I can’t believe I didn’t see this coming.
Have you heard of Coliloquy? It’s a California-based company who has taken the concept of the e-book and mutated it into an app for interactive fiction. This follows in the footsteps of a similar venture in September called The King of Shreds and Patches. They’re written like any other book, but at certain points you must make choices for your character that will determine how he/she fares. It’s “Choose Your Own Adventure” for the Kindle. What’s new about Coliloquoy is that your choices are recorded by the app and sent to the company to influence future editions.
When I saw these headlines yesterday afternoon, my eyes lit up. My head is only starting to soar. Imagine if this stuff gets popular on the Kindle. The next Great American novel could be interactive.
Oops. Did I just say that out loud? I think I did. Let me repeat it. The next work of literature that could pierce the core of the human condition, and be read and discussed for decades afterward, could be a “Choose Your Own Adventure Book”.
Consider the power is leaves to an author. One of a fictions writer’s greatest powers is fate. What happens to his/her characters says something about how he/she views the world. When the villain falls off an icy cliff because he alienated everyone who might have been with him to lend him a hand, the message is that people who alienate other people are bad. Obviously, we can get more complicated than that, but that’s the idea.
Imagine this principle working in interactive fiction. With more choices come a more sophisticated moral vision. By coming up with multiple plotlines and endings, an author is forced to make more commentary on people and the world; he is forced to broaden his moral scope and ask more questions. This must strengthen the vision of his/her novel- not to mention himself/herself.
If you’re not up for literary fiction, more plotlines will still result in more excitement and more chances to hone your craft. The more you write, the better you get. What could improve your skill better than having to make so many alternate stories make sense?
All it takes is one runaway success to turn this into a legitimate genre. I truly believe somebody is going to take this genre and write a story (erm, stories) that will stun the world. You heard it here. Interactive fiction is going to find a way to become a force in the literary world.