Storysmash is an exciting project that began in early 2017 focusing on getting more young people to engage with libraries and with creative writing. By allowing for the young people themselves to create in a unique way, Storysmash provides an insight into the fun and challenge of developing a story.
Storysmash uses the software known as Twine in the creation of stories in the project, and is likely to appeal to 11-25 year olds as it provides the opportunity to create a game, similar to choose-your-own-adventure games or books. The basic premise of Twine is that you begin with a particular scenario, and play the game by choosing various alternative options which lead you to different story paths, and eventually, different endings. Of course, there are more options, as a result of there being further selections to incorporate into the game beyond the initial basic story path, such as an inventory of items and coding to add images into the game.
The fact that the software is so easy to pick up really allows for a creative angle to be included in the game and for stories to be created quickly allowing authors to develop their own characters in their own unique way. Twine also offers a visual representation, allowing a novice user to quickly move through the software and create a variety of possible alternative storylines, which should hopefully inspire young people to create their own creative projects in the future. Having used the software myself, it really is a bit addictive creating story path upon story path and developing the game from there.
The essential aim of the project is to use the simplicity and entertainment aspect of the Twine software in order to use the games concept as a medium to get more young people into and engaging with libraries and creative writing. With the ability of Twine to use images and text to create an entertaining game, the Storysmash project hopes to get young people to unleash their ability by writing their own games, while simultaneously becoming involved in libraries and engaged in creative writing.
Creating a story using software and a gaming concept is an excellent way for young people to be tempted into developing their creative ability in a novel and fun way. There are still workshops and masterclasses running into 2018, with young people acting as mentors and industry leaders, to provide an insight into writing to help getting started on the creative writing journey.
Storysmash is a partnership project between Nottingham City Council Libraries, The National Videogame Foundation and Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, funded by Arts Council England.