A friend of mine started an interesting project recently, a sort of multimedia horror dime novel for the web--he calls the format "digital pulp."  The project is called Turnskin, and through a series of blog posts, video diaries, "found" footage, tweets, and Facebook posts it follows the story of a young LA woman after a strange encounter she has with what she describes as a "serpent creature."

Thus far there are about 20 or so entries at the blog site, and there's enough going on (and hinted at) that I'm interested to read more. I can see a strong connection to the modern New Weird movement, and to the older weird fiction pulps that were its precursors. I get the impression that there will be some sort of Gaiman-esque secret world revealed in forthcoming installments, and I'm looking forward to finding out more.

The prospect of using the web as a medium for narrative is something that a lot of people have explored over the past decade or so, to varying degrees of success. I think that the ones that tend to work well are ones where the author is familiar with web culture and how the medium is consumed and interpreted by its audience, and can execute on that knowledge. In some ways, you can see the idea of a blog-based story as the modern take on the epistolary novel, and that comparison works in a lot of ways. But at the root, blogs are consumed and understood by their readers in a very different way from letters, and that difference in tone has to be taken into account for a web-based story to work well.

I have to admit, I wasn't convinced at first that Turnskin was going to work well. There's a certain "writerliness" to the blog posts that struck me as inauthentic. But what I failed to take into account was the way that the different platforms that the project encompasses all work together. My "aha" moment came when I popped open the protagonist's Twitter feed. Right there at the top of the page--just like every other Twitter feed--is the description that the girl chose for herself: "I am an artist, writer, daydreamer and reluctant barista." Reading that, it clicked for me: this is exactly how the sort of person who would use expensive adjectives in her personal blog would describe herself. And, man, I know that person.

In that light, I really have to give my friend credit for a well-thought-out, layered, deep characterization. Kudos, dude. Kudos.

So, if you're in the mood for some pulpy, weird fiction goodness, you might give Turnskin a look. You can subscribe to the blog directly via RSS, or you can follow on Facebook or Twitter.