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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Three Platforms for Writing Choose Your Own Adventure Stories - A Comparison

Over the weekend I published a review of Twine, an open source program for writing choose your own adventure stories. In the past I've reviewed a couple of other tools for the same purpose. This post is a short comparison of the three.

Inkle Writer provides a platform on which you can write choose your own adventure style stories. On Inkle Writer you write each paragraph (or less) as an independent piece that you can connect to other pieces of your story. You can take the story into many directions then piece them together from your menu of paragraphs. What I like about Inkle Writer compared to the other tools in this list is that you don't have to plan every element of your story before you write. You can simply write out a few paragraphs then go back and connect the pieces as you like.

Playfic is a tool for creating text-based, choose your own adventure stories. Playfic is based on Inform7 which uses "if, then" logic to allow anyone to create their stories. When authors plan and write their stories they can include multiple paths for readers to pursue as they progress through their stories. Readers navigate through the stories by entering directional commands such as "go north" and "go south." Click here to try a sample story and learn a bit about the logic of Playfic. The aspect of Playfic that I like best is that while writing their stories students can click on a preview. If students have errors in the logic of their stories, when they click on the preview Playfic will point those out with an explanation of the errors.

Twine is an open-source program for writing choose your own adventure stories. You can use Twine online or you can download the software for Mac or Windows. To write a choose your own adventure story with Twine online start by giving your story a title. After titling your story you will be taken to a grid canvas on which you can write short passages in a series of sticky notes. Each sticky note should be given its own title. To link elements of your stories you place brackets around the title of note within a note. Each note can be linked to two or more other notes in your story. When your story is complete you can read through it and click through it in your browser. The aspects of Twine that I like the best is the sticky note nature of the story canvas. The sticky notes make it easy to see the connections between elements of your story. The downside to Twine is that like Playfic you really need to have a good outline before you start writing otherwise you will spend a lot of time going back to edit previous story elements.