Writing Tips

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Writing with Twine

If you already have a finished Twine game, go ahead and submit it as is. If you're writing a new game, here are a few helpful hints:

Remember, these are not strict rules. They're just suggestions, so we can release your story faster. Plus, following them ensures your story will play the same in Yarn as it does on Twine.


Writing in Plain Text (Word, Pages, Open Office, etc.)

Writing a new Yarn story with a word processor? Use these formatting guidelines:

Check out this sample word doc.


Working with Yarn's Features

Text

Don't feel trapped in the traditional choose-your-own-adventure style second person, present tense. (i.e. "You wake up in a strange place. What do you do?") A lot of popular games are written in first and third person. Get creative! Write a story that unfolds as a conversation between characters or between a character and the reader.

Choices, Forks, and Variables

Create multiple endings. Reward (and punish) readers for their decisions. Allow readers to explore characters and content that interest them. Track stats, inventory, and relationships between characters.

Timed delays between passages

Use short delays to build suspense. Example: "Link leans down to open the chest and... [3 second delay] pulls out a compass!" Use longer delays to create stories that unfold in real time. Example: "Listen, I can't deal with this drama right now. It's too late. I'll text you in the morning. [8 hour delay] Hey are you awake? Sorry about last night.")

Random

Life isn't always fair or predictable. With 'random' you can bring the cruel, indifference of the universe to your Yarn game. Use random forks and variables to add replay-value to your story. You can even use it to create simple games of chance.

Styles, Images and Sound

Set the scene and bring your story to life with images, animated GIFs, background music, sound effects, custom fonts, colors, backgrounds, borders, and more. Make sure not to overdo it though. Readability is more important than aesthetics. The story is what the reader really cares about. We expect some of the best Yarn games won't use any styles or images at all.


Getting Published on Yarn

We're working towards letting everyone self-publish on Yarn. At the moment, publishing a new story requires a good bit of effort on our part which forces us to be selective. Here are a few tips for getting your story published early: