Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Ads in a fictional world

I mentioned the other day an idea that came up to incorporate in the serial fiction work--ads as if from the secondary world interspersed with the text. I love little details and items that are supposedly from a secondary world, like the excerpts of historical or other texts that writers use to introduce chapters and the ads that are in the back pages of some of Jasper Fforde's books for the Goliath Corporation, for T.O.A.S.T., and others. And even getting into actual physical items from the setting, things like Ambergris beer.

On the advice of a friend, I'm patterning the structure of each episode (for now, loosely) on the structure of TV shows, so basically four sections or scenes with commercial break between...which got me thinking of what kind of things would go in those commercials. If I did this as a podcast, it could be a lot of fun to create faux radio ads for those places. And then I started thinking that even if I keep it print, I could lay it out as an old newspaper and put newspaper-type ads alongside the text. Either way, there's a lot of room for fun.

One thing I'm debating, though, is whether to make them ads as if from the time of the stories (it's a vaguely steampunk setting, so 19th century) or sometime later as if these stories are actually being recorded within the same city at a later time (say when radio becomes widespread 50-100 years later). That would clearly influence the types of things that might be offered in the ads. I think that question might come down to which format I end up deciding on--a podcast format would fit the radio model, and therefore after-the-fact, better; while a print version could play on Victorian newspaper stylings (a quick bit of research gives early 1800s as the start of the kind of mass-produced, cheap-paper newspapers that jump to mind).

I'm not doing any work on this aspect yet until I have a better grasp of the shape the project will take. But it's always fun to imagine.

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