Mibba – features of writing non-linear stories (06.11.2015)
Writers Stack Exchange – helpful techniques (06.11.2015)
WordPress – Starting Writing Interactive Fiction (06.11.2015)
Choice of Games – Wiring Interactive Fiction (06.11.2015)
WordPress – Thoughts on Games Design and Narrative (06.11.2015)
There are essentially two styles of CYOA: a single story that can have many of its details changed, and a thousand-and-one stories that diverge from the same origin point.
So, what attitudes about CYOA do these works share?
CYOA is genre-reliant. All the books take it as read that CYOA is obliged to draw heavily on genre shorthand and stock devices, and that CYOA is — even when written unambiguously for adults — an entertaining, fun form that should indulge its audience, mostly giving them things that they expect and want. There’s something to be said for this, since a given CYOA thread will have a lot less space to establish things, even at the relatively high verbosity of Mistakes or the choose your destiny series.
CYOA is about a rich and varied field of possibility. CYOA is about a hundred different stories, not one story that can have some of its episodes changed around. I’ve characterised this before as the ‘naive view’ of CYOA, the one you adopt if you’ve only just learned what CYOA is and have been contracted to write a dozen of them. Still, I think that the time-cave design is a much more appealing model for stateless CYOA than the tightly-pruned branches that commercial publishers drifted towards. (I also think that this is a good argument for considering stateless and state-tracking CYOA as separate forms.)
Failure is part of the fun. The two classic attitudes to losing endings in CYOA, particularly in publishing-machine works, are 1) it’s there to create challenge, or 2) it’s discouraging and distressing, so you should have as few as possible. All these books (perhaps Night a little less so) present failure as entertaining, interesting, something that enriches the piece. They have somewhat different attitudes about how failure should be used, how central a feature of CYOA it should be, and what it stands for; but they’re all agreed that it’s important.
Summary from Link (06.11.2015)
The bigger a CYOA, the more of it is unseen if there are no merges; merges become more important. Merging is hard to do: you need to plan your structure around it, particularly if you don’t want arbitrary ‘you walk down a tunnel’ connections. And merging makes the past irrelevant unless you include state-tracking: larger games have more motivation to track states and more opportunities to use them.
Website with CYOA: