We’re going to look out at how you take a linear, ink-on-page story (novel, short story, kids book, comic) or light-on-screen story (film, short film, TV series) and turn it into a GAME. How to turn passive storytelling into interactive storytelling.
So here’s the basic concept, couched in terms of exploring Transmedia Gaming. This may seem like a diversion, at first, but all will be revealed in due course…I promise!
EXTENDING THE BOUNDARIES OF A STORY
In order to create an Interactive Game out of a Linear Story, we need to extend the boundaries of our story. We need to explore more of the world that we have created.
Sound complicated? It’s not. Every writer juggles possibilities. Happy ending versus tragedy. Death of this character or that character or just about ALL of them (Hamlet). Even “who is our protagonist’? The pirate captain or the boy stowing away in his ship?
With games you can explore ALL of these possibilities! The player chooses how the story goes from the options you provide. Cool, eh?
CONVERTING STORY-LINES INTO STORY-MAPS
And also extremely daunting. That’s a lot of writing! It can be, but we’re going to start with the Hat Rack story.
Your story retains it’s linear narrative, it’s central pole. We’re just going to tack on some optional extras for a player to explore.
I’m going to let Rob, Chad and Matt do the explaining for a bit now
Stories must have a reason to branch. And the best reason is when the characters are faced with a DILEMMA. In a Hat Rack story, like the one Rob’s holding up, the characters are faced with a series of Right/Wrong decisions.
If they make the Right choice, the live. If make the Wrong choice then they die and the story ends.
The bigger the jeopardy, the bigger the dilemma, the bigger the satisfaction when the player successfully navigates the narrative rapids…and the bigger the frustration when they sink.
Don’t worry, Writer. Frustration won’t drive your player away. It’ll drive them to want to beat your game and find out what happens next!
So let’s get practical about this. Grab a pen and paper and see if you can map out this Chad, Matt and Rob Adventure. The Dilemma Points either carry on up the pole of the Hat Rack, or branch off to short and certain doom. Have a go and, hopefully, your map will look a bit like Rob’s one there when you’re done.
Does your map of ‘Treasure Hunt’ look like this one?
Step 1 – Find an existing story of yours that you think could go beyond the bounds of what’s currently written. Do the characters have to make some big choices throughout your narrative? Is there jeopardy, the chance of success or failure, life or death?
Step 2 – Analyse your story and find the Dilemma Points. Wherever the character has to make a Right or Wrong choice…that’s your Dilemma Point.
Step 3 – For each Dilemma Point write a brief description of what could happen if the WRONG choice is made. This is your branch from the pole of your Hat Rack. This is your ‘dead end’.
Step 4 – Create your Story Map based on your Dilemma Points and Dead Ends.
Step 5 – Now you’re ready to write your Interactive Movie Script!
OR if you’re more of a Prose Wrangler…a novelist or short story writer, have a look at this beautiful interactive novel, ‘Blue Lacuna’ by Aaron A Reed. Games can be played with words just as easily as with images.
2 Responses to “Creating an Interactive Adventure”
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