Private: The Digital Epistolary Novel

The New York Times notes the advent of the Digital Epistolary Novel or DEN, a term coined by author Eric Brown to describe his novel Intimacies, which “unfolds through e-mail messages, instant-message conversations and Web sites, all within a window generated by the DEN software.” Both the novel and the special software are available at this site. Brown has plans to start selling a version of the software so people can write their own DENs. I’m not clear on why that would be necessary. Surely writers could achieve a more realistic effect using the internet tools already available — actual websites and email accounts and so on.