The course focuses on one methodology and includes two large-scale creative projects which students undertake individually.
NARRATIVE THEORY is the methodology. We study narratology (narrative theory) to gain a better understanding of the form and function of narratives in general, and to be able to discuss and work with the elements and aspects of interactive narrative particularly. Narrative theory is introduced throughout the first half of the course, during the FORKING PATHS unit, and is applied in the ELECTRONIC LITERATURE unit as well.
FORKING PATHS. We study non-linear print pieces of different sorts –not only the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure series but other juvenile fiction books of similarly unusual structure; parodies of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books; literary works such as those by Saporta, Queneau, Mathews, Pavić, Coover, and others; and comics by Jason Shiga and others. Students write their own creative multisequential print piece.
ELECTRONIC LITERATURE. We focus on digital work that has narrative as an important component. Often, the “user” or “reader” is the one who gets to produce the narratives by interacting. A narrative electronic literature work can be a structured document that the interactor can traverse in many ways or a more complex computer program that simulates a world, accepts English input, and perhaps does other interesting things. This includes many computer and video games, including interactive fiction, along with classic and more recent hypertext fictions, visual novels, and many other examples of creative computing. The main project for the term is to create a work of electronic literature of some sort, which can be done by programming or for instance by creating a hypertextual work, which does not require programming.