Meddling Auntie presents Puberty

Meddling Auntie Comics: New Release Plus Giveaway!

Meddling Auntie Comics are now on Amazon as eBooks! The series includes a brand new, harsh-truth-soothing, squirm-inducing topic: Puberty.

Meddling Auntie presents Puberty

The comics will and should always remain free and open. However people have asked for other ways to read and share them, and I aim to deliver.

Next week they’ll be available for print at Amazon CreateSpace. Follow this blog or follow me on Twitter for a chance to win both print volumes: “Bullies and Perverts” and “Puberty and Drugs.”

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getting started with twine 2

Twine in 10 Minutes: Write Interactive Fiction Today

(This article originally appeared as a Luna Station Quarterly’s Chick on the Draw column, February 6, 2015)

Think IF might be fun, but don’t know where to start? Here’s how to get hooked in ten minutes.

1) Watch an introduction by Chris Klimas, the founder of Twine.

It’s about two minutes and will prime your brain. Anything that can be done in a web browser, you can do with Twine. ANYTHING. But we’ll begin at the beginning.

2) Take a look at your Twine 2.0 home page.

While Twine 1 was an app to download and install (for Windows or OSX), Twine 2 is a web app that runs right in your browser. Open it in a new tab.

If it’s your first time there, it’ll look like this:

Intro to Twine 2.0 - splash page

Hit the big green “+Story” button and create a new story.

twine_2_home_new_story

3) Take a look at the big blue Twine 2 workspace.

It should look about like this.

twine_2_workspace

Buttons do what you might guess. Hover over any of them, and a tooltip will explain.

twine_2_workspace_tooltip

For extra credit, click on the story title and take a look at the options.

twine_2_workspace_story_menu

We won’t use any of these right now, but it’s good to know they’re there.

4) Edit the “Untitled Passage.”

The little soft blue square is our first passage. In Twine, a passage is a unit of the story–kind of like a page is a unit of a book. To edit a passage, you can either double-click it OR hover over it and select the pencil icon.

twine_2_workspace_passage_options

The passage editor looks like this:

twine_2_edit_passage

There are instructions in the passage! They are true instructions. Write some text in your passage, and include a link to another passage. Links belong in double square brackets, so Twine knows they’re links.

For what it’s worth, you can the link after a word in your story:

Go to the [[cellar]]

Or name the link something else.

[[I went to the cellar.->Spooky Place]]

You can also rename the passage, though this isn’t required.

Here is our gripping tale so far:

twine_2_passage_editor_start

5) Close the passage, and see that Twine made new passages automatically.

twine_2_workspace_new_passages

Neat! You can also add a new passage by clicking the green “+Passage” button. You can delete a passage by hovering over it and clicking the “Trash” icon (or by hitting the good old “Delete” key.)

For fun, I’m going to edit the “prince” and “heel” passages, too.

twine_2_workspace_passages_updated

6) “Play” what you’ve got so far.

Hit the “Play” button. The story will build and open in a new tab.

twine_2_story_built

Click on a link and see where it goes!

7) Set a variable.

Let’s make a “trust” variable and change it depending on the reader’s choice.

In the “prince” passage, add this line of code:

(set: $trust to 10)

In the “heel” passage, add this line of code:

(set: $trust to 0)

It doesn’t matter where the line of code is within the passage. It will be run when the passage is displayed.

twine_2_passage_editor_variable

(It’s maybe good practice to set the variable to some default starting value at the beginning, and then update it as you go, but let’s not worry about that right now.)

8) Use that variable.

That “trust” variable should have an impact on our story. Let’s add a passage that uses it.

Add this link to both the “prince” and “heel” passages:

To think I wouldn't have met him if it weren't for Lord Coddish's [[funeral]].

Like so:

twine_2_passage_prince

And add this to a new “funeral” passage:

Reynaldo sat next to me during the service and I was sure
(if: $trust > 0)[I'd never met a man so dignified](else:)[he'd make off with my handbag].

Like so:

twine_2_passage_funeral

9) Hit “Play” again.

The story will rebuild in the same tab as before.

Now, if you choose “heel,” you arrive here:

twine_2_story_heel

You can also hit the “Bug” button to play the story in debug mode. This gives you more information if you run into trouble.

And that’s it! You’ve written a Twine story!

The official full documentation is here, and the forum is here. There are more story formats and controls and stylesheets and anything you could want to do. WELCOME TO THE RADDEST ADVENTURE.

EXTRA CREDIT

If you’re interested in interactive fiction and writing games in general, you might enjoy the Sorting Hat built by the Quinnspiracy. BE CAREFUL. You might find yourself writing a visual novel, or a platformer, or a puzzle game, or some other wonderful thing.

Twine icon

A Barbarian at the Gate: Five Ways to Protect Twine’s Village from the Coming Invasion

Twine icon

This article originally appeared at Storycade on October 7, 2014

I’m not the most curious pup in the litter. When Michael Lutz’s “My Father’s Long, Long Legs” hit MetaFilter last November and scorched my brain stem, I assumed it was the thousand-hour effort of a lone HTML5 gunman. I even glanced at the source, thought, “Huh. Never heard of ‘Twee’,” and didn’t even bother to Google it. This pup stayed in the crate.

Imagine my shock this month when a more astute acquaintance explained that, like MyFLLL, hundreds of enhanced fiction experiences are being created on the open-source, beloved, and blossoming platform of Twine. The possibilities of Twine are exhilarating. Its future is glorious. I’m convinced teeming hordes are going to want in, and they’re coming. If a late adopter like me is at your gate, the barbarians are on the march.

(more…)

Goldfish Grimm’s Issue 20 is out! Includes “The Call of Gold Cat”

Issue 20 of Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi is out! Includes my weird short story “The Call of Gold Cat”, plus an interview. This short story was heavily workshopped at Scribophile. Thank you to all the readers who provided guidance.

Issue also includes new flash fiction from Mari Ness, “Survival.”

Holy Table-of-Contents mates!

I hope you enjoy this raw fresh fiction. It’s good for you!

Apex Magazine Issue 61 cover Bleef

“Muscle Memory” available at Seizure Online, “Bleef” appears on June cover of Apex

“Muscle Memory” is available to read at Seizure Online. In it, a hard-working man’s body walks out on him, one piece at a time. David Henley provided the illustration, which is most excellent.

Working with editor Portia Lindsay was a treat and an education. Many thanks to Seizure for inviting me aboard.

Apex Magazine Issue 61 cover Bleef

Also my color illustration “Bleef” appears on the cover of Issue 61 of Apex Magazine.

Sincere thanks to Editor-in-Chief Sigrid Ellis for the invitation, and to Loraine Sammy for the interview that was so much fun it made me arm-flail a little.

John W Campbell

3 Reasons to Nominate Me for the 2014 John W. Campbell Award

John W Campbell

If you are a member of Worldcon and all dressed up for the 2014 John W. Campbell Award with no one to nominate, I submit for your consideration… me. Tory Hoke. I got three rad reasons.

1) I have no chance of winning the thing.

I mean, Hugh Howey is eligible this year. You know Wool? The runaway NYT Bestseller? The spec-fic answer to Gone Girl? He wrote that. Eligible.

Plus there’s a slew of new writers in the field with all kinds of stirring, sweeping, harrowing and upsetting-but-satisfying stories. It’s a good, dense field for a good, dense year.

Let’s just say I pose no threat to whatever candidate you are personally rooting for.

2) My Campbell-qualifying publication was edited by the best.

Baden Chant and Ethan Fode of Crowded Magazine edited “The Baby Mimic” (Issue #2, August 2013), and working with them was a treat and an education. Crowded is an Australian speculative fiction magazine that lets authors and subscribers select the content. Lucky for me they do, because an ooky contemporary sci-fi family drama like “The Baby Mimic” doesn’t fit many markets.

They also feature the highest production standards and finest art I’ve seen in a semipro ‘zine, so there’s that.

3) My work this year has something for everyone.

What the hey is a Campbell Award?

You may have some questions. This is normal and healthy.

Sponsored by Dell Magazines, the John W. Campbell Award is given to the best writer whose first work of science fiction or fantasy was published for a greater-than-nominal rate in the previous two years.

In other words, anyone who has had made their first spec-fic pro sale in the last two years is eligible for the Campbell. Writertopia is compiling the list of candidates. If you qualify, please contact them ASAP to be added to the list.

Nominations remain open until March 31, 2014.

While I don’t dream of winning, I’m enjoying being part of the process.

Put me in, coach.

The Body in the Narrows Three-Lobed Burning Eye

“The Body in the Narrows” and “Alpha” accepted

The Body in the Narrows Three-Lobed Burning Eye

“The Body in the Narrows” has been accepted by Three-lobed Burning Eye. In it, an abused child finds courage when she falls in love with a corpse.

Also in the past week, Dragon’s Roost Press Anthology to Benefit Canine Rescue accepted “Alpha”: when aliens invade his neighborhood, a family dog must bridge the communication gap.

Neither of these stories were anywhere near where they needed to be until I workshopped them at Scribophile.

If you ever wanted to write and sell a story, I recommend Scribophile for critiques and Duotrope for finding a market. I’d be lost without them.

You better believe I’m grateful to be here and working with you fine people.

Thank you for stopping by.

American BESM rapunzel anna ilsa

Thanks to Dan Kois at Slate

American BESM rapunzel anna ilsa

Slate senior editor Dan Kois was kind enough to give a shout-out to the Defense of Frozen in his review of the film for that magazine.

That was thoughtful. Thank you, Dan.