4 Essential Elements of Digital Environments for Narrative

According to Murray (1998), there are four principal properties to enhance literary creation.

  1. Digital environments are procedural.
  2. Digital environments are participatory.
  3. Digital environments are spatial.
  4. Digital environments are encyclopedic.

Digital environments are procedural

Procedural power of computers is an ability to execute a series of rules.  It carries not only static information but also complex and responsive behaviors.  A procedural dialogue between human being and responsive computers suggests that we can write rules for interpretation of the world as narrative.

Digital environments are participatory

The procedural environments with rule generated behaviors induces us the behaviors.  Computers are interactive and responsive to people’s input.  They generate contents using both internal procedural rules and external output.  In other words, computers require participation and involve people in their procedure. As the book was written in 1998, it was told as futuristic one.  However,  we have already had conversational computer Siri of iPhone.

Digital environments are spatial

Digital environments are “characterized by their power to represent navigable space” (Murray, 1998, p.79 ).  Computers provide space that people can move through unlike books and videos.  According to Murray, the navigation of virtual space is a dramatic enactment of the plot.  Navigation is imperative part for expressive narrative landscapes.

Digital environments are encyclopedic

As computers are most capacious medium ever invented, they store almost infinite quantities of information and contents forever.  In terms of capacity, the computers offer wealth of detail to artists.


Murray, J.H. Hamlet on the Holodeck : The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace. The MIT Press. Cambridge. 1998.


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