Fancy Schmancy?

Are you using anything 'fancy' - ie, web-only and non-traditional - in your writing and/or marketing?

Like - Flash 'books', podcasts, video, soundtracks, animations... etc?

If so, how's it working out for you? Does it bring in new readers? Do your existing readers feel it adds to the experience?

I've been to sites that have fancy things on them. Most of the time I can do without the bells and whistles and would rather just get on to the heart of the story. If I have to spend time navigating and getting distracted by pretty pictures, I most likely won't get into the story too much.

Well, I use pictures and color in my story. That's nothing really "Fancy", though. I thought about using audio at one point, but blogger really doesn't work that great with audio. I try not to get too flashy, as it takes away from the story itself. You go too far, and it's almost as bad as plastering your site with garish ads.

I do, however, have this:

I'm not... entirely sure what to call it. It's not a required part of my story, just something I mess with when I've got writer's block. That, or to see how far I can bend the base blogger templates.

I have had this idea of writing a fiction travel blog, the blog itself would be kind of the diary, and I was gonna add a Sophie book* with all the stuff that really happened (postcards, telephone-calls, arguments and so on) to show the difference between what people really tell on their blog and reality. Still a work in progress though.

The Sophie book (, and also an article on Novelr, for more information)

Tahjir - I've seen your V-M-M site before... that's one of the 'fancies' I was thinking of, actually! :-) Very original, I like.

Janoda - Good idea! I was trying to do something similar(ish) with a story I was writing - main story, plus a character blog pointing out all the 'wrong information' (or not). But I just didn't have the time to organise and plan it properly, and it splatted :-(

I've been playing around with a 'video' - audio reading + soundtrack with still pictures. The audio was fairly easy to do... you'd think still photos would be easy, but I just have to get hubby and I awake and available at the same time... GAH!

Janoda - the Sophie Project looks interesting..

I do want to do a few pictures to go along with the stories, since light novels are highly visual. Sadly, I can't draw. I want to make this into a screenplay one day and perhaps do it as a radio play.

I like the idea of this 'Sophie Book,' sounds like it might be an interesting project.

Personally, I tend to adopt a very minimalist approach- possibly because less is more, or possibly because I don't know how to do anything over-elabourate. In many ways, I feel the same way about web-sites as I do about book covers; overloading them with bells and whistles results in a confusing jumble, but being bare-bones prevents an item from standing out. I believe the correct balance is very glossy minimalism, with only a select few bells and whistles. Like a particularly modest Morris Dancer.

I am fond of images, though. I use a few myself. Like Sora, I can't draw worth a damn... but the wonders of photoshop are indeed boundless. I think a light sprinkling of artwork can be really intriguing to the reader, so long the pictures are done properly.

Tahjir, I hope you don't mind but I just had to Stumble-submit that odd little blogspot-thing of yours. I found it mildly unsettling, and I'm pretty sure it would have unnerved the hell out of me if I'd stumbled across it unawares...

@nomesque Thanks!

@Reyben Thanks, I try. And I agree on the photoshop point. I can't draw, but I was able to do all of the stuff on my site with just a couple hours of messing around.

One serial I've come across on here - Among the Shadows - has optional music spaced through the story. I thought it was a nice touch, unobtrusive but added a certain something if played while reading.

I have a few music and video links scattered throughout RoYds (Refuge Of Delayed Souls) - usally where the track is mentioned in the text or helped to inspire the chapter. I've been considering putting more in - haven't come to a decision yet though :D

One particular chapter, In A Man's Shadow was inspired by the actual sighting of a mythical black fox which is regarded by some as a dark omen. I have a link to a newspaper report and video footage of the black fox taken with a mobile phone.

i have seen a number of writers incorporating different features on the web in their stories. i applaud them. and as web fiction becomes more accepted, utilising these i think will be almost expected.

me? i am a simple ninny who hides behind the conventional when technology becomes overwhelming. slowly will i learn and join the ranks...

I think of fancier ideas, but never put them into play. Partially because I just have a limited amount of time, and it's hard enough to grab some of it for writing. So the clever ideas for podcasts, or videos or, you know, sonnets via Twitter or something, all tend to sit in a "wouldn't it be neat...?" folder in my head and never go anywhere.

But onna these days, my upgrade order is going to go through and I'm going to have thirty-two hour days and nine-day weeks and THEN I'll get cracking on it all!

Anybody else like to use linking, search, etc. to get around the linearity of text?

Text writers tend to assume the reader will start at the first word of the first page and stop at the last word of the last page. With hypertext, the reader could hunt around and follow interesting plot threads, search for the next occurrence of a cool character, etc.

That'd actually be a really cool idea, a multi-threaded story, with branches, accessed by hypertext links. I can see how someone could put into play a whole bunch of side stories that collect into one big finish, and the reader could follow any or all of them.

I've been trying to dream up something like that for a while. It seems so perfect for the web, and so fun to do. Unfortunately, I think my brain is too linear to write a non-linear story...

I found which is pretty cool for flash websites. I'm probably going to use it as my personal website with links to my various blogs and stuff. It's pretty fancy schmancy.

Anybody else like to use linking, search, etc. to get around the linearity of text?

Text writers tend to assume the reader will start at the first word of the first page and stop at the last word of the last page. With hypertext, the reader could hunt around and follow interesting plot threads, search for the next occurrence of a cool character, etc.

I haven't touched the story in almost two years, but I did the 'bouncing around' concept with my urban fantasy piece, Honey From a Thorn. You could pick a character and follow them, bounce around the story arcs based on plot interest, read straight through, and/or participate in a 'choose-your-own adventure'-esque storyline.

I also incorporated images and stuff into the story -- though it was back when my photoshopping skills weren't as great as they are now-a-days (and I, for the most part, had yet to discover the beauty of handwriting-stylized fonts).

Oh well. Point is, I tried the whole bouncing-around thing, and I discovered it's fun, but way too hard for me as a writer, since I don't typically plan ahead. ^^;;

One of the first stories I'd ever seen online that incorporated the hypertext in the story to allow readers to bounce around was called Enigma. It's an experimental fantasy/myth by Vixen Phillips.

When it comes to my reading preferences: I like it when people include audio, video, and other gadgets with their story as additional perks, but I don't neccesarily like it being neccesary for the story. Of course, that has more to do with my net access being splotchy and it being harder to save such things to my desktop than to the quality of such attempts. ^^;;