Individual Project Proposal: Enhanced Short Stories

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For my individual project, I am planning on creating an enhanced version of some classic, public domain short stories (or -story depending on the depth of each part of the project). I haven't yet decided on which short stories to enhance, but I've been re-reading Poe, Hawthorne, and Doyle. I will most likely choose multiple short stories by the same author. For example, I could choose several stories from the same collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories and then enhance them. By 'enhance,' I mean that I will integrate video, music, images, and interactivity into the existing text and story. At this point though, I'm not certain if these enhancements will be a part of the story or supplemental information (I'm leaning towards the former). For example, as you read "The Tell-Tale Heart," the sound of a beating heart gradually grows in the iPad's speakers. I think this is an innovative and new way of reading a book because it further immerses the reader into the story without being distracting. I don't want the new media to detract from the story, I want them to enhance it. As for the audience, my main goal in creating a book like this is to introduce young people to short stories and tales they might not have any prior interest in reading, but are worthy pieces of literature nonetheless. By creating a more immersive and interactive environment of the story, I hope to be able to attract new and young readers, while still maintaining a respect for the author's work.



laura8's picture

When reading about your

When reading about your project, the Sherlock Holmes idea jumped out at me. One thing that might be interesting would be to use images to show the way normal people would see a scene and the way Sherlock Holmes does. Example - when arriving at a crime scene, you could display an image (drawing, recreated photo, painting, etc.) that shows the scene. But at the end of the story when Sherlock Holmes is describing how he solved the mystery, you could show the same image again but with each important element highlighted or emphasized. I know they did something of the sort in the recent Sherlock Holmes movies but it might be intriguing in a book as well.

Will's picture

Sherlock Highlights

Great idea. Thanks. That's exactly the kind of thing I want to do. Adding content while not distracting from the story. I guess I need to start reading some more Sherlock!

Abby's picture

Will, I like the idea of

Will, I like the idea of using multimedia to enhance the story. Would you be able to set the tone of the story before the reader even begins reading? You could play music that feels eerie, creates suspense, etc. You could also show images of the scene before characters arrive. It will be interesting seeing how different elements can be used to foreshadow the story without giving it away.

Will, I think that this would

Will, I think that this would be a great way to re-energize some classic works and give new readers a chance to have an entirely new experience with classic texts. You mentioned in your proposal that you intend to use audio, video, illustrations, and interactive elements to accomplish your goal, and while that is great, I'm wondering what types of audio and video you would use. You mentioned the sound of a beating heart gradually getting louder as the reader delves into Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart," and this would be easy enough to do. However, in terms of actual music or video, you would be primarily restricted to pieces that are available in the public domain. I think that you would be able to find enough music to suit your soundtrack needs through venues like creative commons, but video could be much more difficult to come across. What type of videos do you have in mind? I'm not sure that you will find as much usable video footage in the public domain that will be of any great quality or use to you, but I could be wrong on that. It will definitely take a lot of "digging in the crates" though. Also, when it comes to interactivity, there is an interesting dynamic for you to consider here. For instance, what age group will these enhanced editions of classic tales be aimed at? This is important because the interactive elements would be different (as well as the presentation of the other content) depending on who you intend to read it. Think of the difference between what an adolescent might consider as a cool interactive aspect as opposed to what an adult might want to see. Anyway, I hope this can be of some help and look forward to seeing how your project turns out.

Enhancing Classic Stories

This is great. I've been fighting with the concept of e-books for the past couple of weeks because I feel like a text speaks for itself and adding interactive forums and similar junk to it only detracts from the meaning of it. Your description of how you intend to enhance Gothic classics by making the experience of reading it more real, I think is great. I particularly like the idea of a heartbeat growing louder and louder in the iPad speakers as the reader continues on through the text. You bring up a good point when you say young people aren't particularly interested in Poe, Hawthorne, and Doyle today. But I think you're right: that by making this a more vivid experience and immersing the reader in the scene, the young folks who pick up your ebook will walk away with a newfound interest in Poe or Hawthorne or Doyle. I'm not a fan of e-books because I feel like they take away from "book books" but it sounds like your e-book isn't going to take away from them at all. Great project proposal!