Apologies if I asked this on the wrong site

I’m planning on writing a story set in the world of Ink, Iron, and Glass. I’m somewhat confused about the way that scriptologists script their worlds.

I’m primarily confused on the way specific aspects of the world are scripted, and the traits of the worlds. Some examples are how organisms are created in worlds, and what makes a world stable or not.

  • I'm not familiar with this work -- is this tied into Myst (books and games) in any way?
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 16:57
  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. This is hard to answer, since you don't say what you understand vs. what is confusing. Could you be more clear about asking for an explanation of a particular mechanic that is confusing?
    – DavidW
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 17:02
  • @DavidW is that better at all? Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 17:11
  • Yes, that does help, thanks. It means that the magic of the paper/ink/scriptor and preparation of the same aren't in scope, just to start.
    – DavidW
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 17:22

1 Answer 1


According to the author, Gwendolyn Clare, it works like a programming language.

  1. Wow! You're making me wish that I had a science background like you. In INK, IRON, AND GLASS, scriptology is a branch of science. Did you draw on your scientific background in creating your story? If so, how?

My love of science definitely influenced the decision to write a novel that centers a bunch of mad scientists as main characters, instead of casting the scientists only as villains. But real-life science is often slow, meticulous, tedious work that wouldn't make for very compelling reading, so it was actually a challenge to strike the right balance between realism and reader expectation. I hope the story communicates the excitement of science without getting too bogged down in the frustration of it.

I did draw on computer science as a direct influence when figuring out how scriptology should work. While I couldn't make that connection explicit in the book -- there aren't any computers! -- scriptology functions a lot like an object-oriented programming language, where ink is the code and the universe itself executes the program.

Interview with Gwendolyn Clare

I have not read the book myself, but my impression from reading reviews is that it's ambiguous as to whether worlds are created by defining them, or the definition of them simply builds a portal to a world that is among the infinite possible worlds. In either direction, the attention to detail that is required suggests that, if not properly specified, you risk either having additional details filled in, or created a world not consistent with human survival.

  • I understood that much already, but I’m uncertain in how this worked. Was it similar to writing out lines of ‘code’, or something else? How are creatures and locations made? With descriptions of them and their biology, or something else? Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 17:00
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    @EjSizemore Good fiction often glosses over that level of detail as unnecessary to the story.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 17:01
  • Yeah, my friend was telling me about it and I wasn’t really sure what could be done with it. She gave a bit of detail on the very basics Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 17:03
  • 1
    @EjSizemore Sounds like basic research here would be reading the books. Might also read the Myst novels, since it seems she cribbed the whole "write a world" idea from that game series and novel trilogy.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 17:14
  • @DavidW: Thank you. I forgot to add the link.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 17:33

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