Bret Easton Ellis: How Digital Formats are Changing Fiction Writing

Question: How much will digital formats change the way that books are written and conceived? (- Question via Facebook from Catherine Kustanczy)

Bret Easton Ellis: I think people started writing differently once computers came into play.  I think people started writing differently.  I noticed a difference in books when people were writing books on computers and not composing them longhand and not doing them on typewriters.  But books seemed longer and they seemed more extravagant and decorative.  Once you can start doing footnotes in books, a la David Foster Wallace or Dave Eggers, or whoever.  I mean… or I think of a book like “House of Leaves” by Mark Danielewski in terms of how it’s designed, or his follow-up “Only Revolutions.”

Question: How much do you think the form of the novel is affected by the increasing amount of other media people consume?

Bret Easton Ellis: The novel’s affected a huge amount by that, because of all these distractions.  Look, a lot of my friends—college educated, smart people, adults who used to read a lot of fiction—have admitted to me that technology has disrupted their patience with fiction.  There’s so many other things going on that once… I mean, if none of this stuff was available to them, whether it’s checking their Facebook page or reading articles online and then linking to the next article and the next article that they might be sitting down with a novel instead.

// complete text and video on site

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