The problem Susan writes about here is interesting: what’s the difference between the right and the best structure. I myself have no idea how to exact the shape, at least in theory.
The problem isn’t limited to hypertext but to any experience or object that demands structural sense, such as a house, a cabinet, a poem or a novel. The problem is that in hypertext it’s demanding to find examples that demonstrate a particular type of structural element and to show it easily. It isn’t like showing someone a poem and identifying a potent use of metaphor.
It’s a different problem for the writer, given that as the idea goes: every poem, while it can learn from its fathers and mothers, is a new poem, and the writer writes from scratch when it’s time to get back to work. I’m going to provide a few examples here of particular hypertextual forms, beginning with Paths, possibly beginning tomorrow.
But there’s also something else to do too. I’ve been reading through lots of work, thinking about a Sequential Art course and in doing so have gotten into trouble with the Sandman series. At this point, the greater arc of the story through eleven volumes is beginning to bug me. The story of The Sandman revolves around the notion of change, the relationships of the Endless, and particularly Morpheus to his mortal and mythical enemies. Each Sandman book is a reference point to some other arc in another text, such as Fables and Reflections’ Desire promising to sick the Furies on Dream because he’s winning a bet. The Furies, of course, will foul up the dreamland later on and lead to the death of one aspect of Dream/Morpheus. So, even though there are references, for the life of me I can’t swallow why the Furies could, did, and were prompted to attack.
Sandman readers to the rescue please!
In rereading Patterns, I have come to recognize the concepts of what I intended to do, and now see a name or label for them. In any structure, it would be necessary to acknowledge the previously established forms such as the circle, rectangle, octagon, square, etc., to understand what is proven to work for a particular purpose specifically because of its shape. You don’t drive on square wheels and you don’t build a cylindrical house on a hill.
Can’t help you with Sandman.