Advice on tools or methods for tracking story routes?

Hi, I’m new to creating interactive fiction and visual novels and have a question on organization.

What tools or methods do you use to keep track of your branches and story paths? I’m neuroatypical, which basically makes me a mess at organization. I’m a very visual person that wants to see very concretely how my story can go.

I was thinking of some flowchart or decision tree software (something like or simply within a spreadsheet program. My concern is with, say, a flowchart program, is how to track story elements that link to multiple places - e.g., section H leads to I and J, and J to K, L, and/or M, but M can go to both N or “back” to H. How to lay that out visually without it being a mess?

Any thoughts? Does something exist specifically for tracking text / game decision trees?

Thanks for your time and ideas.

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You can use Twine to manage a network of story nodes like that.

There are a number of commercial tools meant specifically for interactive stories. (Articy:Draft is the one I’ve run into, but I’ve never tried to use it.)

My feeling is that the “flowchart” model doesn’t capture all of what’s going on in most interactive stories. So whatever tool you pick is going to just be a starting point. So you might as well pick one that you’re comfortable with.


I use a combination of Scrivener and Trisbort. Twine is also very good for prototyping and authoring.

Welcome to Intfiction.


I will not underestimate the mind mappers software, albeit I think that don’t easily handle the end-game plot converging, even with multiple endings…

also, albeit isn’t a visual tool, there’s the outliners, whose handle well all shades of red/blue :wink: i find those a perfect tool for locations/objects prototyping, with the advantage of cut/pasting the texts into the IF source.

Trizbort, if cooperates decently with Linux, is excellent for map prototyping, up to generating the map sources of the drawn map in many IF languages (perhaps can becane the lone mean of taming ADL… but I digress.)

a diagram editor (like dia on Linux) is perhaps a good visual build of many types of map and story path, but too often are geared toward presentation (being a mil/Nav historian, I use dia for drawing OOBs (Order of battle) of military/Naval formations)

last but not least… we have integrated office suite, but I think it’s time for an integrated studio suite; I guess many creative people will welcome a “LibreStudio”, at least IMVHO.

Best regards from Italy,
dott. Piergiorgio.

ps. I forget to note that I write from my PoV of Linux/Opensource supporter…


Exactly! I fear the mind mapping and flowchart type systems don’t work well for converging and “backtracking” when sections come to multiple points.

Thanks for your reply!