Chat Transcript: November 19, 2000
Sex and the Erotic Hypertext with Adrienne Eisen

How do we present, write, and work with erotic hypertexts?

"Adrienne Eisen's avant-pop hypertexts are subversive narrative journeys into the mind of a contemporary twentysomething woman whose erotic encounters are charged with a post-feminist satirical edge that cuts deepinto the American psyche. The hypertext world's Kathy Acker..."

Adrienne Eisen, the only hypertext winner of the prestigious New Media Invision Award, has just launched her new set of online hypertexts. The former Editor of, Eisen is a frequent speaker and panelist at events such as PEN West and the Dartmouth Institute for Advanced Graduate Studies. Her first major work of online hypertext, "Six Sex Scenes," was a featured exhibition at the Alt-X Online Network and has received international attention from both the academic and underground literary art worlds. You can read her work at

Related Links


-- Start log: Sunday, November 19, 2000 12:02:27 p.m. CST

wanderer arrives from Tower of Babble

mez quietly enters.

vika quietly enters.

vika says, "Hello, all."

mez says, "Hey vika"

vika says, "Ah, hello mez. I see you are "all"."

mez says, "Yeah, sorry about that:) negate that qs if possible, yeah?"

mez says, "So we r earli then?"

vika says, "Apparently."

mez says, "So vika, wots yr story?:)"

vika says, "Five more minutes, by my clock."

mez says, "k"

vika says, "Well, it's all in my "bio". :)"

mez says, "Not b-ing a regular MOO boffin, can I ask how 2 check that please?"

vika is very new to the MOO interface and is 'sploring.

mez says, "Snap:)"

vika says, "Heh"

vika says, "Do you see a window with Eliterature and a light bulb on top to your right?"

vika says, "At the bottom of that there're links."

mez says, "Nope, cos I'm using a telnet client "

vika says, "Oh, then sorry, can't help. I'm very new to this as well."

mez says, "I'll log on thru my browser as well, hold on"

mez says, "u have the url?"

vika says, "Try, follow the link to this week's chat"

mez says, "Sure, thx"

vika says, "There are instructions there, too."

mez says, "Thx vika"

mez smiles a broadbandish grin:)

vika laughs - you're welcome!

zero arrives from Courtyard

mez hands vika a largish cup of earl grey on the hunch they'll scoff it.

mez says, "Zero:) welcome:)"

vika says, "Mmmmm. thanks, it's freezing here. Hello zero."

zero says, "Hello"

zero says, "It's not cold"

vika says, "Maybe not where you are."

zero says, ":->"

mez says, "Where r u in geospace, kvika and zero?"

vika says, "Currently Providence, RI, live in MA. And you?"

mez says, "In australia, looong way away:)"

vika says, "Wooo!"

vika says, "Where in Aus.?"

mez says, "Wollongong, near Sydney"

Adrienne, KLynB, and AlanMcDonald arrive.

vika says, "Evening, Adrienne, KLynB, and Alan"

Deena arrives breathless and panting

KLynB says, "Hello vika"

Deena says, "I made it!! Wow!!"

mez says, "lo all:)"

KLynB says, "Woo hoo, Deena!"

vika says, "'lo, Deena"

AlanMcDonald says, "Hello all""

Deena says, "I ran over to Kinkos and they had an internet connection!"

KLynB says, "No one's in the social chat right now"

Deena says, "ok, KLyn if you want to run the trAce, that would be great. "

Deena says, "Just keep an eye out."

Deena composes herself after the wild ride

mez says, "So there r 2 chats on right now?"

vika wishes she could resize the frame windows... is that possible on an iMac, anyone know?

Ned arrives.

Deena says, "No, we are really having the program chat, but people enter from trAce and need to be directed--or people can stay in the social chat area, as well. "

AlanMcDonald says, "Hi mez :)""

Deena says, "Klyn has volunteered to do that. Thanks!"

andrewstern quietly enters.

Deena says, "vika, I think you can click on the top right corner to resize"

Everdeen arrives.

andrewstern waves hi

Deena says, "Hi all"

mez mouths hello from the corner of the MOO

Everdeen says, "Hello everybody!"

Deena says, "Welcome to the elit chat with Adrienne Eisen on erotic hypertexts. "

KLynB says, "I was just about to ask the opening question"

Deena says, "You can see Adrienne's bio and links at the general elit chats, but you'll have to remember to type @go eliterature when you are done to return to the chat"

Deena says, "KLyn, go for it!"

KLynB says, "How does erotic hypertext differ from standard erotic writing?"

Deena shares a URL...<>.

Deena says, "Adrienne, would you like to introduce yourself?"

fleshacker arrives. fleshacker is actually mez on a non-telnet n-terface, so one of us will slowly "poof!" any sec now:)

Deena says, "Hi all, we are talking with Adrienne Eisen, and her work, Six Sex Scenes"

Deena says, "Why don't we all introduce ourselves?"

The housekeeper arrives to remove mez.

Deena says, "Ahh... I know how poof goes, mez!"

fleshacker nods

Deena says, "My internet connection just burned out as the power went out, and then my phone line beeped that it was going dead. So I ran to Kinkos to start the chat..."

fleshacker is a hypertextah and writer, so is keen to pick ad's brains

Deena is a hypertext lover and writer and wants to pick brains, too

andrewstern says, "I'm working on an interactive drama project with ai-controlled characters"

KLynB says, "But is the computer working?"

Deena says, "Nope, my computer is dead in the water after three bad hard drive restarts yesterday"

Deena passes around pickled brain stems and roses for all

Everdeen hands around a tray of assorted picks and crackers

andrewstern says, "I'm curious to hear Adrienne's thoughts on htf"

Deena says, "Yes, can you spell out htf?"

fleshacker pops the brain stem in a pan with sage, chardonnay, and a touch of lime, yummie!:)

andrewstern says, "Sorry :) hypertext fiction "

zero says, "Andrewstern, tell me about that "interactive drama project with ai-controlled characters""

fleshacker says, "How do we page in here, please?"

vika is a grad student working on a partially-ht M.A. thesis (not exactly creative fiction, though)

Deena says, "You can page by typing page NAME Message"

fleshacker says, "Thx"

andrewstern says, "Something like a hypertext fiction, but with the dialog being generated in realtime in response to the player's dialog"

Deena says, "I have Adrienne's website up, but Andrew, would you share your website?"

andrewstern says, "From what I've read of Adrienne's work I really like her characters and subject matter"

Deena says, "Me too. I like the way that the characters stay the same in the nodes, we know who we will see. Adrienne, how do you deal with characterization when you work across different stories?"

fleshacker says, "page everdeen great 2 c u here 2:)"

fleshacker says, "oops"

Saada quietly enters.

fleshacker wishes for a delete key wrapped in invisible ink

fleshacker grins sheepishly

Deena says, "Hi Saada, we are talking about hypertexts and characterization..."

Adrienne Deena, can you read what I'm typing?

Deena says, "No Adrienne, we can't. "

Saada says, "Thank you Deena"

Adrienne says, "Test. is this working?""

Deena says, "Adrienne has been typing in invisible ink, and she will repost"

AlanMcDonald scratches nose and wonders if this is visible

andrewstern says, "Yes we can read that"

Deena says, "That worked Adrienne!"

Deena passes around invisible ink defogger for the right words, and visible ink fogger for all mistakes...

fleshacker cs Adrienne in textual glory:)

Adrienne says, "Okay. great. I will not retype everything I've tried to say. but, I want to say that I'm a big fan of Andrew's petz project.""

Saada says, "Can you read me. I had trouble logging in. Had to come as a guest in the end"

Deena says, "Hi Saada, we can read you."

fleshacker says, "sure Saada, yr in!"

Everdeen says, "hello Saada"

Deena says, "Will everyone say hi so we can see them?"

andrewstern says, "hi"

Adrienne says, "hi""

Saada says, "Hi Everdeen"

Saada says, "Hi"

Deena fervently hopes her computer problems have not affected the web

Everdeen says, "high!"

KLynB says, "ello all"

zero says, "hello"

AlanMcDonald says, "LO""

fleshacker revolves

Deena says, "You need to begin each message with a " mark or punch the middle say button in the end of the right hand column."

AlanMcDonald says, "Revolver: my favourite Beatles album""

fleshacker strums & drops her high hat

vika says, "hi"

cleo arrives.

Deena says, "Adrienne, could you retype what you said about an intro and about characters in hypertext? Or cut and paste your remarks starting with a " mark."

fleshacker says, "Claire!!"

Deena says, "Hi Cleo, we are talking about hypertext lit and characters with Adrienne."

Deena gives Claire a big hug

cleo says, "Is that mez?"

fleshacker says, "yup:)"

cleo says, "Hello all!"

Adrienne "About ten minutes ago, someone asked about characterization. So I'll start there. The way I try to build character in the uncharter-friendly nonlinear format is to make sure that with each click, there is a lot of information about the character, and each click is a self-contained story that describes the character."

Deena says, "BTW, We will be looking at Claire's new work ( on the last Sat of this month in the Online Writers Workshop...check out and click on community for more info"

Deena says, "Adrienne, all, how do you cope with repetition in a character's development? I find myself repeating a character's peccadillos, like drinking earl grey tea, in many spaces. but I wonder if people will see this as overdone?"

cleo says, "Actually, I noticed that while reading last night Adrienne, it was a different approach I found interesting indeed"

Adrienne "I think it's important not to repeat information: it's insulting to the reader. that's why I try to make every piece of the hypertext stand on it's own. the pieces build to a more developed character without repeating -- well, that's what I aim for.

Deena says, "Yes, I noticed that the characters did not repeat actions, yet we could tell who they were."

fleshacker thinks it depends largely on the structural context of the characters development, if it is necessary to s.tablish a relevant trait or behaviour, sure...but watch the ovakill factor 2.

andrewstern says, "What are the big similarities and differences you find between writing traditional linear stories vs. hypertext?"

Deena says, "Adrienne, you use the first person to develop a main narrative character. How does this work in the structural context?"

Adrienne "The structure of the piece specifically addresses repetition: the links at the bottom of each page are to different stories, but to me each of the stories in the list reveal a similar thing about the character, so I wanted to reader to only read one in each list."

Deena says, "How do you guide the reader to read only one in each list?"

Adrienne says, "The reader never gets the choice to read a story more than once (unless the reader uses the back button).""

Deena says, "Great point Andrew, and it goes back to Kim's question, what are the differences and similarities in print and hypertext for erotic fiction?"

Deena says, "So you use the choices to guide the reader. Are you using a connection system to program links?"

Deena makes a note to go back and read on a new computer ;)

cleo says, "Yes, actually I found myself rather puzzled at that - I suppose it's simply because I'm used to hypertext having myriad links and going many different ways - this is less jarring, a bit more linear."

Adrienne "I think hypertext is more suited for sex in that (good) sex is the nonsequential, though simultaneous stories of two people blah blah..."

fleshacker would firstly like a definition of erotic fiction?

Adrienne "I don't actually have a definition of erotic fiction. my fiction has sex in it because that's what was bugging me when I was writing."

Deena says, "Good point, mez/fleshacker and does erotic fiction differ that much from other fiction?"

Deena says, "Adrienne, I like the idea of writing fiction about what is bugging you. I wonder if that is a common motivation around here?"

andrewstern says, "Sure."

KLynB says, "I don't believe it differs at all, just the details in the story."

Deena can chart all the issues that have bugged her by looking through her work.

Adrienne "I agree with LKynB -- the quality of the writing is more important than if there's sex or not."

fleshacker says, "So the fact that a text tract contains sexual references makes it erotic?"

Adrienne says, "Maybe the definition of erotic fiction is does it make the reader want to masturbate."

Deena says, "Or maybe it is the subject matter of sex."

fleshacker says, "Wouldn't that b pornography rather than eroticism, ad?"

Deena says, "Is there really that sharp a distinction between the two, mez?"

fleshacker says, "erotic m.plies a more sensual rendering??"

fleshacker says, "Deena, probably not, no."

andrewstern says, "Why do you write hypertext fiction vs. traditional fiction; what advantages does it give you as a writer? (or do you write both)?"

Adrienne says, "Andrew, the advantage that ht gives me over traditional is that I don't have to tell a linear story. for example I can repeat myself without making the reader read the repetitious stuff by guiding the reader around the repetition."

Everdeen says, "I think I agree with mez that there is a difference"

Deena says, "Andrew, I like the question about writing ht and fiction--how many here write both, and how many write in just one?"

Deena raises her hand to confess she works mostly in ht

vika says, "Adrienne - why do you feel the desire to repeat stuff in the first place?""

Adrienne "If I write about what is bugging me, then I am usually bugged by the same thing for weeks i.e. why doesn't he like me, why is my mom and asshole to me, these are things that consume weeks of writing"

fleshacker rotates her porno/e.rot.tick]ing[ lens 2 open

Deena hands out neat porno/e.rot.tick ing lenses to all and sundry

fleshacker says, " I write x.clusively in hypertext, or in a net.wurked lingo, so plain fiction doesn't work 4 me"

andrewstern says, "I'm excited by hypertext for similar reasons, in that you can build up a character from different angles and approaches, and your journey as a reader/viewer is subtly different depending on the approach you happened to take."

cleo says, "I think the delineation lies in the intension - $ as impetus .vs writing - the marketplaces -"

Adrienne "I like what Andrew said because that's what we do in real life -- we are a little different depending on who we're with."

Deena says, "Yes, I like the approaches to the same subject from many angles--the fact that the issue is a perennial one does make it easier to look at from many lenses and perspectives."

fleshacker likes the intention kick, Claire is right as usual:)

Deena says, "Adrienne, how do you show these differences in the characters in ht?"

andrewstern says, "Are your stories designed to be read multiple times? (I ask because that is an explicit "design goal" of my current project, that you must read it / play it 5 or more times before you "get it" all)"

Adrienne "Differences in character come through typical literary techniques: voice, motive."

Deena says, "Good point Andrew. Lots of hypertexts are written differently for different reader expectations... Adrienne, this brings us back to the point earlier where you said that you try to keep readers on a path by showing different links."

cleo says, "Your work, adri., seems more concerned with content than form [hypertext as an end in itself]"

fleshacker is curious as 2 y Adrienne m.ulates traditional fiction creation techniques in a hypertext environment?

Adrienne "Wow, Andrew, I would never expect anyone to read my stuff five times. I think people want to get through my stuff fast -- so they can read one thing on each list. I think some hypertexts are more of a game where you play a lot. Not mine."

andrewstern says, "Which is a refreshing thing (content as primary)"

Deena says, "Yes, mez, how do traditional fiction techniques transplant to the hypertext environment? Are we getting new techniques native to hypertext?"

Adrienne "Cleo - I am most concerned with writing about what bugs me. the form is secondary -- it's the only form my writing fits into (that I can find.)

andrewstern says, "Hmm okay; why not invite / reward the reader to re-read?"

cleo says, "I find with a cleaner, simpler form as ad. uses, one's more inclined to actually read [they just look at mine:("

Adrienne "I would like to do the invite/reward thing if I trusted myself to be amazing enough to keep someone reading for an half hour before huge payoff."

Deena says, "Andrew, I think rereading depends on what you want the reader to get out of it. I have some pieces where readers must reread in different contexts to get the whole thing, and others where a simple once over will do."

Deena says, "I think it really depends on what points you want to get across, what aesthetic experience you want to give the reader."

Deena says, "Adrienne, how do you want the readers to engage in your texts?"

Adrienne "I think the whole rereading thing is asking a lot of people who are venturing into a new medium that is clearly not developed. Seeing movies twice is really different that sifting through hypertext twice."

Deena says, "Do you provide clues for the reader to see the "expected reading behavior?"

fleshacker wonders about the need/desire 2 recreate traditional structures within a medium designed to do essentially the other...not b-ing critical, just curious as itz neva been a manifest goal in my own practice....

andrewstern says, "Well, it certainly puts burden on the author to write enough stuff to invite you to re-read, so it's not easy."

Deena passes out re-reading glasses and perspectives along with more ever refilling wine glasses.

Adrienne "I think if my reader doesn't get payoff in a minute the reader will click away. so in my mind, requiring rereading is out of the question -- I think I'd lose everyone."

vika says, "Well, I certainly felt invited to re-read by there being threads with a clear end, after which you went "Home"."

cleo says, "Nabakov said a good reader was a re-reader - that the form and action detracted from the actual text on initial read - depth was only to be garned via the 2nd, etc..."

Deena says, "Mez, how do you write hypertexts in their native tongue/structures?"

Adrienne fleshacker, what do you mean about recreating traditional structures?

Deena says, "Yet, Adrienne, you can get a large payoff on your work in the second and third readings..."

Deena says, "Again, it depends on what we expect readers to do--which is a totally different thing than what readers actually do do"

andrewstern says, "I think when I read hypertext I have a fear that I missed something I was supposed to read, so I feel compelled to re-read."

cleo :)

fleshacker uses the nature of the network [i.e. the actual rhizomatic net that we use, the lectric functiong that is required 2 even b here in this space n.itially] and teases out patterns N fiction codes that develop along in this space

andrewstern says, "So as an author I want reward, encourage re-reading."

Deena passes around invisible and revolving letters to show re-reading and e-reading.

Deena says, "Yet in previous chats, people didn't like hypertexts precisely because they feared that they might miss something. Is this fear a holdover from linear literature courses?"

fleshacker thinks it mite b the case, Deena:)

Deena says, "Mez, within those rhizomatic structures, how do you tell a story, show a character, provide an experience?"

cleo says, "Moi aussi Andrew, but, nonetheless, I don't think this is the general inclination. I don't think surfers are often, by nature, readers, as book readers are."

Adrienne "I think there's a big gap between the people who read one sentence and click to another site and the people who are rereading. Most people fall in the middle. Maybe that's a good thing about sex in hypertext -- the sex can catch the people in the middle.

Everdeen has connected and says, "Am I here now?"

vika says, "Yes, Everdeen."

Deena says, "We really are talking about very different readerships here--the web surfer who is looking for a fast payoff, the literary scholar/critic who teases out everything."

andrewstern says, "I get the impression you see your stories as a momentary diversion for surfers on their way from Google to eBay?"

Adrienne "Based on the email I get, I think most of my readers are surfers."

Deena says, "Yes, I get surfer emails on my simple sites and litcrit emails on my complex ones...Yet they are on the same medium."

cleo sighs I never get any emails :( [friends ex-cluded]

andrewstern says, "Why don't you think they would stop and spend the time to fully read your stories?"

fleshacker personally rewrites the parameters of language to reflect the mechanism of the link, the meaning cue-jump, by recreating the basic narrative tracjectory...breaking down language, restructuring it according to the networked medium and then inviting collaboratory intent...

Adrienne "Not that I don't try to be literary. But the majority of the world are not hypertext afficionados."

Deena passes another finnegan's wake to mez and runs riverrun again

vika waves to all, as must run, and slips out quietly

The housekeeper arrives to remove vika.

andrewstern says, "I like your stories because they don't seem too far removed from "traditional" stories..."

Adrienne "For example, I think most of my readers could not understand fleshacker's chat posts, let alone his site :)"

cleo chimes in quickly: HER site

fleshacker waves her gender card -I'm female:)

Deena passes around gender switching cards to all, and calls herself a spivak for today

Adrienne "Oops. sorry fleshacker. that is really lame of me."

fleshacker rotates again, understanding allotted 2 all:)

andrewstern says, "perhaps because you keep the form relatively simple (compared to some of the more "wildly" experimental forms in some hypertext works)"

Deena says, "Yes, there really is a continuum between Mez's new trajectories and storylines..."

The housekeeper arrives to remove AlanMcDonald.

cleo steps in with ah, but the one's who do swooooon ... [quilty ....]. I think the writer, more trad. or not, writes for the audience they prefer/relate to themselves

Deena says, "Claire you hit it on the head."

andrewstern says, "Right, that makes sense."

Deena says, "I think it depends who is staying and interacting with what."

Adrienne "I think I feel like hypertext is already difficult, so I want to writing to be accessible since the structure is not."

Everdeen has connected again.

Deena says, "Hi Everdeen, welcome back. Now we are talking about how audiences interact with different levels of hypertexts"

Adrienne "I would like to know what people here are working on. are people going to post URLS for reference?"

Deena says, "Adrienne, I think writing accessible hypertext is imperative to get readers to us. So we can write to an audience we project for ourselves..."

cleo says, "Ad, what drew you to hypertext? why have you chosen the form? [as opposed to an/other?"

Deena says, "Yes, please post URLS here, folks."

fleshacker says, ", a collaborative email piece with ][apparent][ random email performance pieces selected. I am x.ploring the way a reader can rewrite a narrative given indications as 2 the intent of the piece....""

andrewstern says, "my interactive drama project is described at ... it's a collaboration with Michael Mateas."

Adrienne "Cleo - I submitted a bunch of writing to agents and they all said I need a more linear story line. and I kept trying to write one and I couldn't. so when cd-roms came into the picture, I realized that my writing would work for that. I feel like I don't have another choice."

Deena says, "Ferris Wheels <> is a simple piece for an intro to hypertext."

Deena says, "Adrienne, all, have you worked with epubs to get CDs out?"

Saada says, "I feel embarrassed. My ambition is to make a hypertext linear novel "

Deena says, "Saada, that is wonderful! Do you have a work in progress?"

fleshacker says, "y m.barrassed saada?"

cleo says, "Interesting - it's sad that editors sd. such things after the lit. we've experienced by now/all the trad. breaks of modernism etc. - I suppose it's a business tho -"

Adrienne "I worked with Voyager in 1994. then they went under. then I worked with Commotion New Media. Then they went under. Now I'm working with alt-x. I have higher hopes for alt -x than I had for the others"

fleshacker takes out her economic rationalist perspective and burns it 2 a fine crisp.

Deena says, "Adrienne, you have a wonderful history in this medium. "

andrewstern says, "What do you do at alt-x?"

Deena says, "Why do you think the companies keep going under--or are underused? What is it that is so difficult in this medium?"

Adrienne "Saada, I think everyone wants to be in print. Everyone wants to have random house take out a full page ad in the nyt to advertise their book. I think people go to hypertext when there's no chance that the writing can be linear."

Deena can't help but ask in her ongoing frustration...

andrewstern says, "Eastgate is surviving well, no?"

cleo cheers, "Right-on flesh, I don't think we could survive otherwise -"

Saada says, "mbrassed off beecos peeple despise linear."

Deena says, "Good point Adrienne. I think we are saying something that is more complex--that cannot be said simply. If it could, we would write paper."

Adrienne "Eastgate came much later than Voyager or Commotion. I think Eastgate has attached itself to the university system which has been a great marketing tool."

fleshacker queries the notion that every1 wants to be a print advocate...not all of us...

Saada says, "Yes I want to write linear that can't be done on paper"

Adrienne "well, who among us would turn down a $400,000 book advance from random house in the name of hypertext?"

Deena says, "Saada, I am really sorry for the misperception. I love linear. I read lots more linear novels than I do ht. It is just that what I want to write, I can't write linearly."

Deena wishes she could write a linear novel...

Everdeen says, "Saada what in particular defines that type of liner for you?"

Deena says, "Adrienne, do you think that hypertexts would ever garner an advance?"

Adrienne "I think nonlinear writing will garner huge advances when hollywood can make money off of nonlinear writing."

andrewstern says, "I agree with Deena (what I want to create needs nonlinear)."

Saada says, "Linear--a story with a beginning, a middle and an end but not necessarily in that order and not necessarily for all characters."

andrewstern says, "Hey maybe ebooks will be the way to sell hypertexts."

cleo says, "But 'novels" [on paper] have not necessarily been linear for a long time - some classics too, such as Ulysses."

fleshacker says, "ad, I don't think my particular take on fiction/prose etc would be applicable to a regular publisher gaze, but I take yr point..."

Deena says, "I want to go back to Mez's point--there is a rhizomatic, connected roots environment that will let us say things in a new narrative, and I think that is exciting."

Saada says, "Agree-- paper novels not all linear but hypertext novels all seem non-linear."

Adrienne "Help: what does rhizomatic mean?"

fleshacker hands ad a rhizome, all roots and node points, one node leading to a myriad of others.....

Deena hands out rhizome plants with lots of finely tuned little connection roots, looking for homes.

Editor's note: Rhizomatic is an image word, referring to roots--a network of connections rather than a stem writing or a linear thought, or arboreal writing--one trunk leading to many branches. There is a nice explanation of this at

cleo says, "rhizhome - multifaceted/leveled .vs arborific [single center]"

Deena paints little smiley rainbows with pixel dust on a rhizome plant and tosses it up for grabs.

fleshacker grabs one from Deena, paints it honey yellow and passes it 2 her right.

cleo says, "Beg. - middle- end' is not required in lit., even if it is in 'best seller' fiction"

Deena says, "Andrew, I hope so. I am trying to sell Rain to an ebook pub, but it is up hill going. Would everyone here please submit a hypertext to Dreams Unlimited?"

fleshacker thinks of intent and perspective.

andrewstern says, "E-books seem like the obvious answer to selling hypertext fiction. probably best to have readers ease into it at first."

Deena says, "Andrew, that is where stories like Adrienne's can point the way--and Saada, that is a good place to start with marketing a hypertext novel."

andrewstern says, "right"

Saada says, "I know not required but need it to sort shape from chaos in my mind. Like looking through magnifying glass at one snowflake in snow"

Deena says, "Adrienne, have you thought about selling Six Sex Scenes to an epubber?"

Adrienne "I think ebooks will work when the hypertext writing is as engaging as other types of writing. I think hypertext is a little pedantic for the mass market (or even a subset) right now."

fleshacker says, "ad, how do u think ht can be as engaging as other types of writing?"

Deena says, "Yes, all, how can we create engaging hypertexts?"

Adrienne "I am working with alt-x to publish the book as an ebook. I think the problem with randomly publishing -- like on iuniverse -- is that there's no marketing or publicity to differentiate from the other millions of ebooks."

fleshacker says, "Saada, sounds great."

Deena says, "I think that some of this comes down to transplanting traditional techniques in rhizomatic structures--such as voice, character, plot, and motion."

cleo says, "Good writing!"

Deena says, "Marketing and publicity are big issues--how do you explain ht in a five second soundbyte, let alone sell it?"

Deena hands out megaphones and dictaphones to all to help sell works

fleshacker mourns the market.

andrewstern says, "Well, hopefully a reviewer will read lots of things, and if they read some htf that they like that isn't too "difficult" for average readers, they'll recommend it."

Adrienne "Maybe this question of engaging goes back to sex. The way I get a lot of non-readers to my site is they search "public hair" and my story comes up relatively high on the list (so I'm told). so the sex brings in non readers."

Deena says, "Claire, what constitutes good writing in an ht environment? Is it different from a linear environment?"

Adrienne "Woops. that was pubic hair."

Deena says, "Adrienne, that is a great reason for writing erotic hypertexts. I gotta hide some of those words in mine.."

andrewstern says, "Ha, sex fueled the vcr industry, why not hypertext fiction..."

Deena thinks about all the public documents that are actually pubic

fleshacker says, "So we need a catch 2 get readers in, and then they'll be engaged, ad?"

Deena says, "Andrew, good point. Maybe we need erotic interactive characters first of all..."

andrewstern says, "Scary thought."

Adrienne "What I'm saying here is that hypertext needs to be about the stuff that people read about. people don't necessarily read about the deconstruction of blah blah.."

Deena passes out The Joys of Writing Sex to all. A wonderful book, btw

fleshacker says, "so we need to m.ualte wot ppl know and understand, I c."

cleo says, "No, I don't think so at all. Too many have used hyp. Tho, I believe, to dress up writing that could never stand on it's own without the intriguing form. Content is the issue."

Deena passes around plates of meaty content.

Adrienne "I totally agree with cleo. Big problem."

andrewstern says, "Content yes content"

Adrienne "I think the content bar is pretty low right now because the medium is so new."

fleshacker remotes.

Deena says, "How do we get writers, content, etc. in hypertext? Again, if we can say it simply, we write linear. So what are we saying that is so complex?"

Deena passes around perspective binoculars to look for content complexes and complexes of content.

andrewstern says, "house of leaves is a big old huge nonlinear novel with good content; it's in print because that's how to best sell it, no?"

cleo says, " I think it, also, may be a matter of time - the form is new and people are not used to it. Helen at trAce said that children don't have nearly the problems reading hypertext that adults who were brought up without it do."

Deena says, "Yes, I can think of lots of print nonlinear books--How to Make An American Quilt is one of my favorites"

fleshacker thinks if we are determined to echo a regular architecture of accepted [canonised] standards that there is a danger of letting work slip thru that s.sentially is less than it could b....

Deena says, "Right, we need to wait for a few of those kids to start writing..."

cleo says, "You hate what you don't understand."

Deena says, "Mez, can we use some of the traditional methods and still have an essentially hypertext, rhizomatic garden with blooming content flowers?"

andrewstern says, "But it's true that a lot (almost all?) htf is difficult, not exactly inviting to the average reader..."

fleshacker thinks if confusion is an option rather than play/absorption, ppl go 4 confusion.

Deena says, "Why would people go for confusion?"

andrewstern says, "It's easier to write"

Deena says, "How do we make it inviting, and intriguing, yet fully connected and nonlinear?"

fleshacker says, "Who is this average reader???? I always get worried by if the average reader hasta be moddy-coddled, that they can't take leaps..."

Deena thinks ahh, ppl 4 confusion are writers not readers and is now thoroughly confused/confuscious.

Adrienne says, "Confusion, I think, is easier to write. But good writing should acknowledge that life is confusing and try to make sense. We don't need more models of confusion: it's everywhere. Making sense is much more scarce.""

cleo says, "It seems to, often, emulate the workings of consciousness much more naturally tho - our thought patterns /experience/living is not linear, finality is a form/structure we have created."

andrewstern says, "Okay not "average" but typical... I think most readers aren't afraid of a challenge but it can't be too too much work for them; this is supposed to be pleasurable."

Deena says, "Mez, that circles around to Claire's point about writing to a reflected reader. How are we finding out about our readers? Or are we just projecting a lot of how they read on an indistinguishable mass out there?"

Saada says, "Adrienne, I agree about confusion everywhere and why add to it."

Adrienne "I actually know a lot about my readers because they send mail. It's really interesting to read. I recommend that everyone ask for responses on their site."

Saada says, ""It is too much of a mess at the moment ""

cleo says, "We need to delineate between creation/art .vs entertainment as our aim. their intentions are utterly different."

andrewstern says, "Hmm, my favorite entertainment has a lot of art in it... they can be combined"

Adrienne "I feel obliged to entertain in exchange for someone being willing to read my stuff."

Deena says, "Good point, we keep talking about ht as we would talk about ALL books, ALL entertainment--which is a lot of the confusion. Yet there is so little out there now that it seems easier to lump it together"

fleshacker says, "Deena, I spose I take a gamble with my own style all the time, as in the mix of sensual imagery [traditional] and more coded inflections [ht dependent] seems to get the most amazing responses...granted some are negative, but I'd prefer to push that style than create/recreate work for the masses that purley reinforces all that has gone b4...."

cleo says, "But your first purpose - is it your career you're focusing on, or the work itself?"

Deena says, "Mez, yes, one of the wonderful things about ht is the possibility to experiment, to create something entirely new..."

andrewstern says, "We don't write to entertain others, but if we want to connect with others, you've got to collaborate with the reader."

fleshacker asks "me Claire? the work, the work always come first, no matter wot. otherwise I'd be very rich and not producing:)"

andrewstern says, "It's a balance"

Adrienne "In most art forms, there's accessible and there's bleeding edge. For example, most people watch Titanic, they don't watch Goddard. I think ht will have that, too."

Editor's note: although I try to provide URLs for references, I couldn't find a good one for Goddard, which more or less proves Adrienne's point...

Deena says, "Yes, I am uneasy about obligations to a reader. This could go with the obligation to entertain or to be intellectually credible for litcrit."

fleshacker says, "Andrewstern, that's a great way of looking at it, a collaboration with the reader."

andrewstern says, "Certainly there's a happy balance between the two."

Deena says, "Right Adrienne, and right now we lump goddard texts and titanic texts and hypertexts together."

Saada says, "But supposing you need to communicate with the reader?"

Adrienne asks, "Saada, what do you mean?"

cleo says, "You said. it Adrienne [but Goddard will leave a very pointed mark on history - Titanic?..."

Deena says, "Yes, how are we collaborating and communicating with readers that we don't understand?"

Saada says, "I wish esoteric had retained the opposite meaning of exoteric"

fleshacker nice 1 Saada.

Deena passes around retro-dictionaries with new lenses on exoteric

andrewstern says, "Isn't that part of what makes a great storyteller -- understanding the reader?"

cleo says, "You can't communicate with all readers Saada - "

Deena says, "Right, but which reader, which audience, and how do we reach hem?"

Adrienne "I think a lot of ht serves the writer more than the reader."

andrewstern says, "I'm finding it hard to share authorship with reader"

Saada says, "I want to clarify a muddle even if I only focus on a inch of thread"

andrewstern says, "It's not easy to give up authorship."

Adrienne "I don't think the reader wants authorship - or the reader would be writing."

Deena says, "I think so too, Adrienne. I write to experiment, to see what I can create. The reader doesn't enter into it--or I write to collaborate with a reader and then feel upset when no one comes in to play..."

andrewstern says, "Hmm that's a good question, I'm not sure about that... "

fleshacker cs a box, and jumbled within r small typed labels, like "art" and "n.tertainment" and "projects" and "culture". She mixes them all up then grabs a handful, and throws them high in2 the air.

Deena says, "Saada, how do you clarify the muddle?"

Deena tosses out the letters in the air with confetti and gets them switched up for real progressive dictionaries and khazars.

andrewstern says, "I think people do want to interact, but they have no works (other than juvenile videogames) to let them express themselves (short of becoming writers)"

fleshacker says, "isn't the reader the ultimate author ad? I mean, no1 can govern a readers response, or meaning curve, we all interpret differently, x.tract meaning in all sorts of ways...."

Adrienne "Andrew, I think the interaction you're talking about is much more petz oriented than text oriented."

Saada says, "As someone said - all is chaos - the art is to find small areas in the chaos that have with pattern."

andrewstern says, "Perhaps so."

andrewstern says, "I don't know."

Saada says, "Sorry about wandering "with""

Saada says, "Can't think how it got in there"

Deena hands out more invisible ink to combat the wandering words--

fleshacker watches the wandering withs:)

Deena then scrambles to keep all of the floating letters and boxes and genres from getting invisible ink splatters

Adrienne "fleshacker - for me, the reader is not the ultimate author. there is not enough room. I would be hard pressed, actually, to think of any great piece of work where a non-producer of that work would feel ultimate authorship"

fleshacker throws the ink high in2 the letter snow, watching and waiting, head tilted and silent.

Deena says, "So maybe the ultimate author is the author writing for himself"

Deena enjoys the snowfall of invisible and visible letters and wonders how many of those invisible letters are writing to themselves...

fleshacker says, "ad. fair enuff. I like to switch the authorship boundaries, let them x.tract there own narrative, meaning etc. but I understand this isn't for all."

andrewstern says, "Have you seen the installation text rain, Deena?"

Deena says, "No, please provide the URL."

andrewstern says, ""

cleo says, "I think flesh's point is one of the acknowledgments of ht. often - that the writer doesn't necessarily have the authorship control s/he is thought to have, thus we create a different, more open space that may, in many ways, be simply an allowance and invitation/impetus - a catalyst ..."

Adrienne "fleshacker - it's precisely because you have such a readical idea of authorship that when this chat is over, I'll go to your site right away - very curious to see it.

Deena says, "We have covered a lot of ground, from author/reader to traditional text structures translating into rhizomatic environments... Are there other points we want to cover with Adrienne?"

Saada says, "Thank you for letting me join your discussion. I hope to see you again, sometime."

fleshacker says, "I spose it gets back 2 my notion that if a reader can connect with the work on a personal, profoundly m.pacting way, that the result will be surprising rich."

Deena says, "Mez, please give us the URL for the site again.."

fleshacker says, ""

Saada says, "Bye now"

Deena says, "Saada, thanks for coming. This chat will be archived at"

Saada has disconnected.

The housekeeper arrives to remove Saada.

Adrienne "I've learned a lot from this discussion. thanks, everyone."

Deena says, "Me too, it was/is a lot of fun."

andrewstern smiles and waves thanks

Deena says, "I think that having so many perspectives coming together helps a great deal to clarify our lenses."

Deena hands out clarifying/terrifying lenses for the road.

fleshacker thanks all and waves.

cleo says, "thanks all -"

Everdeen says, "bye all thanks!"

Deena says, "Don't forget to come by for OWEL the last sat of the month!"

Everdeen waves.

Everdeen says, "Deena what time is that on sat?"

cleo says, "thanks esp. Adrienne"

Deena wishes all a good writing and reading exp.

Deena says, "That will be 2 p.m. Mountain time, same as this chat, only on Sat."

Everdeen says, "thanks!"

Deena says, "Our chat schedule is also up at"

Deena says, "And next Sunday we will be in the TrAce room for a social chat."

cleo says, "btw my site is"

fleshacker says, "These chats r great... thx Deena and all. "

Deena says, "Thanks for coming, all of you!"

Everdeen says, "I'm bringing triple-chocolate brownies next week."

fleshacker says, "yummmmm!"

Everdeen says, "byeeee :)"

The housekeeper arrives to remove andrewstern.

Deena passes out anticipatory tongues for chocolate.

fleshacker prepares her teleport, pulsing.

fleshacker poofs!

fleshacker has disconnected.

The housekeeper arrives to remove fleshacker.

Deena starts sweeping and straightening up.

-- End log: Sunday, November 19, 2000 4:20:21 pm CST


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