Interactive Noveling

Experimenting with a new way of storytelling

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

I remember the You Say Which Way and Choose Your Own Adventure books from when I was younger. There was nothing more exciting than to be able to have an impact on the story I was reading.

I still remember the thrill of controlling the choices the characters made.

These stories used to be purely in book format, and at the end of a specific segment, it would give you two (or more) choices, and at the end of each, would be a page reference for you to turn to so that you could continue the adventure.

Nowadays, with the advent of ebooks, the ability to add hyperlinks and graphics is a game changer.

Books can become like an RPG game. These can appeal to all ages, and genders. They can be used in any genre, and can appeal to even the most reluctant of readers. These books make reading more accessible.

They are usually written in the second person, (you). This makes the reader a direct participant. Suddenly, you aren’t reading about a character, you are the character.

There are an increasing number of adult versions of the interactive novel, which rely heavily on the use of QR codes, and hyperlinks. These make the possibilities of storytelling even more endless.

Recently, I have been reading and playing about with an app named Twine. It is a bit of freeware, which is used to create RPG games, but can also be used to create interactive stories. The software itself is relatively simple to use, with only a small amount of coding (trust me, if I can work it out, you can!).

I am in the process of planning a middle grade novel, which I would like to turn into an interactive story. The main character is a dragon, who just doesn’t quite fit in to his world.

The thing about interactive writings is that they could be applied to anything. You could even start a blog series with different options for the reader.

The possibilities are literally endless!

And, as long as you have an idea, you can write one too.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂

Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

57

Descriptions

Descriptions

Adventures In Novelling

Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

As a writer, descriptions are something that is fairly important to me. I am constantly trying to come up with new ways to talk about things.

There are so many words in the English language, and so many of them have been placed together in certain patterns in order to describe things, but really, what we need to do is to try and look for any possible different ways to illustrate the images that we’re trying to create in the minds of our readers.

Sometimes I find that these words are more forthcoming than at other times… and sometimes, trying to find that ‘right’ combination of words is like trying to get blood out of a stone.

The thing is, that there’s no telling when the good and bad days are going to come. All we can do as writers is to be constantly trying to expand our vocabulary, and to be ever vigilant to try and catch the words when they float by us.

Something that I am going to try and do is to keep a collection of phrases… snippets of words that come into my head, in the hopes that I will one day, be able to say that I have found the exact ordering of words for the description that I want to write.

The thing that I find with descriptions, and it’s something that I am as guilty of as anyone else; is that I only ever seem to utilise one or two of the senses, rather than looking at using all five of them.

As writers, we need to be overly careful to make sure that we use every one of the senses, because this is the way in which we experience the world, and so, it follows that it should also be the way that our characters experience the world; to not do so, is to render our characters almost as disabled in some way.

So, when writing our descriptions, we must try and make sure that we talk about what our characters can see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. These little details are the sorts of things that will add flavour to our writing.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Plotting

Plotting

Adventures In Noveling

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

While I am already working on my current novel, an idea for another series came to me. It has been calling me away from writing my current work, but as an abstract idea, this is not very helpful.

I want to focus on my The Girl In The Mirror (Current novel), but as the story gets into the middle of act two, it is getting increasingly dark, and sometimes I am finding that there are days when I need a little ‘light relief’ when it comes to writing.

So, rather than force this idea into the box that it keeps popping out of, I have decided to plot it out, alongside working on my novel. I know it doesn’t technically count as writing, but in a way it does, because hopefully, when I finish my CN, I’ll be able to dive straight into this one, with a clear idea of what is supposed to happen in it.

I’m hoping that this will also prevent me from being worried about finishing a writing project, because of the “What next?” anxieties. I’m going to see how it goes, but for now, I’m enjoying it, and feeling very inspired.

The method of plotting that I am trialling is called the Snowflake method, which was designed by Randy Ingermanson. I’m going to review this method fully once I’ve completed my plan, so I won’t go into full details here, but if you want to check it out, all you need to do is google ‘snowflake method’ and you should find a number of articles about it.


If you’d like to get updates from me once a week, you can click here… 🙂


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Characters Who Have A Mind Of Their Own

Characters Who Have A Mind Of Their Own

Adventures In Novelling

Photo by Hannah Olinger on Unsplash

If you’re a writer, you’ll know all about the struggle of dealing with characters that simply won’t do what you want them to do. I have dealt with this so many times in my own writing, where, for some reason, the characters just don’t want to play ball.

Sometimes they won’t say what we want them to. Sometimes they turn around and tell us that really, they wouldn’t do what we’re about to write them doing. And it is so frustrating. I find myself staring at the screen, thinking ‘I created you, and now you’re telling me that you know better

The only thing I can say is that there is a fine line here. Sometimes I have forged on ahead and ignored that character’s voice telling me that this “simply wouldn’t happen”, and more often than not, I have been proved wrong.

On the very rare occasion that I have been right to put those words in the character’s mouth, or that situation into the character’s life, I often realise afterwards that the opposition wasn’t that strong and that the character merely wanted a small tweak to the plot.

The thing is, I’m not saying that my characters are actually alive, but inside my head, they are. They have to be, because if they aren’t then I’m just writing empty words on a page.

Your characters must come alive because if they don’t then, you really know that you have a problem with your story. I have done this so many times, and the stories that have run into the most problems have always been those where the characters aren’t fully fleshed out and where they are all just a little wooden.

So, I guess, the best advice I can give is to simply trust your character’s gut when it comes down to it. Listen to them and argue with them (yes, I know I sound crazy, but sometimes I get more sense out of them than I do out of most people).

Have any of you had arguments with your characters? How did you deal with it?


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Plotter or Pantser

Plotter or Pantser

Adventures In Novelling 2

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

As a writer, you quickly become aware that there are generally two different schools of thought regarding the process of beginning a novel. I’m talking about that annoying little segment in between getting your brilliant idea, and actually writing said idea.

The thing is, there are some people. A friend of mine calls them ‘the blessed’. These people don’t plan. They just sit down and write, and the story flows. These people find it easy to skip the step of actually planning.

And then, there’s the rest of us. The planners. The people that need some kind of road map to their novel before they commit to putting those words down.

I have found, through the years, that I am a bit of a mixture of both. I can just sit down and write, and at first, that’s fine. However, I then find that I must go back and try to organise the thoughts about the story that are flying around in my head.

I used to see that as some kind of failure on my part, but what I’ve learned is that it’s okay to plan. It’s okay to break the mould, and it doesn’t mean that you’re not a good enough writer just because you like to have a plan; a map; a backup. It doesn’t mean that the story you have to tell is any less worthwhile. It simply means that this is your writer’s process, and that is perfectly okay.

That horrible doubt that creeps up on us, can cripple us. Making us feel that we aren’t good enough. The thing is that what we have to do is tell that doubt to shut up. We can end up thinking that we aren’t good enough to tell that story, but in reality, you are the only one who can tell your story. It is yours, and no one else can tell it like you can.

So, what’s your process? Drop a note in the comments, and let’s get a discussion going!


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Crossing The Threshold

Crossing The Threshold

Taking That Leap…

by Nikola Knezevic on Unsplash

I’ve gotten to the point in my novel where my character is about to fully commit herself to the world of the story. She’s already part of the way there, but she still has one toe in her ordinary world.

The chapter that I’m working on at the moment will solidify her presence in the world of the story. After this chapter, there is no going back for Joey. This is not a fully voluntary choice that she has made, and she feels trapped.

The thing is, I’ve been really struggling with this chapter for a while now, and I think part of it is that Joey desperately doesn’t want to bring that last toe into the story.

All the while that she is half way between the two worlds; all the while that there is still a chance that this is all a bad dream and that she can go back, she can’t move forward in the story.

Basically, she is in her comfort zone.

And I need her out of it, if the story is ever going to move forwards.

At the moment, I can sort of picture her like those memes we see online of dogs desperately clawing at door frames and furniture, while they are carried to their inevitable destination of the horror that is a bath.

Right now, I am wrestling Joey through the house, so that I can dunk her in that bath (metaphorically, of course), and up until now, I have failed. I’ve been listening to all of her excuses why I shouldn’t do this, and yes, I’ll admit, I’ve felt sorry for her, but enough is enough.

Today, she will finally take the plunge, and although it will not always be pleasant, I know that she is strong enough to cope with everything this new world will throw at her.


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.

Writing Through The Pain

Writing Through The Pain

The Struggle Is Real

by Asdrubal luna on Unsplash

I made the decision to do Nanowrimo again this year, and I am determined to win this time. I’ve had a few setbacks, which have left me very much below the ‘on par’ word count that I should be at, but I’m not too worried, because I have a lot of writing to do and that simply excites me.

The thing is, though, that my anxiety doesn’t agree and leaves me feeling freaked out about the number of words I must hit. Well, this year, I refuse to let my anxiety win, when it tells me that I am a failure, and that I may as well give up, because, you know what? Even if life gets in the way and I find myself unable to actually finish the 50000 words, I have still written far more words than I would have done if I hadn’t been doing Nano.

Some of the things that have come up have been general ‘life’ things, but others (and this is where I struggle), are to do with my physical and emotional health. Some days, my tmjd flares up and I have a constant headache from the moment I wake up, to the moment that I go to bed. These days have been more often than not, lately, and it’s been hard to put the work in when my head feels like it’s going to explode.

The reality, though, is that the world doesn’t stop, just because I’m in pain. The truth is, that it keeps going, and nowadays, time seems to move faster and faster, and I can’t just stop whenever I have a bad day. I simply have to push through the pain, if I am ever going to get this novel finished and out and about in the world.

So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to push forward, and I am going to just keep on writing through the pain, because I know it will ease off eventually, but the writing that I do will always be there, and there’s nothing like the sense of achievement that looking at a finished chapter gives you!


Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.