Stepworks – new E-lit tool by Erik Loyer

From Erik Loyer:

“Press SPACE BAR to continue.”
“Click to continue.”
“Tap to continue.”

These actions are like turning pages in a book. They’re digital ways of saying “next, please.” They carry an element of suspense, because we don’t know exactly what we’re going to get next, but also an element of performance, because while the author controls the “what” — which might include text, images, a musical phrase, or all of the above—we control the “when,” turning the experience into something akin to performing a musical instrument.

Stepworks is a new site dedicated to this form of “one-button storytelling.”

Every work on the site, powered by the open source Stepwise library and written in XML, is available for you to perform, modify, or replace with your own content. You can remix the content of any story with the look and feel of any other. A Google Sheets integration allows you to use a spreadsheet like a multitrack content sequencer for quickly composing your own works and sharing them with others. One of my hopes for the site is that it becomes a useful classroom tool for teaching digital narrative.

For an introduction and tutorial, check out the video above.

I invite you to explore the site—feedback is welcomed. AND, if you have existing e-lit works whose content you think might adapt well to this format (perhaps as an excerpt that might link back to the original project), or if you’re interested in composing new works for the site, I’d love to hear from you: please get in touch at erikcloyer [at]