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Need some opinions

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  • Need some opinions

    So, here's the deal. I'm pretty used to writing normal stories, as in, stories which do not branch. I've given CYOA a shot but it's kind of throwing me off. I'm inclined to write a completely separate story line for every decision that is made within the story, and it just gets messy and cluttered and gets way off track. It's really hard to keep track of what I've written so far, I'm guessing it's because I have no real direction. I'm used to just writing in a linear fashion, get me?

    So, how do you all make your CYOA stories? I understand that you can loop back to already created rooms, but I'm not sure how to use this effectively. Should I plan out my story and make a graph of the rooms or what?

  • #2
    There is no single answer to this.

    Some of us chart and plan and graph, some just write and go crazy in all directions, some of us make only slight variations with each branch, and some tell a rather linear story with choices that are "bad" (often ending them at dead ends quickly)... but there is no wrong way to do it.
    Dragavan: Dragavan Games - Lootin' Wizards - The Land of Karn - Central U (adult) - Dragavan's Adult Stories


    • #3
      To control your tangents, you might try creating a few "nodes" where a number of paths converge every so often. Or you can copy/paste content onto similar paths, making small alterations for the details of each. The general idea is usually to maintain some sort of cohesion (HOID types aside) with just a few central plotlines: a trunk, main branches, twigs and leaves.

      Often, a writer has a complete plot in his/her head; no matter which path the reader chooses, events they aren't involved in will continue to progress on the same timescale in the "background," and the various paths are really just different aspects or perspectives of one basically linear plot. Read "Necromancer" for an example.

      Just try to visualize the plot and make sure all your paths still relate to the central theme; keep it balanced between diverse (but not chaotic/confusing) and cohesive (but not one-dimensional). The fun of reading or writing a CYOA story is in exploring interactions. Depending on the path the character takes, he/she ends up affecting processes already in motion in various different (often minor or not initially apparent) ways, subtly influencing the major happenings all those minor events and processes lead up to.

      The best CYOA stories yield an entertaining plot on the first read-through, and as a reader goes back to make different choices, he/she slowly acquires an understanding of the whole picture, of all the possible permutations of choices and all the events taking place in completely seperate parts of the story that combine to create the climax. That greater, gestalt understanding is the real payoff, and where a linear story has "twists" in its singular plot, a CYOA story can also have "twists" in the reader's understanding as he/she assimilates the different branches. In the same way a reader should feel motivated to finish a book, here you should try to make them interested in finishing all the paths by gradually revealing aspects of a cohesive plot that spans each of them without too much repetition.
      Last edited by Locke; 01-27-2010, 08:17 AM.
      Last edited by Locke; 06-27-2014 at 12:16 AM.


      • #4
        Wow, I never thought of it that way. Make a story which is worth reading over and over again. Now it makes so much more sense Thank you, Locke and Dragavan.


        • #5
          I really like when authors of interactive fiction have multiple branches of in depth story line. It can be a time consuming process, but so is writing in general. some branches can of course lead to death.

          One method I've tried with some success (though I haven't really finished much) is to have several long branches of story and other shorter off shoots with either deaths or early enders. Multiple levels of depth; a bunch of 3 roomshort branches, several 5 room mid sized branches, a few 7 deep, and a few longer 8 - 9 rooms deep.
          The organ is grinding but the monkey won't dance.


          • #6
            Finishing stories would be cool... I really got to try that one of these days.
            Dragavan: Dragavan Games - Lootin' Wizards - The Land of Karn - Central U (adult) - Dragavan's Adult Stories


            • #7
              I think the only people capable of making completed infinite stories are EndMaster and Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris is the better writer.


              • #8
                Crack cocaine,



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