Topic Proposal: Create Your Own Adventure

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When trying to decide upon my individual project, I keep coming back to one idea – create your own adventure stories. I remember going into used bookstores and finding these books and immediately being hooked. The idea that I could choose which action was astonishing. How many times have I shaken a book in frustration at a character’s choice? Too many to count. And this form is also one I think could be so much better on an e-reader. For my project, I would like to create something that meshes together the ideas from the create your own adventure stories and the Alice concept in the IDEO video.

For the project, I would want to start off with only a short story or novella. And since it will be shorter and perhaps less heavy, I would like to direct it towards a young adult audience.

Within the story itself, I would want it to have multiple choices for the reader at certain plot turns. But I would also want them to experience images, maps, and sound effects when they make certain choices. Walk through the wrong door and the screen lights up in flames and the character dies in a fire. Or instead of writing the choices, you could show the reader visuals of the choices to make – like paths or doors or which fruit to eat. I would also like the reader to have to finish puzzles and games in order to progress the story. I could include a maze in the book and depending on which exit the reader finds will direct the story a certain way.

One of the main things I disliked about the printed create your own adventure books, was trying to backtrack to my last choice to see where I could have ended up. So once finishing the story, I would like my book to present the reader with each of the story-changing choices they made. They will then have the option to go back to that point in the book and make a different decision.

Our society has become so much more hands-on in the last decade. We now want to be able to talk with our TV, to tap a poster with our phone, to “being” the controller in our video games. I believe being able to make certain interactive choices in our books fits right in with these other immersions.



Mr. F's picture


This is a cool idea, I've actually played some online CYOA games recently-- there's this one publisher called Choice of Games and they have recently started offering their games for the iPad. All of the ones I've played are fairly simplistic and exclusively text-based (Choice of Romance/Intrigues is actually really complex and extremely text-based, though I highly recommend it for the great writing). There are some cool things their interactive stories tend to do-- based on the choices you make, certain values for your character are adjusted (so like if you handle a situation using persuasion rather than violence, you get +1 Charm), and those values eventually affect certain other decisions you are able to make. This makes each experience of the story somehow more personal, and I don't think it'd be too difficult to implement on the iPad. Something to consider!

Will's picture

Adventure Books

I also enjoyed reading these books when I was younger. My main problem with these books were the limited ending scenarios. I remember a few of these books only had two or three different endings even though there were many different paths. Basically, all the paths ended in similar ways. It might get a little confusing, but having slightly different endings for each path would be really interesting, and it should encourage multiple readings of the same book. Good luck!

carsonk's picture

I think this is a great idea.

I think this is a great idea. I remember my fourth grade teacher bringing in some of the books, and they were all the rage! I too was always frustrated when trying to backtrack to see what would have happened. I think you have a lot of possibilities here with your images and sounds. I would work on your idea of how to view each possibility at the end like you noted. I can't think of any ideas currently, but if I do I'll let you know! Like Will said, it cold get confusing since each story ends in a certain way. You could possibly make a little bar at the bottom (like the Kindle) as a way to backtrack (not with percentages but something else). Overall this is a great idea, and I'm excited to see what happens with it!

Hey, great idea, and I've

Hey, great idea, and I've always been excited about where e-books could take this particular genre of books. You might want to look at America McGee's recent e-book remake of Alice in Wonderland. It's not exactly choose your own adventure, but it has a lot of cool interactive elements that might give you some ideas for your project. Can't wait to see what you come up with.

laura8's picture

Thank you guys for your

Thank you guys for your suggestions!! I will definitely try to make my character develop certain characteristics along the way - that seems like a cool idea and I only hope it will be possible. And Will, I completely understand where you are coming from. That always frustrated me with those books. So I will try to make every choice (or at least major one) have its own ending. I will also definitely check out the books you suggested!