Appropriateness in Hypertext

Sunday, January 20th, 2008

In a note to this post on hypertext and effects Juan writes:

It can be argued that most pieces of electronic literature could be reproduced in paper, thus the question about essential innovation seems valid. What cannot be reproduced on paper is the processing capacity of a computer. Storyspace offers some basic processing. Literatronic offers a sophisticated IA engine for processing.

I’d like to clarify one issue. In my view, Storyspace, to pursue the path of aesthetics, allows for the writing of hypertexts appropriate to its environment. In all honesty, I don’t think enough hypertexts have been written in the software to provide fuller analysis of the possibilities: I’d suggest a thousand (how many books are published every year?) In this sense, appropriateness (a criteria I take from urban design), is a key factor. This is a subtle but important point.

In Brimmer and Death, for example, I’m not worried about links or the relationship between one window and the next. Rather, I’m fussing over regions of the writing space: top and bottom, primarily, for reasons of closure. This will put into motion a new editing stage: given the top of a writing space, how should I fuss over the bottom of its origin. I’ll be looking at this very issue as I experience a show of hands.


2 responses to “Appropriateness in Hypertext”

  1. Mary Ellen says:

    I’m trying to grasp the whole concept (and you know how bad I am at spacial relationships!) Literatronics and Storyspace allows the reader, basically, to flip to a different section of the story while still retaining the thread? I know you and Susan are going like gangbusters in Storyspace, but the notion of interrelating everything from the beginning is daunting. I like the old plot-train, and the little surprises that happen along the way when you realize something you could tie in to an earlier event or point. I guess I’m just a linear person, figuratively…

  2. Steve says:

    Mary Ellen,

    Check out the Eastgate Reading Room or ELO’s holdings for some examples of hypertext fiction.