WRITING: Planning with Tinderbox

May 19th, 2009 by susan

Learning for me has always been easiest in the doing. Instructions are held aside and come into play when a need arises that can’t be figured out by clicking buttons, turning screws, guessing, or the real motive of comprehension as to how something would logically work. But I’m also hampered by a stubborn resistance to change.

That said, when I fell in love with Storyspace as a means to write hypertext story, it was a pita to relearn and rewrite into Tinderbox even though the two are very similar in many ways in the processing and theory of linking. Tinderbox offers a world more of capabilities and the visuals of mapping and layout are more open and yet precise in the graphics. I’ve been fiddling around with several projects in Tinderbox, starting from placing a few short hypertext stories into a project space and from there transferring a much larger Storyspace piece into the medium, and progressing to a new project for a longer novel to make use of the research and note-making spaces that would act as an outline or rough plotting structure for the narrative. Even though I don’t know if this is going to in fact be a hypertext work, the concept of having it take shape in a more cohesive manner than pages of scribbled notes (I’ve never been an outline person, except to make the required one for teachers’ purposes after a story or essay was finished) is something that at this stage of my life offers invaluable assistance in saving time alone.

What’s nice about technology and the tools that software offers is that even with manuals and thick text of instructions, a user can always maneuver within the simplest form that suits his own needs, knowing that should more arenas of possibility open up, the field is there.

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