For my creative project, I used to Twine to create a hypertext short story called “Lucidity.” Each page of the story displays a different dream, and each dream contains at least one link to another dream. In reading the story, the reader will likely visit each dream several times before viewing all of them. At the bottom of each dream, however, is the option to wake up. The reader decides how quickly he/she wants to exit the dream sequence. The title of the story, “Lucidity,” refers to both the option to wake up after each dream and also to the nature of the story. Readers learn shortly after the first page that they are also dreamers; therefore, although the story attempts to mimic the feeling of dreaming, readers are aware that the dreams are not reality. Every dream in the story comes from real sleep, whether from mine or from the sleep of my friends.

In creating a hypertext, I found that the most difficult part of the process was coming up with an idea for a story that would work in the hypertext form. Although hypertext can progress chronologically, I wanted my story to rely on not being possible chronologically. In a sense, I wanted to be able to put readers in control of the text more than they perceived, the way one feels when having a lucid dream. Although reading my story can be frustrating because the links do not turn a different color once a page has been visited (which I admit was not a decision I made on purpose), I actually think this enhances the meaning of the story. In order to a realize that an actual dream is not reality, one must pay close attention to elements within the dreamworld that cannot exist in real life, and then make that realization. Many dreamers wake up upon this realization. Others begin lucid dreaming. In reading this story, my hope is that readers will realize that they must pay close attention to the words they have already clicked if they want to avoid visiting the same dream multiple times.

I tried to mimic this concept of the feeling of dreaming and of having lucid dreams as much as I could. The dreams in my story cannot flow chronologically because that’s not how dreams happen in real life. Readers likely visit each dream more than once as they progress through the story, the same way we sometimes weave in and out of the same dreams throughout the night. The concept of lucid dreaming is most powerful in the “Wake up?” option at the bottom of each dream, which always leads to the same response. My conception of this option was that this response, “You wonder why you never remember your dreams anymore,” would work at any point in the story. If the reader thinks the dreams are silly, scary, uncomfortable, boring – anything that makes him want them to stop – he can wake up, but then he must realize that it was his decision to not experience dreaming. If the reader cycles through all of the dreams before choosing to wake up, then he will have read so many overlapping dreams in such quick succession that it will be difficult to remember them all.

My hope is that my project came out as at least intriguing, if not particularly innovative in terms of writing or coding. I did play around with HTML and CSS to change some small details, mainly to make my story look a little bit different from any random story produced in Twine, but I wish I could have done more to make the way the story looks mirror its content and themes. I certainly learned in producing this work that coming up with a story that works as a hypertext is not easy, and that then creating the work is even harder. I quickly realized that although I wanted to write html at first, it’s easy to get lost in the connections and I found myself getting lost in my own story. I’m happy with what I produced though, and I hope others enjoy it as well.

And to conclude, for reference and for hilarious comparison with Wick’s Twine map, here is a screenshot of my own Twine map:

Isn't this what YOUR dreams feel like?

  3 comments for “Lucidity

  1. ebrenton
    March 2, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I really liked your concept. I have very lucid dreams and I think your use of hypertext captures how free-flowing and disjointed dreams can be. The content of your dreams was very captivating. I honestly got chills reading them because they felt so similar to dreams that I have had before. It was a little frustrating that the links didn’t change colors after you had visited them, so I revisited a lot of the same pages multiple times. Then again, I think this reflects the idea that we have can have reoccurring dreams or fall back into the same nightmares multiple times. Great job and great use of your own writing!

  2. Wick
    March 3, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    “Isn’t this what YOUR dreams feel like”?

    Yes. Yes it is.

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