A Relationship Story – Twine Game on Domestic Violence Awareness

An interactive game made using Twine to create awareness around the issue of domestic violence. It will follow the story of the player’s best friend who must navigate and recognize a potentially dangerous romantic relationship. I want to focus on this issue to show how difficult it actually is for victims to escape relationships like this and answer questions such as “Why doesn’t she just leave him?”

Play here:

“Everything is Finished” Beginning Excerpt

This book has already been written. There’s already a story that I want to tell, but it’s already been written and rejected— deemed as a derivative or not worth telling. These words have already been thought, agonized over, and written by someone else, somewhere else, some other time, because everything is already finished. The pen was where I left it on my desk, Jen was asleep in her purple paisley sheets, and the leaves were in the ugliest state of autumn: wet and on the ground. I stayed in my dorm bed, with my phone close to my face. It was a morning in October, and it felt like every other moment in my life, yet it marked the end of what was supposed to define me against all of the others. It was a morning that so many people had already reached. 

A simple news update lit up my smartphone screen, filled with tributes to specific monumental authors who contributed meaningful novels to our society. Margaret Atwood, Herman Melville, Jane Austen, J.D. Salinger, most of them were old and white and from a time way before me. However, the feeling in my chest wasn’t like I thought it would be. The end of Original literature had finally arrived. I thought it would be earth-shattering. I guess I was selfish enough to think that the world would end when I became one of the millions of Idles who had their future careers robbed from them. I wondered who the lucky person who logged the last original work was, and why it wasn’t me.

I rose out of bed, careful not to wake Jen, and walked into our kitchenette to make my coffee. As I poured the half-and-half, I considered what my life would be now that I didn’t matter. Coffee tastes better when you’re hungover.

There was a name for those who lost their purpose because of Arrhythmia; Idles— or some people call us Snubs. All of our human potential was technically snubbed by a machine, which ironically enough, was created by man. I expected to be a Snub in my late fifties, helping my children find meaning in their own lives, but I felt strangely relieved. To live means to accept because if you don’t, there is no reason to be. Calling my mother today to tell her that I need a new path was something I never wanted to do, especially after all my parents have done to let me pursue writing in the first place. What do you do when you work for something your whole life, wanting, wishing, only to discover that it will never happen? You accept the alternatives. Snubs in the movie industry started re-filming existing movies with different shots, directing tropey sequels. Astronomer Snubs still think humans can live on Jupiter, despite what Arrhythmia has logged to be possible. They either continue their futile research or they help develop Mars. The truth is that writing has been snubbed a long, long time ago— at least it feels that way. To be a creative, you have to believe you’re the chosen one. Even before this October morning, it was impossible to read everything in the world, even if you read 100 or 1000 books every day of your life. Humans have been writing and telling stories since the very beginning of time, we have just reached the end of forms.

Doing keeps me existing, but that was yesterday. Last night, I was different. I squeezed my tired eyes shut and remembered the night at the bar.

Digital Storytelling Module

Digital Storytelling is a pretty self-explanatory concept. It is telling a narrative through digital means. There are several forms that can be used to do this as I briefly showed in the video. I combined some of the several forms! I illustrated a comic using digital art and created a video along with adding a voiceover to introduce the topic. With the power of digital technology, traditional storytelling has been enhanced to sometimes include interactive elements as well as expand the ways people can consume it.

Just to go over a few, here are some examples of digital storytelling:

Podcasts are strictly auditory ways of conveying a story. There are podcasts that are conversational, educational, and narrative. Moon Graffiti is a “what if” story about the Apollo 11 crashing instead of successfully landing. The podcast uses voice effects along with other sound effects to bring the story to life without visuals.

Video story-telling is usually in the form of a movie or T.V. show. You have to use your imagination less, but the modern capabilities of computerized effects are so outstanding that we have to appreciate how far we’ve come from one of the first movies ever made: 1902’s Le Voyage Dans La Lune.

Image result for journey to the moon movie 1902

Visual novels and digital “choose your own adventure” stories are popular forms of interactive fiction. https://twinery.org/ can be used to create your own branching paths for a choose your own adventure story. Netflix released Bandersnatch in 2018, which involved choosing what the main character should do on screen using your T.V. remote. Doing this unlocked all sorts of outcomes to explore!

Similarly, there are significant digital storytelling elements in video games. In The Last of Us (2013), a PS3 game, you play as the main protagonist, Joel, as he traverses the country with a young girl who is curiously immune to a rampant zombie outbreak. You are able to interact with elements that advance you through a narrative story. Playing through a story game effectively attaches you to the characters and its world.

Image result for the last of us
The Last of Us characters, Joel and Ellie

Just like I’m doing right now, blogging can count as a form of digital storytelling. People use things like Twitter threads or Facebook posts to tell stories and events all time, you just don’t notice it’s a form of storytelling. People can use blogs to post their writing, or talk about their personal experiences.

Webcomics are simply digital comics! I made one above. Webcomics are easily accessible on the Internet and are a form of visual storytelling using art. Emily Carroll makes a series of horror comics and has also done artwork for a narrative video game.