HYPERTEXT: Story Determining Form

April 11th, 2008 by susan

Just started a story with an idea, a man walking in the night through the woods.  Taking pause as that scene settles, I think about other things, yet never too far away that I cannot hear him if he calls. 

What I’m thinking about is this: What set the form of story?

Working and switching among straight text, hypertext in Storyspace and hypertext in Hypertextopia, it surprises me that I already know this story is meant for traditional linear telling.  It has no need for the roundabouts or playing with time of Storyspace mapping.  It does not call for the Shards of clarity from Hypertextopia.  At least not at this point. The man is alone, the night is rumbling. 

Is the situation what settles the form?  What calls out the innuendos and acuteness of side trails?  It certainly can’t be the loneness of the character, as in A Bottle of Beer, Yolanda sits alone on her porch awaiting a man running down the road towards her throughout the story.  Ah, but she is surrounded by ghosts; from her past, from human nature, and from instinct. There is a natural pattern that develops that is asking these ghosts to drift through the story.  The intricacy of Storyspace’s trails would be overkill; we don’t want the reader to wander away from the immediacy of Yolanda’s last hour–which is the whole of the story.  Hypertextopia is then perfect for that particular piece.  Paths was begging for parallel paths (uh, hence, it’s title) and needed the coexistence of threads that separated yet tied lives together.  Neither story could likely have been told in a different form with any degree of accuracy–of sense of exactly how it happened.

So it is not the singleness of character, the singleness of purpose–and perhaps if the focus of this man’s story was different it would indeed call out for an exploration via links.  What then?

I don’t truly know.

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