DTC 338 | Will Luers | CMDC @ Washington State University
I wanted this piece to tell a story but at the same time be a bit of a puzzle for the reader to solve. In coming up with the idea for this story it needed the right platform to feature it. In that regard, Twine felt like the perfect fit for what I wanted to achieve. The way that it gives the option of making a multilinear story is what drew me in. Also the capability to have things like audio, images, and be able to delay the text for dramatic effect when needed.
Twine was always the platform I wanted to work with for this story. I had worked with it once before but wanted the opportunity to work with it some more. I feel like it is a very user-friendly and one is able to do so much to further enhance the story.
I was inspired by some of the digital literature pieces such as Howling Dogs by Porpentine and First Draft of the Revolution by Liza Daly. Both of these works are stories that are click based and certain choices can determine the outcome of the story. The story by Daly specifically deals with a whole host of characters that through clicking through we learn their backstory as the story moves along. This is all done through the clever back and forth of people communicating through letters.
I think in creating a digital literature piece one needs to decide what is going to be the it factor that grabs the audience to experience this piece. In taking on this story I was at first going to take a very different approach. What actually helped me write it was finding the media for it. As I gathered audio and pictures the story started to piece itself together and manipulate into something else. Media is a big influencer in the majority of digital literature so it felt fitting that the media I chose would help me grasp what I feel like is a more layered story than my original piece.
The story is about an ordinary girl who is drawn to the unusual that is happening on this day. Although it questions if the unusual the right choice, or should she stick to her everyday routine. Will she be better off for it? This all done as strange objects and people come into her life. I wanted it to have some Alice in Wonderland vibes. The user decides the outcome as there are a few endings. And like I said before there is some bounce back if certain decisions are made, so choose wisely. Or don’t, it’s entirely up to the reader on the path that is taken.
I wanted my story to have some crazy elements but still be well grounded and easy to follow. I didn’t want the reader to get too lost searching for the deeper meaning but slowly guide them to the message.
Lastly, I hope those who click through my piece will enjoy it so much so that they might explore other digital literature pieces.
In first watching the prologue we open to shots of an ordinary home. The young man who is first focused on I thought was running away from something with the quick jump cuts and nervous looks. However, as the prologue ends it doesn’t seem that he is running away but leaving for something else.
Chapter one then takes a shift to a soldier, I was unclear if this is supposed to be the same man in the prologue, or if the story was shifting gears. Through rapid video, it seems as though the character is struggling with a war in his mind. Flashbacks of fighting and a romance are seen in rapid succession.
Chapter two is another shift to a plant of some sort that the character is working at. As we look at the inner thoughts of the character we see his thoughts of past, present, and future, and with each a level of uncertainty.
Overall I like this interface used to tell the story. I think its highly effective. I was reading it and a friend next to me was like “that looks really cool, what is that?”. Visually captivating is how I would describe it so far.
Being able to pinch the screen and peer into the characters thoughts is a great way to show the inner struggle of the protagonist.
Of the different types of divergent streams the one, I found the most interesting was The Yellow Arrow Project. I went and watched the video of the project and have to admit I chuckled as I saw the brick phones that were used. The users would discover arrows and then text their part of the story. It takes the user on a unique experience in everyday life. I do think that it is a cool concept and something that could be updated to something more current.
It also made me think back to the days when I didn’t have internet on my phone. Through the use of a service called ChaCha, one could text a random question and get an answer. I think it would be interesting to take some of these conversations and make them into a digital literature piece.
In regards to literary possibilities for AR and VR. I think just through the current apps and games on the market one can see that this a very viable option with a plethora of opportunities. Having the user become part of the story and with the use of VR close off the outside world, an interactive story makes the user more engaged. With AR I could see something similar to a Pokemon Go experience where the user goes to specific locations to gain the next part of the story.
I found this chapter interesting and I think it would be cool to create a work similar to the ones talked about by Rettberg.
From Rettberg’s reading, the main thing I was looking for when exploring the sources for this week was some the collaborative elements that he described for network writing.
The first reading I visited was degenerative. I think this one is interesting in the fact that yes there is a collaboration but not super interactive for the reader. Just by clicking on the page they become part of the decay that is destroying this website. I found it interesting the intent was to make something but in the process, most of the content is being removed. I wouldn’t say I was super engaged with this one, I clicked around, but it is mostly gibberish that you are looking at in all the versions.
The fall of the site of Marsha was my next read, which seems lighthearted at first but quickly takes a dark turn. The collaboration is fictionalized in this story. Marsha makes a site about angels after the death of her father to help cope, but she soon sees the dark side of the web. Hackers corrupt her site to reveal horrible things, on a site that was meant to be joyful. This story tied in quite a bit with degenerative with the decay on both sites. This one definitely interested me more as I explored the different links, the story was just more compelling.
Overall, I would say network writing makes one consider the way that the Internet connects us. Even though one might not be actively interacting through the form of a chat, they can still be connected with someone else by the shared click of a link.
The first one of the readings I explored was “88 constellations”. Within the framework of box images, video, and audio combine to make this multi-linear story. The constellation lets you pick the sequence of the story. It deals with the digital world, history, and the present. I also liked how it used fictional stories from movies to “teach” through this story.
I liked the multilinear stories on “how to rob a bank” best. I felt it did a better job of connecting the characters to one unified thing. It reminded me of the movie “searching”, where the whole story was told through the use of different digital platforms. The story told is that of a couple who rob banks. But it is not just told through their viewpoint.
The part that captivated me the most was the part with the woman and the baby. It’s able to tell a story through the vehicle of a phone. She documents her experience with a new baby. It captures the joys of motherhood with the heartaches as well. The reader can see her scrambling through a baby help book for answers to stop the child’s crying. Also, the icons or apps that show the degradation of the family unit, as the husband and wife grow further apart. It seems they are both bored with each other or maybe what life has become, compared to their careers robbing banks. It seems at the end of this entry that the mother asks for forgiveness from the child, assumedly for leaving it so she and her husband could pursue their “career”.
“The actual experience of interacting with IF can however sometimes seem more like conversing via telegraph with a precocious chimpanzee who has worked out a compass and the possession of objects than conversing with an adult human.”
I feel like this quote from the book encompasses how I felt reading it. The ones I was most drawn to were the works that embodied concrete poetry. The visuals helped the meaning come across more clearly. Cruising was visually captivating, although I liked the simplicity of Shy boy.
However, Rain on the Sea, in contrast, is a simple black and white text-based video. Although the words flash so quickly on the screen the viewer must be very focused. I think I understood what the author was trying to say although, I will admit even after viewing it a few times I know I missed some of the words. I think the poem is talking about relationships and a bit of inner turmoil. In the first part, the character is talking to God whom it seems like she is thanking for getting her out of a bad marriage? At least that’s what I thought the story was about. I do think that others could take different interpretations of the poem.
I would be interested in looking more into A is for apple. Most of the links seemed broken, which I guess can happen to any digital piece.
In looking at the various interactive fiction pieces for this week I chose to focus on Game Game Game and Game again as well as Adverbum.
First Game Game, I found this piece quite jarring in the way it was presented. The main thing I believe the author wanted to represent was themes instead of a clear story. I think the themes were family, childhood, religion, and money/success. At least that’s what I thought I was picking up on. In playing the game a few times the sequence is open to change, so others could view the themes/story differently.
However, Adverbum was a more clear adventure story, in contrast to Game Game it is more basic with just the text and no visual cues. I do feel that this piece is better at letting the interactor use their imagination to envision the story. Whereas, with Game Game most everything is shown to the interactor leaving little room to expand upon.
Although some might find it frustrating in Adverbum the need to find the right phrase to move on to the next part. I do feel like the interactor has to be dedicated to take the time to finish the story. In first trying I was stuck using the wrong words to move on with the story. Getting the reply “that’s not a verb I recognize”. I did appreciate the format though as it did present an interesting challenge.
I do think that this form of literary fiction is one that I have found the most engaging so far.
In reading World of Awe, the way it is presented made me think of the old CD-ROM games I used to play as a kid. Following the journey of “the traveler” the reader is bounced from first-person accounts to letters he has written to a lover. Also one gets the sense that technology is very precious in this fictional world, as the traveler seeks out any piece he can find, in this virtual desert.
I did find it extremely helpful to read the “about world of awe” piece, because there were some parts of the reading I was unsure of, and it was able to clarify certain plot points. Like the fact that the letters on the computer were unsent, to the traveler’s unknown lover. In the first chapter, he speaks about this person with great yearning, saying how he carries around a piece of cloth of their’s just for comfort.
The intertextuality between this piece and Uncle Buddy’s Phantom Funhouse is what caught me. They both are fragmented looks at a person’s life. Although personally, I preferred World of Awe to Funhouse. The story is easier to follow, and maybe it’s the 90’s kid in me but I liked the format, it definitely felt familiar and nostalgic.
This is not a story that has much variability unless one chooses to read the chapters out of order. Which with most of the readings so far that has been the case.
The artwork I think is a key part of telling the story, it adds another layer of understanding with these visual references.
“The difference between reading hyperfiction and reading traditional printed fiction may be the difference between sailing the islands and standing on the dock watching the sea. One is not necessarily better than the other.”
-Carolyn Guyer and Martha Petry Izme Pass
I liked this quote in the reading’s this week. I don’t think we can really say that either of these forms of writing will die out. Both of them have their own place in the literary world. While print may seem like the slow and steady that wins the race, hypertext is the one coming up with multiple paths the race could take.
As technology changes hypertext does too, with new ways to tell the story. With recent uses of hypertext in television and video games, one wonders what the next step is for it?
I think that hypertext does have something different to contribute, that gives a unique experience to the reader. If it’s a nonlinear story the reader has the choice to go back and change the ending if they don’t prefer the one that they got. Or just go back and see what were the other possibilities.
In the reading Why no one clicked on the great hypertext story, I liked how it highlighted the growing hypertext writing that is being seen on different social platforms. In one of my other classes, we talked about this platform, where people come and add to these time travel/ romance themed stories. The stories take crazy turns, but it is a very popular space that people come to share ideas.
My only concern with hypertext along with print is the waning attention span that we seem to have when it comes to reading. It seems that most people take in their stories and information through five-minute clips on the internet. I think the question that needs to be addressed is will society still be willing to take the time to discover these works?
In reading the chapter this week I enjoyed reading the different approaches taken by authors to produce hypertext. Though, in reading “The Babysitter” I found it a little challenging in following the story.
It could be that is the author’s intention, to make it jarring so the reader is unsure and reads on to figure out the conclusion.
However, through the use of these “fragmented narratives,” The Babysitter is able to take the reader on not just one linear story, but instead the multiple paths of different characters(Rettberg, 84).
The author doesn’t give any instructions in reading the short story, in contrast to something like a choose your own adventure, which leads to a specific piece to make the story flow in a way. In reading it paragraph by paragraph, it jumps to another story, or a new character quite frequently.
In this way, it follows a pattern that Rettberg talks about in the more recent uses of hypertext. I would say Coover’s story is similar to some of Moulthrop’s work discussed in the book. Moulthrop’s pieces dealt with “the conflict between conventions of reading fiction and the fragmentary nature of attention online”(Rettberg, 76). I feel The Babysitter is much like this, with the constant switch in redirecting the reader’s attention to a new plot line, each one seems to get darker than the last.
Personally, I can’t say I enjoyed The Babysitter. I didn’t like the way the author sexualized most everything and everyone in the story.
Still, I’m interested in reading more hypertext literature. Possibly some of the ones Rettberg talked about in the chapter. There were some really interesting plots that I think fit well with the format of hypertext.
Taroko Gorge was not something I was familiar with before taking a look at the pages for this week. So before I began sifting through the many different works, I made a Google search. In looking at Taroko Gorge, it is quite picturesque and looks like the type of place one puts on a bucket list. After viewing these photos I was expecting all of the poems to be poetic takes describing the scenery of the Gorge.
To the side of the original is a multitude of links, showing what others have done with the code. Looking through them these are the ones I found most interesting.
Brendan Howell took the original code as an inspiration to make Designer Gulch. Not only a digital work, but also physical art piece that sits in the Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule. There two dueling computers sit side by side spitting out content. They are programmed to string together “industry jargon” to create the verses. This is the one I found with the most coherent outcome.
Then there was Gorge by J.R. Carpenter, who’s generated poem I would describe as an anatomical feast. It’s quite odd and sometimes offputting with the results, but it does keep the attention of the viewer.
Overall, I liked taking a look at this different form of making poetry.