Writing for the Web

Jeff Pack, Brown University '99 (English 112, 1996)

I realize it sounds like a cliche to say this about an English class, but English 112 changed the way I write, and the way I think about writing. Before I took Professor Landow's courses, I had never written anything that wasn't designed to exist as ink on paper; I had no idea how to even go about writing in a hypertextual environment like Storyspace or HTML. Then I jumped in with both feet by writing my midterm project as an HTML web. Now I can't go back; even when composing for the printed page, I see my compositions in terms of interlinked lexias rather than a single massive block of text.

I actually find it easier to write hypertext than linear text, because it more closely approximates the way I think. My thoughts rarely have convenient segues between them; instead, a word or a concept will trigger an association to something altogether different. This often happens multiple times within a short space, leaving me with the dilemma of which concepts to pursue. Hypertext lets me choose all of them.

EL112 WebBody & Self OVTitleIndex