An Interdisciplinary Course        
A discussion of the course is available.

CS/Engl 721-80, Wednesday 1530-1800, Gelman  B01

Computer-based interactive fiction creates new roles for the reader, writer and publisher.  Students will use various hypertext software systems to create individual and group hyperfiction texts. We will explore the theoretical and practical implications for software development, story construction, literary theory, cognition and human development, and the role of the Internet.

Hypertext is a technology that allows writers and readers to construct and follow multiple paths through networks of writing spaces containing text, graphics, and/or sound recordings--thus altering conventions of reading and writing associated with the fixed arrangement of the printed page. According to Jay Bolter, hypertext "is changing the relationship of the author to the text and of both author and text to the reader."

This course is expected to appeal to students interested in fiction writing, software development, literary theory, and/or the psychology of cognition

Dr. Rachelle Heller:     Dept. of EE & Computer Science                                                           
Dr. Mark Wallace:      Dept. of English

Texts and Supplies:

Writing Space, Jay David Bolter. Lawrence Erlbaum, 1991.  (required) Interactive Writers Handbook, Darryl Wimberly and Jon Samsel. Carronade Group. 1995

Hypertext, George Landow, Johns Hopkins U. Press, 1992.  (optional - recommended for those interested in literary theory as it relates to hypertext)

Diskettes:  five DS, DD diskettes for the Mac (you may need more)


Course Objectives:

By the end of the course you should be able to:

    *Create hyperfiction using various hypertext software systems.
     *Read and evaluate hyperfiction by various authors and other students.
     *Reflect critically on the process of reading and interpreting hypertexts.
     *Understand the implications of hypertext on the relationship between readers, writers, and publishers.
     *Continue the exploration of hypertext's theoretical and practical impact on your own discipline or interest.


Join class LISTSERV which will also act as journal: hyperfic@gwuvm.gwu.edu       
Keep a weekly journal
Write continuation of classroom exercises
Write one short fiction (up to 25 episodes)
Write one longer fiction (up to 50 episodes)
Write one interactive fiction (internet collaboration).
Write an analytical/research essay (5 pages plus  notes and bibliography) in one of the following areas:

          1)   Comparison of hyperfiction novels with traditional novels.
          2)   Hypertext implications for literary theory.
          3)   Psychological implications of hypertext, especially in terms of cognition/learning and human development.
          4)   Hypertext implications for software development, artificial intelligence, etc.        

In addition, we will read and discuss several published hyperfiction novels (Afternoon by Michael Joyce and Victory Garden by Stuart Moulthrop, in particular), and student work.

Consistent attendance is required since this is a hands-on, workshop type of class.  Assume that your grade will suffer if you miss more than one class.  You are responsible for all work due, assigned, or completed in a class you miss.

No previous computer experience is required, but familiarity with a Mac will be helpful.   The better your keyboard (typing) skills, the easier it will be for you to complete your work.  In addition, expect to spend additional hours in a Mac Lab to complete your assignments. A lab schedule is attached for your information.  Remember that you will need a computer in order to both read as well as to write hypertext.

Subscribing to LISTSERV:      send  email to listserv@gwuvm.gwu.edu
        body of message:    TELL LISTSERV ADD hyperfic email FIRSTNAME LASTNAMEWeek/Date





Using StorySpace
Journal: one page
Writing experimental fiction
repsonse to reading
Develop one line into four episodes (linking doesn't matter)
1-2 page writing sample
Handbook 191-212 (1/24, 1/31)

1st class
*open storyspace - how to drill *opening episode and linking mark drills
*each student write a line to teacher station, one at a time download to student space save to their portfolio chat
*each student write a hidden line to teacher station, one at a time open new StorySpace block for each ie-25 blocks
*each student download chat
*assignment for next week
turn one line into four episodes - linking doesn't matter reading
*(Journal - computer written one page response to the reading LISTSERVE set up --listserve will be the journal


Hardware and Software
Develop one line to 2 to 4
Character and detail episodes
Journal entries
Bolter chapter 2

*hardware software history etc
*more drills on software
*character and detail
*exercise:  10 sentences which are abstract turn into detial in one sentence develop one sentence into 2 to 4 episodes
*journal entries based on reading


StorySpace: guards and linking
Turn in episode

more on StorySpace
guards on linking

turn into an episode

hand out visual poems - journal respond to impressions of the poems' "visualness"


Complex linking
First assignment due on 2/21
Experimental poems
Handbook 107-146 (2/14)
Bolter chapter 6

complex linking
experimental poems
review the journals
announce 1st assignment (due 2/21)



Bolter chapter 10


linear and non-linear


Using images in your stories
DUE:  1st story
Plot and revision
Prior to class, send your comments on 2 stories
Bolter chapter 5

plot and revision
using images in your stories
visual poems
    font size, color, and images
1st assignment due
role and value of revision in process

prior to today - the journal response is a set of comments on two stories by others in class (will arrange for tow
different ones)  - send your comments to the students, we willtalk about them and talk about what we can do to


Revise story, due 3/6
Revision workshop
Bolter chapter 11

1st revision workshop
prior to today - the journal response is a set of comments on two stories by others in class ( will arrange for two
different ones) - send our comments to the students, we will talk about them and talk about what we can do to revise


revise and due 3/6

over next four weeks - theoretical over linear vs non-linear
group creations
Michael Joyce's work (remember to make some journal entries on Joyce)                                        how hyperfiction relates to interactive environment


Group creations
Second story due 3/27
Critical approach to hyperfiction
DUE: 1st story final
Bolter chapter 9
English Seminar on Hyperfiction 4 to 6pm

group creations - theory and practice
critical approaches to hyperfiction
second story due 3/27
final version of 1st assignment due


3/7:  English seminar on hyperfiction 4-6pm

3/7:  English seminar on hyperfiction 4-6pm


The WWW Handbook 159-173 (3/27)
Bolter chapter 8
3/16 ACM Hypertext Conference
Student helpers wanted



Interactive environments
DUE:  2nd story
Web story due 4/1

2nd story due
assign web story - due in two weeks
interactive environments


Revision workshop
Bolter chapter 13

return story number 2
2nd version workshop due in the format of 1st revision workshop


The Web
Final workshop

web due class negotiate the interconnection of web
final version of 2nd story due


Revision workshop

shelly away
turn in revised number 2
revised web story


The Web
Final workshop

turn in revisions
discuss comments to web story
workshop on web story


No Class
DUE:  Final paper

final revision of web story due
final paper dealing with theoretical issues (5 pages)