The Internet and Literature
These are just some general ideas that I have about how the internet can be used to deliver different types of narrative, and my general ravings about specific ideas about experimenting with database narrative and the internet.
The book has been the predominant form of experiencing narrative in literary form, it has been successful for many reasons, but it also has it's limitations. The internet draws upon this literary style in the form of static web pages, and many books can be read/downloaded from he internet in a variety of formats, all using the same basic style and structure of the book. I would like to see what alternatives to standard narrative format the internet is capable of. Although the internet has it's own limitations, they are not the same as those of the book, and consequently different things can be achieved/experienced through the mediums provided by the internet. Database narrative lends itself quite well to the internet, and there are many different attempts at using this medium. One example I would like to explore is that of a MUD where people playing creative roles, interact in an environment that is created as they go. The environments and the characters played by the participants develop as the MUD is expanded. The narrative appears in 2 forms. Firstly the characters interact in real time with each other, and secondly each character develops their own "virtual" space giving it a descriptive narrative that contains logical (at least sometimes) links from the surrounding environment. These environments are static and available for all users to experience even when the author is no longer online or even active on the MUD. It would not make much sense to read a MUD "from cover to cover", even the environment description is non-linear and doesn't lend itself to a book style of reading, even the fact that there is no real finishing point implies that such a reading is actually impossible.
Using some of these concepts, I would like to apply them to a form of fictional narrative. I would also like to see if there is a way of formalizing a collaborative form of writing that will offer the reader the ability to experience the same narrative from multiple different angles and interpretations, as well as experiencing different writing styles all within the one narrative. I would also like to create the ability for people to be able to return to the one "story", and each time they do, the story dynamically changes giving different pieces of the story, or a different perspective on the story each time. This could be presented through multiple different media, for instance, a web page fed from an ASP.net script, or a server that when requested sends pieces of the narrative to the readers email address.
To be continued.....