This post includes useful links for student in the pre-college session, “DIY Books: the Past and Future of Independent Publishing.”

Schedule of the Day

Session 1: Zines

  • 1:00pm: Welcome from Ryan Cordell (Associate Professor, English)
  • 1:15-1:30pm: Introduction to Northeastern Librarians Molly Brown (Reference and Outreach Archivist) and Giordana Mecagni (Head, Archives and Special Collections)
  • 1:30-2:00: “What is a Zine?”
  • 2:00-3:00: Zine-making activity
  • 3:00-3:30: Sharing our zines
  • 3:30-3:45 Stretch break! While you’re stretching download Twine for the next session.

Session 2: Interactive Twine Narratives

  • 3:45-4:15 Building Interactive Digital Texts using Twine
  • 4:15-5:15 Twine-building activity
  • 5:15-5:45 Sharing our Twine narratives
  • 5:45-6:00 Recap and final thoughts

Session 1: Zines

We will be looking at these zines together during the first session. As you look at them, reflect on these questions:

  1. Based on this example, what do you imagine a “zine” is?
  2. How does this look like a zine to you? (or how does it not) How does it resemble other media you’ve encountered or use regularly?
  3. What is it like to read a zine about cell phones? Activism? Water bears?

Activism Zines

  1. Cell Phones Suck! Against the Use of Cellular Technology from the University of Miami digitized zine collection
  2. This is it (I’m Showing Up) by Margot Terc from the POC Zine Project
  3. Resistance in the Street from Activist Journey’s Anarchist/Socialist Zine Library

Science Zines

  1. Meeting a Giant Octopus by Anon. from the Small Science Zine Library
  2. The Indomitable Water Bear by Alex Chitty from the Small Science Zine Library
  3. Black Holes an Introduction by Dylan Rabe from the Small Science Zine Library

Session 2: Twine

In the second session today, we’ll experiment with Twine, “an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories.” The term “non-linear” stories is a broad one, and so some folks think of Twine as a platform for making electronic literature, while others consider it a platform for making games (while others question that distinction). Twine was used most famously to map out the story for the “Bandersnatch” episode of Black Mirror. Volume Three of the Electronic Literature Collection, which I often teach from in my classes, includes four Twine pieces:

You can use Twine online or download the application for your computer. Allison Parrish’s A Quick Twine (2.2+) Tutorial is a great introduction to the platform and some basic macros and variables that can extend the platform’s capabilities. We will refer to it throughout today’s session.

I’ve also prepared a basic Twine interpretation of the first chapter of the nineteenth-century novel, Moby Dick (Loomings.html, which you can open in your browser and view or, more usefully, import into Twine so you can see how it is set up. If you download the HTML file (right click the link –> “Save As” to save the file to your computer), you can use the “Import from file” option within Twine to investigate the story’s structure. This is a pretty simple Twine structure, though I did try to build in a few macros that track, for instance, which pages a user has visited before allowing them to move on in the text.

During our activity, you will make a basic Twine narrative (your own, or an adaptation of an existing text) that will ideally comprise:

  1. Several distinct passages
  2. Some narrative branching
  3. Two examples of embedded media (images, video, etc.)
  4. At least one use of the <<textbox>> macro

If you’d like to experiment with more advanced Twine programming, feel free to experiment with incorporating other macros, variables, and/or functions into your Twine narrative. Allison Parrish’s A Quick Twine (2.2+) Tutorial introduces several of these advanced features, and she links to a fuller list in the SugarCube documentation.

If you’d like to see a more complex Twine story than my Moby Dick example, check out this student project from a class this summer.