The Work of Narrative in the Age of Digital Interaction: Revolutions in Practice and Pedagogy

  • Alec Charles
Part of the Teaching the New English book series (TENEEN)


There are three main challenges in the teaching of narrative development in the area of new media: (1) the interactive, multilinear and ludic natures of new media platforms do not necessarily lend themselves to traditional narrative structures; (2) the emphasis which these media put upon users’ otherwise unmediated forms of self-expression is not necessarily conducive to classical structures of narrative communication; and (3) many of the promises which these media forms have made in relation to narrative advances not only have not been realized and are perhaps unrealizable, but are also not always entirely desirable. Bolter and Grusin’s scepticism as to the potential of introducing ‘interactivity to the novel’ is, for example, echoed by Koskinen’s rebuttal of ‘interactive narratives’—‘no one in his right mind can write an alternative ending to the story of Jesus Christ’. Yet these challenges also represent opportunities. The questions which these technologies pose as to how we teach narrative open up possibilities as to the development of narrative structures, practices and modes of reception—beyond blogging and citizen journalism, beyond Wikipedia, social media, virtual worlds and video games: not amateurish ‘produsage’ but a late postmodern incarnation of Roland Barthes’ notion of scriptibilité. Such opportunities may promote ways to teach writing which themselves underpin the development of cultural identity and critical thought.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alec Charles
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WinchesterWinchesterUK

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