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  SunCity

  Lawrence J. Clark

SunCity, like many of my poems, short stories, and songs, is a "slice of life" piece. I would like to show a typical "day in the life" in a large city on the American west coast. I am using a hypertext structure to do this so I can show events as they occur in various relationships, including time, theme, mood, and geographical location.

My idea is to create a basic "default" storyline that the reader can click through without having to worry about getting lost or finding the way back. If the default links are chosen, the reader will have a satisfactory reader experience with limited frustration and a (somewhat) traditional narrative. "Underneath" the default structure, though, will lie several other "layers" of narrative--how the reader will access those layers, and how and whether those layers will interact, is something I have not decided yet and will be seeking advice on at CyberMountain.

Another "layer" that will add "texture" to this work will be the addition of graphics and audio sound files (original songs I have written that are based on characters and/or situations in the work). I would like to integrate the graphics and sound files into the text so that they help support the story line, advance the plot, provide a repose, etc. I would also like to make these files accessible in a way that the "reader" can access the audio and graphics files separately from the text and therefore have an entirely different experience than if the "integrated" work was being read/browsed, but one that would still give a sense of life as it exists in SunCity.

Currently the structure is being created in StorySpace for Windows. I will eventually have to move it to another format, though, because of the large number of graphics and to enable the audio files. I have experimented with Authorware, but am considering simply using html with the java script that Jean-Hugues Rety has been developing (replicates the StorySpace "guard field" function"), and RealAudio for the audio files. I don't want the RealAudio window popping up every time a sound file plays, though, so any suggestions on how I can get around this will be appreciated.

The geographical structure is arranged by both "real" and "virtual" places: "real" places include educational institutions, businesses, bars and restaurants, an apartment complex, and the street; "virtual" places include chat rooms, e-mail, talk radio, and telephone answering machines. The characters are an odd assortment ranging from the homeless to the privileged educational elite. The characters lives will cross and affect the course of events in various ways, depending on options the reader chooses along the way.

  Okay, that's it for now. Thank you all for your interest, and I'll see you in Denver!