Electronic Literature – Storytelling with a Twist

Electronic Literature – Storytelling with a Twist

Electronic literature is the art of creating a piece of work so that it can be shared on an online platform while reaping the benefits that this platform offers (Electronic Literature Organisation, 2016). Contrary to popular belief, books and other forms of literature that are altered to be shared over the Internet would not be considered Electronic Literature as they were not originally created to be represented in this manner. Therefore, these would be considered to be literature altered to be electronic. While Electronic Literature has “literature” in the name it’s not simply what would come to one’s mind of text but instead of on a page it is on a screen. Instead it incorporates sound, videos, and other interactive media along with text to create a more immersive experience for the reader.


While doing some research on this topic, I came across the Electronic Literature Collection which was a library organised by the Electronic Literature Organization. It was split into three parts, Volume 1, 2, and 3, which were released in October 2006, February 2011, and February 2016 respectively. This library allows you explore some of the best works of Electronic Literature in one place (Electronic Literature Collection, 2016). One of the pieces located in Volume 3 is called ‘Motions’ which is based around the concept of human trafficking and modern day slavery. The goal of this piece of electronic literature was to use fragments of images, videos, and text from multiple sources as well as music and sounds to try portray a likeness to the experience of someone that had been enslaved had to go through (Smith, Luers, & Dean, 2014). The use of moving text, music and sounds, and also the interactive nature of the story making the user push it onward by using the arrow keys made for a really captivating piece which leaves the user reeling after realising what these people had gone through. The promises made of a better life for them in a new country are almost mocked by the sounds of a train running along a railway track leading these people from one hell to another all hinged on the promise of a life in a place lacking in fear. The blurred images and scattered text highlight the unclear paths that these people followed so that they could try and achieve a better life for themselves. The use of images, sounds, and other musical elements only served to highlight the piece of literature by adding somewhat of an extra depth to an already harrowing story.

It would seem that the art of Electronic Literature is a storytelling form that is keeping up with the times and can only adapt further as time progresses. It is through this progression that storytelling itself advances and becomes a more interactive and meaningful portrayal of literature.



  • Electronic Literature Collection. (2016). Electronic Literature Collection. [online] Available at: http://collection.eliterature.org/ [Accessed 25 October 2016].
  • Electronic Literature Organization, (2016). word-tree-990×250.jpg. [image] Available at: http://eliterature.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/04/word-tree-990×250.jpg [Accessed 25 October 2016].
  • Electronic Literature Organization. (2016). What is E-Lit? | Electronic Literature Organization. [online] Available at: http://eliterature.org/what-is-e-lit/ [Accessed 25 October 2016].
  • Smith, Luers, & Dean. (2014). Motions. [E-Literature] Available at: http://collection.eliterature.org/3/works/motions/index.html [Accessed 25 October 2016].



One response to “Electronic Literature – Storytelling with a Twist”

  1. Dannielle says:

    Hey Andrew 🙂

    Really nice blog. The Electronic Literature Collection was very interesting, and hopefully I’ll get around to looking at Volume 3 sometime soon. E-literature does progress storytelling, and who knows what will come next in the advancement of literature

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