Storyweb - a proposal to the literary community on the WWW.
And that means you!
Surfing the WWW, I have come upon a number of collective literary projects
inspired by the possibilities of hypertext. For instance a hypertext novel
written by whoever happens to pass by and contribute a bit. Or collective
poems - add a line, if you like - or the longest sentence on earth. Most
of these experiments I found rather disappointing, because they were just
games, or tried to adapt old forms - like the novel - to the new media.
But a novel is a novel, and part of what makes a novel is that it is written
by a single person.
The project I propose is something much simpler, but much more appropriate
for the WWW. I would like to call it Storyweb, and I think the name reveals
the whole idea. A web of stories - stories in the broadest sense - around
the whole world. Or is it really so simple?
It should work like this:
It begins with a single text I have placed on my homepage. You can find
it at this URL: 6billion.htm. If you pass by
and read it, and it appeals to you in some way, I invite you to react to
it. You are invited to create a text that in some way relates to my text.
That is the only requirement your text has to meet: to relate in some way
to my text. It can be a contradiction or an affirmation, an example or
something my text has reminded you of. But anyway it should be a thought
that has been triggered by reading my text. It could be a direct answer
- although this would make it more difficult for others to relate to your
text. For this of course is the essence of the whole project: that others
are invited to relate to your text in the same way as you did to mine.
And so on. And so on. Your text can be a poem or a short story or a haiku
or some other form. (Why of course, it could also be artwork of some sort)
Only it should not be too long. If you contribute a novel, readers might
loose the feeling of moving in a web of texts by a community of writers.
Your text can be any language you like. But if possible, you should provide
an English translation. And if it's in English, you might provide a translation
into some other language.
When you have created your text, you will place it on your homepage
and send me an e-mail to inform me of the fact. Or if you don't have your
own homepage you will send the text to me by e-mail and I will place it
on my homepage. I will then create a link to your text using the title
you propose. And then the process can begin anew with your text. You will
create links to the texts that relate to your text, and you will place
contributions of homepageless authors on your homepage. After a while,
there will be many stories to read, many threads to follow, many texts
to relate to. Of course you are invited to contribute at different stages
of the growing web.
Each text should be placed on its own page.
A page that is part of storyweb should contain the following:
The page may also contain a link to the authors personal homepage, and
special links to other parts of storyweb the author thinks relate to his/her
text (but this sort of link should be used very sparingly). Storyweb pages
shouldn't contain any other links.
The Storyweb logo
The name of the author and the country where the author lives.
A link to the text that inspired the text on the page.
Links to the texts that have been inspired by the text on the page.
A link to the authors e-mail address.
A link to the storyweb homepage (this page).
If you like, you can use the sample page as
a template. Maybe this makes things easier, I don't know. But maybe you
will want to make your page look much better than this.
Everybody who is interested in the storyweb project is invited to:
Participants especially might wish to direct readers of their homepages
directly to their own contribution in storyweb. No problem. But contributors
should also create links to other parts of the storyweb they find interesting
and to the storyweb homepage. So after a while there can be many, many
doors into the storyweb.
inform others about storyweb
create a link to the storyweb homepage
create a link to any text in the storyweb
translate this proposal into any language it hasn't yet been ranslated
to and send it to me, so
I can add a new language version to the Storyweb homepage
So who says this
won't be just some sort of glorified newsgroup? Well, this depends entirely
on you. Just contribute something worth while. And if you really think
the next person who wants to link their story to yours just wrote absolute
crap - well no one can make you link your story to theirs. It will be your
responsibility not to accept crap, but not to censor controversial material
either. Contributors should bear in mind that this is not a discussion
group. Each text, although relating to the previous one, should be a work
of art in its own right and something worth while to be kept on the web
for more than just a couple of months.
Martin Auer, April 3,1996