Twine 2 Tutorial: Writing Your First Story

Twine is a Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) development environment. This is a tool that allows anyone with a little passion to write a branching story that you can share, sell or read on your own.

Twine is program developed by Chris Klimas. He originally wrote it as a desktop application but with the release of Twine 2, it is now a web app. This means Twine can run on any platform. All that is needed a modern web browser. While Twine has many contributors, Chris is the driving force behind the project. If you enjoy the software, support him on Patreon

Twine is a free tool and the stories made with it are yours. This is different than say a competing product known as ChoiceScript where you need permission to sell your story.

This tutorial will teach you the basics of Twine to get started.

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Beginning Interactive Fiction with Twine 2

You step into the pantry thinking about spice combinations when the door slams shut behind you. A lock snaps into place with a loud click. The pantry light goes out.

You turn on your heels to see a pair of twisted yellow eyes in the dark. The corners are bloodshot and savage. From the faint light spilling underneath the pantry door, you manage to see the serrated edge of a knife, pointed directly at you.

Do you:

Kick at the stranger in the dark.
Ask, “What do you want?”
Step backward, feeling for something heavy.

So begins a story that may leave you scrambling through a house with a killer at your heels. Or its a story of epic pranks that grow out of control. Or maybe its the beginning of an inter dimensional chase with the fate of civilization hanging in the balance. The ultimate outcome of the story isn’t determined by the writer. Rather, it’s the reader who makes the journey.

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Choose Your Own Adventure

I don’t remember the first time I played a text adventure, but I do remember the first time loving branching fiction. I was six years old, sitting on my father’s lap. He read to me The Cave of Time by Edward Packard. It was the first book in the popular “Choose Your Own Adventure” series.

I love this memory for two reasons. First, it’s one of the few times I remember my dad reading to me. I know both my parents read me lots of books, but it’s this the one time I really remember. Second, I loved the idea that a story could change based on my own choices. It was incredibly exciting to control the events of a tale.

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Alien 3 by William Gibson

1992 was a special year for me. First, I was finally graduating from my dumpster fire of a high school. Second,  my writing started to mature into something people wanted to read. And finally, Alien 3 was released.

Growing up, I was a huge fan of both the Alien and Aliens movies. Yes both movies scared and repulsed me, but the style, aesthetics and story lines captivated my imagination unlike any other sci-fi horror.

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Every New Beginning Starts with a Coat of New Paint

When my wife and I moved into our house in 2007, we decided that the little alcove off the main bedroom would be my writing room. This wasn’t a change of purpose. Debbie, the former owner of the house, had also used it as a writing room. In fact, she and her husband sold the house so they could move to the Los Angeles area to write screenplays. When she lived in Connecticut, she actually worked as a writing professor.

It stayed as a writing room for a couple of years. I wrote the first draft of a book, wrote several short stories and a bunch of word vomit that never see the light of rewriting.

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Twisting the Night Away

This past week, I decided to pick up the game, Prey. It’s a game that features aliens, dead people on a space ship, and mysteries within mysteries. I thought it would be a good fit for my channel since a lot of games that I cover have similar themes.

The game starts with you playing a person on their first day of work. You wake up in your apartment, get dressed, then take a helicopter to a nearby office building for a physical.

Except, things aren’t what they seem. If you are looking to play Prey and don’t want anything spoiled, then skip this blog post. Otherwise, keep reading.

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The Ten Percent Rule

One of the first questions I’m always asked when people find I out that I run a YouTube channel is, “how many subscribers do you have?” This is the most visible metric, and unfortunately, the most misleading of them.

New YouTubers will often time quote the “ten percent” rule, and judge channels accordingly. The rule goes something like this: “each video you produce should receive ten percent of your total subscriber count.” Channels that violate this norm are thought of as gaming the system. That is, buying views for videos to give the appearance of an active channel.

Unless you’re making one type of content, you’ll find this rule is also a myth. My channel has almost 3.5k subscribers and here are the numbers for my recent videos:

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