How Authors Write

This is a re-post from MIT Technology Review. I think it would be a great piece to assign in a digital writing course. The full article is here:

http://www.technologyreview.com/review/429654/how-authors-write/

And here’s an excerpt:

At a time when new media are proliferating, it is tempting to imagine that authors, thinking about how their writing will appear on devices such as electronic readers, tablet computers, or smartphones, consciously or unconsciously adapt their prose to the exigencies of publishing platforms. But that’s not what actually happens. One looks in vain for many examples of stories whose style or form has been cleverly adapted to their digital destinations. Stories on e-readers look pretty much as stories have always looked. Even The Atavist, a startup in Brooklyn founded to publish multimedia long-format journalism for tablet computers, does little more than add elements like interactive maps, videos, or photographs to conventional stories. But such elements are editors’ accretions; The Atavist’s authors have not been moved, as Baker was, by the creative possibilities of a new technology. Writers are excited to experimentation not by the media in which their works are published but, rather, by the technologies they use to compose the works.

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