Judy Malloy, Editor

Judy Malloy
The Role of Authoring Systems
in the Expression of Individual Vision

Introductory Remarks to an
Authoring Software for Pedagogic Practice PowerPoint
Pedagogic Colloquium
2013 E-Poetry Festival,
Kingston University, London, June 17-20
produced by poet
and Kingston University Professor, Maria Mencia

Looking at e-poetry through the lens of 27 years of creating electronic literature, I would like to celebrate the role of authoring systems as core components in the expression of individual vision -- not only for experienced practitioners but also for students.

Authoring systems might be programming languages or they might be applications or scripts created with a programming language. Among many other possibilities, they also might be software-generated social networks that facilitate the creation of public electronic literature, such as Twitter or Second Life.

Not only are authoring systems core to the creation of electronic literature but also they have contributed to the shaping of electronic literature -- for example the role of Storyspace in the look and feel of hyperfiction and the role of Flash in the look and feel of e-poetry.

But, although authoring systems are at the core of the creation of the work, at the same time, writers of electronic literature *themselves* continually shape the literary uses of the authoring systems which they utilize. For instance, in creating his interactive fiction Hoist Sail for Heliopause, Andrew Plotkin used the Interactive Fiction authoring system Inform 7, in tandem with the language of "lyrical science fiction of the early 1970s."

"Heliopause," he observes in an Authoring Software statement, "probably does not add new dimension to the genre of interactive fiction, but it attempts to push the boundaries of practice (and the player's expectations) in interesting ways ...If its literary homage makes the effort more memorable, then I have achieved my goal."

But if Inform 7 is becoming the standard Interactive Fiction authoring system, conversely authoring system development in many other genres is in creative flux. At some point, the electronic literature field as a whole may begin -- as did medieval and early Renaissance musicians with music notation -- to adopt one, or only a few authoring systems, so that works do not become difficult to access.

We are not yet at that time.

Indeed, given the core role of authoring systems, and the fact that to a certain extent authoring systems shape the experience of the work, continued support of diverse authoring systems is important -- particularly at this point of time when our field is developing, expanding, and creating surprising, vibrant works of electronic literature.

Introductory remarks to a PowerPoint,
given via Skype
at Kingston University, London,
on June 17, 2013

Authoring Software

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