Choose Your Own Adventure Part 2

Choose Your Own Adventure Part 2

After my twelve-year-old read a few Choose Your Own Adventure’s, she really enjoyed them, but she had two complaints. The first: “In some of the stories, no matter what decision you make, you end up at the same place.” This is known as “False Forking”. For a good technical article on interactive fiction click here. The second problem: “There was never any danger of not being able to finish the story or any danger of possibly losing one’s life.” As soon as she realized this, the sense of urgency and excitement would drain away. Danger, tension, dilemmas … in a word, conflict. Conflict is at the heart of good storytelling. So one way to add more real choices in interactive fiction without making the story impossibly long is to have more of those choices lead to a definite end, a failing end. Something like: The Green Archer, half-starved, decides to eat the moldy bread. Dizziness ensues. Reaching for a chair, he stumbles. He falls to the floor. Arms, legs, even his neck feel like they are weighed down with stones. His eyes also are heavy … so very tired, he lets them close. The story path the reader was on just ended, and it ended badly. Now the reader knows that there is something at stake for making a bad decision — tension and excitement necessarily heighten. Now for a whole new twist. Game fiction! What’s that you say? It’s Choose Your Own Adventure with the added element of solo game play. The reader might need a piece of paper, pencil and a six-sided die. She can keep track...
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...
Lap Book / Unit Study

Lap Book / Unit Study

We often get asked about material for further study to go along with the Peleg Chronicles. So, with that in mind we’ve begun putting together a Lap Book study type guide. It might be a while before the finished product is available so we’ve decided to periodically give a few pages away as a download for you to print up and use with your children. Click on the images below to get a larger version.                                                 Here is a list of some of the topics we’re looking at developing. Until then, maybe they will give you some ideas to pursue on your own: – Logic – Worldview – Battle tactics – Castles – The Word – Truth – Dragons – Giants – Fear – Trust – Gospel in Old Testament – Swords – Weapons/Armor – False Gods / Images – Heroes – Bad Guys – Music – Teaching – Boldness – Family / Orphans – Exhorting / Encouraging – Grace / Redemption. Can someone as bad as the Dragon Priest or Count Rosencross come to be saved. – Cavemen/Tump Barrows. What did the Israelites want to do when they felt like they were grasshoppers in the sight of giant men. – Slavery … physical and spiritual. Menstealing. – Generations / Descendents I hope these are a blessing to you. In Jesus, Matt...
Ideaphoria

Ideaphoria

When I was sixteen my Dad put me on a train to New York City. I was on a journey to find out what my aptitudes were. I must have had a decent aptitude for following directions and orientation, for, while it was a bit daunting, I found the address I was given amongst the maze of streets and buildings. I arrived at the Johnson O’Conner institute early in the morning, and seven brain frazzling hours later they sat me down in a comfy chair and explained their findings. I won’t bore you with all the details, but according to their results it was a miracle that I ever found the place. I had one of the lowest spatial abilities scores they had ever seen. They implored me never to attempt any career that had to do with building or spatial understanding – I would be a complete failure and thoroughly unsatisfied with life if I did. (Side note: while it is true that I am slow, and scratch my head a lot when it comes to spatial intensive projects, I find them very rewarding. I’ve built numerous house additions, barns, and two houses. I also get half my income from teaching Orientation and Mobility to blind people … I guess they would say that is like the blind leading the blind :). But I do enjoy it, and I have a lot of empathy for my students since I also struggle with the skills that they are trying to learn. And they don’t know that I don’t have any aptitude for what I’m teaching them.) The good news...
Favorite Books List

Favorite Books List

As parents of four children, my wife and I search the internet, shelves of bookstores, pages of catalogues, and home school and Christian conferences trying to find books for our youngsters that are enjoyable and will inspire them to stay true to their Lord Jesus Christ. It’s both a fun and serious minded endeavor, for within the pages of many books lurk the enemies of a Biblical Worldview. Granted, there are not many books available that inspire, but we want there to be at least a semi regular diet of these precious works that will speak into their lives. We don’t always read books before our children sit down with them, but we do try to teach them to ‘prove all things’. Then when something seems amiss, they bring it to our attention and we discuss it in light of scripture. One of my daughters wanted to try a Choose Your Own Adventure Novel called ‘The Mystery of Ura Senke. I opened to the first page and read the following … You lie on the couch staring out the window. Another cold gray day. It’s January third, the last official day of New Year’s celebrations in Japan. Your family is spending the year in Kyoto, and even if Japanese school is three times harder than school in the United States, you’ll almost be glad when classes start again in two days. Anything is better than a boring vacation. – page 1 So I asked my girls if they could tell me what was being taught here? What world view was being promoted? Answer: Time with family is boring, anything...