Reading Discussion from last week

Finish discussion of C1 -
  • Reviewing van der Wheels' "Salient Features" of digital texts (12-13) -- are these clear, useful, comprehensive, persuasive?

Website Work

Student Websites

Medium Shifts / Short Circuiting

Discussion of C2 - LDA “Medium Shifts” C2, pp 22-40LDA “Short-circuiting Publication” C6, pp. 133-152
Medium Shifts
  • What are some of the ways in which concerns about digital/new media echo crises articulated by Plato (writing/memory) and modernists? (23,24,27)
    • "Whenever any new medium presents itself, we tend to connect the older medium with rationality and stable subjectivity and to see the new one as threatening to both. Moreover, we tend to judget the new medium by the standards of the older medium, neglecting any positive potential that the former may possess." (25)
  • How can modernist technology be seen as more of a disruptor than the net? (28-9)
  • How did a resistance/worry about modernist technology effect literary composition (Dada...) or literary study (New Criticism)? (34-35).

Short Circuiting

  • What implications do the publishing tribulations of modernists like Woolf and Joyce have for the digital age author? (133-6)
  • If Romanticism / print gave us the "privileged notion of the author" [ as originating genius] in the 19th c. (139-40), how has post-structuralist theory combined with practices such as fan fiction and uncreative writing (Alt Lit / Conceptual Poetry) (140-144) called this into question or inspired new practices of authorship?

Homework: Read: Shelly Jackson's My Body and Clark's 88 Constellations. In print, read: LDA “Interactivity … Narrative” C7, ppp. 154-175


Medium, authorship, etc.

Brief Discussion of Medium Shifts and Short Circuits Chapters.


Interactivity and non-linear (or multi-linear) structures are two dimensions of the born-digital that literary writers first sought to exploit. Beginning in the years just prior to the world-wide-web, a number of writers began to compose Hypertexts.

  • How do Shelly Jackson's My Body and Clark's 88 Constellations use links, readerly choice, and non-linear structure?
  • How do these structures change the reading experience?
  • What implications does hypertext as a form seem to have for the writer or the reader?

Preparation for reading Interactive Fiction.

Some examples of IF can seem quite similar to hypertext. However, a typical IF includes a "parser" which accepts typed instructions from the user/reader. So rather than clicking, you must indicate and action or type a command. Thus the possible "moves" are more complex, as the user/reader must determine what moves are likely to be fruitful.


Next week we will be working with Twine. This is a hypertext authoring tool that is frequently used for writing stories, but can also be used to produce games or even instructional texts.

Twine Lab

Advanced writers may incorporate CSS to style the end product. They may also learn to use MACROS to store variables, create random events, etc.

As with Stackedit, the easiest way to use twine is to visit Twinery.org and work in the chrome browser. However, you must "Publish to File" frequently in order to save it. These files can also be uploaded to a website.

There are many guides and tutorial on the web, youtube. Note that changes were made in Twine 2.0. O'Reilly has published a print/online book you can access for 10 days as a trial member.

Read: Emily Short's Galatea. The IF Card can be helpful. Nick Montfort, essay: "Riddle Machines." (Optional, Emily Short's "Welcome to Interactive Fiction" (guide).