Twine for writers

A new way to write

Twine is a free tool for creating hyperlinked texts. It was created for and has been mainly used for making text based games, some of which are incredibly sophisticated. But I think it can and should be used for the writing, structuring and publishing of literary texts. I believe it encourages experimentation and hybridity. My aim is to encourage writers and artists to engage with the notion of using Twine to support the production of a new kind of work. It’s not actually a new kind of work – artists and writers have been using hyperlinked texts for years. I produced my first hyperlinked work in around 1992, though I had to code it all by hand. 

I came to Twine because I am interested in producing text based work that exists across the limen of traditional and technical possibilities. Although the format is online linked texts or hypertexts, the focus is on the text, not the technology. A fundamental tenet of this type of work that cannot exist purely on a traditional printed page. It may be able to coexist with a printed page, and I hope to explore such dual publishing.

Twine is a free tool and it produces web based hypertext so there is no restriction on how or where work is published. It is easy to get started with but it also offers a lot of sophistication. It demands exploration and experimentation.

Twine in no way limits what sort of work can be made. Twine can be used for textual or literary work, fiction, non-fiction, poetry and other forms. It can be used for simple short poems or entire novels and many other things limited only by imagination (and a bit of effort at learning).

I am interested in unusual hybrids and mixes, e.g. non-fiction containing fiction or poetry or poetry that tells a non-fiction story. Textual work may contain visual work and visual works may contain textual elements. There are many other variants or hybrids. There are no rules of course, it is up to the artist to create the work. You can bring existing texts to the workshop or write from scratch.

As there are very few examples of the use of Twine for writing literary texts, my aim is to encourage writers of all types to experiment with this tool and put work into the public space. I feel this tool has huge potential but this will only be shown by actual use by a wide variety of writers and artists.

Twine can be used in many ways to produce work, even if you are not familiar with it. It is good for people who have no desire to become coders. It can be used very simply but it can also get quite complex – in the same way as a word processor. I think we all end up finding our own accommodation with the tools that help us produce our work. So, with Twine, we will quickly be producing short works and then hopefully experimenting with the various things it can do.