Twine: Troubleshooting

Note: the below tutorial is currently outdated. Please reference this tutorial at this off-site link for the time being. This website is safe to access and belongs to an SDSU alumni.


Red text/Links not working

Text in red means the link is broken; it doesn’t work or link anywhere. A link may be broken if you have not created a passage for the link yet, or if the passage has been created, something in the link may be spelled wrong, or you may have capitalized the name of a passage when it should be lower case (passage1 versus Passage1; Twine’s passages are case sensitive). Misspellings account for most programming errors in languages Twine uses, like HTML and CSS.

Another common error is inserting (or forgetting to insert) a character in the code, such as the | line between the link’s text and the passage name – or adding too many lines, such as ||. You may also forget to close a bracket, such as </center

Unfortunately, Twine is one program that will NOT tell you what you did wrong. You will be left to figure out what’s going on. Sometime this can be straightforward, other times you may have to search through your code to find the error.


Something is broken but I don’t know what it is!

Another problem common across all languages and not just Twine are variations with quotation marks. If you type out your code in a word processing program like Microsoft Word, your quotation marks will look like ‘ ‘ or “ “. This is a nightmare for any web-based code, because the ‘ ‘ and “ “ are actually different from ” (this may look the same as the other quotes based on the font, but these are two different types of character) and will be parsed as such. What this means to you is that everything contained in quotes will cease to function when you try and upload your project. Not good. Thankfully, a quick fix is to find and replace ‘ with ‘ or “ with ‘ and so on.

Do not code in Word. Use Notepad or Notepad++, which you can download for free online. You can also edit and write all code directly in Twine, but if you prefer to work outside of Twine, please don’t paste your code into Word as it will convert your ‘ ‘ quotation marks into different characters and break your code.


What if I’m just really frustrated?

This happens to everyone and will no doubt happen to you. Generally the ‘I’m so frustrated!!’ breaking point comes about when you’re trying something new and/or have a very ambitious project. As tempting as it may be, do not delete your work. Always save a version of your project.

Why? Because things tend to get worse before they get better when you are programming. I am very thankful I saved much-less-messed-up versions of some of my projects before the code got so out-of-control I couldn’t fix it without wasting even more time. Thankfully I had an earlier version of the project I could return to and keep experimenting with.

Sometimes it is also okay to stop. Not everything needs to be completed and seen by human eyes, nor does every project need to be ‘good’, especially when you are still in the process of becoming comfortable with the program.