By Sandy Tan
In our modern world, where technology has transformed the way we do everything, stories are no longer only found in books. In the visual novel “Becoming,” the audience follows the story of a high school junior named Sonia Young. Sonia discovers a book that lets her revisit her past and gain the confidence to write her next chapter. This interactive story gives the user a little insight, and perhaps control, over the chaotic world of a teenage girl.
“Becoming” is a visual novel inspired by my identity as a high school student. My mentor Claudia and I decided to take the idea of a multimedia project quite literally and merge two different types of writing into one piece. It combines my interests in computer science and writing code with creative writing to create a unique, interactive story. Although it took countless hours of editing, it was all worth it to see my story come to life.
Meet the Pair
Mentee Sandy Tan & Mentor Claudia Marina
Sandy’s Anecdote: Barnes & Noble is one of those magical places that is filled to the brim with all different types of stories. It’s also the first place where Claudia taught me how to tell mine. From using writing prompts in our much- referenced “What If” book to editing pieces at Parsons School of Design, Claudia has changed my whole perspective on writing. Every week, Claudia and I are always working on something new in the small café within Barnes & Noble. Sometimes we’re editing, other times we’re writing, but we’re always laughing over the weirdest things.
Claudia’s Anecdote: Sandy is incredibly talented at telling stories. When we first met, she expressed an interest in writing more creatively but felt somewhat restricted by the formats and rules taught in school. Our weekly conversations often centered on the role of voice in storytelling. She played with conventions, finding her own balance between respect for great works of fiction and a confidence to challenge the way these stories are told. Her work explores the role of dialogue in understanding identity, and her characters take their place in history as they converse with readers, themselves, or each other.
Sandy Tan is a senior in high school with a strong interest in the intersection between creative writing and technology. She believes technology and writing are not only tools for self-expression but also mediums for change. She is involved in various all-womxn computer science communities, engaging in projects that address low voter turnout in the United States and the gender gap in STEM. Her goal is to inspire more young womxn to find their place in the world of technology. In her spare time, Sandy loves baking with her older sisters, reading and painting.