Twine: where E-lit meets mapping

Twine is a program used to create interactive stories through hypertext mapping. E-literature and mapping have met in the middle with this program, letting “you organize your story graphically with a map that you can re-arrange as you work.” Similar to the IF stories or choose your own adventure, twine grants agency to the reader, as well as the writer. As a reader, you choose how you will navigate the story, and how the story will be told. As a writer, twine allows you to manipulate time, space, and perspective through its mapping medium.

I recently downloaded the program and began experimenting with twine as a prospective medium for my digital object project. As I began fooling around, I was genuinely surprised by the ease at which I understood the program. Each passage can be created in a new window and linked together, creating a web-like story that can be a simple asĀ  point A to point B, or as complex as a spiral. “Links automatically appear on the map as you add them to your passages, and passages with broken links are apparent at a glance.” Over all, the program is fairly user friendly, even to a new user.

However, that is not to say that there is not a fair amount of frustration to be had, especially once users get past the novelty of learning how to simply use the program, and begin to attempt creating a complex and thoughtful story. I’ve stumbled upon complications while mapping out my story: if it is too simple, it’s just not that interesting, but if it’s too complicated to follow, the reader will get lost and become uninterested (at least, in my opinion). So I am working on finding a balance between continuity and linear prose, and innovative twine mapping that involves the reader, not by simply asking the reader to click through links to continue the story, but by truly engaging the reader, and asking for their participation.