In this article, Brian W. Chalen ties together different theories, ideas, and examples from several pieces of work that are typographically appealing and new to readers. Using these different works as references, he explains how “the hyperlinked, networked structure of the digital environment has influenced the structure of print fiction and the ways in which a reader is encouraged to approach print text (164).” But what does that mean? Take a look at one of the books that he used as an example in his article, Double or Nothing by Raymond Federman. This book features text in an unusual arrangement that allows each reader to interpret it differently.
Using this new, spatial arrangement as opposed to the left-to-right, top-to-bottom, justified arrangement of text brings new power to the text by breaking “the tension between freedom and control (and by extension, hierarchy/anarchy, inside/outside, writer/reader, etc.) that results from electronic linking and the ways this new textual environment reconfigures narrative space (165). As I was reading this article, another example of this new, different style of writing came to mind: Create Your Own Adventure books. In these books that I would read as a child, the reader was able to choose their own destiny by deciding between two different options at the end of each section. I loved these books because I felt that I was more involved with them than traditional books. This sort of interactive fiction, or surfiction (168), finds ways to alter the structure of the book to intrigue our imaginations and change the story. Here is an example of a Choose Your Own Adventure path choice:
I think that these new, innovative ways of writing text to allow different interpretation by the reader is an important point in literature. With the rise of the internet and the decline of print, there is more and more of a focus and push to for readability and user-friendliness in text, which this type of writing delivers. By arranging the text in a way that readers can interpret it differently and draw different conclusions from it, writers and readers alike can feel more fulfilled and can have greater connections to it based on their individual interpretations.