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Can you write a book on Instagram?

Lateral Saturdays: Food for Weekend Rumination

Fortunately, when I go off on one of my pontifications about the things I'd like to do, people bear with me.

It's just that... talking is certainly a lot easier than doing.

And when you're trying to balance out a gazillion ideas of what you'd like to do with your life, the talking becomes a lot more plentiful when it comes time to discuss what's going on.

Right now, I end up with the feeling I'm planting a lot more seeds than I am weeding, watering, or other metaphors of garden management.

Maybe I should quit talking and just start doing.

Or maybe the discussion is an important part of the journey, and one that we can share in.

After all, “the creative process” needs to be discussed more, as does the disciplined study of creativity.

That being said, I found myself talking to my writers group about the things I'd like to do.

I have several projects I'm mulling, but there was a connection I found important: many of them are about finding an unconventional way to deliver the story.

Some of them are ventures into things I've never done like webcomics (whether the idea is a continuation of a space western I started as an audio drama or a superhero adaptation of the Epic of Gilgamesh, there are options (Hit me up if you're a comic illustrator, by the way - I’m looking for a collaborator)).

Another idea is attempting to merge the "concept album” with the form of the audio drama, I've found myself thinking more of how we can shape storytelling to meet the media we're presented with.

The combination of these things really would represent an audio musical, which of course is not so unusual as you can find with the work of David Treatman.

Rather, it’d be about bringing a musical to the medium of the album, with the narrative-power of dialogue included.

Among the other ways of funneling storytelling into unconventional mediums is my new film production company, Scryer Films, exists to bring about condensed storytelling geared towards TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube Shorts.

You might consider this a throwback to the juvenile days of cinema, such as Edison's shortform films for his viewing machine.

The same idea goes for the idea of condensing a brilliant cinematic idea -- really an aesthetic one probably, or some particularly moving footage -- into a cine-gif, which I predict will be a major way of film expression.

I doubt it will be used in many narrative ways, but if you can figure out a way to do so, more power to you.

It has with it a lot of power to channel silent films, if one is so inclined.

One of the ideas I've been most attached to lately has been the creation of a photo comic to be distributed on Instagram.

Now, there aren't a whole lot of examples of just what I have in mind when you google "photo comic."

The picture that drives me is one of aesthetic settings and powerful character portraiture. This is different from the meme-adjacent things that you'll find online under those image search results.

The combination of beautiful photography, caption-based prose, and great acting could make for a truly unique combinations of factors that initially you might not expect on Instagram. That being said, there are a lot of ways to hook into the mediums around us today that we might not initially imagine.

For instance, I've been baffled by the degree to which people will screenshot extremely long texts from Reddit and the like - with the stories going for many, many pages! - and people will read it.

This is surprising for an app characterized by mindless scrolling.

But, it's for this reason I believe that Instagram could be used to tell a story in installments.

Of course, it already is used for this in the form of comics.

Yet, what about text-based storytelling?

Well I'm planning on giving it a whirl.

Not just screenshots of pages of course.

No, there will be ways to spice it up.

Such as the use of unique forms -- I'm picturing a story told in fictionalized newspaper form.

While I disdain social media, both as someone who wants to try and reclaim life and also as one writer in a sea of writers trying to self-promote, there are ways to elevate it to meet our goals.

And there are ways that we can turn the work we do into the self-promotion we need in order to build audiences to receive what we do.

The balancing act that it may come to be, especially if you're creating in real-time and not just uploading a novel, that will be the real test of dedication.

The only question to me is.... where do I start and how do I choose?

Thank you for reading. For real. It's a pleasure to get to deliver this to you.

This is more than navel-gazing, of course. This is a space for bouncing ideas of one another. So if you plugged your own ideas into this formula, or you found it resonated with you, hit that reply button and let me know!

P.S., I wrote a short story here.