Twine and Slate


Ball of hemp twineCochem slates

As I may have mentioned before, I love storytelling. And one of the most exciting things for me about the way technology is currently evolving is the proliferation of new storytelling tools. I’ve recently started playing around with two of these: Twine and Adobe Slate. They do very different things but are both very cool in their own ways.

Twine is open-source software that’s been around for a few years (it was first developed in 2009) but a major upgrade, Version 2.0, was released fairly recently. It’s part-video game, part-storytelling device: basically it allows you to develop non-linear ‘choose your own adventure’-style stories.  You design your story as a flowchart with a series of linking passages, so that the choices a player makes send them down different paths (see the screenshot below). It’s essentially a digital version of the Choose Your Own Adventure books that were really popular when I was a kid.

Twine screenshot
From here.

You can make a basic story in Twine without any coding knowledge (although it’ll look pretty boring – just black text on a white background) but even a basic understanding of HTML and CSS (and JavaScript if that’s your thing) will let you pretty it up considerably. I’m very new to the whole coding thing and I’m finding it a great way to learn (with the assistance of HTML tutorials like this one).

I’m currently using Twine to develop a supplementary story and teaching resource for Greythorne – if you’d like to know more about it and get the chance to play it before it goes live please subscribe to my newsletter.

Adobe Slate is a visual storytelling program for desktop and iPad that allows you to create photo essays, newsletters, albums etc by combining text and photos. It’s very slick and the results are lovely – I haven’t had the chance to play much with it yet but it also seems to be quite straightforward to use. The downside is that your stories are stored on Adobe’s servers so you have to link back to them rather than having direct control over the files (unlike Twine, which allows you to export an HTML file that you can embed anywhere) and you need a (free) Adobe account to use it. So basically they’re giving you a funky tool in exchange for your data and pushing traffic to their website, but that’s a deal I’m personally happy to make for now. I don’t know how much I’ll use Slate in relation to Greythorne, but I can think of some applications for it in some of my other ventures, so I have a feeling it’ll come in handy.

What are some of your favourite digital storytelling tools?

Published by Louise Merrington

Louise Merrington is a writer and IPEd Accredited Editor specialising in plain English editing for government, businesses, professional associations and non-profits. She is also the author of several novels, under the name L.M. Merrington.

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