Ways of telling

An attempt to adapt an unfinished Jane Austen novel embraces new narrative approaches

There is no dearth of television and film adaptations of beloved literary texts. When it comes to the 15th version of Pride and Prejudice, the re-tellings can feel a little stale. But recently, when Pemberley Digital created an online series titled The Lizzie Bennet Diaries a contemporary version of P&P it did manage to put a fresh spin on Elizabeth and Darcy's story. A large part of its success a Creative Arts Emmy last month came from an innovative storytelling approach, where YouTube vlogs worked with in-character Twitter profiles and Tumblrs to propel the narrative. A new production of an unfinished Jane Austen novel, Sanditon, by the same company, pushes this experiment in transmedia storytelling further, serving

as an example of the different

ways the Web can be used for narrative purposes.

Welcome to Sanditon, as the series is called, didn't just use Twitter and Tumblr to create the sense that the characters inhabit a real world by allowing them to live out their fictional lives across various social media platforms. It also tried to find ways to bring the audience in, by letting fans create content and encouraging them to take virtual positions in the Sanditon community.

Discussions about storytelling on the internet make much of its interactivity. Nothing else can marry text, audio and video to create a cohesive narrative with the ease of the Web. Transmedia storytelling has come into sharper focus with the emergence of social media, and those in the entertainment business have been experimenting with new forms to create a more immersive experience. As Welcome to Sanditon shows, fan creativity can inform and enhance storytelling techniques to make the audience even more invested in the outcome.

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