A “boy meets girl, girl doesn’t like boy” story reimagined through a digital medium.
Nicci French’s digital story “Your Place and Mine” takes full advantage of the digital platform by adding charm unavailable to stories written in other ways. The uniqueness of the fact that Nicci French is two separate people has been accentuated through the use of the dueling format of Terry and Lawrence’s point of view. The story of a sprouting relationship between the two characters is documented pleasantly and shows both sides of events they go through. Moving through recollections of their first date and the subsequent days following, the reader is engulfed in the world of these characters. The story is written as one would write a blog or speak in a conversation, not in a regular short story format, which adds a level of simplicity while also adding a complex (and sometimes hard to follow) element in regards to layout. Reading both blogs together (especially in its original real-time format) adds a duet-style feeling, as one would expect from a love song.
The entire premise behind Penguin Books’ ambitious online project was to familiarize readers with different types of online fiction outlets, and French’s tremendous yet simple take on this is one of the reasons why this was such a success. Personal blogs have become quite popular over the last few years. In the past, blogs were quite minimal, and only used for people documenting their lives. Not many were interested in reading the long, and sometimes boring posts, but websites like Tumblr or even Twitter with its microblogging format have recently rejuvenated the popularity of keeping such records. Although this story is not new, it still resonates with current society and their interests with peeking into people’s lives (as long as it is interesting).
The story was initially meant to be read as it was posted, which added a level of complexity in regards to format. It resembled a conversation or blog addition in real-time. The feeling of peeking into the lives of others was elevated using this technique. The comment section during the original posting gave the readers a place to analyze what was happening with other readers. All of this happening in real-time capitalized on the online medium, using the connectivity of its audience to further develop the story.
The story ends with a link to a separate page, which is meant to tie up the open ending. The link over time has diminished into a page of missing pictures and random links to newspaper logos and such. Without one looking into this further, this broken link would cause the ending to be even more open, confusing the reader even more. Depending on the reader’s diligence in looking at the seemingly broken link, the way they interpret the ending varies a large amount. The story has become better with age, as the reader can get easily enthralled with thoughts of what was once there, although the important information is still available through a simple scroll of a mouse in a seemingly useless webpage. The original meaning of the link is still there, and those who look more into it would still receive information in regards to the conclusion of the story.
The story overall strives using the blog format, especially when read having the original “live” publishing style in mind. The story portrays a typical love story in a whole other way through the use of two separate points of view on the five days. I would recommend this story to those who want to get a taste of what digital fiction is like. It is not too difficult to comprehend or maneuver through like some more advanced pieces in the digital medium.