Project 1: The Craft of Writing- Exercise 1

What happens to a story when you take it from its source, make it permanent in print, and disseminate it to a wide audience?

I think there’s a few things that happen, which are worth considering. Firstly that a story becomes more accessible, it is available to a range of people of different backgrounds and experiences. On the one hand this is a positive thing, as a writer your work is reaching a wider audience, your characters are being shared and discovered.  However I wonder if sometimes this makes a writer afraid or worried, their story is no longer theirs, it’s now open to interpretation by anyone and everyone. Once something is published in print it’s impossible to guard its contents, anyone can use or misuse it.I also think print makes a story set, it is fixed, and those words cannot be revoked or edited. It’s not a blog post or webpage that can be edited at a later date, there’s a finality to it.

Write a list of implications arising from the printing press. For example, think about who has control/authority over the text, the meaning of the text and the relationship between the source of the text and its recipient.

  • Catholic Church – Bible – control of bible went from tightly within the grasp of the Catholic Church, to being available in English/German to many – the “ordinary” man now could understand or grasp the same thing as the priest, loss of control of that authority to dictate people’s lives.
  • Issues of author’s rights, or editor’s rights or publishers rights – who owns the rights to print the text? How do you decide how much the text is worth or how many to print?
  • Issue of distribution – now has to consider how will this text be distributed, who is it aimed at, idea of a specific audience becomes important?
  • Text is no longer read to or accessed by few – all have a chance to attain knowledge.
  • Education – printing press makes it possible to distribute learning for masses of children.
  • Danger of more radical views becoming known or popularised – people with radical political views can now put their ideas into printed format for distribution.

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