All the Things | Sunday Snapshot

I haven’t done a Sunday Snapshot in ages and I had planned to do one this weekend as I felt like there’s so much going on right now, I really wanted to do a post talking about it all. Then I spent all weekend reading Empire of Storms (★★★★★) and I just didn’t have enough time to make this the post I wanted it to be. But I’m going to try and do it anyway before I go to sleep, as I don’t think I’ll be able to blog at all this week.

ss911First, of all, I do want to apologize to anyone who might have seen an incomplete version of a post I want to do about how I’ve managed to balance all my commitments (school, blogging, writing, etc.) It was supposed to go up this weekend, but I haven’t had time to finish it because of the reading I mentioned above! Empire of Storms really couldn’t have come out a worse week! I’m sure to suffer tomorrow night in German Lit. as I was supposed to read Man of Straw by Heinrich Mann in it’s entirety, but now I’m just hoping I can reach the halfway point and can find something like Sparknotes on it. (I do plan to read it thoroughly eventually however, as my presentation for this class will be on Mann and his brother, Thomas.)

This weekend I was at my parents’ home dog-sitting. My dad turned 50 this weekend and they had celebrated by going to Louisiana to the casinos. I was happy to do that for them, as I didn’t have much else in mind for a present and I miss the dogs so much while I’m at college. Enjoy a picture of my Jack Russell mutt called Ty (to the left).

Tomorrow I drive back to Dallas with a car filled with kitchen things, a vacuum, and some trashcans as I believe I will be finally able to move into an on-campus apartment tomorrow! I received an email on Friday presenting me with some options and I responded quickly with my top three preferences. As I responded so quickly, I’m fairly hopeful I’ll be given my first choice. I await confirmation, though. So I’ll probably call tomorrow morning before I leave to try to make sure. Moving in will be a week-long process, and I’ll not get my furniture before next weekend when my parents are able to drive it all up.

These past three weeks have not been the easiest, but I’m really pleased at how I’m managed and I’m happy that I’ll soon have some stability as I complete my final two semesters at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). I’m certain I want to graduate this spring, and it’s all beginning to feel quite sudden as I’ve finally begun looking into my options for a doctoral program and I’ve found one that looks like a perfect fit for me and my interests at Boston University (BU). They have a PhD program in Emerging Media Studies that I think will expand upon what I’ve been learning at UTD. Best of all, it’s in a location that I’ve always wanted to end up.

This past Thursday I signed up for the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) which is a standardized test that many graduate schools require applicants take. I’ll take it at the end of October, so I plan to start preparing for it soon so that I can do really well on it. I also really want to direct more attention toward the research I’m most interested in and want to find my niche in. My CV could use a lot of beefing up at the moment, so I also want to find other things I can do, this semester especially, that can go onto it. The deadline for the application to BU is due on January 15, 2017, so I essentially just have this semester to prove myself worthy of acceptance.

End Note

This week I will be oh so busy with moving into my apartment and keeping up with classes that I doubt I will be read or write much, yet alone blog. I am truly annoyed at the timing as this week is the Mystery-A-Thon which I was so excited about. I do think I will be able to finish at least one book for it this week, which I had hoped to actually finish before this week: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post if you made it this far! Every one of my blog readers mean the world to me. I’m really excited to share more about my writing soon (as I did have some more developments this past week). I’m also excited to experiment with new ways of book blogging, as I’ve always wanted to do on this blog. Overall, I’m really excited about everything right now and I’m sorry I’ll be a little absent this week. To keep up with me while I’m too busy to blog, make sure to follow me on social media (links down below). See you soon! ^_^

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Before I Start Writing | #AmWriting

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As I explained in my last post (News After a Long Drought | #AmWriting), I have finally established the main gist of my novel’s storyline. But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to start writing just yet. I’ve long been a pantser when it comes to writing, doing next to no planning and just hoping that I end up with something coherent by the end. And while that freedom can be fun, I’m at a point in my life where I really want to write something good. So I’m loathe to start writing until I know much more details about the world and my characters, so that there’s not inconsistencies as I’m writing from forgetting important, defining details.

In this post, I’m sharing the list of things I want to do before I start writing. If you’re a proud & dedicated pantser, you may not gain anything from reading this. But if you’re interested in reforming your writing self, maybe you’ll gain something from reading about one writer’s pre-writing to-do list. My hope is you might read it and find there’s something you’ve never thought about but which might make all the difference in your writing. But this list is as much for me (as I do not know everything yet) as it is for you!

To-Do List

A Working Title

I’ve always had a working title while I drafted in order to keep different my story versions separate. In particular, the story I’ve been trying to write all year has evolved from past story drafts, so I find it really useful to keep it separate from old discarded drafts and the ideas discarded with them. Last night, I think I came up with a good working title, so good I almost don’t want to share it, but I will: Hollow Combs. I won’t explain it, but there you go! I’ll refer to my novel as Hollow Combs from this point forward. ^_^

Plot Diagram

I already have a pretty good idea of what my MC will be doing throughout the course of the novel, having established a seven-point plot structure for her story which is the main story of the novel. But I feel like I need something a lot more visual to look at as I write. It will also be useful when it comes to plotting my antagonist’s and other side characters’ action throughout the story. I’m not yet sure what perspective I want to write my story from, so this diagram will be help me whether or not I stick solely with my MC.

Map

I created a world map earlier this year, but I’ve not stuck to it in my head as I’ve worked on my story in recent months, so I need to see what I might want to tweak. This is also useful for series trajectory plotting, as I can see the places where my MC can go. It gives me boundaries with which I can write.

World-building

This is the biggest thing I need to work on before I start writing. I know enough about my MC’s world as far as it relates to the plot and her conflicts. But I don’t have the concrete details. I think novels with really good world-building have specific words and terms related things that make the world unique. So I want to do that, and do it by referencing history as the world of my story has so far in my head been something of an alternate universe of our world in the early 20th century. So I think it would be a good idea to do some research.

Character Building

All the characters I thus far know will be in the story have evolved as my story’s evolved this year. So I really need to create updated records to which I can refer if I ever lapse as I write in what would make sense for them. This is thing I am the least excited to do, so it might take me a little longer to get organized here. I might actually start writing before I finish these records, but there are a few characters I know I ought to work on.

End Note

Once again, I hope you find this post as useful to read as it was for me to write. This post has literally been my to-do list as I work my way toward finally feeling like I’m ready to write. I’ve written novel drafts in the past during the official NaNoWriMo season and found I had no idea where to go with them next, and I think it’s because I didn’t know what story I wanted to tell. Now I feel like I do, but at the same time, I feel like doing a lot of prep work now will save me a lot more trouble in the future when I’m editing.

I’m planning to do a post on world-building next week, as that is the area that needs the most work. I’ll be working on world-building this week, so next week’s post will be a combination of the things I’ve learned and resources I’ve found helpful. If you have any suggestions, feel free to the leave them in the comments and you’ll likely get a shout-out! ^_^

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Bout of Books 17.0 | Day 1

As I explained in my Bout of Books 17.0 read-a-thon announcement and TBR, I’ve decided to do daily updates on my reading progress as well as some general life highlights from the day as this is my first week of school and quite an exciting time for me as I learn about my new job. I also might have some short writing updates on occasion.

Monday night I had my first class, German Lit & Ideas (1870–1960). As I explained in my post about my class schedule this semester, this is a free elective I chose because of interest in the content and thoughts that the class might prove useful for my writing. After attending my first class meeting last night, I feel like I’ll gain a lot.

It is a small class with between seven to nine students. The instructor is ancient, but I can tell she’s passionate about the readings and the history. She’s also Hungarian and came over to the U.S. probably around the 40s or 50s. She also just seems really sweet, and I don’t think I’ll be nervous asking her for help or speaking up. I can tell she knows she talks a lot and will want us to speak up, so that’s reassuring! ^_^

After introductions, going over the syllabus, and a mini-history lesson relating to artistic/literary movements (romantic, realistic, expressionist, etc.) we watched the first hour of a silent film called Metropolis (1927), which is a critique of the bourgeois class’ exploitation of workers. It’s a very abstract and strange film that I was worried I’d have nightmares over to be honest! (All the actors looked deranged and scary to me!) But I’m hoping to finish the movie soon. Maybe this weekend. (I found it on YouTube, here.) If you’re familiar with it, or would like to watch it & chat about it, please let me know!

Reading Progress

StarsAboveI decided to start reading off my TBR on Sunday after finishing The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie, because I couldn’t see why not! I’ve been so behind on my reading challenge, I wasn’t going to not read because I was waiting for Bout of Books 17.0 to officially start in my time zone. So I started Stars Above Sunday evening and got about half way through before I finally went to sleep.

Most of the stories I read that night introduced no new insights into the characters from the Lunar Chronicles. In fact most of these stories felt like deleted scenes, because their content was explained away much more simply in the books. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the Lunar Chronicles and did not mind revisiting these characters, even if was just to see them as they were as children.

I don’t know which of these stories were new or what had already been published, but stuff that truly felt new to me came at the end, starting with “The Little Android.” I was confused at first as the protagonist is a new character that meets Cinder as the mechanic, and she’s another android with a personality (like Iko, minus the sass). But it was sweet and reinforced the idea of cyborg-android rights that are such a big problem in this world. I also enjoyed seeing the whole gang back together for a wedding in the final story. It was just a sweet revisiting.

After returning to my place after class Monday night, I tried to read some of The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh, but I was so knackered I decided to call it an early night (it was nearly midnight, but that’s early for me!)

End Note

Just as a reminder, these posts will be going up the morning after the day they record. So as I finish up this post it is Tuesday morning and I have set up camp at the library. In case you missed it, I published a new writing update yesterday as I had a lot to share, too much for this post in fact! So go see, News After Another Long Drought | #AmWriting is you’re feeling so inclined.

See you tomorrow with another post! Good luck with you’re own reading and writing. <3

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Novel Progress #5 (Zero Progress + Philosophical Musings)

After nearly a month of success at making writing a priority, I’ve slipped up this week. I went to visit my parents a long weekend for my birthday and I did not manage to get any serious writing work done. Not even brainstorming. Well, I thought of some ideas while I was driving, but nothing has been recorded. But since I haven’t read or blogged for the past week either, I think we can just say that it was an overall unproductive week and not just me avoiding writing! I was just a little too busy with life and school.

I decided to do a Novel Progress this week, just to show that I’ve not completely fallen off the wagon. I’m pretty sure professional writers have their weeks off as well. It was good. I feel a little refreshed and don’t really regret taking an unofficial break. It made me miss writing. So in this week’s post, I wanted to just talk about where I hope to go from here and also some random philosophical writing-related musings.

➵ What I’m Working On

I’m still working on the beginning of my story. I’m currently at 673 words, which consists of an introduction to my protagonist and her guardian and a flashback to the scene where they learn about the celebration they will be attending in the guardian’s honor. So I like what I have so far. I guess I have been procrastinating about moving forward because I have a bullet-point list of things I would like to happen at this celebration but I’m nervous about how it will unfold. Because I don’t know!

I think my biggest fear in writing (other than self-doubt) is my fear of the unknown. If I don’t know what exactly is going to happen, I hesitate to try and write it even though I know from experience that if I pay attention to the details as I write I discover my way.

Trust in the details…

Today, I’m hoping to dedicate to writing. I say “hoping” because I have a lot of other things competing for my time. But I’m hoping that if I set up at least a couple of hours with no Internet and think of nothing but the story, I’ll work myself out of my writing slump and rediscover some excitement that will motivate me to write this story! With luck, I’ll have finished the beginning of my story and be able to move forward with other parts next week.

➵ What I’ve Been Thinking About

Even when I’m not sitting down with my MacBook Pro or my writing notebook, I’m often thinking about my story, specifically details about what I can include. As I was driving home last week, a song inspired a bit of imagery I’ll be including immediately once I finally sit down to write. And this past Sunday, after I got upset about something and went to my room to cry. In the moments that followed, I managed to write a short paragraph of my protagonist experiencing what I felt. I don’t know how or if it will be included in the story, but in hindsight I liked that my first instinct was to apply my own experience to my protagonist.  It’s moments like these that give me hope that I might have a future as a writer.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about is why I write. I read a book called Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud this weekend for my Digital Textuality class. One of the final chapters dealt with the question of why the artist is motivated to create.

Does the artist want to say something about life through his art or does he want to say something about art itself? – Understanding Comics, p. 178

Another related question is whether I have something to say at all. I don’t feel like it’s a secret, given my past Novel Progress installments, that I don’t know exactly what is going to happen in my novel. My novel was not born of a brilliant idea or need to communicate some moral lesson. I’m just trying to write something that my 11-year-old self would have loved to read. Something with vibrant characters and a world she would have wished she could visit. And at the same time, something that would have empowered her.

I’ve read a lot of YA fantasy at this point in my life, and I feel like the main thing I’m trying to do is avoid what I tropes I dislike and write a protagonist who is in some ways an extension of myself. A lot of my favorite fantasy series either have male protagonists (i.e. Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, The Bartimaeus Trilogy) or inevitably has a strong romantic arc (i.e. Howl’s Moving Castle, His Dark Materials, Throne of Glass). Neither of these are necessarily bad, but I do feel like I’m trying to do something different with my story and protagonist, while inevitably drawing upon my favorite stories for inspiration.

By focusing on what I think is making me and my story unique, I like to think that it’s making my writing better that it otherwise would be. So that hopefully will result in my happiness with the end result and also help in finding the right publishers.

End Note

That’s all I have for this week’s Novel Progress. In case this is the first Novel Progress you’ve stumbled upon, I encourage you to read about my more productive weeks in Novel Progress #1, 2, 3, and 4. Hopefully, I will have a lot more to share next week. Next Wednesday will be March 2nd, which means I’ll only have a month left to meet my self-appointed deadline for completing this first draft of my novel!

One more thing I have been thinking about is trying to start YouTube again. I’ve done two BookTube videos (a TBR and a Wrap Up) in the past but since pulled them down because I didn’t like the quality or how nervously I talked. But I’m thinking of trying again, specifically to do book talks and talk about my writing. I love watching others talk about writing and I’d like to try and expand my platform in that direction. Especially as I’ve been rethinking the direction I want to take this blog…More on that later!

Thank you for reading!
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Novel Progress #4 (Lots of Changes)

So much happened over the course of the last week with regards to my story that I’ve struggled with what to share in this week’s Novel Progress. I feel like this has happened the past few weeks since making writing a priority. I think this is because I’m planning so much at the same time as I’m writing. I actually had to revisit last week’s Novel Progress #3 (Progress on the Hook) to see exactly what I last told you about the story so I’d know where to start this week.

Story Direction

This weekend I developed a more clear direction for the plot of this story that is nothing like what I described in last week’s post. Last week I had decided on a Hook that was ultimately discarded this week as I realized I just wasn’t able to bring it to life and it was stumping my writing progress. It’s kind of funny how I decided to scrap the idea and so I’ll share it with you.

I had been inspired for some reason to write an end scene between my protagonist and her guardian. In this scene, we were seeing the protagonist after running away on an adventure and coming back a changed person and how she and her guardian are able to make amends before the the guardian dies. In writing this scene, I was able to discover something interesting about the guardian which would set the two characters at odds in the beginning of the novel. So it helped me decide on a better event to kick off the story that would establish their complicated relationship.

I have currently written about 350 words of this new beginning and it’s going well. I’m liking the words I have and hope I can keep up the momentum. I’d like to see myself finished with the scenes I have in mind before next Wednesday, but realistically I’ll continue to jump around.

✃ Discarding Words

The most significant development in my writing this week was my decision to start discarding words. I’m not deleting scenes or info dumps that might become useful later, but I did feel like I needed a blank slate to start from after establishing a different story direction in which I only had words that were not distracting from the story I want to tell.

In my Scrivener project, I created a folder called Displaced Scenes where everything I write and might decide doesn’t ultimately fit into the most current story I’m writing can be placed for future reference. It includes most of the writing I did over the past few weeks. It was little sad to see these words taken out of the main manuscript, but I feel like it was necessary. Some of these scenes I still like and were important for me to write, but I just don’t see them fitting into this novel. There are two scenes I know would be good material for future books in the series.

✓ Revised Goal

A couple weeks ago I announced that I wanted to finish the first draft of this novel with at least 60,000 words by April 1st. After my latest plot revisions and further plot developments, I’ve decided to not think about a specific word count goal and revise my goal to be to specifically to just finish a coherent story. Meaning a story with the beginning, middle, and end. I want to have the most important scenes and story arcs in place so that my main task past April is including more detail as I edit.

End Note

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s installment of Novel Progress! I know it can be hard to keep up the motivation to write, and one of my favorite things to do to get pumped is to read or listen to others talk about their process. Just this morning I was marathoning Katytastic’s NaNoWriMo 2014 vlogs (here’s a link to her playlist). I feel like it’s always going to be a struggle to make myself write. But one thing I remembered this week that the story will come to life through the process of writing.

If you’re hesitating to write because you don’t know what needs to happen yet, but you can discover it as you write if you’re paying attention. I find that writing small details like clothing or setting can help me visualize the scene and often trigger characters’ memories and help me move the story along. So usually the hardest part of writing, and most things in life, is just getting started and not letting fear of failure stop you from trying.

Thank you for reading!
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Novel Progress #3 (Progress on the Hook)

I struggled with how to write this week’s Novel Progress and what I wanted to share. This post honestly could have been upwards of 2,000 words, but I didn’t know who would benefit from that. So I ended up trying to be concise here and share things unrelated to my novel in other posts scattered across this week which I hope you’ve seen and liked.

Unlike last week, when I didn’t have much progress to report on so I talked about deadlines (see: Novel Progress #3 (On Deadlines)), this week’s post is entirely to do with my story which I hope you enjoy and find motivating. This is definitely the direction I want to see these posts take as I get deeper into my writing!

Progress Made

I’ve made a lot of progress on my story over the last week. I’ve only written about 3,000 words of the actual story (consisting of two scenes and one setting “info dump”), but I’ve made a lot of progress in world-building, discovering the direction I want the story to take, and how I want to continue writing from here on out.

World-Building

Last weekend I decided I needed to make a map so that I could have a better sense of the world in which I have chosen to write. I wanted to know cities and geography and wanted these places to have names to which I could refer. So I did that and it opened up a world of possibilities for me. Nothing is quite set in stone and I don’t think many of the places with feature within the overall story, but it has been so helpful in helping me visualize the world with boundaries.

Story Direction

Last week I was really stuck, wondering how the story was going to beginning. I felt like I needed to know how the story was going to begin before I could do much else and I knew I wanted the story to start off with a big bang. What I had been imagining early on was something very simple and low-key, but then I thought about all the books that I’ve loved and realized they start off in a really exciting place. So I knew there was something missing from my story, until I realized it was what I’ve been calling a “Big Day.”

So I did some brainstorming and realized what my protagonist’s “big day” could be and realized that it could also actually provide an opportunity to introduce the villains and the world conflict at the time. So that’s what I’ve been working on for the past few days, trying to get a feel the setting and characters. As well as decide specifically is going to happen, because I want to carefully orchestrate these opening scenes to hint at what will happen at the end of the story and possibly even future sequels.

Shifting Points-of-View

I have not been happy with the way I’ve been writing, I’m writing from the third-person omniscient, but I feel like my narrative voice at the moment is kind of…removed…from the story. And I really want readers to be able to connect with the characters or at least become immediately invested in the story, so it needs to be stronger.

I realize I could change the point-of-view later on in future drafts, but I think I’ve decided to go back-and-forth as needed in this draft between first- and third-person. I’m also jumping between characters and writing a lot of things that I’m not sure I will want to end up in the final version of this first novel, but I need to write them to understand the characters better. So I think doing first-person writing will really help there.

Goals for the Week

I am actually going to be pretty busy this week with reading for Bookentine and completing my Twine-powered adaption of the myth of Persephone & Hades for my Multimedia Portfolio which is due next Monday. But I still have a goal I want to achieve before next Wednesday.

I would like to reach 10,000 words in my novel or finish writing the Hook of my story, whichever comes first. We are almost half-way through February and I’d like feel like I’m half-way through my novel by the 29th, so I really do need to start writing more. Now that I have a map and ideas for how I want the Hook to foreshadow the rest of the novel, I’m hoping the rest of this story will be easier to complete.

End Note

I hope you’ve enjoy this week’s installment of Novel Progress! I actually had two previous versions of this post, as I take notes throughout the week and try to write these posts throughout the week so I don’t forget anything. But I ultimately decided to scale back and stick to reporting on what I accomplished and my plans for future writing. I’m hoping to do the same next week and have even more to talk about.

If you want to hear more about my writing that’s not novel-related, earlier this week I shared my post about my new project Persephone & Hades | Multimedia Portfolio and shared my thoughts on Twine | Text Tool Review. I also have two more writing-related posts going up this week. Thursday I’m going to share some thoughts and ideas about fanfiction. And Friday I’ll be sharing some news about my potential use of Wattpad in the near future! I hope you enjoy!

Thank you for reading!
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Twine | Text Tool Review

A1

Last week I explained that for my Digital Textuality class I had to prepare two text tool reviews to help expose my classmates to available tools that could be used to create our first digital text assignment. I decided to share these (revised) reviews here, because I’m proud of my work and think a lot of my readers might also be writers and find the tools as exciting as I do.

If you’d like to see the first tool review about the community-based writing platform Wattpad, I encourage you to check it out. This week’s tool is Twine, which I talked about a lot on my old blog so if you followed me from there it might ring a bell! I hope this review helps you get a better picture of this tool and what it makes possible. I’ll definitely be mentioning it more in the future!

Description  

Twine is a free and open-source software you may download for Windows, OS, or Linux and/or use in an open browser. It is great for non-linear storytelling and interactive narratives such as Choose Your Own Adventure games. As result, Twine can result in products that give readers/players much more agency in the story being told. With Twine you can use HTML/CSS and JavaScript, and you can insert images, variables, and conditional logic with very little technical expertise required. When you are finished, Twine publishes directly to HTML format.

Access

Twine is free to use and may be downloaded at Twinery.org. You may also use it online where everything you create is automatically saved within your browser. You do not need to sign up for an account.

Sample Usage

The screenshots below reference a short Twine project that I created for my Digital Textuality class. These screenshots show you what Twine looks like from the back-end, and I’ve included some pink annotations which will help you get make sense of Twine 2.0’s interface.

The first screenshot directly below shows the blue grid view of Twine 2.0. The space is presumable infinite, you can scroll and scroll and scroll and not run out of space (in theory). Each square of text represents a passage which you can create with the green button at the bottom right of the screen or from within a preexisting passage (instructions in the second screenshot). In this grid view, you can click and drag each unit as you please, which helps make room and keep this view tidy as you add more passages.

The screenshot directly below shows what the interface looks like when you create/edit a passage. The default title is “Untitled Passage” and the default text in the body field is “Double-click this passage to edit it.” In the screenshot below, I have deleted that default body text to show this view of tips on how to achieve specific style effects, including bolding and italicizing. Note that it is not like HTML.

When you have finished your Twine project and want to publish it for sharing, click the ‘Publish to File’ selection shown at the bottom of the first screenshot. An HTML file should automatically download to your computer and you can send it to someone or upload it to a webpage.

What the Tool Does Well

Twine helps to see the skeleton, or outline, of a story. Because the passages can be arranged to lead to and from multiple locations, it allows the user to create and organize a story as if each piece is notecard on a cork board. Nothing is set in stone. The menu choices are not extensive, which makes the creation of the story uncomplicated. It’s a fun and easy tool to create an unconventional story with twists and turns. Stories created with Twine provide more interaction opportunities for readers/players to shape the story they experience.

Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials

Twine is not easy to the first-time user who may stumble upon the software with no prior instruction, but it is simple once you get the hang of it. Twine has changed a lot since it was first launched, but developers have made it easy to learn how to use Twine and make the most of it. For the official resources see: the Wiki and Forum. Below I have listed some tips things I think you might find helpful if you choose to work with Twine.

Sharing your project

To share your Twine project with others, you are either going to have to have a place (like a domain) where you can publish the file so you can link it to readers with an internet connection. OR you will need to explain to people how to download your file, direct them into Twine (which they will need to open the file), and explain how to upload the file so they can see it.

I have recently discovered that if you use WordPress, you can upload a Twine HTML file through the ‘Add Media’ button! It will link to text that will allow readers to directly start the interactive narrative experience! (This is how I will be linking to my Twine project on Persephone & Hades.)

Linking passages

Linking passages depends on you knowing the names of the passages to which you want another passage to lead. There’s no quick an easy way to indicate a link without identifying the passage directly in the text fields. So if you want to link a new passage to an existing one you also need to remember to spell it correctly or you will create a completely new, different passage. Twine does have a drop-down menu that will help you find the title, so that helps a little.

What it Does Poorly
  • Twine will struggle to cooperate quickly when a story gets very big.
  • Twine can handle multiple links to the outside world of the internet, but it is hard to link to from other places. You’ll have trouble sharing a Twine project via social media platforms like Twitter, for instance, unless you’ve uploaded the Twine project somewhere that will make the HTML file launch as it is meant to.
  • Also, you can’t really link to specific passages in a project. Readers generally have to start at the beginning and make their way properly through a project to get to the specific destination.

End Note

I hope you found this text tool review useful! I really like Twine and would like to use it more in the future. I see interactive narratives becoming more and more prevalent in the future of digital media so it’s great that such a user-friendly tool like Twine already exists to help writers experiment with new modes of storytelling.

In case you missed it, yesterday I published Persephone & Hades | Multimedia Portfolio about my latest creative writing project that I will be creating with Twine. And tomorrow expect the next Novel Progress #3 installment in which I share about all my writing progress over the past week!

Thank you for reading!
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Wattpad | Text Tool Review

In my Digital Textuality class, the major semester project is a Multimedia Portfolio composed of four pieces (text, image, video, sound) that tells a story or argument of our choosing. In order to help expose us to a variety of digital media tools we could use to create each piece, all the students are required to present our reviews of two different tools. In order to get mine out of the way early, I volunteered to go first this week in during our text unit. The tools I selected are ones I have some experience with and I have determined they are strong choices for text-based narratives depending on what you want to accomplish with your writing.

This week I want to share my review of Wattpad, the website/app that allows writers to share and discover writing of multitude of genres. If you’re a writer and have been recently considering using Wattpad, I hope you find this review helpful!

[Note: This tool review has been modified to suit my blog audience. An expanded version is available on my Digital Textuality class blog, but I’ve decided not to link to it.]

Wattpad Tool Review

Description

Wattpad is a community-based website where people can publish their stories and find an audience. Wattpad operates like a social media website in its emphasis on community-building. Users create profiles and easily converse with other users. There are awards, contests, and clubs that inspire writers not just to publish their work on the website (or app) but also to discover other writers and stories. Not only does Wattpad recommend stories but also people for users to follow, allowing writers be on equal footing with their written work (if they choose). Sharing stories across different platforms is easy with Wattpad.

Access

Wattpad is free to use and available via its website or app (also free). All you need to do is create an account to have full access of Wattpad’s features.

Sample Usage

On my account (loriwrites) I created a story called Emerald Window. Because I know I will probably delete this story soon, I’ve included two screen captures of relevant Wattpad interfaces to show how Wattpad looks when you are writing or managing your works. Both of the screenshots I’ve created also include annotations pointing out things I thought would be most important for new users to note.

This first screenshot pictured directly below shows my creator view of my example story Emerald Window. This what it looks like after I’ve created the story and added two chapters. From this screen I could manage any aspect of the story I desired, from the overall story summary to individual chapters.

MyWorksViewofStory

This second screenshot directly below is of the editor view visible when you are creating a new chapter/installment. It is very clean and simple. You can type directly into the text fields and Wattpad automatically backs up all your words (this might depend on the speed of your internet).

Editor

Tips, Tricks, and Tutorials

Wattpad should not be very difficult for a first-time user to figure out. However, these are some general reminders I’ve decided to might be important to reiterate:

  • Write the story on a Word document first, then you can just copy and paste the text into the editor. This ensures you have a back-up, should something fail on Wattpad’s end (corporate takeover, website deletion, etc.).
  • To set a story to private, you need to select the privacy setting for each individual chapter. You cannot control your story’s visibility as a whole. And if you initially set a chapter to private, you will need to unpublish the chapter to see the work.

For a good introduction on how to make the most of Wattpad, see the Write on Wattpad page and see Wattpad’s tips and information about the Wattpad Star program. If you manage to build a strong following, there’s a possibility you could start to get money from your work.

What the Tool Does Well
  • Creating new projects on Wattpad is very self-explanatory from the moment you click on the ‘Create’ tab which directly leads you to the My Works page.
  • The interface is simple and sleek in design, only providing practical functions to the creator.
  • There are no options for template/document design customization, which keeps the emphasis on the text and story.
  • It also possible to draft your stories in the website, as it autosaves your work as you type. And you can ‘Save and Preview’ works before you select ‘Publish.’
What it Does Poorly
  • Wattpad does not enable HTML/CSS coding for users who might want to personalize the presentation of their writing. It allows for bolding, italicizing, and underlining as well as text justification (left, center, right), but not for font selection.
  • Also, it is limited on what external media you can include or link. You can upload images and videos, but the videos have to come from YouTube.
  • You can only make one external link which is be default placed at the bottom of the story and with no designation about to where it leads.

In addition to these limitations, Wattpad does not have a convenient method of allowing for collaboration. There’s no way for more than one person to be working on the same story at the same time. And if more than one person is contributing to a story, then the story is going to be attributed only to the account name/holder.

End Note

I hope you enjoyed this review of the writing tool Wattpad. If you’re interested in seeing more of these, please let me know in the comments. I have another review prepared for this blog on the free and open-source software Twine, which I’ll be posting next week. But if there’s a strong response to these types of posts, I’ll start looking into and reviewing more tools for creating narratives.

Thank you for reading!
Follow my blog via Bloglovin’. Also find me on GoodreadsTwitter, and Instagram.

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