Archive for the ‘WRITING’ Category


Sunday, June 28th, 2009

In answering comments this morning I wanted to share the concept of some hypertext advantages in writing that can be used by the writer to enforce, enhance, demystify the story for the reader.

One is color. In writing for the 100 Days Project, I find I’m selecting color themes for the individual stories based on the mood or tone of the story. For example, using the bold primary colors for #10 Dimensional which is futuristic; using silvery greys for the psychological unreality of #17 Smoke and Mirrors; feminine pinks and mauves for #19 The Perfect Woman.

Another use of color is change of mood or indication of a change of some sort within the story. In one of my favorite pieces because it plays a bit on the Interactive Fiction influence of text games, #30 Dark Moves, the change from the text box from beige to black indicates a time when the lights go off as electricity is lost during a thunderstorm. It’s subtle, but it can be an effective tool.

I’ve used placement of text box as an important clue to the reader that something in the story has shifted: it could be point of view, space or setting, or the space of time, meaning backstory. In the latest piece, #37 Love and War, there are two narrative voices, that of first person in the character of the wife, and a third person pov following the movement of her husband during the same time period. I’ve also taken advantage of the traditional method of change which is italicizing so that even in reading traditional book form, we know there is a change of character or setting–think Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury.

Size of the text boxes are also relevant: the narrow 225-pixel size I’ve been using as asides, or for containing intersecting passages.

These are tools for the writer to use to not only guide or give clues to the reader, but to visually enhance the story.

HYPERTEXT & WRITING: Plotting Trails of Story

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Still don’t quite have the hang of it, but I do think that I’m gaining some insight into the rather meticulous methods of writing narrative in hypertext just from the short flash-fiction hypertexts in the 100-piece project and in attempting to make hypertext a more enjoyable, less intimidating medium for new readers.

For one thing, the last few pieces have been based on first, a concept; second, a map; third, story (or stories); and fourth, logical intersecting points.

Don’t laugh; that’s not been my usual methods of writing, traditional or otherwise.

In catering to the enthusiastic but tremulous reader, I’ve tried to simplify the linkage, going over it more carefully so that each path can bring a satisfying and not a head-scratching conclusion. In the last piece, #23 Reflection, I’ve made use of four lexias as being ‘traffic cops’ to direct the flow between stories in a manner that doesn’t necessitate too much going back and yet ties them together a lot smoother than what I’ve previously been doing.

I think.

WRITING: Planning with Tinderbox

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

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.

WRITING: Update on Tunxis Writers Festival

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Well, a couple of quick emails with the President confirmed that despite the website information, the Tunxis Writers Festival on April 8th is indeed open to the public and I’ve posted the schedule of events here at Spinning.

Still no new media coverage included though so I won’t repeat the whole posting here.


Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Very disappointed to see that not only is hypertext or any other form of new media not represented at the Tunxis Writers Festival this year, but that the public is not being offered the ability to attend this community college function. Odd, at a college that’s ahead of many in stepping over the edge into the New Media field by offering two courses devoted to New Media, and many others such as Digital Animation that apply.

Maybe this all goes back to Dene Grigar’s essay on how hypertext, et al, is presented at the academic level, Electronic Literature, Where is It?, and whether it is a discipline unto itself or if its relationship to Literature, etc. is undeniable.


Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

This was the underlying theme of my presentation and yet I still screw up!

In transferring weblog postings to paper book form, I ran into some minor troubles.  Some were program or perhaps o/s related (and if not for my unskilled but eager hands, the problems were possibly more easily overcome) such as the transfer of font style and size, the non-transfer of hyperlinks, and the necessity to reverse order the postings.  Done.

But there are trails, just as in hypertext, that may be overlooked when the main problem is fixed but the succession of influence isn’t thoroughly checked into.  Even as I reversed the postings, I’d forgotten the references:  "in the post below" doesn’t mean that anymore!

Oh well, this was just to make available in hard copy the Storyspace posts for myself and two others.  Limited edition publication, and one’s already in the mail.

WRITING: Using the Tools of Story

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

A lyrical hip hop performed by Chelsie and Mark on So You Think You Can Dance was not only beautifully done, it was specifically noted to be telling a story and I was thrilled to see that point brought up.  These dancers know that each step, each gesture, is story, but the audience doesn’t always think of it that way.

I brought this up as a starting point in my workshop presentation at Hypertext 2008, the concept of all art as interpretation of narrative event, and the opportunity of Hypertext being yet another tool for the artist/writer to experiment with and use an extension of their perception. In this dance performance, the story of a workaholic and the woman who felt a resulting loneliness was poignant and dramatic.  It was obvious from movement and facial expression and tempo that the choreographers had something to say and knew how to convey the message.


WRITING & HYPERTEXT: Pittsburgh Influenced

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Here’s downtown Pittsburgh from my room on the 9th floor of the Omni William Penn Hotel:
sat in that courtyard watching people and the activity and what it
produced is a story.  There were about twenty teenagers skateboarding
off a ramp one early afternoon; there were pigeons flying in flocks or
pecking around for food, seeds tossed by an old woman from a brown
paper bag.  One pigeon sat in a tree where a boy’s shoe was wedged
inextricably between trunk and branch. A shabby-suited man sat on the
granite bench, expressionless, staring out at it all.

Hypertext will tie this moment together, the branches of the individual characters combining to come to this single event.  And Storyspace is going to help me tell it.

(Dupe Post on Spinning)

WRITING: Fodder of Dreams

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

A black bear chasing children, a phone call, a death.

Last night’s production is a bit more than I want to handle this morning.

(Oops!  clicked the wrong link–meant to put this in the Creative Writing weblog. On second thought, I’ll leave it here–as the nature of the dream suits the hypertext form and if a story develops despite my resistance, here is where it belongs.)

HYPERTEXT & WRITING: Calvino as teacher

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Just a link to a morning post on Spinning regarding Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler

I would hope that this novel is being used to advantage in university Creative Writing courses as both a single-text study of writing and an introduction to hypertext.