HYPERTEXT & WRITING: Hypertext Style

January 14th, 2010 by susan


While I’ve sort of been accused of using an old fashioned form of hypertext narrative–and this may be true since I’m a bit behind the times learning on my own–I’m still very much aware of the fact that folks need to be eased into the concept of hypertext story.

In the 100 pieces I’ve done for the 100 Days Project, I can see my work becoming gradually more complex not just in the number of lexias but in the linking of those pieces. There are just so many ways of using hypertext that I’ve not learned all the methods and reasons yet behind it. For another, finding that most folks didn’t bother reading it (the usual reasons, ad nauseum) influenced a rather simplistic approach, trying to cover all the different purposes by focusing in on one at a time.

As way of explanation, one of the purposes/reasons for hypertext could be the deliverance of background information that can certainly enhance but is not vital to the flow of story. Another is to change the meaning of the story entirely by allowing a switching of paths or focus, perhaps to even come up with a different ending to a story. Another may be to emphasize one character over another in point of view. Maude Nichols is one of the few hypertexts I’ve written that really gives a reader a choice–at least a choice that is based on some form of informed possibilities because it includes a multiple choice at the end of each writing space as to proposed direction of story. This seems to be a good way of allaying the fears of the uninitiated hypertext reader about losing control of the story.

One of the things I need to do with my own hypertext work is to increase the level of visual impact, and that’s going to be a case of learning more about css and html and the various methods of display. I’d also like to get into the audio as well as video clips involved in most of the newer presentations while still keeping in mind that there’s an audience of the unaware and just plain resistant to welcome into the discovery.

2 Responses to “HYPERTEXT & WRITING: Hypertext Style”

  1. Chris Says:

    Call me a rube, but complaining you’re writing “old-fashioned” hypertext sounds to me like criticizing Mozart for using too many notes. Multimedia is great, but only if it helps you tell a story in a more interesting way.

  2. susan Says:

    You’re no rube, Chris, and I suppose what I’m seeing is the simplified hypertext that I use being judged against the more visual presentations that include sound and motion video.

    While I don’t want to limit myself to working only in text, I also don’t want to fall into that trap of losing story by depending upon glitz and flash. There should be room for all types of narrative display, whether the visual is in images or of letters that are considered words.

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