The trunk of a tree is alive in a different sense than its leaves; similarly the dead tissue of a coral reef is alive and growing in a different sense than its living outer extents.
Consider a parallel in narrative. One begins any particular narrative on an important subject to convey a different collection of observations, inference, association, private opinion, and tone, than one has found elsewhere.
Many aspects of this narrative are open to feedback and criticism and change; some are not. Many elements of narrative structure are arbitrary and changeable with audience composition and preference; some are not.
A key aspect of narrative is manipulating the audience’s affect, including their interest in and reception of the narrative.
A good story in the traditional sense leaves the audience with something to cherish and remember and pass on; in the modern sense, with a content or excited affect. Both require maintaining elements of interest throughout. Neither can affort excess detail or discursion, nor excess brevity and directness.
Example: IntellectualCapital.org completely lost my interest from the first page with a central misspelling (and has now lain dormant for years).
I want to craft stories with a clean line through each directed course of thought, with a narrative that (perhaps interleaving a few different lines) spirals around these clean lines, touching on them from a number of perspectives in a fluid discourse, progressing all the while toward a consistent end. Details needed for consistency, believability, background, extension to other fields of interest, and more, should all spin off from this central narrative in their own annoted spirals in separate monograph-length chunks, with further recursions directed to separate documents (primary sources; page-length lists of facts; documents by others, or with different specific audiences and times; places and people and active living sources of information). More than two such layers within a single document requires better structure than mere paper or traditional hypertext.
These leaves - surely the facts and background, and perhaps also the individual monographs – merit comments and feedback from interested readers, and should have a mechanism for immediate reader annotation. Central trunks of such a narrative do not; are too complex and carefully built for most readers to add appreciably to them; still allowing, of course, for private notes to the author.
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