakthroughs in other media.
What those have been, after the break.
The first is the graphic novel Watchmen.
Watchmen remains the absolute pinnacle of what is possible in the medium of graphic storytelling.
Creatively, the focus of Watchmen is on its structure. Gibbons used a nine-panel grid layout throughout the series and added recurring symbols such as a blood-stained smiley. All but the last issue feature supplemental fictional documents that add to the series’ backstory, and the narrative is intertwined with that of another story, a fictional pirate comic titled Tales of the Black Freighter, which one of the characters reads. Watchmen has received critical acclaim both in the comics and mainstream press, and is regarded by critics as a seminal text of the graphic novel medium.
There is no other way to understand Watchmen than to read it — repeatedly.
It’s an example of what the medium should be — yet still isn’t.
There is one problem with recommending Watchmen, however: it might be appreciated best by those who have had a history of reading comic books. Because the contrast is so startling.
Just about everyone has seen television, however.
And that’s where this next example comes from.
Like Watchmen, it represents the absolute pinnacle of that medium.
No less than the noted American novelist Kurt Vonnegut praised it:
Rather than have me use words to further describe The Singing Detective, let me turn the rest of this post over to the kindness of a YouTube pirate, who has uploaded the entire mini-series.
Below is the first ten minutes.
If the illegal copy has been DMCAed away, go buy the DVD set. It’s an investment.
You will then go on to create the first breakthrough digital novel that will stun everyone and set the standard for years to come.
Just as with the introduction of the breathrough iPhone, everyone will say, “Oh, so that’s how it should be done!”
Go do it.
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