Starting with Markdown: a flexible extensible hypertext authoring system

Submission Type

Workshop

Start Date/Time (EDT)

19-7-2024 2:15 PM

End Date/Time (EDT)

19-7-2024 3:15 PM

Location

Hypertexts & Fictions

Abstract

Twine is an excellent tool for creating hypertext e-lit but its focus on ease-of-use means that it has some limitations. This workshop explores an alternative workflow and toolchain that is simultaneously good for creating and publishing hypertexts and also good for facilitating research, creative note-taking, journaling, documentation and translation, all in a single local-first repository. In other words, it's a set of tools and techniques that is particularly suitable for e-lit creation and for creative and practice-based research.

This method was developed during the making of Voices, an interactive narrative about body image issues. We will use Voices as a case study. We'll examine its novel IF design and explore how the methods employed in its production and translation can be adapted for other projects. In keeping with the ELO's "Principles for Creating Long-Lasting Work" (Acid-Free Bits), this approach prioritises open file formats, future-proof standards and open web technology. It utilizes free software and, optionally, low cost software and services, but there's no proprietary lock-in. This set-up is highly adaptable and extensible and can be as simple or complex as required. It's also good for collaboration. It all starts with writing in Markdown (a simple markup language, easily converted to HTML or other formats) and using an open format writing application, such as Obsidian. In Obsidian, your files/data remain private, easy to retrieve, read, write and control because it's all stored in a 'vault' (folder) on your local file system. You can open the files in other tools too (e.g. a code editor), making them easy to process. Whether you're an e-lit creator, researcher or teacher, whether you're fluent in programming languages or have no coding skills at all, this workshop has something to offer. Before the workshop:

Bio

Christine Wilks is a writer, artist, developer of creative web apps and interactive stories, and practice-based researcher. She created Voices, an interactive digital fiction for building body image resilience, as part of Writing New Body Worlds, an international, transdisciplinary research project led by Dr Astrid Ensslin (funded by Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada). Her creative work has won awards, is published in online journals, exhibitions and anthologies, and has been presented internationally at festivals, exhibitions and conferences. She has a PhD in digital writing from Bath Spa University. See her work at crissxross.net

Astrid Ensslin is Professor for the Dynamics of Virtual Communication Spaces at the University of Regensburg. She has published 12 books and over 70 peer-reviewed articles on digital fiction and literary computer games, body image and digital media, critical community co-design and narrative therapy, discourses of gaming, the spatial design and narrative potential of virtual realities, as well as in methods of digital humanities and empirical reader research. She was Principal Investigator of the Writing New Body Worlds project, funded by SSHRC, which led to the creation of Christine Wilks' Voices.

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Jul 19th, 2:15 PM Jul 19th, 3:15 PM

Starting with Markdown: a flexible extensible hypertext authoring system

Hypertexts & Fictions

Twine is an excellent tool for creating hypertext e-lit but its focus on ease-of-use means that it has some limitations. This workshop explores an alternative workflow and toolchain that is simultaneously good for creating and publishing hypertexts and also good for facilitating research, creative note-taking, journaling, documentation and translation, all in a single local-first repository. In other words, it's a set of tools and techniques that is particularly suitable for e-lit creation and for creative and practice-based research.

This method was developed during the making of Voices, an interactive narrative about body image issues. We will use Voices as a case study. We'll examine its novel IF design and explore how the methods employed in its production and translation can be adapted for other projects. In keeping with the ELO's "Principles for Creating Long-Lasting Work" (Acid-Free Bits), this approach prioritises open file formats, future-proof standards and open web technology. It utilizes free software and, optionally, low cost software and services, but there's no proprietary lock-in. This set-up is highly adaptable and extensible and can be as simple or complex as required. It's also good for collaboration. It all starts with writing in Markdown (a simple markup language, easily converted to HTML or other formats) and using an open format writing application, such as Obsidian. In Obsidian, your files/data remain private, easy to retrieve, read, write and control because it's all stored in a 'vault' (folder) on your local file system. You can open the files in other tools too (e.g. a code editor), making them easy to process. Whether you're an e-lit creator, researcher or teacher, whether you're fluent in programming languages or have no coding skills at all, this workshop has something to offer. Before the workshop: