14 Writing Experiments That Might Inspire You To Create Your Own

huyke check this outAre you a professional writer? A published author? Are you French? Well, neither am I! I’m a Puerto Rico-based aspiring illustrator who’s done some writing on the side. I’ve been subject to multiple formats and platforms for digital writing and found some valuable experience from it. Here’s a list of those to hopefully get your creative (writing) juices flowing!

1- “DWN-15: Heat Man” – Do you like videogame in your poetry? Well, you’ve come to the write place! This short poem mixes the love for Megaman by drawing a parallel between the game and a personal touch of growing up. Life’s a tough level, but it’s worth it.

2- “The Sound of Animals Fighting” – An in medias res short story about a craving to inflict violence on those just as wicked; with a little artwork, if it sweetens the pot. You’re in for a bit of grit.

3- “Puzzle Pieces” – Here’s some Twitter action. It’s short and sweet, so I won’t spoil much beyond the fact that it’s a haiku.

4- “What A Mess” – Another piece of Twitter fiction. Or “twitfic”, as the natives call it. What’s so neat about it is the ambiguity it plays with. I’ve read multiple interpretations on top of my own, and they’re all quite fitting. What’s yours?

5- “Imagine They’ll Miss Me” – This began as a writing game. A sort of… fill in the blanks sort of deal. It led to a pretty interesting journey blending both fantasy and snark as opposed to pushing the “wow” factor on readers like some authors desperately try to. However, it’s also loaded with a bit of symbolism and it’s open to interpretation.

6-  “DWN-062: Frost Man” – Another writing game, this led to a poem encapsulating the feeling of playing Frost Man’s stage from Megaman 8! The snowboarding segment was tricky, huh?

7- “Hush” – The sounds of poetry; that’s what lies in this one. A playful attempt to roll sounds off the tongue. Read it aloud to really make it ring.

8-  “Candle Jackie” – Here’s a change of pace: a sound poem! Download it and listen closely. I burnt my finger making this one sound “authentic”, so don’t let my poetry injury be in vain.

9- [Have you ever seen] – Contrary to the last one, here’s a concrete poem. Do you smile with your teeth?

10- “Level-Up!” – Another quickie, this one’s an anipoem. Remember how I said there was videogame poetry?

11- “Graphite Spunk” – The funny part about this is that it’s a bit of a remix of no.5 in this list, cut up and with a bit of grunge thrown in. Here’s to character creation.

12- “111 Days of Sleep” – Are you familiar with “A Humument”? It’s somewhat kin to blackout poetry, but… I think it’s better if you give it a go and see for yourself.

13- “Rockman Surge” – More Megaman? Of course! A remix of “Taroko Gorge” by Nick Montfort, it infinitely generates a poem about Megaman, man! Look out for Bass; there’s a chance he’ll show up looking for Megaman.

14- “Flight of Icarus” – This last piece requires you to make a few choices. It’s a Twine game, so it’s text-based and scifi. Bonus points if you’re into Greek mythology. Can you get all the endings?

Hopefully these have given you an idea of what you can do with writing besides typing left to right. Make note of the methods that really stuck with you and try to come up with your own both within and breaking outside of those platforms and constraints. Who knows? You may open the floodgates for another batch of writers. Happy writing!

Twine Game: “Flight of Icarus”

icarus

Thanks to my English professor, I came across a nifty platform called Twine. It’s a very user-friendly program (once you take a few minutes to watch someone do the basics) that allows you to create non-linear text-based adventures. I was very interested in the idea, given my history with videogames and love for anything that gives the player choices. I took an idea I had for a scifi take on Greek mythology and used it to experiment with it on Twine.

The result is a short, but hopefully sweet, text-based adventure with different routes to take and a few endings to reach. It engages digital media due to the mechanics of the game and it’s html format. While you could argue that similar things have been done on paper, this platform allows for much, much more customization beyond the typical “turn to page X for one choice and page Y for another”. For starters, you can’t see how thick the virtual space is to guess when your adventure ends, it’s sleek, and allows to embed images and hopefully audio in the near future when the second version of Twine is finished. The digital nature of this form of non-linear storytelling allows for a more modular story and makes it more accessible. You’re focused on the single plane that is your screen to sustain immersion.

In the future, if I were to refine this Twine iteration, I may even throw in some decent artwork to match.

Without further ado, have a quick playthrough or two of the Flight of Icarus and let me know what you think before I turn it into a comic or something similar. You can now say you’ve been here since the beginning!

“Rockman Surge”

This here is an infinitely-generated poem about Megaman and his allies versus the Megaman 2 Master Robots and a few other characters. It’s a remix of “Taroko Gorge” by Nick Montfort.

That’s really all there is to it. I had fun with it, at least. I’m particularly amused by the fact that if Megaman appears, there’s a 1 in 3 chance Bass will, too. A nod to fans of the franchise (which could also describe the entirety of the poem/remix, to be fair). There is the problem I couldn’t solve of removing the “s” that appears at the end of names, which is irksome.

Without further ado about nothing, here’s the text (just save on notepad with “.html” at the end!).

“Taroko Gorge” remix analyses

The following are some comments on what I got from just three of the numerous remixes to “Taroko Gorge” by Nick Montfort. Given the nature of these infinitely generated poems (with finite variables in the code), by no means is my experience universal.

1- “Takei, George” by Mark Sample

As the title implies, the poem is about actor and public figure George Takei. However, it’s also a play on the original title of “Taroko Gorge”, as many of the remixes do. Funny enough, if you were to open up the source code, you’d find that the author of the remix misspelled the title as “Takoro Gorge” in his description. The poem has many elements that are representative of George Takei, from his role on “Star Trek” to his sexual orientation, which happen to blend together as the poem generates. I noticed they also mentioned “Heroes”, which is another show he had a role in with a comics/scifi target audience. I noticed the yellow background and red text, which seemed familiar for some reason. As I suspected, a quick image search revealed they were his uniform colors on “Star Trek”, which is to be expected, given its iconicity. However, the list of his appearances in pop culture go on and on, getting rephrased and reordered. In a sense, it’s a compendium of George Takei’s work with some of his personal life thrown in.

2- “Tacoma Grunge” by Chuck Rybak

The remix by Chuck Rybak set the stage for me in a particular way. More than one solid subject, it painted Tacoma as the setting for perhaps an indie film or novel about the grunge kids from the 90s all gathering, slowly but surely. Somewhere, they’re just jamming out to Sonic Youth, elsewhere, there’s a writer putting something together before the show, and in the meantime there’s an artist creating covers. It all comes together like a portrait of the many facets the youth of the era had. It can provoke nostalgia or become a bit of a parody of itself to those who are familiar with the movement given the randomly generated aspect of the poem. There’s something to be said about the way it invokes different characters back to back in a person’s mind. Unfortunately, the poem is unavailable at the moment from the source I had read it.

3- “TransmoGrify” by Leonardo Flores

TransmoGrify is one of the more meta remixes, in a way. It’s a remix [about] remixing. It has various set pieces that perpetuate the cycle of one person coming across a work, reading it, someone listening, someone remixing the code, and then goes into the code’s functionality itself. I even got a line reading “Monkey speaks.” Other than the monkeys, it makes a surprising amount of sense and in turn becomes a work about the nature of the work itself. Here’s another bit of info: as it says in the top-right corner, it’s presented by I ♥ E-Poetry, which is Dr. Flores’ website. The links beneath it link to entries about them on his website and you can subsequently find the poems through there in case you want to read them before or after his analysis on the work.

“111 Days of Sleep”

111

When I went about this assignment, I knew the basics of what I wanted to do. As easy as it would’ve been to pick a certain page from a certain book, I put out a request for any page of any book someone else may like. As soon as I got one, I stuck it. It was page #111 from Jorge Franco’s “Rosario Tijeras” (Rosary Scissors).

I went about creating different paths for the words until I found one that I was content with. Once that was the case, I went about making it legible and filled the background by painting with a digital leaf brush. The opacity is reduced so the text could partially come through; there’s no implicit meaning here other than making it more interesting from a visual standpoint.

“Graphite Spunk”

Aly pencil

She, from the pile drawings, took my left hand as lungs and began to breathe.

Her appearance held up.

From the page I never left and from doing my research for ideas, I had wildlife on paper see the sounds from which they hide; the dreadful “What to do?”

As I grow wary of my renegade masterpiece, who knows what to keep? I’ll mend her graphite glory, welcoming her death rock charm to the nothingness of Anarchy-induced grief. I hammer her glimmer to the back of her jacket with spikes on her shoulders.

I completed her outfit (when she stopped blowing smoke in my face) and let her sit back. She didn’t expect a side of her to decrypt just from her looks, as she thought I’d carry out.

I happen to correct Aly: “I also wondered how to decrypt you.” All she had was a smirk on her face and too much spunk to let me erase. All I had to say was “welcome to the graveyard scene.”

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The latter was written using old writing remixed through a gibberish generator then spiced up into something new. I decided to go with the very first result from that particular work I threw into the generator, because clicking for a new mess over and over would somewhat defeat the spirit of restriction. I tried not to get overly liberal with how much I changed it, since some things aligned surprisingly well. A change in capitalization and a letter could change things completely. I understand how this can tie into Kenneth Goldsmith’s “Uncreative Writing” given the premise of taken words already written and using them in a creative way; despite how uncreative it is to borrow words. In this case, why come up with something new from scratch? I’ve written many a-thing before, and that’s a unique start, to say the least.

I may come back to change tidbits, but for now, this is the “Raw” form of what I did with the experiment.