Discussion → Styling and Length of Hyperfiction

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    Susan Gibb
    Jan 21, 08:52pm

    In just recently having had two hypertext works accepted for publication, I find there is a bit more to the submission process of hyperfiction just as there is to the writing of it.

    Word length is an important consideration in all story submissions, and in hypertext, the length of the story read may not necessarily include all the separate sections involved. For example, in one of my pieces, the story can be complete in as little as five pages, or as many as twelve. The word count can be figured out, and the longest form can be the goal to remain within restrictions.

    Another factor is styling; some publications that take only new media may require the addition of colored background pages as well as images, film clips, or sound. Others may be set up for, or merely prefer, a simpler more basic text format.

    All this, of course, is a simple matter of changing the css and html template so that a story can be tailored to an online magazine's specific needs.

  • Mark Bernstein
    Feb 13, 07:52am

    I suspect that wordcount is the wrong measure of length for a hypertext.

    What motivates wordcount guidelines? An atavistic memory of print, when page count mattered? Or a desire for consistent length of experience?

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    Finnegan Flawnt
    Feb 13, 10:39am

    this reminded me of ted nelson's saying "So, I was always frustrated having to write and having to cut things. Why should you have to cut anything?" - for hypertext, length of material in the sense of wordcount, indeed seems irrelevant. i like mark's expression "length of experience" very much.

    as for style sheets i'd like magazines flexible enough to let you choose the styling to some extent - as i would expect modern mags to offer multilingual support.

    overcoming print without throwing away its benefits is an unresolved enigma. predictable, transparent length of text/experience is one of these. i wonder what it does to the reader not to know how far and wide the universe is he is about to enter.

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    Susan Gibb
    Feb 13, 11:03am

    Yes, publishing has always held word count as almost as important as writing quality and genre. Unfortunately, old habits die hard.

    But we are talking only of publishing, and even online journals will insist upon a word count based on screens perhaps, or bandwidth. Hypertext is hard to estimate since it is totally dependent upon the path. Total words are one thing; that counts only if each and every writing space/page is visited and read. Sometimes a story could be 100 words; sometimes 1000.

    But this question comes up for e-books as well; the reader may see a halfway mark, but halfway of what? A book is visually telling by both its page numbers and by it's width or depth of read versus unread pages ("I'm a quarter-way through").

    I like the unknown. But in a short story anthology where a writer is held within flash fiction limits, let's say--and that's with linear text as much as hypertext--some semblance of expectation is set as a standard I suppose.

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