In my last serial story (“Numbers Game”) I did a couple of “Behind the Scenes” posts for how I managed to write 2,000 words every week for 12 weeks. In this story, I’ve decided to do something different.
I’m going to have a quick look at the choices NOT taken by you, the audience.
This after seeing how a few other “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories have gone, notably:
–The Pen and Cape Society (vote for the next power and an author)
–Drew Hayes’ Halloween Adventure (a part every day for 13 days)
–Terence Eden’s Twitter Story (accounts are the entries)
In particular, the idea that “Dead Ends” are possible is interesting (and prevalent in Terence’s), much like in the original stories. While such a conclusion is unlikely for me (though technically no character has immunity), I do have a possible arc in my head for every choice I offer up. Meaning some paths are better, and the story could have been different in a few places. So let’s take a look back, shall we?
SPOILERS follow, in case you haven’t read, and want to be surprised by previous parts.
When I started, I really didn’t know any more than what the selected plot said – there’s an evil artifact granting wishes. I felt like it would be something travelling from house to house, but controlled by a person. Probably controlled by someone in the central castle, but not necessarily. Hence, the plan of getting to the castle. The polls went thusly:
1: LOCATION. Negligible influence. If they’d gone to the inn, or blended in, they would have overheard a conversation instead of being directly involved, probably leading to a choice of talking to an NPC or not. The next poll would have been similar.
2: TALES. Marginal influence. If they’d gone to the library, I would have taken time to flesh out the history of the town pre-wishes. If they’d gone to the underground, I would have created more NPCs. As the focus was for Pelinelneth, we got more on her, and through her, I realized the misogyny issue. While the next poll might have been similar, the world had taken a particular shape.
3: GUARDS. Big influence. Chartreuse would have been successful. Joey’s idea would have been either a tunnel, or a catapult, which might have worked. Simon was the “poor” choice (he said it could go badly!) so I decided the consequence of his “failure” would be splitting the party. The part was running long; Chartreuse being incarcerated was moved to Part 4.
4: INSIDE. Big influence. If Simon had lost track of Pelinelneth, he would have run into Wanda (though she hadn’t been named at that point). I don’t know how that would have played out. If they had investigated instead, I would have worked out more about the royalty, perhaps had someone pose as a servant. As they went after Chartreuse, to keep the plot from stalling, I introduced Qifarihm.
As they were now inside, I decided that Pelinelneth had a history with Wanda. Also that Wanda would be the antagonist… either willingly or unwillingly. Which meant Qifarihm had to be a bit shady – did he drive Wanda to her fate? Also, for the first time, I determined what the evil artifact was.
5: IMPRESSION. Marginal influence. If Chartreuse had seen someone’s future, it would have been Pelinelneth, related to her uncertain allegiances. If she had seen the artifact, you’d now know what it was. As the vote was for her to see Qifarihm’s past, backstory was done with spontaneous Azure cameo. But all paths led out of the dungeon.
6: PLAN. Marginal influence. Trying to recruit more help would have put them in the servants’ quarters. Releasing Qifarihm’s powers would have attracted Wanda’s attention early, but with a chance for Simon to escape. As it was, tracking Pelinelneth put them in the Wizard’s Sanctuary. Snowball had not been planned until their arrival.
7: SANCTUARY. Big influence. Trying to recruit more help would have routed back to the servants (as in 6). Learning what the artifact was would have led to a fruitless search, maybe to Pelinelneth. Learning only the location was again the “poor” choice, in that only Wanda knew it – so she arrived, and took out Qifarihm. So yeah. Good job, readers! 😉
8: CONSEQUENCE. Big influence. Becoming Pelinelneth’s servants would have brought her back into the picture, and they’d have been monitoring Wanda. Alternatively, Wanda wasn’t bluffing – she would have used a wish to catapult them back to Alice on The Hub, leading to secondary character recruitment (like in 10, below). But to get Wanda’s story, we saw her use her own magic.
The characters were now trapped in a spell. If I were filling in the prior choices, some of the history here is probably the information that would have been found in the library from back at Choice 2. Which isn’t to say they’d have had all the backstory so soon, but they would have known more about how the magic worked, only first revealed here (and only pondered by me back at Choice 6).
9: BACKSTORY. Marginal influence. Sticking to Wanda’s story would have been the “poor” choice, sending them down a darker path, though they might have learned to manipulate real magic. Deviating would have meant using their own brand of magic, seen a bit by Simon at the end of part 10. But the vote was for trying to escape, which is why there was a connection back to Alice and a secondary character.
10: SECONDARY. Big influence. Given that Keith was a technology expert, Carrie was a temporal expert, and Azure has knowledge of card magic, I realized this had to be setting up the end game. Do we meet Wanda with something wholly unfamiliar? With some tricks up our sleeves? Or on her own terms?
Which is where we are now. I was wondering if this story would go longer than 12 parts, as that’s where I ended the previous story, and suspect it might. But time will tell.
Thanks for reading, feel free to comment on anything about that which was unexpected, or that jumps out at you!