IF or regular text story telling?

Hello all,

Hope the end of the tear is treating you all nicely.

So I was sitting around thinking, and I’ve been trying to figure out when to know whether a story should be IF or regular text. I’ve started a fairly complex story in Twine, which as I work on it could go either way if I learn how to properly use Twine 2 conditional statements. That aside I don’t know whether to make the story an IF or not.

So how do you guys make that decision?

Is the story just as good without interactivity? If so, leave out the interactivity.

Well that’s the thing. With my other stories I can say without a doubt you gain something from the interactivity. With this one I’m working on now you gain something, but could also gain something with regular writing. I’m thinking of doing both. First writing a short story then finishing the IF version so then I already have one plotline plotted and pathed.

I’ve had this problem about some of my stories as well. One of my stories, “The Cil Wars”, I decided to move to normal story-telling (it’s on Medium.com) and that may turn into a book at some point. Others have remained IF stories. The primary reason, in my mind, is that the purpose of the story is partly to tell a story, but mostly to evoke emotions and imagery with the interactivity. I want the user to take the emotional steps of moving the story forward with that interactivity. This is very important in my one WIP called “Reflections”. This is also true in another WIP called “Aspect of God”. I have another WIP about an android waking up on a planet, by herself, but that may also turn into a normal story.

It’s not always easy to decide until you get in and just try it out. In general, if you’re dealing with something like Twine, there are a few reasons why you might opt for interactivity:

– You have a branching story or want to explore multiple endings (duh)
– You want to invoke a specific feeling in the reader by making them complicit or simulating something for them in a way (like Taghairm)
– You gain something from spooling the story out in pieces; it gains a new meaning, cadence or poetry that couldn’t exist in another way
– You want to incorporate multimedia or effects

Stories that are heavy on reader empathy and asking questions work well in IF. Stories that have strong characters and a clear, definitive theme (answers as opposed to questions) aren’t quite as well suited (though of course there are exceptions).

So I think, yeah, write the story both ways! Get a feel for how it changes when you do it. That will be the best way to see first-hand how you fit into all this.

((That’s actually what I did for my first Twine - I took a short story I had written and transcribed it verbatim into Twine, simply using the links to change the relationship between passages - removing linearity and changing pacing. Then I wrote a very short alternate ending. It’s really interesting to me now to look at the game Transilience side-by-side with the short story and see all the ways such honestly small changes make a big effect in the final result.))

You guys make interesting points.
I’m leaning towards having a series written in regular text and then a twine based version. There is a certain sort of empathy that , as you all alluded to, comes with IF and it is really hard to figure out which works better if you have a tendency to write your normal text stories in a character and emotionally centered manner.

That’s the great thing about IF, and honestly some writers I think don’t grasp that based on some stories I’ve played through. It’s a hard thing because you are so close to the characters and stories you create.

If you write the story first then you know the beginning, middle and end and you can then go back and modify it into IF afterwards.
If you start the IF first then you don’t know how it should end and run the risk of putting in “Off Topic” sections.

That’s an interesting point. I definetly agree having the text complete in some form, particularly story wise can simiplify making IF so much easier, but I think “off topic” sections can be a risk in normal fiction too. It’s just a matter of how they unfold and how off they are. I would say writing IF has been easier because it allows me to organize a story section by section, where I can literally follow the flow of certain thoughts and processes one to the other, while still being able to switch topics or perspectives with far more ease than traditional text.

Most authors have an “Off Topic” folder because of this. The reader does not see this due to editing. These bits don’t just get deleted because they can be recycled and in my case it is the “Off Topic” folder that has led to be writing a game.

On the topic of laying out and planning, mind mapping software like scapple is always extremely useful. It’s partner Scrivner is useful because to can separate chapters into folders and then separate each chapter into parts to help with additional planning.

Thank you for the software recommendation. I’ll have to check those out when I get my main machine back and running.

I too have an off-topic folder. I usually segment off-topic things off. It just feels like in IF I go into a different headspace creatively due to how you can compose one solid product. Does that make sense? when I put a piece in the off-topic folder it’s different than creating a folder in terms of how they relate to the central texts and how they feel as I write them. Both are critical though.