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September 13, 2012 / benrovik

“Active Fiction” = Choose Your Own Adventure to the Max

I have a loverly Kindle touch that makes navigating hyperlinks in a text totally seamless.  It floated through my head that this would make the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books from my childhood so much easier to manage!

Instead of flipping through to the appropriate page after making my decision  (“To use your nail file on the unicorn’s horn as it charges, turn to page 63”)  and inadvertently reading spoilers on the other story paths on the adjacent pages, consuming a story like this on an ebook would take me exactly where I needed to be at that moment, and could return me just as seamlessly.  It’s the perfect medium for a story with multiple paths.

Lots of other people think so too, and have been doing awesome stuff in this format for years. Coliloquy has a whole library of titles like this, which one journalist (at least) calls “Active Fiction”.  Stories are either full-on choose your own adventures, or more subtly woven tales with just a few decision points to give them variations in shape.  There’s another profile from Geek Dad here of how the original CYOA stories feel, especially when you can actually see a graphic representation of all the paths as you read:

I think I’d rather keep the exact branching a bit of a secret, were I to write one of these myself…

Speaking of which, should I write one of these myself?  It seems that there’s a definite place for some stand-alone Mechanized Wizardry adventures written in an over-the-top Active Fiction format.  Thoughts?



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