Friday, February 26, 2010
I was listening to a podcast of an interview with novelist Graham Swift the other day. Something he said particularly struck me: that, through conveying specific details of people's lives, he connects with mass audiences. Even if readers have very different lives to those of the characters portrayed - living in different countries, with different circumstances, at different times - they relate more to the details than they would to a broad description that attempts to be universal.
This relates to advertising: if you try to speak to everyone, you often end up speaking to no one. On the other hand, illustrate the small things that are meaningful to individuals, and you may well capture those elusive universal insights.
One of my favourite authors, Neil Gaiman, has been experimenting with interactive storytelling on Twitter. He tweeted the first line and the rest is fan fiction.
The full story- soon to be a BBC audiobook - can be read here (bottom up of course).
I love the idea, but I'd probably rather read a book that's actually written by Neil Gaiman - you can't beat the quirky genius of Anansi Boys, which relays the antics of Anansi the Spider God and his sons.