A Transmedia Adaption – On The Road

Here is another suggestion for Bellyfeel’s ongoing series of transmedia adaptions – ‘On The Road’ by Jack Kerouac is a classic of Beat and modern US literature.

‘On The Road’ documents a non-linear journey to nowhere in particular and is a vivid portrait of underground America of the 1940s and 1950s – a world of jazz, sex, drink and drugs, an alternative to the conventional American Way of Life.

King Of The Road

Kerouac wrote the book in 20 days of jazz and Benzedrine-fuelled inspiration, an incredible 6,500 words a day. He wrote what he called ‘spontaneous prose’ which is similar to stream of consciousness, and mixed fiction with autobiography. The 125,000 word novel was typed onto a scroll of paper 120 feet in length. It was first published by Viking Press in 1957.

Here are some ideas on how to expand the existing novel to build elements around it that grow from it in an organic way;

The Kerouac Way – write a novel in 20 days. The dates can be the same as Kerouac’s; 2nd April to 22nd April. Maybe this could be done in the cloud so all work in progress can be watched by the crowd. The winner is also voted for by the crowd.

An app that delivers a geo-location road trip following the approximate routes taken by Kerouac – New York, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Sacramento, Chicago, Detroit, Laredo and Mexico City for example. At certain locations sections of the scroll can be downloaded and pieced together until the entire manuscript scroll has been collected.

Audio recordings of readings from the novel by various Kerouac fans can be downloaded as part of the app.

A series of webisodes that dramatise scenes from the novel.

An e-version of the original scroll without pagination would recreate Kerouac’s spontaneous prose technique, and give the reader the experience of reading the novel as it was first written. Kerouac’s own notes, changes and additions he made directly on the scroll would appear as a layer that could be toggled on and off. Notes on the text, character biographies, road maps, jazz music tracks and other text, audio and graphic information would exist as hypertext links.

A transmedia adaption of ‘On The Road’ would bring the novel to the digital generation by opening up the context of the novel and making it more accessible to new readers.

Let us know if you have any ideas for transmedia adaptions.

‘On The Road’ by Jack Kerouac.

What do you think?