Experimenting With Online Story Structures

Without the harsh constraints of space that broadcast and print media are confined to, new media journalists are free to explore new story structures. The brute force editing techniques that spawned the inverted pyramid are no longer as relevant online, where the news hole is infinite. However, the screen presents it's own set of problems because of it's lack of portability, the eye strain, and a reader base that seems increasingly less patient. Any new story structure still needs to address some of the goals of the inverted pyramid, while taking advantage of the layering of information available through hypertext.

My goal is to allow readers to experience an interactive non-linear story in a decidedly linear and concrete way. In a sense creating a linear object "line", similar to the ad-hoc changes to a storyteller's tale. Too often, hypertext fiction (or non-fiction) leaves a reader lost in a story without a map. Although to some of the more experimental authors this sense of "nowhereness" is appealing, it would be extremely frustrating to enter a news article and never reach the conclusion. Any story created should allow a reader to print, email, save, or go back through the version of the story that they've created, as well as receiving a sense of closure once they have reached the end.

Story Structure Experiments