The “Cascadian Chronicles” is my first real attempt at an e-literature story. It’s the tale of a young woman in Washington many miles from home when the apocalypse goes down. The story is her journey back home to her boyfriend at their house, nearly 200 miles away. Instead of being listed linearly in back to back paragraphs, the story is broken into small chunks and scattered randomly about the page.
This leads the reader to perform a sort of scavenger hunt, hovering on whatever image catches their interest at the moment. The story’s narrative is fairly flexible, with a fixed beginning and ending point, and numerous parts in the middle that can be read in almost any order. Some parts allude to other parts which offers some minimal continuity, but if the reader encounters them out of order, that’s fine.
An example of this is “The Farm” (barn image) and “Horse” (horse image). The farm mentions seeing something moving in a field on a deserted farm, and the horse makes it obvious he was found in a fenced in field. If the reader was to read the horse’s story first and then progress to the farm for instance, they would probably correctly guess that the thing moving in the field on the farm was Old Jack, the horse. The beauty of the format though is that reading it forwards or backwards does not really matter. By keeping the story as sparse as possible, and leaving large gaps for the reader to fill in themselves, each reading of the story is different.
Regrettably, the format does not lend itself well to responsive design for smaller devices. Excluding these devices was a difficult, but conscious decision to preserve the story’s experience. Since it is told through a scrapbook like collage of journal entries, trying to rearrange it for a smaller screen would undoubtedly end up with it becoming too linear.