Can We Have More Experimental Formats?

The Illuminae Files first published back in 2015 and I think I speak for many book worms and sci-fi addicts when I say we fell in love with the format. It challenged us to piece things together and to be a more active reader.

Did you find the shoutouts to other prominent YA authors?

Did you notice the numbers?

Did you note the dates?

It created a new experience for us and made us a part of the story. Here we were holding a piece of the action, literally, in our hands. We touched contaminated comics, we watched (had narrated for us because of the medium) videos of terrible atrocities and amazing heroics, and we all genuinely worried about whether the documents reached us in time to help, or if they were sent as a last-ditch effort by dying hands.

Later this year, Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman are putting another sci-fi baby into the world with Aurora Rising. I can only hope that it will have its own unique format that helps to support this point.

So basically, my question is–where are the other titles like this? Where are the stories that are told to us in new and exciting ways? Where are the books that we flip upside down and get another viewpoint?

I’m sure cost of printing plays into it somewhere and we can’t have all the gimmicky things all the time otherwise they turn into their own tropes, but we are actively passing on an opportunity to use our current technologies in such a way that would make books more than simply turning pages.

It doesn’t even have to be much. I just want something that really brings the story off the page.

Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why did something so simple as to host Hannah’s tapes online. Readers could go online and listen to them and experience and new dimension of the story.

Basically this is what I’m looking for:

  • If characters have twitters, I want to be able to follow them and see them interact with each other as they live out the book when it’s released.
  • If the character makes a playlist I want to hear it.
  • If the character draws, I want to see it.
  • I want to see QR codes in my books so I can scan them and get more.
  • I want mediums that inform content.

Basically, I don’t want to be a spectator anymore. Let us in. Don’t make the characters recap documents to us, show us. We’re big kids now, we can handle more than a few words on the page. Give us a story and an experience beyond the paper.

Published by J. M. Tuckerman

J.M.Tuckerman is a neurodivergent writer with a big education. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, an MA in Writing, and a BA in Writing Arts (specializing in Creative Writing, New Media Writing, and Publication; concentrating in New Media Production), which she somehow managed to earn despite her three very loud and large dogs. Jessica was lucky enough to intern at Quirk Books and Picador, USA while earning her master’s degrees. Her service dog, Ringo, is very proud of all that she has accomplished and hopes to be on a back cover of a published book with her very soon. An avid reader, writer, and lover of young adult and middle-grade literature, Jessica’s bookshelf is overflowing with hardbacks, paperbacks, and a million half-filled notebooks. She is a proud fur-mommy to two lab/st-bernard littermates, a retriever-mix service dog, and one orange little hobgoblin cat, all of whom have made very audible appearances on the Booked All Night podcast.

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