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Hyperlinked Stories with Twine

This guide introduces Twine as a lightweight and open-source tool to craft your own hyperlinked stories and games.

Story Map Overview

Twine stories are made of passages and links. Passages contain the content of your text - text, images, etc. - while the links show the paths your reader can take from passage to passage. Sometimes passages have multiple links - meaning that your reader can chose from a selection of options (as hyperlinks) to progress the narrative through different paths and possible outcomes. Twine visualizes these relationships as Story Maps - with squares representing the passages and arrows representing the links between passages. 

twine-interface

In the image above, you'll see Twine's Passages View interface with example Story Map of a story titled "Twine Workshop" with 11 passages (including four possible endings) and 13 links connecting the passages in various ways. 

Drafting Your Text

Before you start working in Twine, start to think about your text - the story, game, or presentation -  you'd like to tell and start to gather all of the media you'd like to use. You can start to map your text out on paper before ever accessing Twine itself. This type of drafting or storyboarding will help you think through your story structure and the paths your reader can take. 

In the image above, you'll see a simple Twine storyboard mapping out plans for a workshop using Twine. You can start to map out your story on whiteboards, paper, or notecards!

Important Terms

Story: The term Twine generally uses to describe Twine projects, though Twine emphasizes that Twine projects can go by any name. Remember that Twine stories do not need to be stories in a traditional sense. Twine stories can be narrative stories, games, presentations, information or decision-making resources, and more based on your needs. 


Passage: The primary component of Twine stories including all content you want your reader to read and see, broken into blocks of time, space, dialogue, etc. Passages can be of varying lengths and include formatted text, embedded media, and custom styling. Stories can include any number of passages, connected in any number of ways.


Link: The connections between passages that imply movement between passages. Links represent the hyperlinks between specific passages and help determine the passage path your reader follows as they make choices throughout the story. Passages can have any number of links to and from them.


Story Map: The networked visualization of your story's passages and links.


Story Listing: The opening screen you see when you access Twine. It includes a list of your saved Twine stories on the left and a menu of options to create a new story, edit settings, and access help documentation on the right.


Passages View: The primary screen you work in while crafting individual Twine stories. It includes your Story Map visualization, as well as options to edit your settings and story. You can also test and play your story from the Passages View.


Story Format: The collection of styling rules and options for your story. This is an advanced feature that could change the way your format your passages (style markup), but provides more flexibility to customize your story. The current default Story Format is Harlowe 3.1.0. This is the style used in this tutorial.