September 15, 2009
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Susan Gibb has been looking at reading logs of her new hypertext story, Blueberries. And she’s worried about breaking her pact with the reader.

If you promise sex, you’d better not lead someone into dinner at Grandma’s. All trails must be interesting; just as in straight linear story, each sentence, each writing space, must entice.

But leading the reader to an unexpected dinner at Grandma’s is exactly what writers do. Mary-kim Arnold seems to be promising sex in “Lust”

Nearly naked
this summer night
sweet and heavy,
he come to her.

But if you read “Lust” to look for the racy bits, you’re going to have a long and vexing reading.

A slide from my Hypertext 04 talk on Lust, Touch, Metadata, and the limits of adaptation

Of course, all sorts of stories fail to deliver precisely what they promise. Take our old favorite “Little Red Riding Hood”, which we expect to lead to a nice meal at grandma’s. Instead, our heroine goes to bed with a most unsuitable fellow.

You never can tell. Which is why we like to hear the stories. On any given Sunday...