Inklewriter is a free web-based tool for creating branching or interactive non-linear stories… how cool is this? Really cool!
People of a certain age may remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books from the 1980s (http://www.cyoa.com/) I know I have had students create some branching tales using programming or software tools, but this free web-based tool is terrific for simple stories as well as more complex ones (including even conditional choices if you so choose.)
Here is an example describing Inklewriter written by someone more clever than I: http://writer.inklestudios.com/stories/52rb
Inklewriter is an online tool for creating non-linear writing. The author writes a section of text and then offers the reader some choices which then lead to different sections of writing. These choices can be simple like “Go Right” or “Go Left” as in a text adventure game or more complex like describing a turning point in a person’s or country’s history and offering a variety of choices which could be made. Each choice is linked to a section of text with even more choices or an ending point. You can add pictures throughout the written piece, IF each image has an URL.
Below is a screenshot of Inklewriter in writing mode. The first section of the story has two choices, the differing descriptions of the dog.
In the screenshot below you see what it looks like when a writer chooses one of the choices above (big and ugly) and writes the next section of content and then offers the next two choices from this point in the story.
When composing a branching or nonlinear story it can be helpful to look at your work as a “map” as shown below. This helps you to see how the story “works”. There is another format “Contents” which also shows how your written sections are linked.
This is an amazing tool for learners starting at about 7 or 8 years old to create fictional tales with simple choices along the way. A class story could be written at a shared classroom computer. Students could follow a series of choices in the class story and then add the next section when they reach either a “deadend” or want to offer an alternative choice and consequence. Older students could also use this tool to create problem solving texts with branching logic, try this – if this happens then try this, or even to share causes and effects in history, offering different decisions along the way and perhaps different outcomes. Teens and some younger students could actually use this tool to develop a complete text-based adventure game. Imagine how some students could be excited about this change in writing format and also how motivating it might be to read each other’s work making decisions along the way. I think if you really want to create a flowing “document” without a lot of deadends or branches without conclusions it might be useful to do some flowcharts or outlines early in the process!
Details and Costs:
Inklewriter is currently in free Beta online. To register you must have an email address.