In the sixth chapter of Hamlet on the Holodeck, Murray argues for the new possibility of a “novel that is not presented as a paperback but rather an electronic construction kit.” The idea of the reader constructing the text, in this most literal sense, is a fairly recent idea, but metaphorically it certainly has its roots in the kind of thinking that has been developing within reader response criticism.
This new constructed novel, Murray argues, will be an extension of childhood imaginative play; the reader will construct the world and the actors within the world based upon a series of formulaic frameworks. Murray goes on to argue that through a series of creating, enacting, transforming, and reenacting, the reader will eventually manifest their fantasy in a sort of catharsis or closure to the play acting. While certainly this new approach could be a valuable way of shifting the way we think about narratives, the question arises as to how much creative and imaginative agency is best; as with most things in life, the answer seems to lie in moderation.
In order for the reader to manifest their own latent fantasy in the narrative, a certain amount of control over the characters, the setting, and the story must be present; this much Murray makes clear. However, to give the reader absolute imaginative control actually hinders the creation of closure, I would argue. For catharsis to take place, a certain amount of immersion is necessary; that immersion is compromised when the reader is also the creator, just as the director of a play can not fully immerse himself into the action on stage.
If the reader is given god-like creative omnipotence, immersion will be broken, for to be truly immersed you must both act and be acted upon; if the reader/creator is the sole designing force, he cannot be acted on, and therefore cannot become fully immersed in the experience.
However, having a limited amount of control actually increases the sense of immersion. When a situation acts upon the reader/creator in an unexpected way, the presence of some control will serve as a foil that will actually amplify the effect of helplessness, thus allowing for deeper immersion, and for greater impact on the reader.
The new image of the reader/creator, then, is one of a demi-god, who, while being a powerful creative force, is sometimes a victim to unchangeable circumstance.