Writing Interactive Stories


OK, I’m hold enough to confess that I got hooked on the game of Zork a long, long time ago.  Zork was an interactive game that prompted you for various moves at every step.  It was great to visualize and each step potentially changed the story you were immersed in.

For the most part, electronic books follow the printed book where stories are linear.  It works and stories are written that way.

Except for genre of interactive adventure writing.  To do that, you need to investigate Inklewriter.  This application provides a wonderful environment for writing but, more importantly, it helps the author write the interactive, branching story.  Just writing your story and when it comes time to branch, just add the options along with the paragraph that will be the destination!  Inklewriter keeps track of everything so that you don’t have any points where your reader is left hanging!

For the visual among us, a map of your story is generated on the fly.

The interface is straight forward and dead simple to operate.

The clean interface features a toolbar on the left and the big area for assembling your story.  For a small fee, Inklewriter will convert your masterpiece to a Kindle document.

Check out a demo story here.  (The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

You’ve got to give it a shot.  You won’t believe how quickly and easily you, or your students, can writing your own interactive story.  This is a definite keeper – you’ll want to bookmark this.

Write Your Own eTextbook…


…in fact, you may already be doing most of this.

Recently, I had a conversation with a computer science teacher who was bemoaning the fact that there just wasn’t a perfect textbook for her course.  I don’t think that’s unusual.

I never found a computer science textbook that I wanted to use.  The examples in the ones that I looked at were different from the ones that I would use and the exercises often were too simple to reinforce the concepts that I wanted.  Plus, it’s also nice to have a bank of extra problems to pull out as needed – for review, extra practice, ideas for students, and so much more.

Any computer science teacher that I’ve ever met is the ultimate curator.  Filing cabinets just chock full of problems gathered from here and there; I was always a sucker for online programming competitions.  They are always a wonderful source of problems for class solution or for student problems.  Most are now available on the web and moving to a digital storage is only a click away.

Back to my discussion.  She was proud to indicate two things…first, the students were allowed to bring their own devices to classroom which had changed the way that she used computers – no more waiting for the “master image” to have the language and editors that she wanted.  Secondly, she had moved all of her notes and examples to a WordPress blog.  It was a private self-hosted blog and was just perfect for her purposes.  The students could access the current lesson or problem by visiting the blog.  She had learned quickly enough to have a few lessons published in advance so that there always was something ready.  She was using the comments to a post section as a way for students to ask questions or get clarification when students weren’t in class.

It seemed like a perfect scenario with just one gotcha that was looming for a couple of students.  They didn’t have internet access at home.  It was not a huge problem provided the student remember to go to the blog and grab the topic while at school.  She was considering moving her resources to any of the eBook editing programs that are available but was shuddering to think of the work involved.

As we talked, I remembered BlogBooker.  I’ve written about it a few times on this blog.  Do a search or just read this one post.

Long story short, BlogBooker takes your blog and makes it into a PDF file.  That file, then, can be repurposed for any use that you might have for it including distributing copies to your students.  Why not turn your blog into an eTextbook?  BlogBooker has a great selection of options for formatting…

It sounds just like the sort of thing that any editing process would include.  Since the resulting document is a PDF file, images are embedded nicely, and links you make reference to are live!  If you’d been allowing Comments with one class, you could include them or go ahead an exclude them so the textbook is all you!  There’s nothing more universally assessible by devices than PDF.  And, if you need to revise the text book for subsequent years, you already have all your blogging experience at hand to make the changes.

BookBlogger is the perfect tool for saving a year’s worth of blog posts … those posts could your next best textbook!

Powered by Qumana