Possessed by Words

Naming this blog “Possessed By Words” was not a throwaway gesture. Words are intimately connected with the human condition and are a massive part of my life. I love words, genuinely love them. I love the way that we can trace their origins yet our language is constantly evolving with old words falling from our vocabulary as new, more relevant, words take their place.

Words aren’t just objects, they are living, breathing things in their own right. They have their own stories and their own power. Through them we connect with each other, to the world, to the past and the future.

We think we possess words but actually they possess us. They describe us, our names, occupations, places, feelings. We paint pictures with them yet really we are placing them on a canvas and they take on their own lives, inhabit our minds and change our experiences in wildly different ways for each and every one of us.

Words have power and the greatest minds have tried to understand and quantify this power. From the Kabbala, Confucius, Lewis Carroll, Karl Marx and innumerable others humanity has been changed by words. We are all possessed by words and like all things they have their unique vibrations.
You don’t need to be an avid reader or writer to love words, we can all let them into our lives and embrace them.

What words do you love and why?

Interactive Fiction? Why Bother?

With many things I am quite late to the game and far from being an early adopter. Interactive Fiction (or IF) is no different.

If you don’t know what IF is then here’s a good guide.

I have started to play with a popular IF (and even better is that it’s open-source) tool called Twine. My first ever story (The Mirror) was incredibly short and not very interactive but it got me thinking about how Twine is a great tool for writers in understanding their plots.

You may not want to write IF but if you want to make your writing more interesting or to understand how your scenes relate then you really should map out a story in Twine.

Twine Plot

Before you get worried I must stress that you don’t need to be techie or a programmer to do this.

Even with my very short story I quickly understood how Twine makes you look at every element of your writing. Could the story branch off here? Should this character do this or would another character be better for that? What if instead of throwing a ball, the character threw a rock? Or a grenade?

Do you see where I’m going here? Twine opens your eyes to possibilities that you might not have imagined before. Instead of writing and plotting in a boring linear style your one story idea becomes 100 different story ideas.

Even if you already have the end in sight, like I did with The Mirror, taking the reader on a winding road but to the same destination can’t be a bad thing.