When I began my doctoral research into computer-mediated storytelling few stories, if any, existed at which I could point and say, "there, that's what a fully realised computer-mediated story looks like." Therefore, the importance of creating an example such as Odysseus, She became evident.The purpose of Odysseus, She is to reveal the processes involved when constructing a computer-mediated story, particularly the way in which these processes can flow from an understanding of interactive story shapes. In this way I hope to offer creators the opportunity to more broadly and with greater facility construct other such stories in the future.

The Odyssey by Homer was chosen as the basis for this new and example work. A significant point in storytelling for this medium is the need to get away from the "Freytag's Pyramid" model of storytelling whereby the goal is to generate a single all encompassing climax, as is so regularly delineated by how-to-write books, and instead emphasize the Odysseyan model whereby there may be many moments of climax and yet the audience is still left with a sense of completeness at the end of the story. With this shift in emphasis it becomes a simpler task to tell a story which contains interactivity, multi-linearity, tree-branching and other such structures which are best facilitated by a computer.

Odysseus, She is primarily multi-linear, telling a story such that several parallel and/or inter-related stories are presented simultaneously. Multi-linearity invites comparison and contrast, it can also indicate that several aspects of a story are being considered of equal weight and value. My audience can compare and contrast what I have done with Odysseus, She in relationship to The Odyssey. They can also compare and contrast the experiences of the two leading characters: Odysseus and Telemakhe. So, in a way, I am providing a story and its sequel within a single work.

Ultimately, it is my desire that Odysseus, She proves not only useful academically, but is enjoyable interactive reading as well, perhaps then communicating the value of playing creatively in this medium.

Story Introduction

Copyright © 1999 Katherine Phelps