For my participatory storytelling project I decided to work with Twine 2, which is a browser-based program that allows you to create choose-your-own adventure style games and stories. All your work is saved in your browser. You can close the window, and even restart your computer and come back later to work on it.
Twine exports your story as an html file, which can then be shared or upload to a website. (Which takes a little poking around to get to work with the WordPress shell.)
Twine also allows you to download an archive, which is basically a copy of your Twine work so you can work on it from another computer. If you want to see Andalusian Gothic in Twine yourself, you can download the archive HERE. Just unzip the folder and upload the file to Twine.
My thought was instead of creating a choose-your-own adventure story I would use the program to create off-branches with setting descriptions, character info, and scenes that happen outside the main storyline.
In this way there is the main story, which reads as a complete work, but you can also decide to take little tangents as you’re reading and gain a depth to the story. Depending on when or if you choose to do so, the story changes.
If I had more time I would have liked to have written a completely realized subplot following Ti’s brother that would loop through the main plot, so that you are seeing certain events from two perspectives.
I titled my project Andalusian Gothic. Andalusia being of course where the story is set, and the gothic in reference to Southern Gothic literature. Southern Gothic can have supernatural elements, as well as a focus on damaged/delusional characters. So I was playing off the specter and ghost town elements in the story.
I edited the story that we wrote to smooth it out, and added a little description and transitions. I also chose to cut a few scenes/lines. I thought about what we had written as a story arc, and there is a lot happening in a small space. I edited the sections as I would for a longer work, basically reserving things I would have happening later or in an off-branch – such as the scene of her mother dying.
I chose to call Ti’s dad Francisco, because Paco is the diminutive of Francisco. Since there was some confusion on whether or not Paco was Ti’s dad or brother, I decided that they are both named Francisco and her brother goes by Paco rather than junior.
The process of writing a story via Twitter was interesting. There is definitely a change in how you think of your writing because of the character limit. Several times I had planned on writing something and then had to change it up so it would fit.
It was also a little odd writing with so many other people, without really discussing where the story is headed. I’ve collaborated on stories before, and I’ve also done round-robin stories. With collabs you generally talk about where and what is going on in the story. With a round-robin there is less talk, but you have control over a larger chunk of story each turn.
I don’t know if I would necessarily want to write a story in this fashion again, just because you have so little control over the process. It might be interesting though to write a story in Twitter on my own, or with just one collaborator.