Archive for the ‘WRITING’ Category

WRITING & HYPERTEXT: A 24-Hour Project

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Though I crept out at daybreak, just three hours short of completing the Tunxis 24-hour Arts Marathon (I’d run out of creative juice and was feeling a bit grumpy) I did manage to complete a new hypertext story during the first half of the session. Thanks to all who participated, and particularly Carianne Mack Garside for hosting this annual event which for the first time included a gallery classroom for creative writers along with the art, sculpture, and photography which drew the largest number of students. And of course to Professors Steve Ersinghaus and Jesse Abbot who oversaw the writing division, and fellow writers, Dan, Nick, Trent, Megan, and others who drifted in and out to spend some time writing and sharing. Steve did quite a bit of work on a new novel that he’s been considering, Jesse wrote a poem and recorded a great audio I hope to find online soon, and I know that Nick, Trent, Dan, and Megan were close to completing their own short stories and animations during this period.

So I offer now, since I couldn’t upload it online direct from campus, and after a couple hours’ sleep:

On The Very Last Day, He Imploded

TINDERBOX: Organization

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Finally got around to some attempt at organizing my literary endeavors into some semblance of order with Tinderbox.

What I’ve come up with so far is a file called “Literary Endeavors” with containers labeled “Print Journals”, “Online Journals”, “New Media Journals”, and three more labeled “Print Stories”, “Hypertext”, and “Poetry”.

In the “Print Stories” container I’ve got notes for each of the stories I’ve written and within each will be the word count, genre, and maybe a separate note within each for where they’ve been submitted. Maybe all will be separate, so that they can easily be brought up according to genre, or word count or whatever since that will align with many publishing restrictions. The same format will be done with Poetry and Hypertext.

In the three main categories of journals, I’ll likely put in a note for which stories have been submitted and the dates of acceptance (Yay!) or rejection (Boo.).

This looks like a fun project to do between writing bouts and will prove invaluable  now that I is a published writer.

HYPERTEXT & WRITING: Hypertext Style

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

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.

HYPERTEXT & WRITING: Finnegan said, “The follow-up question of course is: where’s Harold?”

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Finnegan, you just made me realize something very strange…

When Steve Ersinghaus and John Timmons started the New Media Course at Tunxis CC, I was in the first semester of it. What they used as an introduction to hyperfiction was indeed Harold; Harold and the Purple Crayon, the little boy who draws his own world and his adventures armed with a crayon!

HYPERTEXT & WRITING: “And then there’s Maude…”

Monday, December 7th, 2009

As ya’ll know, I’m a stark-raving maniac when it comes to my love of hypertext fiction and that, teamed with my overbearing, hard-headed, determined to make people see it-nature, made for a rather unhappy and tormented artistic soul at best since I can’t always have my own way.

Persistence is key; persistence and insistence can swiftly become unbearable to those upon whom it is focused. Even with my own experience of hypertext (and IF I might add) being one of cursing and slamming fists onto keyboards (I’m small but highly volatile) I still sought an avenue that was gold-paved and happy-treelined and as invitational and welcoming as possible.

And then came Maude. Maude Nichols was the fun, learning experience of hypertext. It is not put-offish, it’s a humorous easy read, it directly relates to the reader, and it looks like it’s brought in some writers interested in the medium now that it doesn’t seem so scary.

I belong to an online writers community called Fictionaut and the writing quality there, I must say, is phenomenal overall (I’m in awe and feel like I’m reading the best of the best contemporary short story writers and poets around). I’m easily intimidated but what the hell, I threw in a couple flash fiction pieces I wrote specifically for posting and then a hypertext piece. The piece was The Perfect Woman (also, like Maude, one of the 100 hypertexts from last summer’s project) and got a bit of interest. A few weeks later, I put up Maude. Maude now has twelve “favs” to it and more importantly, the comments indicate that these seasoned writers like the medium; had fun with it; some even impressed enough to try their own hand at it.

I just love it.

HYPERTEXT & WRITING: Readerly/Writerly

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

One of the hardest things for me to accept in my writing was to not only give up my work to the reader, but let him decipher it for himself, thus risking complete misunderstanding of “my” story. Beaten into submission by several Creative Writing and Literature courses taught by one harder-headed than I, and faced with the scowling sardonic Roland Barthes as my new theological icon, I reluctantly let the concept of writerly filter into my soul and take it into my heart.

As part of the literary group Fictionaut, I just put up one of my hypertext pieces “Maude Nichols” to share with the membership and boy, I can’t tell you how excited I was to read this comment from writer Finnegan Flawnt:

“Finally, “Maude Nichols” is a wonderful title/name. Harold and Maude, Harvey Nichols…etc. very well done. the habitual “love it” that overcomes me often when i read your stuff seems strangely inappropriate. you somehow let go of this fiction as an author…most fascinating!”

Ohmigod–did you read that? “you somehow let go of this fiction as an author..most fascinating!” (Are you reading this, Steve? Are you believin’ it?)

Hypertext to me has been a major step in the right direction of “letting go” of my work and giving it to the reader to then “rewrite” via his own opinions and experience. For one thing, it appears to give full control to the reader but in truth, the writer must lay out all paths, all the different ways of getting from a)the beginning to c) the end no matter what steps are used to get there. While the writer has limited control (guidance at best) on which particular steps (writing spaces/links) the reader may choose, he will have planned each out carefully so he is in fact writing the same story many different ways; just as a reader will read it differently than another reader, or even than himself in a future reading.

Believe me, you don’t know how difficult it was for this control freak to give up the wheel and allow some reader to risk his own interpretation of my stories. It’s taken years, but I think I’m there now, in a happy place where I can smile as someone takes my words and runs helter skelter with them spilling out all over the hillside. This revelation is extremely exciting to me as a writer. It’s like winning a contest, breaking the ribbon, just plain feeling good.

HYPERTEXT & WRITING: Rethinking Form

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Not really torn between the two worlds of linearity and random pattern, yet I do find that once immersed in one then the other is affected or abandoned.

With a new interest (or old one refueled) for the linear, straight unhypertexted story, I’m wondering about the need for a hypertext website for reading and writing, It’s so hard to get converts, to stir interest among the uninitiated, to maintain the interest of the new readers and writers into a long term relationship. I, clinger to the old ways that I am, am perhaps an anomaly wherein I approach the new with resistance that is eventually broken down into a form of love and loyalty that endures. Still…

I’m considering taking apart a few of my favorite hypertexts out of the one-hundred written over the summer and work them into a straight linear form. It’s necessary for me as a writer to have my work read and enjoyed, and unless and until I can overcome the reluctance of the masses to work with and become comfortable within the hypertext form, the mountain must come to Muhammad.


Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

It looks like I won’t be planning to write a hypertext novel in November after all.

I’ve been vacillating on this, wanting to push myself into doing it just to get something going and to push the hypertext format unto a public that really doesn’t seem to be aware of it. NaNoWriMo would be a good opportunity to get it out in front of a huge audience through the forums, discussions and contact with thousands of writers who also might be willing to try their hand at it someday. And, it’d keep me in creative mode.

But it’s a huge undertaking and to be honest, whether it’s my writing or hypertext itself, I’ve only gotten two souls that offered encouragement. If I was deadset on doing it, then I wouldn’t need any support at all, but with my own flagging enthusiasm there was just not enough to keep me on track with a commitment.

But there’s plenty else to keep me busy; there are a number of techniques and coding styles that I need to learn (teach myself I guess!) and a lot of editing to do on any of the stories written during the 100 Days Project that I think are worth saving. And, I need to get back on track with my reading. So maybe next year, I’ll consider NaNoWriMo; if I haven’t already done a hypertext novel on my own initiative.


Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Yeah, it’s got to feel right. If it feels good, do it, so they say. And as I suspected, even with all the personal enthusiasm for hypertext narrative, the creative flow open full blast, and the best of intentions to get something accomplished before year end, I don’t think NaNoWriMo is right for me.

For one thing, I’m not a groupie type person. If there’s real camaraderie and team support–and there could be here, though I don’t seem to find a group compatible with my own interests and I sure as hell don’t need to be a team cheerleader again–it could be fun. But there seems to be a huge number of fantasy genre, youth-oriented, starry-eyed or ego-driven participants among the serious writers but none interested at all in hypertext form.

Which brings me to the second point, that my main purpose of gaining some interest in hypertext and new media doesn’t seem to be a likely prospect. No one’s really responded to two inquiries in the forums. Judging by the forum discussions, I’m not fitting in real well with the attitude of writing nor the experience.

And, back to my original reluctance to join this over the past several years, I still don’t like that “push the words out, don’t worry if it’s crap, it’s word-count that matters, kill your inner editor, blah, blah” that may work for some writers, but it sure doesn’t appeal to me as a skillful approach to a craft.  Hell, I’m constantly editing and though I find it more likely to be written decently the first time than it used to be, it’s more from the editing phase of the experience (and from reading well-written literature) than from pushing words out.

So while I’m signed up at NaNoWriMo, and still have a week to make up my mind, I’m not thinking that I’m going to be participating. Besides, I still don’t have a story concept, November’s my busy time at the shop, and my neck and back are still screwed up from the summer’s 100 Days Project to feel real excited about taking part.

HYPERTEXT & WRITING: Creative Process

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

While I’ve still not recovered from the 100-Day project to get back on track with reading and reviewing literature here, tonight along with five of the 14 participants I will be presenting a brief talk on the creative process.

100day poster