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Re: Non-linear / full-2d writing systems?

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Thursday, May 12, 2005, 19:01
On Thu, May 12, 2005 at 06:33:47PM +0100, Ray Brown wrote:
> Oh dear, I'm probably going to get hit in the friendly cross-fire, but ... > . > > >What I have in mind, however, involves "ink" that is drawn into a 3D > >grid of voxels, > > voxels? I assume -els is 'elements' just as it is in pixels. But what is > the vox- ? Looks like Latin for "voice". If so, there's another difference > between your HST's schemes ans Sai's as I understand it.
"Voxel" is the comp. sci. term for 3D "pixels", the vo- being derived from "volume", and the /x/ is just a gratuitous false analogy with 'pixel'.
> >in a way that every 3D point can be inked or not. Each > >voxel can potentially have a different color, and regions of the same > >color can intertwine in a fully 3D manner that is impossible to > >represent in 2D alone. > > Fair enough - but how is that different from 3d chess, which you seem to > have dismissed as not really 3d? One plays standard chess on a 8 x 8 grid > of 64 cells. Presumably, that is accepted as fully 2d? So if one plays on > a grid of 8 x 8 x 8 cells (or even something simpler like the 8 x 8 x 5 > game) how is that not fully 3d? _All_ the 512 (or 384) cells are fully > usable, and the threats posed by different pieces certainly intertwine.
Mea culpa. You're right, 3D chess is indeed fully 3D in the sense that the threats posed by different pieces do indeed intertwine in a 3D way. I was distracted by the fact that the pieces themselves, although being fully 3D, are nevertheless seen by us only in their surfaces. This is rather irrelevant, of course, but I was distracted in thinking from the POV of a 4D being playing 3D chess on his/its table, in which case he'd be able to see the innards of the 3D pieces and not merely the surfaces. I guess my difficulty lies in pointing out that a "real" 3D writing would use characters (analogous to the chess pieces) that are themselves fully 3D, so that it is not merely that they are arranged in a 3D manner, but also that they themselves are distinguished by their internal 3D structure, and not only by the shapes of their surfaces. [...]
> >I think, in 2D writing, storytelling would not so much be a matter of > >tension-and-release, but instead a matter of visual and aesthetic > >beauty in the resulting layout and in the manner in which the various > >elements are presented. > > That might be all very well for some sorts of poetry - but not exactly > exciting for a story!
Perhaps. Although I can imagine, but this may be an unrealistic stretch, how a prospective 2D novel writer could structure the writing in such a way, that the details of primary interest (the equivalent of "whodunnit" in suspense novels) are deliberately hidden deep in the details rather than being written overtly, so that the reader would have to piece the whole thing together in his mind, before the event(s) of primary interest "click" together. [...]
> >.... This is metaphoric speaking, of course, the > >idea being that rather than using sequence of presentation to produce > >tension, which is dependent on temporal sequence of reading, one uses > >the paradigm of challenge and solution: "here are the pieces to the > >puzzle (story), can you put them together? can you see what the result > >would be?" > > Sounds similar to the idea I put forward when I wrote: > " Would it not be possible for the punchline only to be conceptualized > when the person has a full grasp of the whole 2d presentation? Forming the > story from the 2d representation would be perhaps a process like Platonic > dialectic. When this is complete the punchline comes like the 'blinding > flash of enlightenment' that Plato seems to think will be the philosopher' > s reward for following the dialectic path"
Yep, that's what I was driving at.
> But surely 'challenge' and 'solution' imply temporal sequencing, do they > not? If there's no (or very little) time between the challenge and the > solution, then there's hardly any puzzle, metaphoric or otherwise, and > hence hardly any story.
That's true. It does assume that the reader parses chunks of the writing over time. I guess the difference is that the order in which the reader does this is no longer under the control of the author, unlike in a "linear" novel.
> ====================================================== > > On Thursday, May 12, 2005, at 05:40 , Sai Emrys wrote: > > >>Tension and release is essentially a temporal (i.e. linear) phenomenon: > >>when there is no temporal direction, there cannot be tension before > >>release, simply because there is no unique "before" or "after". > > > >There is: the timeline of reading / understanding. Any > >non-trivial-size writing (or communication in general) will require > >time to understand (unless you already know it, of course). So it is > >at least theoretically possible to play with that progression itself. > > Exactly! If the story is to be worth 'reading' (if that is the right term > for comprehending something non-linear), then a timeline for the 'puzzle > solution'/ dialectic progression (or however you wish to describe it) is > inevitable IMO.
[...] That's true. I guess the point is that the progression depends on the reader rather than the author. What the author presents is fully 2D, and is therefore atemporal in the sense that *if* one could parse the writing in its entirety in an instant, there would be no suspense at all. What saves us from this situation is the limitation that human comprehension necessarily needs to take it in piecemeal, which therefore implies a timeline over which puzzle/solution or suspense/release can take place. T -- "I speak better English than this villain Bush" -- Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Minister of Information


Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>