Here, you'll find some description of the principles that we follow to write
and code the poems. I hope my description will help to clarify things a bit
and hold me accountable.

  1. Make chance a part of the mechanic. It is randomized which part of the
    wordway the computer will start with, and which of the possible parts will be
    called up when you click on a link. This allows for constant variety and
    recombination.

  2. Make choice a part of the mechanic. You get to choose which links you want
    to click and which random chances you want to take. The poem asks the reader to
    engage with it and make a decision every couple of lines, and the reader can
    choose to follow a thread or an image that appeals to them. The combination
    of choice and chance makes it so no two readers will get the same poem when
    they click through a wordway.

  3. Make each part within a poem equivalent in terms of length, number of
    links, and density of ideas.
    The surest way to do this, I found, was by
    giving myself a limited amount of syllables in each line, a limited number of
    lines/links in each part of a poem, and sticking to it. I felt this was necessary
    to maintain a good rhythm and flow from section to section.

  4. Let association rather than linearity run the poem. There is no set
    beginning, end, or middle to a wordway, so what matters more than a plot or
    the development of an idea or point is the development of images and
    patterns. I try and write so that over the course of a wordway, images and
    patterns become stronger or more complicated.

  5. Write each part within a poem as a distinct, complete, and solid chunk.
    The individual parts have edges: they come together like pieces in a jigsaw
    puzzle or stitches in a carpet, and not like pancake mix and water in a bowl.
    Each part is different from every other part it touches in where it comes
    from, what it talks about, and where it goes.

  6. Treat the link words like they are rhymes. The links naturally form couplets
    because when you click one, the poem part that will come up also has that
    link, making two in a row that have it. Links will also pop up in interlaced
    ways as well: if you begin, for example, on a part with the links A and B,
    you might click on B, which brings up a part with the links B and C. Click on C,
    and you might get to a part with the links A and C -- meaning that the A link
    in the third part will rhyme with that in the first.

  7. Keep some of the poem hidden. On most of the wordways, a reshuffle button
    will pop up after you have read a certain number out of the however many pieces.
    This is to make sure that the poem is not overcrowded: it is easier to confidently
    hold and remember three things in your brain than it is to hold six, and it
    gets harder to hold six when there is not a story stringing them together.
    The other reason for this is to incentivize re-reading and clicking that
    reshuffle button. When you reshuffle, already-read pieces of the poem will
    appear in different orders, and recombine with never-read pieces.
I haven't yet written a poem that accomplishes all that, but I hope I am on my
way to it!


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