Leveraging Media and Art for a New World of Storytelling

In late September I have the honor of speaking at STORY 2112. I will be telling stories from my new book, AWAKE as well as outlining how the world of writing has changed in the past five years and where it may be headed.AWAKE is the first book of its kind in an industry that”s changed as much in the past five years as it did with the invention of the printing press. In this day and age the key to getting published is more than having a great story, but having an understanding of the new, interactive and multi-platform world of books.

As a writer and filmmaker I am constantly aware that the attention spans of my audience are divided at best. Thanks to insane advances in technology, all forms of storytelling have also advanced. And though its true traditional books will never go away, with all the changes going on, there is a new world of literature waiting to be created. I often hear people talk about our world being more segmented than ever before. Some use this to explain their struggle to find an audience, but I say it’s an unparalleled opportunity. If this new generation (NEW AUDIENCE), can hold a conversation while watching TV while surfing the net on their smart phone, what makes us think they will devote ALL of their attention to a book?

So lets use this to our advantage. In my book, AWAKE (released by Zondervan in April of this year) I utilize multiple forms of art and media. The book inside the bindings easily stands on its own. It never would have been picked up if the stories and writing hadn”t been up to the standard of the publisher. But my book doesn’t just stop at the bindings.


I”m not just talking about non-fiction. Mark Batterson (bestselling author of The Circle Maker) and I have just finished (coauthoring) the first book in a new fantasy series , which allows the reader the opportunity to write an online “vein” of the story alongside Mark and myself. This is something we are very excited about and has never been attempted before, because until now, it wasn”t possible. I will explain more at STORY 2012.

I am also working on a new book with brilliant author Michael Albert (Misery), which is told in first person. In Misery we chose to use film to tell the back-story and “supporting story” from the perspective of the peripheral characters. We have also given every character a facebook page and twitter account and there will be twelve films attached to the book. Each character is three dimensional in ways which, have previously not been possible. The films only make sense when put in context with the book, see one of the films below.



As we all know from watching most Hollywood blockbusters, you need more than gimmick, special effects or budget to make a story. As with all forms of communication, the most important part of any book is the STORY itself. However, once you have the perfect STORY there is a good chance you are not yet finished. What will bring your writing to the next level? What will bring your characters to life in the truest sense of the word? A book littered with art, films, QR Codes or links leading to extended story are just a few examples. What will hook the widest possible audience? Even more important (at first), what will hook a great publisher, agent or distributor?

At STORY 2012, I will be sharing a few stories from AWAKE and using it as one of many examples of this brilliant new world of STORY. I will also talk about what it means to utilize all forms of art and media to take your STORY to the next level.

Looking forward to connecting with you at STORY 2012! In the meantime, check out the site devoted to my book. There are 47 films, 5 songs and multiple paintings and sketches scattered throughout the book.

Joel N. Clark

#awake #story #interactive

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