Hypertext Short Stories Collection

This post was spawned from an assignment from my MFA program. We were assigned to read My Body by Shelley Jackson. I wanted to do something very similar. This involved crating a web page with an image and hyperlinks to a variety of text pages. Graphics apps only prepared the image and I would need to handmade the pages if I used a text editor. I didn’t have the time for all that. I quickly realized I would need some form of web design tool. Several reviews later I ended up using Sparkle for my Mac. I completed the assignment and it turned out exactly as I expected.

I received some positive reviews from classmates and requests for me to describe how I accomplished this. I shared this information with my wife. Who is a more prolific blogger than I, believed it could be done. After spending a day doing some research it turns out that it can be done with WordPress through plug-ins; however, there are only a handful that have been updated in the past year and the free versions are very limited. The cost of their ‘pro’ versions that give you the functionality that you really want rival the cost of a Website Design / Publishing tool such as Sparkle.

With that said I will post the information about how I published the Imprinted Body. There are a few pre-requisites that may make this untenable for some. First the hypertext content needs to be published to a website so a web hosting provider will be necessary. There are a few popular vendors such as bluest, eHost, iPage, HostGator, HostClear, etc. This link will take you to a Review.

Often the web hosting companies allow you to use their domain, e.g. (hostgator.com) with a unique subdomain for your particular website such as (mdblogger.hostgator.com). Your other choice is to request a unique domain name for your website such as, in my example, mdblogger.com. Most web hosting companies have the mechanism for you to order and renew the domain name. Unless you intend to make the content for the Hypertext Novel or Story Collection the only thing the site is used for, you will want to create a subdomain. Mine is a prime example. The domain I use is dataprep.com the subdomain for the Imprinted body is separated from my other content through a subdomain (scratchpad.dataprep.com)

It is also further segregated because I may do other similar project by a folder, making the complete address scratchpad.dataprep.com/ImprintedBody. These three steps give you a place to put the content.

Get the Web Design Tool. I use a Mac so I was looking for a Mac Web Design Tool. After a fair amount of research I settled on Sparkle.

I haven’t done much for the Windows side but the direction most vendors are going is to bundle the website design tools with the web hosting. This is the case for with Wix, Squarespace, weebly, GoDaddy, etc. Unfortunately, they tend to direct how the site is built using templates…which is fine unless you are doing something unique like a hypertext novel or story collection. A quick search, well actually not very quick, turned up

OpenElementWYSIWYG Web Builder, or Xara. I can’t vouch for any of these but they look like they are offline, visual designer tools.

All that is really the hard part. To actually create the Imprinted Body, it was a matter of creating a page in Sparkle with the image I wanted, creating an additional page for each story, creating a button over the part of the body that would link to the page with text and entering the appropriate address. Unlike, My Body by Shelley Jackson, I did create a link on each text page to take the reader back to the body image.

The last step is to publish. This is an inherent tool that prompts you for your publish location; the site you creates in steps 1-4 above and the appropriate security credential.

He’s Alive!

I know my blog site has been out there and I know I hadn’t posted anything for a while. I didn’t realize three years had passed! In my defense, I also knew that it would be a challenge. A few months ago we changed domain names and there were issues migrating to the new domain. I didn’t relish the prospect of working through the issues to migrate to the new domain address. A compelling reason finally presented itself.

I am currently studying for a Masters in Fine Arts Creative Writing certificate. A new assignment pushed me to take action. Last week one of the classes reading assignments was My Body, a hypertext novel by Shelley Jackson. An assignment from a previous class was to write a flash story about how the world has “written on your body.” I chose a scar I received as a child while playing with my cousins. Low and behold, one of the new assignment options is:

Write a flash fiction or poem in which the only setting is (à la Jackson) the body. Perhaps you want to focus on a particular body part (eyes, fingers, arm hair) or organ (liver, pancreas, lungs). Perhaps you want to explore the body from the point of view of a disease taking it over. Perhaps you want to create a narrator who can’t think beyond his or her own flesh and blood.

A perfect opportunity to complete the assignment as a hypertext story.

I in fact, do still live and plan to post more frequently. I have more to post about my clarinet playing, life drive my Volt, writing and kids life.

Stay tuned.