TINDERBOX & HYPERTEXT: A New Hyperfiction Writer!

December 6th, 2009 by susan

Lord knows I push hypertext fiction to the point of being utterly obnoxious sometimes (Besides, I’m a Scorpio and I’m either flyin’ or dyin’ so deal with it.) but I really am still so high on the form and the possibilities that I can’t help but get excited when I’ve gotten someone intrigued enough to try it out for himself.

He bought himself an early Christmas present of Tinderbox and Finnegan Flawnt has been fiddling with it already so I’ve tried to help him learn the intricacies of the hypertext form by hypertextualizing one of his lovely short stories Listen.

Without adding to it (as I had done with a few of Steve Ersinghaus’ practice stories in prep for the 100 Days Project) I was still able to find several places where the story played right into the looping abilities of hypertext.

With his academic and web-based background, I can’t wait to see what Finnegan can do with his new toy.

4 Responses to “TINDERBOX & HYPERTEXT: A New Hyperfiction Writer!”

  1. finnegan flawnt Says:

    i am SO chuffed and grateful, susan! i’ve put a short commentary on my and others’ reading of the HT version in the fictionaut group. to summarise here diff between the HT and the 2d version of the story:

    – the hypertext version is a completely different read from 2d
    – the writing itself comes out more (it’s a gestalt thing bc you can choose what’s in the foreground)
    – it’s possible to “get lost” in the story (not possible in 2d, not in such a short piece)
    – HT seems to require individual pieces to be relatively self contained (this does not work equally well for all sections). a possible good start for an editing process
    – getting back to a bit previously read allows for a closer reading which is not a “second reading” (as when you start over from the beginning)
    – the 2d story does not enforce any particular way of linking its parts. it would be interesting to map this out differently and check the effect.

  2. susan Says:

    I just love the way you refer to straight text as 2d meaning hypertext is 3d and that’s just such a great way of looking at it!

    On point #3, I’ve gotten lost in 2d; but maybe that’s just me.

    Point #4 is a good one. I found that writing into the little spaces was like writing microfiction, each one wanting to be complete in itself but better for its relationship to the others.

    And yes, you can easily rearrange the paths from the way I chose to link them to reflect your guiding the reader to a specific train of thought. You’re a quick learner!

  3. Anna Pitt Says:

    Tinderbox is certainly on my wish list inspired by Blueberries. I love the 2d / 3d analogy. I found that most times when I arrived back on the same piece of text I read it slightly differently which deepened the sense of become ‘lost’ or rather ‘entwined’ in the story. I want to become lost in a story, even a very short story. I want to leave my world for a moment and enter the world created by the story. That, to me, is getting lost in a very different way to how you can get lost in some new media writing, where you just can’t find the signposting and just end up giving up because you don’t get it (or is that just me?). The story itself must hang together as a piece, whether it is 2d or 3d.

  4. susan Says:

    Anna, I love writing into Tinderbox, writing in the hypertext form. It’s such a kick as an author to discover two paths and take them both! If you like reading hypertext (and I wasn’t originally a big fan!) then you’ll love writing it. Tinderbox is great because it is a visual way of writing and mapping a story as you go, it easily exports into html ready for online reading (just add your css and html main template into a file) and it’s so useful in so many other ways of organization so that using it for writing a story is only taking advantage of a few kilowatts of its power. If you take the plunge, I’d be happy to help you get started!

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