Closure on the web

On April 30, 2007 by Christy

The notion of closure in interactive narratives has been explored by, among others, hypertext-response theorist Jane Yellowless Douglas. In her paper, “How Do I Stop this Thing?”: Closure and Indeterminacy in Interactive Narratives, Douglas analyses the assumptions we make as readers and how we long for closure, even if the text doesn’t supply it:

Even in interactive narratives, we as readers never encounter anything quite so definitive as the words “The End,” or the last page of a story or novel, our experience of the text is not only guided but enabled by our sense of the “ending” awaiting us. (p. 40)

The idea of closure on the web is even more of an issue. Indeed, with the narrative expansion of worlds by producers as well as fans now, there is no such thing as closure of a storyworld anymore. But what about the author’s need for closure? I am on many social networking sites, I blog here and at other places and I must admit that I sometimes fantasize about not having a blog. I am always amazed when I meet people who don’t blog and try to remember what that was like. Bloggers sometimes go on hiatus, but they very rarely end. This is why I was quite surprised, pleasantly surprised, to see this note left on a blog I was chasing up an old link from Rob Coverfish:

Closure

 

I say pleasantly surprised because I sometimes would love to just close shop and because I had (thankfully) taken a screenshot of the article I was after, so there was no loss to my archives. Good on you Glark. May you rest in peace.

Reference: Douglas, J. Y. (1994). “How Do I Stop this Thing?”: Closure and Indeterminacy in Interactive Narratives. Hypert/Text/Theory. G. L. (ed.). Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press: 159-188. [pdf]