You’re a small-town journalist who is offered the opportunity of a lifetime. Should you join an election campaign full of surprises, or will you remain at your small-town newspaper for the rest of your life? Click HERE to play!
In general, I enjoy working with Twine. I think that the visualization of the hyperlinks between passages is really advantageous when trying to create a cohesive piece of hyperlink fiction, and I like the coding aspect of the medium. Twine really allowed me to explore different paths when writing my story, and I think that the branching aspect of the medium was important when trying to avoid the “single story” that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talked about in her TED Talk. Part of this freedom to have many different storylines play out came from the ability to incorporate variables into the narrative. I used this many times within my story, perhaps in a manner that isn’t visible to the reader, but that affects the content of the story “under the hood”. For example, instead of creating branching paths at certain points, boolean variables recorded the reader’s reaction to an event and macros changed the content of a passage to reflect the appropriate reaction. I also used variables as a way to keep track of which passages had and had not been visited, when the order in which the passages were read didn’t matter. I also enjoyed using tags and CSS to customize the background of each passage based on the general physical location of the action in the passage. But, Twine had its drawbacks too. I found it very difficult to embed audio into the passages, and especially to control the audio once it was embedded. I eventually discarded the idea of using audio at all, because the medium made handling it so difficult. From the research that I did, it seems that this is a problem with HTML5 as a whole, and not just Twine, but it was still a disadvantage of the medium.
One medium that I know handles audio well is 7scenes, since you can choose to incorporate audio and video into location markers fairly easily. But, I don’t think that 7scenes would be a good choice for my story, because the narrative doesn’t really rely on locations. Rather, my story is action-based. Therefore, I think Twitter would’ve been an interesting alternate medium to use. The story could’ve followed a journalist live-tweeting about their life, which would’ve leant the story a greater sense of urgency and excitement. Additionally, the first-person perspective of Twitter would’ve changed the level of immersion of readers. Instead of living the story themselves, they would’ve been experiencing someone else’s story. The nature of Twitter as an actual social media platform might have even convinced some readers that my characters were real, adding another (accidental) dimension to the story. However, I wouldn’t have been able to explore various paths to the same degree as with Twine, so the narrative would’ve been much more straightforward. The ability to incorporate backgrounds as location markers would have also disappeared, but the ability to attach a location to tweets might have ended up being even more effective. Overall, I think that while a Twitter fiction with the same plot as my story would have been equally interesting, it would have engaged with the cultural discourse in a very different way, simply due to the nature of its affordances and constraints compared to those of Twine.