patchwork girl

we were talking last week about what sort of "story" takes well to hypertext, and i think that "patchwork girl" provides a great example of what works. i'm having a hard time putting into words what i liked so much about it. i just think that the form and the content (if we're still making these distinctions) complement each other very well. obviously, the whole story is about a girl sewn together from pieces of dead girls, just as "patchwork girl" itself borrows heavily from a pretty old book, by someone who is now dead. the story is also a "patchwork" of different "pages" (sorry, i don't know how to get around this language) that at first don't really seem to cohere. one of the coolest things i found when i was reading it was that the shift in narration occurred right before/around the time when the "doctor" and the "creation" literally transferred flesh. i'm not sure whether that happened because of the specific way i read it, but i can't imagine that it was entirely accidental. i'll have to read it again to see what happens.

I like "Disappearing Rain" a lot and the story is definitely compelling. The plot works really well in hypertext because the story is a mystery and like we said in class a few weeks ago, all hypertet is sort of a mystery. The story is also about a computer mystery, which makes hypertext an even better medium to tell the story with. My only concern is that hypertext transforms all stories into mysteries because as a reader we must piece together the story. I recognize that all books have foreshadowing and clues that we have to put together whether we're reading a romance novel or an actual mystery, but it still feels like the mystery genre takes over all hypertext narratives.

Also, it's killing me to know that there are pieces of the story that I don't know. I'm re-reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows again right now and I'm reading so slowly so that I make sure that every detail gets logged in my brain. Knowing that there will be no more new information about Harry Potter makes me want to find "new" information in the books I've already read. I really want to know all the little details in "Disappearing Rain" but I don't know how much text I am missing or where it is and THAT BOTHERS ME A LOT.

i did appreciate that disappearing rain had visible links within the text and an outline of the different sections at the bottom through which you can sort of find your place in the story. no matter what i try to tell it about the different potentials of non-linear of hypertext, my brain still prefers at least some semblance of order. i also thought the story map of patchwork girl worked really well for its form; it gave me a satisfying sense of directionality and places i wanted to cover without imposing one pathway on the reader.

To the extent that all hypertext contains a degree of mystery, i guess the text becomes more mysterious as it becomes less "readerly" and more "writerly" (with the reader being able to choose. or almost "write" her own path by whichever way she chooses). Because this "writerly" potential of hypertext (or, if "writeability" doesn't seem right since the author is ultimately still in charge, let's say "chooseability") is what inherently differentiates it from older media forms, most of our readings seem to herald it as a good thing. I do really like this ability of hypertext to reorganize thought processes into what is perhaps a more useful structure, but I still want the structure nonetheless... I don't like mystery in every part of the process, and I don't think it has to go hand in hand with every part of hypertext in order for the form of the hypertext to still be unique and useful. I guess I'm just not a proponent of hidden links or texts without maps...