Narrative Analysis of Transcript

The session began when all the participants had logged in. The participants were informed that the logging of the transcript had begun. Note that in the description that follows a "line" is a complete text event, rather than a single 80 column line.


1 Christine says "What about my suggestion that we do our preliminary protocols in the regualar MUSH?"
2 Christine says "That's what they told him in the Army..."
3 Jim says "If that would be more convenient, feel free."
4 Jim notes that Igor is listening (and logging) now.
5 David nods.
6 Don says "This is working much faster tonight."
7 Jim says "Some times the net is faster, sometimes it's slower."
8 Jim says "it's pretty much luck."
9 Christine says "Still, dono't you think it might be easier ."
10 David feels like following others' leads at the moment...
11 Don says "I don't really think so. It works the same, except it's possible to backspace."
12 Christine says "You might get lead by the nose, David..."
13 Christine says "OK, I can stand my bad typing if you can."
14 Jim smiles.
15 Don says "Jim can promise to run it through his word processor and spell checker afterwards, no?"
16 Jim is certainly not going to complain, if no-one mentions the number of typos in the manual...
17 Jim says "the finished story? sure."
18 David says "Well, if it starts to hurt I might object. At the moment, though, I just wanted to account for my silence. Which has ended:-)"
19 Don says "Okay, Jim (Startrek looms) do you need to prep us any?"
20 Jim says "nope. Y'all have a fair idea of how to use Jed, if you have questions, just ask."
21 Christine says "Oh, oh. I remember that from the labor room."
22 Jim says "jreset"
23 jed is reset.
24 Jim says "jswitch on"
25 Jim says "okay, everything's ready to go."

Already, the participants can be seen to be creating the structures of interaction by which they will write the story, asking about spell checking, trying to establish some basic rules of interaction for writing in what for most of them was a new environment. This planning-toolmaking phase continued uninterrupted until line 37, at which time "Don" began to nudge the group toward planning-textmaking.

37 Don says "Set in the Midwest?"

Planning-Text Making, and Planning tool-making continue to be interspersed, until line 47, when Don again nudges the group toward planning the text. This time he's successful, and no further planning-toolmaking takes place until line 90.

47 Don says "How about determining a setting first?"
50 Christine says "David and I are both from Minnesota--is that too far form your native land, Don?"
52 Don says "I can fake it...I was in Minnesota once...for a friend's wedding."
54 Don says "As long as it's in summer...I can't deal with snow."
56 Don says "So...Minnesota in the summer...big city? Small town?"
57 david says "MN is ok by me, of course. I am sitting there now.l"
58 Christine says "It's really humid in Minnesota in the summer."
59 david says "Just the past few days."
60 Don says "Spring better?"
61 Christine says "Time? Early seventies?"
62 Christine says "I lived there then. As a *young* bride."
63 david says "Uprisings at the Unviversity?"
64 Don says "That's when I wsa there...but wouldn't it be easier to make it more contemporary?"
65 Christine says "Nothing academic."
66 david says "OK. Just flashed from the 70s, early."
67 Christine says "Okay, contemporary. Then I can do name brands like Ann-what's her name."
68 Don says "I always find it easier to deal with people in their 30s than in their twenties...don;t know why."
69 Christine says "I briefly lived in a commune called Zigzag City...."
70 david says ""There used to be a beautiful commune on rolling acres, wooded in W. Wisconsin, ties to Minneapolis=Bubbling Springs."
74 Don says "So you're picturing a commune experience...mid-30s (I hope)...idealism beginning to die?"
75 david says "Hot steamy sex scenes."
77 Christine says "No, the commune was too silly."
79 Christine says "But I like the mid-30s."
81 Christine says "Well, it's itneresting to wonder what happened to those foks..."
82 Christine says "There's an interesting film about it with Kiefeer Sutherland and Dennis Hopper."
83 david says "yeah, I saw that.. and some of those folks are still running cooperatives in Minneapolis."
84 Don says "So...a commune called...Rolling Acres..."
85 david says "The New Riverside Cafe (sorry Don, mainly re-vitalized with youn'uns) for instance."
86 Don says "That's o.k. with me...sounds good."
87 david says "Calls itself 'The bio-magnetic center of the Universe.' Whatever that means."
88 Christine says "I always suspected it was in MN."
89 Don says "And who are the main characters?"

At this point "Christine" suggests an alternative means of creating the characters by roleplay, including the possibility of playing characters of the opposite gender from the writers, a.k.a. genderbending. "David" expresses interest, but no further discussion of it occurs, and indeed, no further planning-toolmaking occurs until line 560, when the participants discuss bringing the session to a close.

90 Christine says "Are you interested in doing any genderbending while writing these characters, just to add an odd complexity for Jim to sort out?"
94 david always finds gender bending an interesting prospect.

Planning-textmaking continues uninterrupted until line 115, with approximately even contribution by all three participants. "Don" occasionally becomes frustrated with the level of detail the other two focus on. His protests seem to be noted, as the growing tangent of the menu ends.

106 Don says "Does it matter what they serve? I can't be here all night. (Sorry)"
107 Christine says "Patience, sir."
108 david says "How about her crossing with a man who gavi it up, past acquaintance? Lived the greed of the 80s, but wants to find an imagined past"

At line 115, David begins the phase of Writing-Textmaking, by commanding JED to add the first paragraph. He completes the paragraph at line 132, approximately 8 minutes later, while planning-textmaking discussion continues.

115 <Wed Jun 9 20:52:13 1993 david> jap
132 <Wed Jun 9 21:00:03 1993 david> The Riv Cafe is an old storefront. Maybe two, once, now combined. The windows face Riverside Avenue, where trafic moves at a steady clip. Inside there is a stage at one end where folk, jazz, blues musicians play and the odd poet reads. The door opens at an angle which encompasses both Riverside Avenue and Cedar Avenue. As you enter the cafe, a chalk board to the left lists several foods, mostly items like 'Seasonal plate,' 'Rice and Veggies,' 'Stir Fry.' You grab an old cafeteria tray, some mismatched silverware, and wander through line. Reggae play in the background, the people working there jiggle and glide to the beat. There is a mix of older, grey hairs, young punked-out kids, and young kids who seem to have just walked off a time capsule from the late sixties, early seventies. Artwork hangs on the wall, by locals. The tables are old forDavidmica, but subdued in tone. Woodwork adorns some surfaces. The place has a hazy feel, but is not really smokey. A clatter of busy work comes from the kitchen. Sitting at the tables, people read newspapers (aalternative), books, talk in groups of two or three. Young children play at a few tables.

Five additional phases begin as participants review the paragraph, evaluate it, edit it, as well as adding additional paragraphs, revising and re-planning the story. At this point, JED becomes more complex to use, and mistakes are made, ultimately requiring the study administrator to, after verifying that JED was in fact functioning correctly, recover the first paragraph from the log as it was accidentally overwritten. The other phases continued during this testing and recovery.

134 David says "Yes, just did a long descr paragraph. Not great stuff, but a start. Please edit it."
135 Don says "So he walks into the cafe and sits down at a table to order something."
136 Don says "Christine..you want to take first shor at editting...only one at a time can do that."
137 <Wed Jun 9 21:01:41 1993 David> orders in the line, picks up his food, to mime the way it works. Selfserve, somewhat. But it could be waited...
138 Don says "jlt"
139 Christine says "Sure. Jim, whisper to me what to do ..."
144 <Wed Jun 9 21:03:01 1993 Christine> jed 1
145 Christine says "jed 1"
146 David says "But fiction need not mimick RL, eh? :-)"
147 Don says "God, I hope not."
148 <Wed Jun 9 21:03:43 1993 Christine> jed 1whisper Jim = Now what?
270 Jim says "jdp 1"
272 Jim whisks off to get and reload David's text.
286 Jim says "jap"
305 <Wed Jun 9 21:33:09 1993 Jim> The Riv Cafe is an old storefront. Maybe two, once, now combined. The windows face Riverside Avenue, where traffic moves at a steady clip. Inside there is a stage at one end where folk, jazz, blues musicians play and the odd poet reads. THe door opens an an angle which encompasses both Riverside and Cedar Avenue. As you enter the cafe, a chalk board to the left lists several foods, mostly items like "Seasonal Plate" , "Rice and Veggies", "Stir Fry." You grab an old cafeteria tray, some mismatched silverware, and wander through the line. Reggae plays in the background, the people working there jiggle and glide to the beat. There is a mix of oplder, grey hairs, young punked-out kids, and young kids who seem to have just walked off a time capsule from the late sixties, early seventies. Artwork hangs on the wall, by locals. The tables are old formica, but subdued in tone. Woodwork adorns some surfaces. The place has a hazy feel, but is not really smokey. A clatter of busy work comes from the kitchen. SItting at the tables, people reaad newspapers (alternative), books, talk in groups of two or three. Young children play at a few tables.

(On review of the transcript it becomes obvious "Christine" accidentally overwrote the paragraph trying to ask for help.)

The recursive writing-planning-evaluating-editing-replanning-revision process continued, with the addition of evaluation-toolmaking, most commonly in reference to the difficulties the participants experienced with JED.

363 Christine says "Editing is very slow and tedious. I did a lot of microchanges and I thought I might check back with you to see if you thought it was okay."

Usually after this, the participants would return to the aforementioned recursion via replanning-textmaking.

At the end of the study too, the writers went from the text-making writing phase to the tool-making evaluation phase and agreed that in light of the technical difficulties they were experiencing, and in light of the fact that the study had already run an hour longer than planned and that several paragraphs had been generated and revised, that they felt they had accomplished the goal set before them. The terminal state of the study, then, is the toolmaking-evaluation phase.

560 Christine says "Jim I think for experimental purposes you ahve a nice start here."
561 Jim says "yeah..."
562 Christine says "You can show us setting up a protocol for writing and putting together characters."
563 Don says "I'm not really in a hurry."
564 Jim says "definately..."
565 Jim says "Jed works, he's just got problems with insert and copy."
566 Christine says "Rather than be more frustrated by the technical aspects, why not leave it at that."
568 Christine says "I'm not in a hurry either. I just thought it might be easier to stop here."
569 Jim says "do the rest of you agree?"