CLASS NOTES: 5/14/08

Last class, and close to the last posting (gotta leave myself open to possibilities) last night, on a lasting love of the literary.

Full workshopping with four pieces of diverse story and a bit of brainstorming on a project. The first story was a piece worked in the hypertext medium of Hypertextopia and I was amazed at Kristina’s ability to link her story more in a Storyspace manner of variety of paths.  Though this was basically non-fiction, the hypertext format of text boxes either suited the writing style perfectly, or the writer was led into that style by the format.  I suspect the latter, particularly in that we had another piece to workshop by Kristina that was written in linear traditional form as comparison. It upheld my belief that by writing into small spaces, the writing becomes more concise and impactful with short statements that appear self-contained within their space.  The form does not require the transitioning words between sentences as does a contiguous flow of words; the connections seem to understand the separation of thought, just as chapters do in book form story.  The writing here was crisp and lyrical with little excess and verbiage.  I particularly liked the placement of four spaces at the end that endlessly linked back to each other that suited the topic of cancer overcome.

Kristina’s typed story was also of overcoming adversity, in this case, a trait of difference that was seen as a defect or flaw and I loved the metaphor of wings as the ironic abnormality.  As first person pov, there was much telling that could be eliminated, and some questions of character credibility but the concept and story line were strong. 

Jackie’s observations in a laundromat led to a wonderful exercise in indepth description of setting and character.  The writing was precise and produced some great imagery and an easy flowing and welcoming narrative voice.  It would be fairly easy to convert this to a piece of fiction, and as in Kristina’s story, cutting out the last words of explanation produces a far more powerful story.

Brendan turned a brief personal encounter into a  much larger story, playing with the concept of mind and memory that allowed a subtle change in character while changing time and maintaining place–or, a resemblance of place.  The writing brought the reader into an old man’s life present and past with some nice foreshadowing and transitioning.  Once again, the professor proved his point by suggesting the lopping off of the last scene in the story and for once, most of us had suggested this before it was brought up by him.

Katie’s project for an artbook course was fielded for ideas of presentation.  In theory looking much like a physical hypertext, thought was given to both story and the need to keep the individual twenty parts of story as self-contained and fulfilling as possible.  Once again, hypertext as a concentrated storyteller serves as the perfect vehicle.

Though I may be posting here again before I wipe out this weblog, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the great group of writers in this particular class, and of course, be thankful for the knowledge, experience and guidance shared by Professor Ersinghaus who has the ability to inspire his students to do their very best.

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