In media res

I really enjoyed reading Stitch Bitch.  Hypertext reminds me a lot of the literary device “in media res,” meaning the reader is dropped into the middle of the story without any background information.  I personally enjoy this kind of writing and would love to see more of it.

My favorite line came early on in the article:

I hope the flexibility of electronic media means they evolve many different conventions, a sort of articulation of the possibilities, rather than a narrowing. (Let books take inspiration from them and evolve as well).

I think Jackson is trying to tell the readers that as time progresses and the internet evolves, we will see more and more hypertext writings.  Since the internet is so interactive, writers and bloggers can have links to other pages and the reader has the choice to either finish the article and then visit the links or read the links and come back to the original article.  The non-linear format of the internet allows for growth in reading, videos and books.

One hypertext that came to mind while reading Stitch Bitch is a book called House of Leaves.  The book is a horror story told through three unreliable narrators with an unconventional layout.  The book is highly interactive, telling readers to flip from page 52 to page 265 to only go back to page 60 and also includes some research you have to do outside of the book.  While some people may not enjoy this layout, this book is a cult-hit.  House of Leaves was so popular when it was released that the author penned a sequel.

While I feel like people have a hard time accepting non-linear writings, we see it in movies all the time.  Hit movies like Memento, Moulin Rouge, Inception and Fight Club are all considered in media res where the viewer has no idea what is going on.  TV shows are also incorporating in media res more and more, like the ABC show “Revenge.”

While hypertext definitely isn’t conventional, that’s exactly the point Jackson is trying to make.  A reader can read something that’s non-linear and still enjoy the ride.

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