Writing about Horror, Sci-Fi and Interactive Fiction

Author: Brian (page 2 of 4)

Twine 2 Tutorial: Creating a Basic Inventory

A common question for many new Twine authors is creating an inventory system. There are many different ways to create inventory, but for this story, you’re going to start easy and later, scale up to advanced.

In this story, players need to collect certain items. First, they need to find Bernie’s chili recipe to turn it over to the authorities. Next they need to find pickup keys and the gasoline to escape. Optionally, they can try to find a flashlight to pass through a dark area in the campground.

On easy mode, the objects start in the same location every time. On hard mode, the locations are randomized. You’ll get started by adding objects in easy mode.

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Twine 2 Tutorial: Getting the Player’s Name

I’ve been playing around with Twine for a number of years and the number one question I get from new story authors is, “how do I get the player’s name?”

In older versions of Harlowe, you needed to write some Javascript that created a browser input box. It was a rough solution that wasn’t very mobile-friendly. My advice to the question was always, “just don’t do it”.

Thankfully, Leon Arnott (the author of the Harlowe story format) provided a solution but in order to understand how to use it, you need to dive deeper into macros.

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Review: Lord Foul’s Bane

After a difficult loss, a close friend of mine recommended that I read a high fantasy book called Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson.

My friend understands loss and suffering, having recently lost his mother to hospital negligence to almost losing his daughter to a rare stomach disorder.

He said, “Thomas Covenant is a bitter angry protagonist that spits in the face of loss. He may speak to you now.”

In a way, Covenant did speak to me, but not in the way my friend imagined.

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Twine 2 Tutorial: Coding with Twine Variables

Here it comes. The part of this tutorial series that some of you have been dreading: coding.

This is the part where we type obscure symbols that only a few select people can ever understand. Or so, some people tend to think. Believe it or not, coding isn’t that hard. You will get started on this journey by creating some Twine variables.

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Quiet Please: The Thing on the Fourble Board

This is an awesome story from one of the better old time radio shows. The show was called Quiet Please and all of the episodes were written and directed by Wyllis Cooper. While there are a few turkeys in the mix, for the most part, Quiet Please is a quality production.

From the slow hypnotic introduction of each episode to the many fantastic stories, once you start listening to an episode of Quiet Please, you probably won’t stop (or do anything else, for that matter) until that episode has come to the end.

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Reflections on The Mist

A freak storm overtakes the small town of Bridgton. It knocks down trees, powerlines, crippling the small town. David takes his son and neighbor into town to pick up some supplies. They stop at the Federal Food Supermarket to find it packed with other townsfolk.

As they wait in line, a thick mist swallows the town. It’s no ordinary mist. It contains a horde of massive mutated bugs straight from a Lovecraft fever dream.

And then, the bodies start to pile up.

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Writing Every single Day

In my sophomore year of college, I took an intermediate writing class. I thought it was going to be like my introductory course. That is, write a story utilizing expanded concepts.

I was wrong.

My instructor, the great Perry Glasser smiled like an executioner about to start the warm-up torture before the crown pleasing beheading. “I want you to write six stories and I want you to write them in the next six weeks. Your first story is due next week.”

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Twine 2 Tutorial: Adding More Locations

Passages are the bread and butter of creating interactive stories in Twine. You don’t have a story without them. Passages can represent anything in a story. For instance, you can use them to represent a place like the moon, a thought in a character’s head, or even a single line of dialog.

Combined with Twine coding, you can use them to run specific code that be accessed from anywhere in your story. You’ll learn how to do this later in this tutorial series. For now, it’s time for you to get practice building passages and linking them together.

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Old Time Radio: Bloodbath

The first time I played the Escape old time radio show, I was hooked. While this series certainly has its share of cheese, for the most part, the tales of “high adventure” are really good.

Had I listened to these tales as a kid, I would have been amazed. Growing up in the eighties, I was an Indiana Jones nut and this show seems to have channeled the spirit of the character.

This episodes is a great one … a group of travelers make their way through the jungle to find some uranium, and when they strike the motherload, they come to realize that they can’t trust each other. And so the bloodbath begins!

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The Turning of the Worm

In 2003, a person (whose name is long forgotten) reached out to me on this blog. He was creating a zine based on 1930s depression era horror and asked if I’d like to contribute a story for it. I wrote a first draft but by the time I reached out to him, he was gone. His zine was taken offline and that was the end of that.

I liked the story and kept it around, polishing it over the years. I started submitting my work to various magazines on and off. I found one horror focused magazine called Body Parts Magazine that has since gone dark. (Reference images here). I submitted it in 2014. It took an entire year to get a response, but they accepted my story for publication in 2015. I was paid twenty dollars! That’s the most money I have earned from my fiction writing.

The story has been taken offline due to Body Parts’ closure, but I thought it’d be nice to share it as I won’t be submitting it again. Enjoy!

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