Recently I found out about this branching narrative story tool called Twine. The program gives you all the resources you need to make a choose your own adventure game without needing to know any coding!
As someone who was always into video game development but doesn't know how to code this was great news to me! Once I heard about this my new goal became to learn it and use it to make my own game.
Through a few twine tutorials and some tinkering I was able to make a fully functional (albeit simple) game. It is a simple love poem generator. The game is about a robot named Val who will generate a love poem for you based on how you answer some questions.
It's completely free to play on itch.io so if you want to check it out please do and leave feedback!
Play the game!
Sprites for the game are posted below:
Earlier in the year I challenged myself to write a short story about childhood that was under 500 words. I might make some more stories like this, feedback is welcome!
It was a summer day and we were sitting out on the porch. Me, Richie, and Nicky were trying to see if we could start a fire using Nicky’s glasses. He said he saw someone take their glasses and use the reflection from the lens to start a fire on Survivor. Richie called him a liar so he told us he would prove it.
We were all hunched over a pile of grass while Nicky was trying to angle his glasses above it, the sun was beating down on the back of my neck and Nicky gave me a hard shove that knocked me over.
“You’re blocking the sun!”, he said.
That was when I noticed the inchworms.
There were maybe five of them on the top of the staircase. They were an electric green color and moved in a funny way, scrunching then stretching. I pick one up and let it crawl on my hand, scrunching then stretching.
Richie and Nicky saw this and picked up some inchworms too. I saw Nicky and smile and he motioned to us.
“Watch this,” said Nicky.
He took his open hand, holding two inchworms, and squeezed it shut. When he opened his fist the worms’ gooey remains were pasted to his palm.
Richie laughed, “Ew that’s so gross!”
He then followed Nicky’s lead and crushed the inchworm in his hand, making gagging sounds and wiping the guts on Nicky’s shirt. He retaliated by smacking his palm onto Richie’s arm, smearing the goo on him. They went wild.
When they were done laughing they turned to me expectantly.
The inchworm had almost crawled the length of my hand from my thumb to my pinky, scrunching and stretching while tickling my palm. The little worm raised his head up and waved it around as if to say hello. I didn’t move.
“Come on, do it!”
“Unless you’re too chicken!”
I feel my face growing red.
“Yeah, you too chicken?”
I was not chicken, I had to do something.
I figured maybe if I close my fist but didn’t squeeze down on the inchworm it could live. Nervously, I closed my hand and made a show of waving my fist around that made Nicky and Richie happy.
I opened my hand sideways to try and drop the inchworm on the ground but nothing fell out. I turned my hand over and saw the squished inchworm stuck to it.
“Aw come on, you barely crushed it!,” says Nicky.
“Yeah, that’s weak dude,” says Richie as they start snickering at me. I feel anger rising up to my throat and glare at them.
“Chicken! Chicken!”, they scream.
I look at my palm and realize the worm is still alive, the tiny face was still moving. I tell them this and Richie leans closer to my hand to look.
I smack him, crushing the worm onto his cheek. He screams and lunges for me, tackling me onto the wooden floor of the porch, inchworm smeared on his face.
Throughout the year I have been listening to the podcast Wonderful! before going to bed. In this wholesome podcast husband and wife duo Rachel and Griffin McElroy discuss things they find, well, wonderful. Overall I would say that Wonderful! has been a beacon of positivity for me throughout the year.
One day, after picking me up from school my dad offered to take me out to get burgers. I was in my junior year and happy to go out to eat since I was always hungry all the time anyways. We went to one of the local burger places that was better than McDonalds but worse than Five Guys and settled down to eat. During the meal my dad turned to me and said, "Yet, I don't think you should be a writer."
His motives for taking me out became clear. He didn't think I would make any money pursuing a career in writing.
"You won't get a job that way."
He suggested that I get a real job and just do my writing on the side. At this point I was crying into my burger. He dropped the subject eventually and we went home in silence.
I didn't follow his advice. I was determined to be a writer. After high school I went to Emerson College with the intent to get a BFA in Creative Writing. I was bombarded with questions like, "what job can you get with a Creative Writing degree?", and "Are you going to get a job out of college?"
For the latter I kept reassuring my parents that yes, I would get a job once I was out of college and that I would be okay. But truthfully, I was not so sure.
I knew getting into this that making money would be difficult. The persevering image of the destitute writer is not lost on me. But, I was convinced that I should follow my dreams.
During high school I was published for the first time. A mutual friend of mine was the editor for her mom's website. I submitted something to her and I got paid $25 for a 1000 word blog post about my experience as an immigrant. I was so proud when the check came in the mail. It was proof to me that I could get paid to write and my dad was wrong.
I often based the worth on my writing on whether anyone would pay me for it. Rejections hit harder when you see them reflections on the idea that you can't live off your writing, something you have been trying to disprove to both your family and to yourself. This year I published a piece I was very proud of in a college magazine for no money, and while I was happy to write for this publication there was a nagging voice at the back of my head that said, "It's not worth anything if it doesn't make money." Truly a notion that springs from being raised in this late stage capitalist society we are in. But I have decided I am no longer satisfied with that way of thinking.
This year I am making an attempt, to not to write for money, but to write in attempt to make something good, that I can be proud of. It will be very difficult for me to shake this ideology that I had for such a long time. Proving my monetary worth is no longer my priority. I hope that through focusing on improvement and crafting writing that I am proud of, then I can improve as a writer in ways I could not before.