Twine, Mental Health, and Writing Style

Twine was one of my first true loves, along with Ren’Py. When I was 14 or 15 and I began wanting to transition from writing stories to writing game stories, Twine and Ren’Py were easy and accessible, with the right amount of programming to teach me something, but not too much that it was impossible to get started. They were also fun to use, and results were easily play-testable and developable by one person. I’ve gotten into the habit of making Twine games as a way of journaling, as a way of decompressing. When my mind is fraught with anxiety, memories, fears, I can turn to my nodes and dialogue boxes to help, to put thoughts down on virtual paper and click through them. The process distances me from the events, yet also helps me to process them and not dwell on traumas.

Going along with these reflections, I’ve developed a specific style of writing in Twine. This style was heavily inspired by my queer game designer inspirations from high school, including Porpentine, Anna Anthropy, merritt kopas, Christine Love, and others. It’s a form of poetry in a way, and uses short, stream-of-consciousness style writing. One of the things that fascinates me about Twine is how the medium itself can be used as a storytelling device. The fact that the player is forced to click through each scene means that you can force a pace in a way that isn’t so easy to do when writing prose or poetry. This can give a sense of urgency, panic, and hopelessness that I find communicates an incredible amount of emotion, especially for how simple it is to accomplish.
When playing the games that we created for class, something interesting popped out at me, and that was the many different styles of writing that were utilized in the games. Some people wrote prose, some wrote very traditional Zork style writing, some used only dialogue. This shows off not only the creativity of the class, but also the flexibility of the medium and the many varied ways that it can be used to tell a story. What works for one person may not work for another, yet it is still valuable to the one who wrote it and those whom it resonates with.

One thought on “Twine, Mental Health, and Writing Style

  1. Yes, I love this, and agree completely with your observances. Maybe we could compare the value of Twine itself as a storytelling device to the multiple devices available to the poet: rhyme, rhythm, meter, etc. All of these devices alter the experience of reading the poem, which augments the poem in a way that mere changes in words never could.

    Maybe it’s like the effects some poems utilize, when sentences abruptly cut off in the middle, to be continued in the next line, or way down at the bottom of the page. These techniques create a sense of… anticipation, almost? They change the tone/pitch/speed you use inside your mind, as you read the poem to yourself.

    Twine is like that– but perhaps even better for creating a sense of anticipation, since you must click in order to read the next line.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s