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.