Making Interactive Fiction Mainstream: Readers

Jon Ingold describes the gamelike storytelling philosophy of Inklewriter. (I’ll be teaching a “Digital Narrative” creative writing class in J-Term, so I’m on the lookout for resources.)

20131003-093924.jpgOur stories tend not be about “choosing what happens” – if readers wanted to control a story, they could write one of their own! Instead, the idea is to place readers in a conversation with the narrative: they suggest something, and the story answers back. It’s the protagonist / antagonist model of story-telling, but with the reader choosing which risks to take and which leads to follow.

We’re not about multiple endings – we’re about dynamic middles. And we’re not about non-linear storytelling either: while the writing process is certainly non-linear, the reader’s experience is entirely linear, the story they encounter has a beginning, develops, and culminates.

We don’t believe that interactive stories will replace books – as with all media, some stories work better than others: journeys and mysteries suit interactivity; psychological family dramas less so. But we do think interactive fiction can be mainstream; by telling engaging stories, using appealing and friendly interfaces, and avoiding the trap of “too much newness”.—
Read Jon’s second post on making interactive fiction mainstream, where he explains how the inkle studio is supporting writers with their inklewriter tool. —
Making Interactive Fiction Mainstream: Readers