I started by researching Twine and Choose-Your-Own-Adventure (CYOA) stories. I found some useful articles. This one by Karen Woodward is pretty straightforward. I found an article about the making of Bandersnatch, the Black Mirror CYOA movie on Netflix, and discovered that they actually used Twine to write the movie! That’s pretty dope!
I think the best way to learn how to do it is just to do it. It’s a maddening process, so maintaining an outline is crucial, but other than that, it seems like one of those things you just have to try for yourself.
Regarding the subject matter, when I looked up the story of the labyrinth and the minotaur, I was disappointed to see that there were no real details on what happened inside the labyrinth. It’s all basically about what happens with the characters around the labyrinth. Theseus uses the string, goes in, kills the minotaur, and comes back out. (And by the way, it’s pretty cruel that they lock up the minotaur in the labyrinth in the first place. It wasn’t his fault he was born hideous.)
The way I had originally conceived of this idea was to delve inside the mind of a girl named Aurora, named after the Disney version of the Sleeping Beauty folktale, and have her navigate her own personal dreamscape with characters from her waking life reimagined as monsters, seers, fairies, and so on. However, again, the problem is that we’re never told about what the princess is dreaming about in her coma. It’s all about what is happening around her.
Writing it out now, I realize my idea is much more similar to the Wizard of Oz and Alice In Wonderland. In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is knocked unconscious in a tornado and dreams up the world of Oz in which characters from her life are reimagined as her companions or her enemies. Alice in Wonderland takes characters from the author’s real life and transforms them into the iconic characters of the nonsensical tale. It takes a degree of imagination and heightened observation to create these characters. Their quirks, traits, and biggest insecurities are amplified into caricatures of themselves.
I think for this to be as effective as it possibly can be, I need to use myself as a subject and study the events and characters in my life. If I can look at my own life and turn it into a labyrinth of creatures and challenges, I think others will relate to it and I will have a greater understanding of storytelling. Writing about the things that scare us the most generally creates the best work.
Three possible stories
The temptations. Falling back into old habits.
Plato speaks of three different kinds of sirens, but I can’t find any more information about them other than this passage, which is repeated all across the web:
The Greek philosopher Plato says there were three kinds of sirens- the celestial, the generative, and the cathartic. The first were under the government of Zeus, the second under that of Poseidon, and the third of Hades. (A parallel might be intended here between the three planets, and the deities of the same name.) When the soul is in heaven the sirens seek, by harmonic motion, to unite it to the divine life of the celestial host; and when in Hades, to conform the soul to eternal infernal regimen; but when on earth their only job to “produce generation, of which the sea is emblematic”.Wikipedia: Siren (mythology)
Rivers of hell. The rivers of emotion. I’ll take three out of the five rivers of the underworld and elaborate on them:
Phlegethon: River of Fire. I would probably interpret this as the fire of self-hatred, which creates a hatred toward others.
Lethe: River of Forgetfulness & Oblivion. This would be representative of our dopamine addictions from extended smartphone use and its effect on our brains. It makes us forget things and isolate from each other.
Cocytus: River of Lamentation. This would be a manifestation of all the guilt we feel in our lives.
The final battle that leads to either resurrection or oblivion. Our greatest fears manifested into a monster. The three different versions would go as follows:
Shadow self. The darkest parts of the self that we don’t want to acknowledge is real. The flaws and evils that lurk deep within.
Greatest antagonist. The character that committed the worst transgression against us in life, who dealt us the biggest traumatic blow that we have to work through.
Another labyrinth. Never finding the answer. Never making the way out. Never going deep enough to find truth, just running around in circles for eternity.
I like to keep it dark. 🙂
Featured image source.