The Pros and Cons of “Pry” Interactive Fiction

“Pry” is a hybrid app created by Tender Claws (Danny Cannizzaro and Samantha Gorman.) “Pry” is an interactive fiction story told through video, audio, and text that has a heart-wrenching story with several hidden secrets. The app is in a game format so the reader must get 4 stars to open the next chapter and continue with the story. The app uncovers the theme of confronting past trauma as James, the main character struggles to move forward with his life after participating in the Gulf War in 1990.

Pros

  • Understand James perspective deeper than just reading the story
    • All ideas and thoughts flow through writing, video, and audio while interacting together
    • Text feature tells the reader what James is thinking
    • Video feature shows what James sees
    • Flashing videos and text show James’ subconscious
  • Stories within stories
    • The biblical story of Jacob and Esau appears in the 3rd chapter
    • Initially, Jacob and Esau story is unrelated to the first 2 chapters, but there is an overlap theme of brotherly conflict and resolution in “Pry” and Jacob and Esau
  • Reading while exploring
    • The reader has to unfold the text to recover James’ memories that he doesn’t want to think about
    • The reader starts somewhere and scrolls down but then has to continuously scroll up but eventually there is an end
    • This feature is a process of discovery for the reader

Cons

  • Confusing
    • Hard to discover what is the purpose of each function (audio, video, text) is for
    • Touch gestures aren’t that clear initially because there are some instructions in the beginning but not after that
    • Not for a reader who wants to do minimal work because the reader has to explore the app to uncover the story
  • Price of app is $2.99
    • You have to buy the app to interact with it but with print medium, there is a high chance that you can find the reading online for free
  • Distracting
    • Hard to make connections of the words flashing very quickly
    • Can’t process the words quickly
  • Offensive
    • Chapter 3 uses brail as a tool to understand the story more
    • Brail is for people who unfortunately have lost their sight and spend a lot of time to read and understand brail
    • Including brail as a feature was offensive because it discredits people who have spent the time to use brail while the reader just swipes their finger over the brail

As the world is becoming more technologically advanced, I believe that story telling with be using digital platforms and interactive fiction instead of print medium. “Pry” is a great example of interactive fiction story with leaves the reader with a picture that life cannot be understood alone by reading a story. There are several features in the app which enhances the story for the reader and further develops their understanding of  James while he uncovers his struggles and pains. In contrast, this app may not be for everyone. To understand the story, the reader must put in effort to interact with app which some readers may not want to do. Overall, I think interactive fiction is a great medium to engage with the story and the features complement and further develop the story for the reader.

Works Cited

http://samanthagorman.net/Pry

 

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What is Twitter Fiction?

Having experience using Twitter in my personal life, I found this platform for storytelling very interesting. The idea of using Twitter creatively to portray a narrative without narrating a story line by line is a different measure and is hard to wrap my brain around. Initially, I asked myself, “what do I use twitter for?” The main points I thought of is too express my feelings, relate to peers, keep others updated on my life, interacting with others (re-tweeting, liking), and a platform for freedom. The platform discourages conversation because of the 140-character limit so it’s crucial be compressed and concise in the tweet.

After thinking about the reasons I use twitter, I thought of how this platform can be used for storytelling. Firstly, the author has to be straight to the point and condensed with the character limit. Every word matters in the tweet and this gives the author the ability to play with the form of 140 characters. For example, in Félix Fénéon’s, “Novel in Three Lines” the tweets are stand alone stories that are interesting and meant to grab the reader. Secondly, the breaks can be used as an advantage by creating bite size stories in the tweets. For instance, Fénéon writes, “Frachet, of Lyons, who was bitten by a pug but had apparently recovered, tried to bite his wife and died rabid.” (Félix Fénéon , 1996) This bite size story includes the climax and conclusion in one tweet. The beauty of using Twitter is the reader understands the point of view of the narrator and there is instant gratification. The experience of posting the tweets is a lot quicker because it doesn’t need to be printed or published. Lastly, Twitter allows readers from around the world connect and interact with the story by liking and re-tweeting them. The feature of inter-connectivity is great to bring people together to discuss the story and brings a social aspect to storytelling.

Overall, I found the Twitter platform an unique medium for storytelling. Familiarity with Twitter helped with understanding the story but I personally feel Twitter should be left as a social media outlet for people to use. I found the gaps in each tweet frustrating as I found myself getting distracted by constantly scrolling while reading. Although I did enjoy interacting with the author and characters in a different platform, I prefer reading a story with more background information about the setting and characters and I felt the Twitter stories were lacking this because of the 140-character limit. In conclusion, I suggest readers to interact and stay open minded while reading Twitter fiction.

Works Cited

Félix Fénéon . (1996). Retrieved from Twitter: https://twitter.com/novelsin3lines

 

Themes & Characters in “Sanditon”

“Sanditon” is written by Jane Austen in 1817 and is a fictional resort on the British seaside which represents the future and change. Throughout the process of writing “Sanditon,” Austen falls sick which leads to her passing away and the story being left unfinished.

I made a Pinterest board for the characters and themes presented in “Sanditon.” I chose to focus on the characters because they play a crucial role in the story as the different families represent the different stages of life.

The Heywood family represent respectability and land because they have property, tenants, and farms. Although they have several properties, they represent the past because they focus on themselves and not advancing. I’ve included quotes about respect and an woman’s outfit from the 1820’s to represent the Heywood’s. As well, The Parker family have property in Sanditon but they represent the future because Thomas Parker wants to buy every property in Sanditon and direct people visit. The head of the Denham Family, Laney is titled from benefiting from a past marriage and has enough money and support to distribute Sandition but she is cheap. Laney’s niece Clara is poor and relies on Laney while Laney’s brother Edward relies on inheritance. I’ve added pictures of money, and quotes of being rich and poor to represent the social class in the Denham family.

“Sanditon” demonstrates several themes throughout the unfinished novel. Firstly, “Sanditon” discusses tourism and travel because people travel to speculate and relax in the resort. People coming to Sanditon are excited but there is criticism that the people of Sanditon aren’t doing any work and have a lot of free time on their hands. Since people have more leisure time, this leads to characters harming their own health. For example, the Parker sisters pull out their teeth and get leaches when they are feeling ill. These are quite extreme measures to become healthy and makes the reader question why they don’t have a doctor on a resort to give them proper health care. Lastly, romance and marriage drive the plot as several characters are ending up together in marriage. As a reader, I found all the marriages disturbing because of the seduction occurring to the female characters.

Overall, I found that the characters drive the plot of “Sanditon” which is why I decided to focus on them in the Pinterest board. “Sanditon” brings people away from the real world and takes them into a fictional setting which is what I tried to convey in the pictures.

Works Cited

Austen, J. (1817). Retrieved from Sanditon : http://bjzc.org/lib/96/ywyz/ts096068.pdf

 

Reunion Gone Wrong

A boy’s reunion with his father takes an unexpected turn.

John Cheever’s “Reunion” was published in The New Yorker in 1962. Cheever was an American novelist and was best known for his short stories. In 2007, The New Yorker posted a fiction podcast of “Reunion” read by novelist Richard Ford. The short story is first-person narration from a young man Charlie’s perspective and takes place in New York. The story begins with Charlie making an appointment to meet with his father for lunch. Charlie meets his father at Grand Central Station and they walk to a restaurant nearby when his father displays rude behaviour by clapping and yelling arrogantly at the waiter. During their time together, Charlie and his father go to four different restaurants before Charlie gets fed up and must return to the train station. “Reunion” demonstrates a destructive relationship between Charlie and his father and Richard Ford’s reading unfolds the dynamic relationship perfectly.
The unknown information about the relationship between Charlie and his father create curiosity for the reader. For example, “The last time I saw my father” (Cheever), said twice by Charlie, is a flash forward device that predicts that Charlie will never see his father again. However, Charlie communicates his desire to spend time with his father when he sees him and says, “I wished that we could have been photographed”, but his opinion quickly changes after he observers his father’s behavior, thus Charlie does not get the “reunion” he was looking forward too. Also, there are examples of gaps in Charlie’s knowledge of his father which further complicate their relationship. For example, Charlie says, “he was a stranger to me”, although it has only been three years since he has seen his father.
The different tones Ford speaks in helps the listener in creating an atmosphere and setting for the short story. Ford has a mature voice yet he captures the youthfulness of Charlie’s young voice and the aggression in the father’s voice perfectly. For example, Ford yells, “Kellner! Garçon! Carneiere! You!” (Cheever, Richard Ford reads Reunion) in an arrogant tone to validate the father’s obnoxiousness. In addition, Richard narrates the waiters voices in a kind and calm tone and narrates the father’s voice in an angry pitch to emphasize the insulting comments he makes to the waiter. As Charlie and his father go to four restaurants, his father consumes four alcoholic drinks and as the podcast continues, Richard’s vocal intensity increases to portray the effect of the father’s alcohol consumption.
Fiction podcasts provide readers a modern take and a different perspective on short stories. The temporal gaps in the podcast exhibit that there is a complicated narration occurring as Charlie narrates in the present and in the future. This device is effective because it allows the reader to set tone of the story and make connections with the missing knowledge. Cheever has given specific information about Charlie’s relationship with his father and has excluded main points about the relationship. Therefore, this gives the reader to make the connections with the little information given.

Works Cited
Cheever, John. Reunion. New York: The New Yorker Magazine, 1962. Short Story.
“Richard Ford reads Reunion.” The New Yorker Fiction Podcast from Conde Nast Publications, 2007. http://www.newyorker.com/podcast/fiction/reunions.

Toby Litt’s “Slice” Postcard

For my postcard, I’ve made the assumption that Lisa has left London and moved to New York. The postcard is being sent to her parents in London along with the letter posted below. I’ve included 3 pictures of New York and 1 picture of Lisa travelling to New York. Also, there are 3 pictures of what Lisa misses the most about London, with more emphasis on Mary Jane’s diary.

screenshot-29

Hi Ray and Lynn! I hope you are doing well lol, and not freaking out too much.

I know I’ve been a bad girl leaving home and exploring on my own but I thought I would write you a quick note to let you know that I am a-ok! From my postcard, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I’ve relocated to the big apple! Yea, London wasn’t doing it for me so I thought it was best to get away.

Now that I have my cellphone and camera back, I can live my life fully and not be bothered by anyone. I do have to admit, there is one thing that I miss in London, which is going through Mary Jane’s diary. I regret not bringing it with me to New York but I had to pack light. Maybe you can mail me the diary?

Ever since I went through the hole my life has taken a 180 degree turn. Now don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate everything you’ve done for me but London was just not for me and I had made that very clear from the start. You both wouldn’t listen to me, so I had no choice but to go through.

Well, I’ve got to continue with my day. If you do get a chance to mail her diary, feel free to write me back. Take care you both, and maybe I’ll see you in New York one day.

Current mood: ecstatic

Current music: Charged Up by Drake

 

Litt, Toby. Slice. March 2008. We Tell Stories.

Litt,Toby. slicequeen’s Photostream. March 2008. We Tell Stories.

*all pictures from New York are my own photo’s I’ve taken.*

 

 

“Lamb to the Slaughter” Pinterest Board

“Lamb to the Slaughter” is a short story written by Roald Dahl in 1953. The story begins with Mary waiting all day for her husband to return home and when he does, Patrick tells Mary he wants to leave her for no apparent reason. This was shocking news to Mary so she first continued to prepare dinner for Patrick before she realizes that the lamb she was preparing would be the perfect instrument to kill Patrick with. She then walks up to Patrick and hits him on the head which kills him instantly.

The pictures I’ve chosen to include in my Pinterest board emphasize the theme of underestimation and a superior male position. Mary is portrayed as innocent and a typical housewife but we soon realize her actions are very ironic and are not like her character. Restricted housewives like Mary are suppose to look up to their husband and respect their decisions. When Patrick tells Mary he’s leaving the relationship, he expected her to have no reaction although he knows she is pregnant and hormonal and underestimated her abilities.

The lamb Mary kills Patrick is an honest and harmless item but is used in a malicious way. The dark humor in the short story is interactive and intrigues the reader. For example, the statement, “Probably right under our very noses, What you think, Jack?” (Dahl) is a humorous statement because the investigators were eating the murder weapon.

Several people learn visually so by demonstrating key points through pictures, it gives a reader is a different perspective of the theme. Instead of analyzing the theme closely, the images provide a collective theme and a basis for the reader to dig deeper on their own.

Dahl, Roald. Lamb to the Slaughter. New York: Harper’s Magazine, 1953. Short Story.

 

Mood Board: “Reunion” by John Cheever

I have made a mood board for John Cheever’s short story “Reunion.” The pictures below focus on a governing theme of the complicated relationship Charlie has with his father and the disappointment Charlie feels throughout the short story. The quotes I’ve chosen will give the reader a better understanding of the atmosphere of the story and the visual pictures highlights the key points in “Reunion.” Also, I’ve included a color to match each of the 4 quotes to further emphasize on how the moods change in the short story.

1.”The last time I saw my father was in Grand Central Station.”

This first sentence of the short story sets the mood for the story. The first part of the sentence, “the last time I saw my father” is said twice in the story and implies that Charlie will never see his father again after this encounter. Initially, Charlie feels anxious to meet his dad because it has been 3 years since he has had any relationship with him. Therefore, I’ve chosen the Lapis Blue to represent the worried and nervous feelings Charlie expresses.

2. “I wish we could be photographed. I wanted some record of our having been together.”

Charlie communicates his desire to be with his father and Charlie has hope that he will rekindle his relationship with his father during the lunch. As the story continues, they don’t have any reunion because they jump from restaurant to restaurant which leads Charlie to feel disappointed. I’ve chosen Greenery to indicate Charlie’s initial hope for the relationship.

 3. “Kellner” he shouted. “Garçon! Carneiere! You!” His boisterousness in the empty restaurant seemed out of place”

Charlie’s father demonstrates disrespect to the waiters because he yells at them in an arrogant tone. His actions make Charlie feel uncomfortable because Charlie views the actions of his father inappropriate and out of context. The red displays Charlie’s father’s strength and power.

4. “Goodbye, Daddy,” I said, and I went down the stairs and got my train, and that was the last time I saw my father.”

At this point, Charlie realizes his father will no longer be apart of his life and that the lunch was the last time he will see his father. His father’s actions have proved to Charlie that their relationship will not grow into what Charlie was hoping for, therefore it is best for Charlie to continue his life without his father. The white emphasizes Charlie’s ability to let go of his relationship with his father and move on with his life.

Charlie experiences several feelings throughout “Reunion” which constantly change the mood of the story. The hope Charlie initially feels is quickly turned into frustration and embarrassment from his father’s actions. The colors and pictures emphasize the different stages the story is in and develops the theme of separation Charlie feels.

Cheever, John. Reunion. New York: The New Yorker Magazine, 1962. Short Story.

https://www.google.ca/search?q=grand+central+station+new+york&espv=2&biw=1440&bih=806&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwiGxo6ijJPSAhUBUWMKHfCqBoYQ_AUIBygC&dpr=1.5#imgrc=07p5HWi5xXMGbM:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=boy+and+father+being+photographed&espv=2&biw=1440&bih=806&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjWz8Xdp6DSAhVC_WMKHSDAAUcQ_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=teenager+and+father+being+photographed&imgrc=BlGkkmihqRBicM:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=boy+and+father+being+photographed&espv=2&biw=1440&bih=806&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjWz8Xdp6DSAhVC_WMKHSDAAUcQ_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=man+angry+at+waiter&imgrc=Nry9EtbYGolG_M:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=boy+and+father+being+photographed&espv=2&biw=1440&bih=806&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjWz8Xdp6DSAhVC_WMKHSDAAUcQ_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=sad+boy+on+train&imgrc=pdMO6w1dy9lsvM:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=green+hopeful+color&espv=2&biw=1440&bih=855&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjk7Y6S-5_SAhVHyWMKHeDHDCQQ_AUIBigB&dpr=1.5#imgrc=V1_mmxEPu0oagM:
https://www.google.ca/searchq=blue+color&espv=2&biw=1440&bih=806&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiCjbCN_J_SAhUT72MKHdY1DeYQ_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=pantone+color+red&imgrc=VXlWWBMBgbeQlM:

https://www.google.ca/searchq=blue+color&espv=2&biw=1440&bih=806&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiCjbCN_J_SAhUT72MKHdY1DeYQ_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=pantone+color+red&imgrc=v7-qsZbG9XR3vM:

https://www.google.ca/searchq=blue+color&espv=2&biw=1440&bih=806&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiCjbCN_J_SAhUT72MKHdY1DeYQ_AUIBigB#tbm=isch&q=pantone+color+white&imgrc=rFU2vOrUCHl5RM: