As I have written, I have two classes of students finishing up the writing of an Interactive Fiction project right now, using the software Twine to build and publish stories with multiple arcs. Before they started writing, I had them conceptualize their story ideas in the form of a story map. Here are two of them (we modeled this strategy earlier by having them map out one of the Choose Your Own Adventure novels they were reading.)
Peace (in the branches)
My sixth grade students are working to finish up an experimental writing unit around Interactive Fiction, using Twine to create Choose Your Own Ending stories. It’s been interesting to watch because the critical thinking skills necessary for planning and writing these stories is fairly complex. They are also learning a new software (Twine) and yesterday, I taught them a bit about using html code to add an image to their stories, if they want to do that.
I am hoping that most (all?) will be done by the end of today. We’ll see. I am hosting the files in my Google Docs, using the shortcut that I had found that allows you to host and share html (webpages) from within folders on Google Drive.
Here is one story that a student finished up yesterday. She seems to have “gotten” the concept of branching story paths.
Read Time by Karen J.
Peace (in the choices),
I have two classes of students working hard on their own version of Choose Your Adventure format stories using the software, Twine, and they are really into it. Here is the assignment I gave them — I am trying to provide some basics for them even as I leave enough space for creativity. Since this is a pilot project (I’ve never done this particularly project with this particularly software, although I did something similar a few years ago), I am keeping an eye on how things progress and what changes I will need to make to the assignment when I do it again (later this year, with two other classes.)
As some of you know, I am in the midst of trying something new. Two of my classes of students have spent a week reading Choose Your Own Adventure novels, and now will begin writing their own. I was amazed at how many books they were reading, and I did an informal survey to gather some numbers.
I also asked them about what they were liking and disliking about the books.
- The reader makes decisions about the story
- There are many different ways that the stories can end
- It’s entertainment reading
- You can always backtrack into the story and start over at another point
- The reader is a partner with the writer
- The reader is a character in the story
- Too many story branches end in death
- It’s easy to lose your place, particularly if you want to go back
- The jumping around the book can be confusing
- The novels are too short
- Lots of exaggeration, unrealistic adventure
- Not all the endings were equally creative
- Not enough choice (!)
I’ll admit — that last one threw me, but I was the recorder of the discussion here.
Peace (in the endings),
I saw someone in my RSS feed share a link for this beta site — Rvl — that allows you to create virtual-cube-shaped presentations, and I wondered if it might work for interactive fiction. You have to envision the project as a cube that has sides up, down and to the right when creating (although you can go left to view). It does work, somewhat, but the inability to see a master plan, or concept map, of the various slides in orbit around the virtual cube made the writing of a story quite tricky. I had to make sure the narrative folded back in on itself a number of times (and there may still be some potholes in the story as a result. Sorry.)
You can access the story directly here, too. Use your arrow keys on the keyboard to toggle around, or you can mouse-click it, too. Let me know what you think …
Yesterday, I wrote about a writing prompt that I did with my students around interactive fiction, in which they created a collaborative story that branched off into different decisions for the reader, and then writer, too. Here are a few samples of what they looked like when we were done:
Peace (in the sharing),
I used the concept of Make-Your-Own-Ending (which we are studying right now) for a writing prompt yesterday that was a huge hit with the students. We’ve been talking about these stories (the use of second person narrative, the branches of the stories, etc.) for a week now, and have had some really interesting discussions about the set-up of these books.
I had created the template below to help with the writing activity. The idea here is that one person starts a story and creates two choices. We then randomly distributed the papers throughout the classroom, and someone else continued the story, adding two more choices for a third reader. The third reader then added two possible branches of the story, before the original writer got their own story back and wrote the final sentence or two. (The whole activity took about 30 minutes).
There was great excitement in the room. Everyone wanted to be creative, but they also were trying to keep an eye on what others were doing to their stories. We then spent about 15 minutes sharing the final stories out, to great laughter and entertainment. As we move into the writing of a larger make-your-own-ending story next week (we’re going to be using the Twine software, with the story theme of an archeologist/explorer in some ancient ruins), this activity gave them time to play with the concept and think about the idea of story branches.
I also began using the term “interactive fiction” for the first time, showing how the reader is as involved as the writer in making choices about the direction of the story. We’ve already done enough groundwork on the concept that they understood the concept well enough.
Make Adventure Story Template by KevinHodgson
I’ll try to share out some of the work tomorrow.
Peace (in the branch),
The excitement around using Choose Your Own Ending novels in two of my classes continues (and some complaints from the other classes as to when they will get a chance to read them, too). Yesterday, many students began their second (or third) book, and I had them working in small groups to begin mapping out the storylines in one of their books. It was an interesting process, with lots of discussions and page-flipping. This lesson is to geared towards having them get a real sense of how the books were written, so that when they start writing their own next week, it will be easier to jump into.
Check out some of their maps:
Peace (along the branches),
This is for Slice of Life but is also connected to my recent inquiry around interactive fiction.
Peace (in the pages),
(Note: I wrote the story in this post during last snow day. Today, we have yet another, reminding me that I never posted this one. — Kevin)
During a Snow Day when I was home but my wife and kids were not (I work in another district), I explored this story site called Tapestry, and created this story. The site works by advancing the story along with a click of the screen (or a tap if you use the App). There’s a certain beauty to having words unfold like that (although you can’t go back once you’ve started, unless you begin from the beginning).
Peace (in stories slowly unfolding),