Chat-your-own-Adventure #24: Gibbon Hands

Author’s Note: This story was written live on stream with the audience bidding tokens (earned while watching) to determine the path of the story.  The underlined phrases in the choice of three were the winning pathways.  Stop by twitch.tv/blainearcade if you’d ever like to participate in our interactive fiction.

Straight Razors                        Boxing Gloves                      Novelty Finger Traps

There was one spot designated as the place for fights. They didn’t used to need such a thing. Fights were for the other creatures of the forest: those with tusks and claws. They were a species of hands. That was how Een always thought of himself anyway. Sometimes he would watch the humans stare at their reflections in the surface of the lake. They always looked at their eyes, as if their own heads held secrets they weren’t aware of. Continue reading

Twitch Stream Story: The Willow and the Cross

There are only so many places in the modern world where a spirit can live. Add to that the constant arguments between the five high spirits, and you often get hostile neighbors, whose arguments are interpreted by humans as chills in the wind or the raucous cawing of ravens.

One such argument occurred in the backyard of the Fander family in the summer of 1981. The children were off enjoying the pool of the wealthier neighbors and the parents were busy repairing their aged car and shouting at each other when the nuts and bolts didn’t fit quite right. Continue reading

Twitch Stream Story: Bitter is Lighter than Sweet

It was such a wonderful thing that it wasn’t raining that evening. The sun was gone, off to bed, but the streetlights did its work and then some. Things had been crazy in Baros City since the new A.I. had taken over. He was excitable, and always turned the lights up too bright; they shined aggressively against the blue spires of the city. He was good at managing the denizens’ hangups though, much better than his predecessor.

Since he’d taken over suicides were down, homicides were down, rape and theft were down. Everything was down. People moved about the streets mutely, staring at the grain of the sidewalk and forgetting the hats on their heads. They didn’t shout. They didn’t push. They didn’t complain. Continue reading

My Story Structure Vs. Traditional Structure

traditional structure

You’re probably used to images like this from English or Creative Writing classes.  It’s the rough outline of the traditional story structure.  From left to right the first line is the rising action, the first dip is the crisis, the highest point is the climax, and the second dip is the resolution/conclusion.  It’s a simple and effective visual tool… but it’s not what I use when I write. Continue reading

How ‘Literature’ Helps Destroy Reading

I read this post recently, talking about how the improper teaching of literature has contributed to the death of its study.  The main argument seemed to be that it is important to emphasize literature as a way of developing empathy (putting yourself in a character’s shoes) over emphasizing it as a snapshot of its historical period.  To help make the point they brought up the example of someone reading Huckleberry Finn and deciding the entire point of the book was ‘slavery is wrong’.

While the idea they presented (that there are two main schools of presenting literature) is fine on its face, I speak from experience when I say it is probably not what kills people’s interest in literature.  Let us turn to one of the several definitions of ‘literary’ on dictionary.com for a solid description of what I consider to be the biggest problem here: “characterized by an excessive or affected display of learning; stilted; pedantic.” Continue reading

Don’t Major in Creative Writing

It’s not the most creative title for a post of this nature, but I wanted to make sure I got my message across loud and clear.  A few years ago I graduated from a creative writing program at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.  I want to provide a summary of my experience as a writing student to serve as a warning to anyone who might be considering something similar. Continue reading