Posts Tagged ‘Hypertextopia’

HYPERTEXT: Hypertextopia – Ease of Use

Monday, March 24th, 2008

No doubt about it, some of these things like Storyspace and Hypertextopia are just so user friendly that there is no interference with the forces that lead a writer into and through the telling of his story.  While I see the maneuvering within a software program as creative, it’s not something you want to be switching on and off as you follow a thread of idea. 

With the wrapping up of A Bottle of Beer, I sort of feel a cutting of the cord since it is on Jeremy’s website that he’s established and graciously offered to writers for their use.  I do know one thing, that since the site was so simple to get in and walk around in and do some heavy editing, I was there or logged in almost constantly the last month.  I’m sure his stats will drop just from my final severing of the editorial ties. 

Not sure what’s going to grab all my attention now that that piece is done (or fairly so), so what I’m going to do is try to work on one in the Storyspace environment, edit Paths–my first piece in Storyspace, and get some work done in a few other areas before I fall into my focus mode and lose myself again in story.

HYPERTEXT: A Bottle of Beer – Close Reading

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Steve Ersinghaus is doing a wonderful series on reading hypertext, one that has helped me to understand better how to read deeper into any form of literature while it emphasizes the nature of hypertext to form a story that examines itself by its forms of writing spaces.  He has graciously been using A Bottle of Beer as one of the examples in his series and I’d like to attempt to present a particular premise that he so astutely noticed–that I as author hadn’t really consciously written in.

The text spaces in question:

Yolanda prayed to the Virgin Mary because of their bond of motherhood, though she’d never suffered the groping and plunging of Javier and Juan, nor the sweet touch of Carlos.

From her gruff abuelo through her father and brothers and husbands and sons to even the Padre or Mary’s own Son, if there was any man Yolanda had trusted, it had been Carlos.

Then Carlos had broken her heart with his fist, leaving it like clay shards of a flowerpot, no longer capable of holding the soil in which to grow love.

It was all right with her grandfather, he had told her it was.  But Yolanda wasn’t sure about what she did with her brother.

There was a meteor shower one night.  Yolanda had awakened and though she did not know the hour, she later believed that it was the time between midnight and two that Carlos had died a year before.

She went outside and walked a distance from the house to relieve herself.  As she squatted and waited, she looked up to see the stars dying in bursts across the sky.

She watched for a while and decided it was a sign that she was forgiven.

The Fragment is from the linear narrative of the story, the Shards are linked from certain words within the text of the Fragment.  Steve says:

Curiously, in Hard Times, Gibb restricts the reader to the writing space without supplying a link for exposition or further exploration. It would appear that Yolanda is reluctant to give up some aspects of this relationship to the narrator. Instead, the additional opportunities for exploration point to other men in Yolanda’s life. Conceptually in the hypertext, this amounts to a undisclosed shard, a shard, or additional linked memory, that might have been, or, rather, may be imagined by the reader, unseen but imagined, untouched, but an aspect of the texture of Yolanda in the reader.

Well, I hadn’t thought of that but I love the idea of it and with luck it will remain with me through all current and future hypertext writings.  In retrospect, what might have stopped me from explanation is what Ersinghaus has called a "unit of sense" in the first part of his series.  The relationship between Yolanda and her third husband, Carlos has been given out a bit at a time, in images that provide a representation of years in a single act.  They are honest and yet they are without a lot of emotion.  Here, the image of the broken pot is likely all Yolanda can offer without sentiment.  We have already seen her crying in her bed at night and she probably would not have let us seen that had we not caught her in a weak moment. 

Instead, what I’ve brought out from the Fragment of Hard Times is a reference to sexual abuse by Yolanda’s grandfather and brother, and a meteor shower that oddly takes place a year after Carlos’ death, but Yolanda takes as a sign of forgiveness.  We don’t know how Carlos died.  We do know about Juan.  Many times I’ve gone back to this particular shard and said to myself, no, that should be Juan, not Carlos’ death that’s mentioned. But something keeps stopping me.  Something Yolanda might know that she hasn’t even told me.

HYPERTEXT: A Bottle of Beer – Editing MCLIX

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

One final read through before I move on.  By the fourth text box I’m logged in and into My Writing Space; open iPages as backup, make changes.

Writing allows rewriting.  How lovely if life did as well.

HYPERTEXT: A Bottle of Beer – Uh-oh

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

After cutting about 30% of the story out, I’m wondering if I’ve possibly cut not too much, but the wrong things.  I’m just not getting that warm fuzzy feeling from the story, the empathy with the character.

Maybe the imagery and language were hiding a rather blah plot beneath them.  There is some depth to the story beyond the simplicity of the linear and the intricate Shards that enhance and provide balance.  The protagonist of this story has been abused emotionally and physically by not just her husbands, but by the traditions of her society.  She has survived.  This story is one of the few I’ve written that goes beyond personal trials to be more representative of a portion of the population, and it’s certainly not a frivolous problem.  But I may have lost the drama, even as I’ve attempted to focus it, by cutting some of the emotion out of it.

It could also be that I’m just sort of sick of reading it by now.

HYPERTEXT: Hypertextopia Newies

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Some neat new pieces up at Hypertextopia, though some are just in the beginning stages.  One of the things about Hypertextopia is that at some point in writing and editing, it is easier to read as a reader sees the piece presented, rather than as the writer, opening and closing the writing text boxes.  This means that it need be ‘published’ and though it’s easy enough to toggle between published and unpublished, the writer in you sorta makes it hard to turn off…

While there are a few there that are evidently abandoned–and that’s just an indication of writer choice in developing an affinity for writing within the hypertext environment.  Some love it, some just don’t, and that’s fine.  But some of the new pieces are really intriguing.

Jeremy, the creator of Hypertextopia has a piece entitled Saint EMC2 that has some lovely language:

Silver like this:

Like the thousand fishes’ skin.
Like smiling through tears.
Like staring at the spotlight, your first night on stage.
Like gunmetal.

Rebecca Bland has a first piece up titled The Possibilities of No, and I was surprised and flattered to see the second Fragment box titled "A Bottle of Beer."  There’s some nice stuff here:

The cigarette she held between her fingers continued to burn down. She
watched as the ash was whisked away by a quick breeze, wishing that she
could do the same.

I’m glad to see more folks trying their skills out on the hypertext medium. All the published pieces can be viewed at the Hypercompendia Grand Library.

HYPERTEXT: A Bottle of Beer – Changing Character

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Okay, this is another one of my fav’s that’s ending up on the cutting room floor.  I’m sure Yolanda will be grateful, since it’s in the very first Fragment, by way of introducing her to the readership:

Wind whistled out of her in a long, low moan.

Yolanda lives alone.  She’s drinking beer.  It’s natural for flatulence to occur, especially in older folks and especially when they’re drinking beer.  But was it necessary for the narrator to tell us about it? No.  Not unless this hits the big screen and helps for audio effects.

HYPERTEXT: A Bottle of Beer – Editing IV or Ruthless and Barbaric

Monday, March 17th, 2008

A Higher Power  has brought to my attention the need to take the knife, dig deeper, and cut out the cankers from this hypertext.  He’s right. 

It’s tough to look at your own work and yet, with all the reading and studying I’ve done, particularly in the last few years at an intense level, I should be better at it than I am.  To recognize what I’d see in the work of others and even if I can’t prevent myself from writing them in, at least know enough to take them out in editing.

My writing used to be very unimaginative and stiff.  After several classes and kicks I began to shed the Poe influence (here I refer to the grammatical style of structure rather than the positive Poe influence) and become a little more willing to share in writing the pictures of story that only I saw in my head.  Appropriately titled, Reflections in Imagery was a story that just about sunk under a woman’s thoughts as she viewed her naked body in a full length mirror.  Okay, so I overdosed.  It’s a habit of mine as a Scorpio to be one way or the other, God forbid I should walk the middle of the road.

So I go back and read and decide and cut out the waste.  And once it’s gone, it’s gone (honest, I used to save these things!) so for its final appearance, here is the first of the fallen, and rather appropriately contains the metaphor of the blade:

Balanced on the horizon, it flamed red in its agonies, sinking slow and low on the sharp blade of highway.

HYPERTEXT: A Bottle of Beer – Editing III

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Learned much from a workshop on this last night (more on that later here or at CW) but one thing that came of it that I had forgotten was that in editing, sometimes something vital is lost.  Overly ambitious and anxious to please, I slashed and mashed with glee.  In the hypertext format there is much already left out as it is easy to leave the transitioning up to the difference in textboxes once a pattern has been established. 

In cutting out unnecessary words, sentences, actions, etc., I ended up with a lexia that brought in a new character and waited a sentence before it was made clear who she was.  However, in also leaving out the name of "Herve" because that sentence had been eliminated and the next reference to him was simply "he," –which became the starting point for him–it became unclear who we were talking about. 

Another thing I realized as over 20% of the story fell into the black hole of the cosmos, was I ended up with a lot of "she" sentences that had likely been filled in with name or with fluff to separate the "shes" so they weren’t all clustered together and obvious.  That’s a bit harder to fix, usually necessitating deeper cutting and making choices between which things "she" did as to what would stay, what would be deleted.

Still more to do on this to get it into a "more orderly" and "polished" form as was suggested.

HYPERTEXT & PROJECTS: A Bottle of Beer – It’s All in the Editing

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

Sometimes all you need is a pat on the head and a kick in the butt to do what you should know by now but forget and get lost in the journey. Feeling a hundred percent better in the rewriting, chopping out, cleaning to the most showing of words that presents a picture story of this piece. 

A Bottle of Beer is taking a better shape in its trimming down of excess fat and focus on the high cheekbones, the wide-boned pelvis more perfect for birthing a child.

HYPERTEXT; Hypertextopia – Updates

Saturday, March 8th, 2008

A lot of changes have taken place on the Hypertextopia site since I started writing a story into it about a week and a half ago.  This morning, I found another tab on the top of the main writing space page and found this:

    This story is not available for your friends to collaborate on.
    Adding a password will allow them to write in it as well.

This, I believe, came out of a suggestion in the commentary at if:books which posted and hosted a lively discussion on hypertext and it’s rather small audience (to put it politely).  Some even prayed it would never resurface.  That part particularly bugs me; I dislike the color orange but certainly would never wish it banned or eradicated because there are some people who love it.  I just never wear orange or drink orange soda.  My favorite color is green.  I wear it a lot and eat limes.

Back to the thread here: I’m not really sure what is accomplished by adding collaborators to a piece, though I would suppose that if a piece were to be at its best by using several writers, then you can do it in hypertext as well as any other medium.  To me it just comes off as a case of misunderstanding the theory of hypertext and making new writers of a piece out of readers albeit by offering the reading of different paths written by a single writer.

Such fun!