Fiction is a Three-Edged Sword

Fiction, interactive fiction and narrative


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House-sized stories for Kindle

A few weeks ago I posted up a nasty little perl script called the Kindliser, which turns a plain-text markup into ebook-ready HTML. Not such a big deal – it’s just a web-page with links – except that it also included support for tracking true/false values, which is impossible.

It does it by playing through every possible game the player might have, and writing them all out separately… which turned my first example game Flaws from a 40Kb sourcefile with 40 paragraphs of so and 4 true/false flags into a 600Kb HTML.

The other day I thought; I wonder how far I can push this thing?

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The History of Poly-V, available on Kindle

The History of Poly-V

I recently picked up a copy of Rich Horton’s 2011 SF anthology, and was really excited to see my story The History of Poly-V in the recommended list at the back.

But the story’s a little inconvenient to get hold of, so I’ve put together an ebook version for Kindle.

I’m calling it a “sci-fi single”. Title track on the A-side, and a slighter, previously unpublished B-side story to go with. There’s also a short set of “liner notes” that discuss a little of the inspiration and history of both stories.

If you’re interested, it’s live on Amazon now; just choose your flavour.


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Announcing the Kindliser

A few weeks ago I blogged about a Kindle ebook I’d produced and put on Amazon. It was a simple “click the links” CYOA story with one cunning twist: a limited ability to store information about what the player had done, and use that information to alter game text and game choices.

That ebook was built using a custom tool – that tool is now getting its version 1 release. While it needs some validation and error checking to help diagnose typos and simple coding mistakes, it is fully functional and capable of producing working CYOA ebooks.

Full documentation and download on the Kindliser page.

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“Flaws”: an interactive story for Kindle

Flaws

Flaws, for Kindle

In the last few weeks I’ve been reading up on what kind of IF possibilities the Kindle opens up. The short answer is, “anything” – well, anything without too much animation. The Kindle is a computer like any other. But the more app your thing becomes, the less e-booky it feels. So what can the lowest-tech approach achieve?

The short answer is: here’s my attempt. (US link here). It’s a rework of my science-fiction short-Undum-story Flaws as a Kindle ebook. A longer discussion follows after the cut.

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“Story design, game design, and the truth”

This blog is meant to be about game design and story-telling: this post is about how reading my shiny new IF Theory book made me realise something about how I write static, non-interactive fiction.

I think a lot of writers would agree that one of the hardest parts of any project is starting. I’ve been thinking recently about how to come up with the germs of stories. In the past, I’ve relied on moments of inspiration, usually driven by reading, seeing or playing things I either loved, and wanted to imitate, or things I hated, and wanted to do properly.

More recently, I’ve been trying to develop a method. I wouldn’t call it a formula; it’s more of a process. But it’s closer in spirit to design than art. I’m not sure if that’s selling out, or just growing up.

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