Working with digital tools has meant for me to let go of the illusion of control of my creative process. This has been one of my favorite parts of this project and the summer experience. With every new piece of the story, either as part of the content or the form, I have found the opportunity for the digital text to transform itself. There have been a lot of surprises along the way: certain explanations were not necessary anymore, since I had more than words to communicate a message; images turned into a way of pacing the reading time; transitions helped me signify the interior world of a character; and even choosing the correct font has been part of the process, to either make it more readable or more uncomfortable to create a little bit of mystery. Now that I may start over with a new template, I know that it will help me with the re-writing process.
Digital scholarship, I learned, depends on collaborative work and constant discoveries, aspects that have challenged the somewhat rigid structure I had interiorized for my writing and research process. Now, I find myself hesitant of, for example, writing my name in the cover of the short story. I don’t think I could be considered the only author of this digital text. Every single part of it has been a collaborative effort: Nikki White has helped me shape the project, its transitions, the possibilities of the dialogue between its parts, and to keep the right course for it to be completed; Jay Bowen as the GIS Specialist made possible all the movement in the maps, and the possibility of considering such maps as main characters of the story; Alyssa Varner taught me how to create fictional letters in Photoshop and to start reflecting on color and its significance to the project; from far away, my father and the finca community have provided me with data, memories and pictures of a communal past; classmates such as Jessie Kraemer that made me focus on the dialogue between movement and stillness in the different parts of the story, as well as the possibility of diversifying the project as a whole. And finally, every single discussion in class with Stephanie Blalock has signified both companionship on a new learning process, and new routes to re-construct my perception of what the digital creation entitles. The last of these guided reflections were the impact that scrolly-telling can have on the reader, and how it may produce some sort of discomfort that could be used in the experience (or to be avoided depending on the case). Also, it led me to consider how little before I had thought of accessibility as a creator.
I would like to continue this project as a collection of digital short stories, with different formats depending on the main characters (both historical and fictional) that were part of the founding of Pluma Hidalgo. In the meantime, I think that, even when I go back to an analogue format for my writing, a lot of the tools that I learned this summer will remain as a part of my creative process.