Patrick Carman, young adult author from Walla Walla, Washington, has done it again! Following his two most recent young adult hit multi-media series, Skeleton Creek, and Trackers where teens experience the story through traditional storytelling and by watching part of the tale on the computer, Carman has found yet another way to capture his “wired” readers’ attention through the use of Microsoft Apple and Droid devices.
What is a “wired” reader? A “wired” reader is a kid who likes to experience storytelling through the use of technology. Patrick Carman explains that there are five components in the lives of our young readers today that distract them from reading books: TV, video games, the internet, cell phones, and iPods. It has become Carman’s purpose as an author to get those readers back by meeting them halfway: Connecting technology to traditional storytelling.
Spring of 2010, Patrick Carman launched his newest innovation called 3:15 Stories. Readers download the 3:15 Microsoft Apple or Droid app to their device, then purchase individual modernized Twilight Zone-like tales for less than $1.00 every two weeks. There are three parts to a 3:15 story: a two minute video introduction, 10 minutes of reading the body of the story, and a three minute video ending. It all takes just 15 minutes to complete the story. The first season’s 10 episodes will be published in a book to be released this October. For more information about the 3:15 stories go to www.315stories.com. These truly creepy stories will tantalize even the most resistant of readers and have them clamoring for more!
What are you afraid of?
“What is Pat working on now?” Well, I can tell you that it’s even bigger and better than the 3:15 Stories, Dark Eden. In this novel, and through narrator Will Besting, Carman explores the idea that we all have fears with the question, “What would a person give up in life to cure these fears?” Will is terrified of people and can only be around family. Like the author, himself as a teen, Will is anxious when among his peers. So he witnesses and reports from afar what the other characters are going through. Will records audio files, video files, journal entries, and photographs and the readers experience the story through these methods of storytelling.
In August of 2011, readers can download the free app and purchase each chapter for $0.99. The first segment will be free, then the remaining chapters will become available one each week for 14 weeks. After the eighth segment, the published book will then be released and readers can choose to buy the book to finish the story immediately, or wait five more weeks to experience the end of the novel on their MP3 device.
Harper is working on an enhanced e-book version for both Nook and Kindle that will be available in November.
Electronic or Traditional?
Carman explains that a big challenge when brewing up a story is deciding whether the story is more conducive to being a traditional novel or a multi-media novel. “Only certain stories work with multi-media. Video and audio [components] have to be there for a reason…there’s a believability factor.” To write a good multi-media novel the author really needs to “pre-think the idea and then tackle the multi-media facets piece by piece”. Tackling the multi-media aspect of his novels has been easier with the creation, five years ago, of his own film studio in Walla Walla (PC Studio) where he hired a full time director and editor, Jeffrey Townsend, and a full time web master, plus 15 – 30 part time people as needed to produce such multi-media works as the Skeleton Creek series, Trackers, The 3:15 Stories, and now Dark Eden. Carman enjoys being a part of all creative aspects of his stories and most of all working closely with other creative minds: the director, the actors, the webmaster, etc. When asked how kids can get involved in telling stories in non-traditional ways, Pat suggests, “It’s easy to pick up a camera…easy to get creative with the tools that are available to kids today. Go out and find two or three buddies and just do it. Collaborating in a group is more fun and you tend to come up with better ideas when you work together as a team. This is a great way for teens to cut their teeth on storytelling.”