Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure

Many parents of my generation are familiar with Choose Your Own Adventure novels and they probably have fond memories of them. While the stories themselves are not terribly engaging or carry much emotive force, the format is extremely intriguing. Fiction attempts to grab a reader and cause them to leave the world they are in and enter into a story world of make believe, usually through the eyes of one or more protagonists. Most Choose Your Own Adventure’s, also known as interactive fiction, immediately catapult the reader into the story by speaking directly to them. They say things like: You look into the cavern. It is almost completely black, except for two glowing eyes. Do you draw your sword and attack or do you run away? The reader is immediately invested in the main character, because they are in fact that character, and therefore they are, perhaps, more absorbed into the narrative. Not necessarily for the quality of the prose, but because of the format. ie. you climb, you jump, you fight, you run … you, the reader, are transported directly into the story, because the format has placed you there. Another way, but less common, is to write the prose in the standard 1st or 3rd person and then have the reader make decisions for the protagonist: Ebenezer’s muscles cramped. But if he moved, the creature might hear him. The cramp worsened. Should he change his position or keep still despite the pain? I tend to think using the 1st or 3rd person, especially with longer segments, helps pull the reader into the prose better and therefore into...