The Unwritten is a fascinating tale that weaves together the aspects of storytelling within a story itself. While it has many clear parallels to stories such as Harry Potter and The Books of Magic, at the same time it is nothing like either of those stories. The Unwritten is all about a story within a story, and the crossovers between the two.
The Unwritten tells the story about Tom Taylor and his life in the shadow of the famous Tommy Taylor from his father’s best selling book series. Everyone believes that Tom Taylor is the basis for Tommy, although Tom zealously denies these claims.
The story takes a transmedia twist when parallels begin emerging between the two characters. It turns out Tom is actually a mystery child, and suddenly Tommy’s fans are convinced that Tom is Tommy incarnate. This then launches Tom on a journey to find his true identity.
The Unwritten paints a picture that almost seems equivalent to an Alternate Reality Game. Where Tom Taylor’s life is turned completely upside down by these parallels from his father’s book. This alternate reality game is more akin to the movie “The Game” than
for example an alternate reality game like The Beast. Where The Beast developed collective groups of intelligence, “The Game” put the main character into an alternate reality and had him fend for himself. This is the same situation that Tom is thrown into when the bogus identity emerges.
This alternate reality game almost seems like it could be the next segment in the Tommy Taylor series. It almost feels as if, the 14th book is presented to fans through this alternate reality game in which all the characters become real people. This could all be a part of Wilson Taylors master narrative plan.
The Unwritten also touches on the subject of fan culture. The fans truly drive the alternate reality that turns into the Alternate Reality Game. In my opinion it seems like it is even the fans of Tommy Taylor that are behind the attempts on Tom Taylors life that have thrust him on this new journey. This could show parallels to Jenkins hopes of collaboration between fans and producers. Perhaps the fans helped to plan and influence the alternate reality game that has become Tom Taylor’s life.
The still somewhat unexplained transmedia experience that I’m curious to see wrapped in is the map with pieces of literature labeled throughout. This seems to be an extremely distinctive representation of transmedia where literature is crossing over into the real world. Getting away from the story I am also curious to see how the separate stories at the end of each volume tie into the narrative of The Unwritten while they seem unrelated, it is quite possible that they could be combined into the narrative in an impressive transmedia display.