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More and more websites are creating audiences rather than readers, and writers are helping them through polls, feedback forms, and message boards. However, it seems that web has not completely transformed web into a completely interactive medium yet. Content writers will create a way to force reader not to be an audience, but a part of play. As a writer, I think that we'll give audiences more and more room to interact and influence actual events and mediums.
Where We'll Take Content Writing
In future, I see nonfiction e-books allowing readers to pick and choose chapters based on their skill and knowledge levels. Students will be able to skip grammar review in an online textbook if they feel their skills are up to par or took an online skill test to "test-out". Web designers will skip HTML basics and move straight to HTML 5.0 new features and XML. Writers will be writing both for a general audience and a skilled audience, and readers will participate in process by choosing specific information they need. "Take what you need and leave rest" will be new online writing mantra. Contentville.com already did this (although they are now defunct) with a huge database of articles, thesis papers, and other formerly print media that readers pay a small fee to read. Others are following this pattern. This market will expand and readers will only pay for what they get.
In fiction market, readers will be taken to next level of participation by finding not only a choice of characters, plots, and settings through interactive websites and media, but through a Choose- Your-Own Adventure type of structure. Similar to online games, users will be able to choose Jane's physical traits and John's personality, and set story into sequence at a setting of their choice. They will choose their favorite outcomes in their online soap operas. (No more, "No! John! You should have married Mary, not left her for Margaret! She's evil!")
As for writers? We won't have to choose perfect beginning, middle, or end anymore. We won't have to decide on one specific audience. We'll be writing for all cultures, all ages, and all interest levels. Where content is king, we'll be knights in shining armor, rescuing reader from boring, redundant, or irrelevant web reading and writing of yesteryear.
Oh, yeah, and we'll be paid as well as Duke of Earl.
*This article originally appeared in Web Writing Buzz Newsletter in April of 2000.
Melissa Brewer is a full-time freelance writer and author of The Writer's Online Survival Guide, available at http://www.webwritingbuzz.com. She hosts a website for professional freelance writers and she publishes a free weekly newsletter, The Web Writing Buzz, featuring articles on freelancing, writing jobs and publishing news from around the web.