Analysing and telling changing narrative in Storyspace 4

Paul Delaroche (1797–1856), Herodias (1843), oil on canvas, 129 x 98 cm, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, Germany. Wikimedia Commons.

So far, I have related my collection of images of paintings to the two main storylines about Herod, Herodias, Salome, and John the Baptist. In this article, I am going to add several different art forms, including books, plays and theatrical productions, and movies.

These are different, because unlike the paintings, I don’t want to start embedding hundreds of megabytes of movie, or many pages of text. Rather I want to provide the reader with some carefully chosen links to web pages where they can consult copies. There are several ways to add URL links like these, of which the simplest is to drag and drop the link from the browser onto the writing space content.


Before going any further, I need to add some prototypes, with suitably distinct colours and badges, for books (and other textual forms such as poetry, but not play scripts), ‘live’ theatre productions (including operas, dance, but not movies), and movies. Each of them has key attributes of $StartDate and $EndDate so that they will appear on the timeline in due course.


This is a matter of creating writing spaces like this one, to give essential and relevant details of the work, and adding the links. When you first drop a URL from your browser into the content, it is shown with the regular title of that page. Although a bit tedious, I use the cursor keys to drive in and edit each link title, giving it my distinctive link symbol at the beginning, and pointing out at the end that this is only available when that system has an internet connection.


This works a treat, of course, even when the link takes you to a downloadable or streaming movie.


I thought that another way of making these links was through the Note menu command Make Web Link…. If you copy the URL from your browser, then select the anchor text and use this command, you will be asked to set the link up.


This works fine for the first such link in a document, but thereafter, even though further links look right, they do not actually link. I tried doing this using several variations, but I think for the moment that feature doesn’t work as I had expected it to. Dragging and dropping the URLs interestingly doesn’t create a link like this, but is far simpler and works a treat with as many URLs as you care to add.


I also added more containers for these different art forms, rather than load them into the already crowded gallery.

The next task is to link those new works to the existing storylines. This presents a problem, as, unlike paintings which usually depict a single scene, these generally cover the complete story as shown in the existing scenes. I could add them to the TextSource writing spaces at the top, but those are used to identify the different texts in the composite scenes. Adding text links to those would mean that they appeared on almost every writing space in the composite story – definitely not a good idea.

The solution is to add another writing space between the TextSource and the first scene in the Mark and Wilde storylines, and to interpose one between start and first scene in the composite story. This sounds like a lot of work, but because of Storyspace’s superb toolset, it only takes a couple of minutes.


First, I select the three tiles – start, Mark, and Wilde: Salome – which need to be moved up to accommodate the extra writing spaces. I then drag them up, providing sufficient room below to add the new tiles.


I then select the Mark tile, which selects the link between it and the first scene, and click on the ⓧ attached to that link to delete it. I repeat that with the two other downward links that I need to remove. I then create three new writing spaces to insert, and link them in. The only link which is in the least bit messy is the text link from the start writing space down to the beginning of the composite storyline – that simply has to be remade using parking spaces.


With those Whole story tiles in place, I can now create text links out from them to the added art forms, and back again, just as I did with the paintings in the last article.


Selecting the Whole story (M+W) tile at the head of the composite storyline now tells me which books, plays, etc., were derived from which basic story.

Over the next few days, during which you can enjoy my account of the paintings themselves as they are posted here, I will be adding further content to the hypertext document. When that is complete, I will return with the following steps, and provide an updated copy of the whole document for you to use.