Posts Tagged ‘TINDERBOX’


Thursday, October 21st, 2010

On the centering of the image, I just added in: margin-left: 50px;  in the css under .stretchTarget  –  With a body width of 600px and setting the images at 500, this should center them. This also moves the text, but that’s fine with me for now; I kind of like the offset (though 50px is high and not as necessary with the text color change in this piece). That may defeat the effect of stretchtext, but at the same time, it offers a visual border separating original from hidden which may better serve the reader. In any event, I can as well make the images larger to come within 5-10px of the borders. Then again, all of this changes when I drop the box outlines I seem to still love so much.

In Tinderbox, I was unable to see the actual text of the note in the HTML View on this piece for some reason and added: ^text^ in <div id=”text”>^text^</div> in the html template and that solved that problem.

While I’m getting the piece into its new format, I’m also thinking on:

  • Hidden images with clickable text – where the image would be very light and vague but the text would read normally.
  • Moving the hidden text/image/whatever to a third (or whatever) column, out of alignment of the piece.
  • Adding in audio and moving visuals.

There were a few more–but I can’t recall right now. I’ve also added STRETCHTEXT to the Categories and Tags here for easier retrieval.

HYPERTEXT PROJECT 2: Learning to Love It

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

I’ve been working in Tinderbox and Storyspace for literary purposes for a few years now. I’ve had a hypertext story published in The New River Review and my 100 Days Project of 100 Hypertext stories has been listed in the Electronic Literature Organization Directory. It’s not much, but it’s a start. Towards what goal? Well, to spread the word, to gain audience, to prove that hypertext is coming of age in a world where reading is done to a great degree online, and where hypertext literature is not only perfect for the times, it is ahead of them yet oddly it remains largely unacknowledged by both academia and the general reading population.

What then, to do? Make it lovable. So that’s the project. Here’s the start:

From personal experience, including my own baptism into hypertext waters, and here, years later, reading the reaction of students being exposed to the medium, I’ve got to admit that the initial reaction is generally either “Yuck, I don’t see its purpose, it’s confusing” or “Wow, that’s great (but I’ll never read another one after this course is over).” So then the problem appears to be primarily in its introductory phase.

There are two problems here that I see. First, not all university courses include a new media course or even much of an inclusion in their literary courses. Secondly, since hypertext is supposedly a break from traditional reading (how is that, when links are clicked to read online so often that there’s a perceptible new “white noise” hum in the atmosphere?) it’s bound to hit resistance. Folks like ease and speed these days. Hypertext is not necessarily meant to be read fast and easy. Reading literature itself should be tough, unless we’re seeking mindless, non-demanding entertainment. And escapism for its own sake is fine; I do it all the time, only not in hypertext literature.

This is an undertaking that I’m hot on, have been for years, yet never had time to kick off. Now, I’m going to make it a part of my daily writing. It will of necessity include some team effort, people who are more skilled with the medium and have the technological know-how to produce what I clearly cannot. That’s all a part of the plan.

Then again, am I being too pushy in my attempts to be helpful? Maybe. So what?

HYPERTEXT PROJECT 1: Stretchtext and A Bottle of Beer

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Would that it could mean what it sounds like, but not so.

In my pile of “Learn How To Do” has been the element of using stretchtext in a piece, and while I’ve got several places to learn it from, my mind unfortunately hasn’t quite grasped the concept of how it is actually accomplished. It’s a string of code that goes…someplace. Surely in the CSS itself, but also with references within the templates themselves in the particular spot where it’s needed (or wanted; stretchtext is no more needed than much else in life besides food and water and sex).

What I’m going to do then, is quit fiddling around and draw it from the back of my head to the forefront, somewhere just behind my third eye (why–don’t you have one?) and set up the project today to start seriously working on it. Easier then, to start with a piece already written and the perfect one for this is A Bottle of Beer, one of my longtime favorites that I’d written a few years ago, first at Hypertextopia, then into Storyspace which I much prefer of course because of its potential. I don’t have it in Tinderbox, but that may be the first move I make just because I’m more familiar now with this incredible program.


Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Likely I should have left well enough alone, but decided to update a hypertext story that were two separate story files to ready the whole project for submission to some new literary venues. But oh, what a tangled web of lexias and links and re-coding.

I’d tweeted this:

Completely bogged down with bits of code that I’ve got to keep in my head to change in so many places. Intense. 37 minutes ago

And a surprise–an image in one of the notes in the #Tinderbox file–how’d I do that? 36 minutes ago

Weird stuff happening because I haven’t dealt with it in a while: #Tinderbox exported even the images to a file and the html pages are right less than a minute ago

…but it didn’t include the page link to the next lexia. Sorting it out like a detective. It’s fun! less than a minute ago

What I’d done was make a new copy of each of the two story files (complete, inc. the Tbox file, the images, the html pages and css and template) and rename them. Then I went into each Tinderbox file and noticed that in the textboxes where images were the only thing, the images showed up in the Tinderbox map. I imagine it’s because I’m using an older version of Tbox and could do that by dragging. I’d forgotten this; in the past year I believe I’ve only added the images later, to the html pages.

So in the Tbox file, I made whatever changes I wanted, also renaming this copy of the Tbox file and changing the export info to reflect that. Then I made up another new file folder with only the css and the html template in it, (working now with one of the story files only) and exported the new Tbox file to that folder. I did all this because there were changes made to the original html pages (such as the title page, the links back to the site, and, so I thought, the images) and was shocked to discover that the images were exported along with and included within the right pages. (Though size was off, but that’s not a problem.)

This is mostly for my own information, so that I can go back and find out what I did if I want to do something again. Like maybe that’s what I should do, go through my postings and see about those images…

Meanwhile, here’s a shot of each of the two files:

HYPERTEXT & TINDERBOX: Links within Images

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

I recently started editing some of the hypertext stories I’d written last summer as part of the 100 Days Project. One of the things that I’ve done is add in an image of the mapping of the story to help guide those who are new to hypertext reading and may become frustrated. It’s also sort of a learning tool, I suppose. And yes, I’m also driven by that evil gene within some writers and artists that wants the reader to read all of the words so lovingly placed there; wants him to appreciate the perfect symmetry of the design. So what?

Well in doing so, it occurred to me that it would be nice to allow the reader to select the point at which he wishes to return to the story, to see the path not taken and plunk himself down on it. With the old Storyspace reader, one may do so, follow the trail and go back–though I don’t believe the map image is shown. But we’re talking html on a website here. I have placed the map at the end of the stories (those I’ve gotten to so far), and while I’ve used a couple different ways of presenting it, the options at that point are usually to a) go back to the beginning of the piece, b) go back to the last page, or c) exit the piece. Wouldn’t it be great to offer d) a specific point within the plot?

Which brings me to, how would one do it?

Yes, I can link from an image to another lexia, but from points within the image? It seems that it should be easy enough with a map that shows boxes and words–just make a text link. (Though I work in Tinderbox now, rather than Storyspace, and so far, images aren’t a part of the plan.) But it doesn’t work that way; that’s not what shows up in html. It’s been done on the web of course, but I believe that’s done in Flash or some other manner. I’ve been told that much can be achieved by jQuery, HTML5, and CSS3. Guess it’s time to start checking that out, perhaps find a class somewhere so it doesn’t take me quite so long to learn it all.

Like everything else in my personal experience, the answer is out there and sought, once the question comes to mind.


Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Finally got some time and mental energy today to go back and tackle the Agents feature of Tinderbox. With another bit of help from Steve Ersinghaus, I found the problem that had me stymied for a while this morning in the code string. Right now, I’m working with the current (summer 2010) project for which I’m writing a story each day.

I’d already separated the stories by Adornments into four categories of conflict but there were many more ways I wanted to sort them. So far, I’ve only got 37 stories, but there are a few I know I’d like to submit at some point and one that has already been taken for publication, so “Favorites” and “Published” became necessary Agents. The other obvious sort, geared towards the literary market, are “Word Count” and “Genre” as this would help me narrow down style of story and word count restrictions to the particular magazine.  These Agents will also be integrated into the “Literary Endeavors” Tinderbox file I have nearly complete as far as entries, as well as last year’s 100 hypertext stories from the 100 Days 2009 project.

Okay, so I cheated a lot on getting the agents to work by merely entering the text “Favorites” for example, into the box of the item, above the story, rather than properly create Attributes. That’ll come as soon as I’ve got all Agents set up and working here, and before I use that information in the other two project. I’m psyched!

TINDERBOX: 100 Days Project Update

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

It’s Day #18 and as you can see, I’ve since added another Adornment labeled “Universe” which is sort of a catchall for stories that either have something to do with the world and nature at large or simply don’t fit real well into the other categories.

I’ve also added a couple of Notes (templates, images) and a couple of Agents (Word Count, Favorites–and I know I’ll want Genre eventually) though I haven’t yet set them up to work properly. All in good time.

This is the first time I’ve actually used Tinderbox as the working form of a project from the beginning. The last 100 Days project I’m still in the process of entering into a Tinderbox file–though the hypertext pieces themselves were all written into individual Tinderbox files. What is obvious is that it’s best to start simple unless the whole project is already laid out in your mind. Things change, things develop, much like hypertext story. You don’t want to be redoing and rearranging once a project is already sprawling out. It’s much easier to let the project ask for its own changes when it senses a modification is necessary. Oh, of course I don’t mean Tinderbox talks (not yet anyway!) but it does present a visual that makes it easier to identify where something can be arranged in a more structured manner, or is growing lopsided and needs division like a lily clump.  It’s obvious here that I seem to be writing more stories on relationships. That may need to be separated into more defined areas of human relationships. Unless that’s not politically correct…

TINDERBOX: Building Blocks

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Okay, so there are only five stories written so far but the pattern of themes has already started to establish itself:

In first level writing and literature, we’re taught the dearth of plots and the general concept of “man versus man,” etc. What I think this series of summer stories may be based upon is struggle and the adversary determines the “type” of story, here separated by color and Adornment names of Self, Relationships, and Society.

There may naturally be additions made as time goes on, as a theme such as war, for example, may go under any of these but just might call for a new category such as Event, or Future, etc. Tinderbox allows for building into a cohesive whole and though I’m just beginning, I’m hoping that something doesn’t strike me halfway through as a better organizational layout. Things can always be changed, but not without a bit of effort, so I might just put some more time into planning at this early stage of the game.


Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Well it seems that I work better under pressure; there are a dozen unfinished stories on my desktop that have sat there for weeks with a sentence, a paragraph added in a fit of creativity. But inspired by both a piece of work from a fellow artist and the concept of deadline, I’m hitting my stride with a story a day.

Here’s where the building blocks of ideas turn into more than just concept into a solid form. Last year I didn’t have the expertise nor the time with Tinderbox to assemble the 100 hypertext pieces into a Tbox file. For this project, I’m starting out with Tbox and already have some general organization in place. The main thought, however, is to allow for various mediums that some of the stories may employ (hypertext, flash, image, audio, etc.) so that I do want that ease of transition that keeping all in Pages would not allow. I may use all html templates. This I can readily do in Tbox. While the link to the stories (100 Days – 100 Stories 2010) is currently a page on Spinning, this too may change with time.

Then again, half the fun of any project is learning how to get from A to B and so on, and raising more interesting paths along the way.


Thursday, April 29th, 2010

(NOTE: Realized that this will not be published until May so I’m making the images really small so as not to take away from the originals)

It occurred to me during last summer’s 100 Days Project that my tendency to work with Tinderbox in its Map View rather than Outline, Tree, etc. became an integral part of a story as I wrote. The visual effect of a narrative, as a writer, was not something I consider other than for imagery in the writing process whether it be poem or story and yet Dorothee Lang, of the Blue Print Review and Karyn Eisler, whom I’d met on this project, made that link.

Dorothee had emailed me about an idea for a hypertext poem she was working on, and with my Tinderbox program, I showed her how it would look in that format. From there and in working with Karyn, she layered the images and text into a piece that included the Map View and submitted it to the e-zine, otoliths, which accepted and will be publishing it next month in their journal.