English 2204 / Summer 2010

“Hypertext Literature,” “Fan Fiction,” and

Some Digital Writing “Tools”


FOR TUESDAY 7/20/2010:


Today, we turn our attention to “Hypertext Literature.”  So, first, please check out Wikipedia’s explanation of “Hypertext Fiction” @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertext_fiction

There’s also “Hypertext Poetry” or “Digital Poetry” on Wikipedia @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertext_poetry

And, of course, there’s “Hypertext Group Games” (or “MUDs”) on Wikipedia @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypertext_group_games

Somewhat similarly, there’s also “Graphical Video Game” on Wikipedia @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphical_video_game


Second, last summer, students in this class found and presented the following “stories.” Please try out all of these, so that we have something in common to start with:

Shelley Jackson’s “My Body” (1997) @ http://www.altx.com/thebody/

“Frequently Asked Questions about ‘Hypertext’” @ http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/holeton__frequently_asked_questions_about_hypertext.html

“What They Said” @ http://www.cddc.vt.edu/journals/newriver/09Spring/bigelow/WhatTheySaid.html

“Dim O’Gauble” @ http://www.cddc.vt.edu/journals/newriver/08fall/Dim_O%27Gauble_for_New_River_Journal/index.html


Next, here are some examples of hypertext literature:

Please browse some hypertext stories @ http://www.hypertextopia.com/library/stories which were created by using Hypertextopia @ http://www.hypertextopia.com/

If you prefer to view some of the stories that were presented last summer, from Hypertextopia, check out these:

Also, here’s a list of Hypertext literature in various “genres” (autobiography, drama, fiction, mysteries, nonfiction, poetry) along with critical commentary and related resources, from Brown University.  Please browse according to your interests @ http://www.cyberartsweb.org/cpace/ht/htlitov.html


Third, this might be the time to also consider “Fan Fiction,” even though it is not (often) hypertext.  Begin by checking out Wikipedia’s explanation of “Fan Fiction” @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_fiction

Then, explore “Fanfiction,” a site for “unleashing your imagination” and “remixing” text @ http://www.fanfiction.net/


Fourth, in class the other day, someone mentioned “FML,” so please check that out @ http://www.fmylife.com/

This might look and feel a bit like Twitter – or not? – but please refresh your experience with Twitter @ http://twitter.com/


Fifth, another person in class just emailed me about “Writing.com.”  Here’s what he had to say:

“As I was perusing the contents of the digital literature compendium I thought of an additional website I would suggest but forgot to mention in class.  The website is writing.com, a site that allows for anyone to post written works.  Although payment is required for higher premiums most users may post a few works for free.  As such the site contains various examples of electronic lit, including fan fiction, short stories, poems, and most notably an interactive story function, where readers may follow prompts to continue aspects of the story and end their passages with options for the next writer to follow.  The site may be a little difficult to navigate but I figured you might be interested. See you next class.”

So, the link is @ http://www.writing.com/?i=1


Sixth, explore one or more of these “digital writing tools” that you might use one day to create your own multimodal digital storytelling and/or hypertext literature.  There are plenty of “tutorials” on the web for how to do this, and the two wikis listed on the “Digital Storytelling” PDF also have instructions and suggestions.

PowerPoint (on PCs and Macs)

VoiceThread @ http://voicethread.com/#home

Using Voice Thread Tutorial @ http://www.slideshare.net/fmindlin/using-voicethread-for-digital-storytelling-in-schools-presentation-746910

SlideShare @ http://www.slideshare.net/

SlideRocket @ http://www.sliderocket.com/

SlideBoom @ http://www.slideboom.com/

Storymaker @

Story Creator @ http://myths.e2bn.org/create/tool527-new--story-creator-2--beta.html

Umajin @ http://www.umajin.com/

MixBook @ http://www.mixbook.com

ComicLife @ http://plasq.com/comiclife

Portaportal, examples of ComicLife, @ http://guest.portaportal.com/comiclife

Make Beliefs Comix @ http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/

My Pop Studio @ http://www.mypopstudio.com/

Eyespot @

Eastgate, publisher of Storyspace, @ http://www.eastgate.com/

Hypertextopia @ http://www.hypertextopia.com/


Finally, when you have finished browsing all of the above links, please answer the following questions and BRING your responses with you to class.  Your responses can be either typed or hand-written, and they can be in “rough-draft” prose.  I’m more interested in your ideas than in grammar, etc.!


Wrap-Up Writing for Hypertext Storytelling/Literature:

1.) What is the best thing that you read/viewed today, and why?  (Be sure to include the title and web address of the site!)  Be prepared to show and talk about this in class!

What you liked about it

What you think it might "mean" or why you think it was created

Any of the elements of fiction that are particularly noteworthy

How it relates to your life, and possibly how it might relate to ours

How it connects to any of the other selections we've read in class

2.) What is the worst thing that you read/viewed today, and why?  (Be sure to include the title and web address of the site!)

3.) Add to our collective body of knowledge of “Hypertext Literature,” “Fan Fiction,” “Digital Writing Tools,” and ANYTHING ELSE RELATED by listing one or more sites, tools, etc. that YOU visit/read/view frequently, and be prepared to talk about these sites in class.  It can be anything!  You are the expert here!

4.) “Microcontent” is defined by Bryan Alexander and Alan Levine – in the “Web 2.0 Storytelling” article – as “small chunks of content, with each chunk conveying a primary idea or concept” (42).  What is your opinion on the ideal length of each piece of microcontent in hypertext literature?

5.) How many “choices” should each piece of microcontent give a reader?  In other words, how many hyperlinks should there be in a piece of microcontent?  One?  Two?  Three?  More?  What is your ideal number?  At which point do you become “overwhelmed” with choices?

6.) What is your opinion about the “non-linearity” of hypertext literature?  Can/do you get the same sense of “arrangement” or “structure” in hypertext literature as you get in traditional (linear, chronological) fiction?  Or is the point that we don’t, or can’t, or shouldn’t be able to get this overall sense?  Is there a point for you at which frustration with this sets in, or not?

7.) As Kevin Brooks – in another article about hypertext writing – points out, hypertext literature often relies on other forms/genres even as it is making its way to something “new.”  Pick ONE (1) story that you viewed today, name it, and then try to “link it” to something else you/we are familiar with: a traditional story, a TV show, a magazine, a movie, etc.

8.) What are your overall impressions of hypertext storytelling/literature?  Does it have value?  (How?  Why or why not?)  Does this kind of storytelling deserve a place in this class?  (Why or why not?)  Will you explore hypertext storytelling/literature further?  (Why or why not?)


OTHER RESOURCES for Digital Storytelling:

Hofer, M., & Swan, K. O. (2005). Digital image manipulation: A compelling means to engage students in discussion of point of view and perspective. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 5(3/4). http://www.citejournal.org/vol5/iss3/socialstudies/article1.cfm

Salpeter, J. (2005, February). Telling tales with technology. Technology & Learning.

Tendero, A. (2006). Facing versions of the self: The effects of digital storytelling on English education. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 6(2). http://www.citejournal.org/vol6/iss2/languagearts/article2.cfm