Bill_Ingersoll, The Journeyman Scrivener

Member Since

4/28/2019

Last Activity

12/3/2020 6:05 PM

EXP Points

2,154

Post Count

499

Storygame Count

9

Duel Stats

0 wins / 0 losses

Order

Pre-Eminent Architect

Commendations

747

Thank you for checking out my profile! I am a freelance writer who has written numerous articles and guidebooks on the subject of Adirondack hiking and wilderness management. (My latest guidebook can be viewed here.) Now I am here to experiment with fiction… largely because it's a nice break from all the non-fiction stuff I've done.

I was a big fan of the original CYOA and Time Machine series, and I wrote several of my own storygames during my middle school years. Most of those weren't much good in retrospect, although I did upgrade one story. But I've always had a strong interest in writing, and I take genuine pleasure from the creative process.

Please enjoy my CYS stories below! Ratings and comments are always appreciated.

Trophies Earned

Earning 100 Points Earning 500 Points Earning 1,000 Points Earning 2,000 Points Having 3 Storygame(s) Featured Rated 64.4% of all Stories Given by EndMaster on 08/19/2020 - For multiple contributions to the site Given by JJJ-thebanisher on 09/25/2020 - for the multitude of well received stories and the positive site presence. Given by mizal on 08/22/2020 - Quickly becoming one of the more productive site members with excellent and consistent work in writing and reviews. Given by Will11 on 02/19/2020 - For your fantastic stories, reviews and other contributions to the site :)

Storygames

Featured Story Blow Your House Down

Blow TitleYou are alone in your remote cabin, located on a dead-end road in the Adirondack Mountains. A powerful hurricane has switched directions and is now bearing down on your wilderness retreat, bringing with it strong winds and heavy rains. Your shelter is old and completely off the grid; the nearest cell signal is many miles away.

Sitting by the woodstove while the wind howls and rain pelts the tin roof, you are startled by the sound of someone knocking at the door. Who could possibly be out at this location, in these conditions? It is a young couple, claiming their car has broken down. They have been drawn to the light in your window like moths to a flame.

Naturally you are inclined to offer hospitality. But it soon becomes apparent that your new guests may not be who they seem.

Important Stats:

  • Entry in the Break! contest
  • 24 endings spread out across 85 total pages
  • Individual storypath lengths range from 7 to 15 pages

 

"Sometimes things happen that have no explanation, Al. What do you make of that?"

© 2020 Bill Ingersoll

Image source: wallhere.com


Creatures of the Snow

Creatures TitleIt is the distant future, and Earth has been ravaged by an ancient war with an alien foe known as the Cryndy. The War of Extermination, as it was called, left the world scarred by flames and littered with the debris of ruined warships and Battle Mech. The surviving human population lives in scattered settlements called Steads.

Elia Redling is an outcast in a remote Stead located at the edge of one of those ancient battlefields. With neighbors who are fearful of her red hair due to superstitions she barely understands, Elia spends her days hunting alongside her pet fox, Olix, exploring the surrounding woods and ruins in search of their daily meals.

One gloomy afternoon she finds evidence humanity's ancient menace may still be stalking the woods surrounding the Stead. She could notify her neighbors, but will they believe her — or blame her for bringing this threat upon them? If her suspicions are correct, though, this may turn out to be more than she can handle herself…

Important Stats:

  • 9 endings spread across 39 total pages
  • Individual storypath lengths range from 5 to 18 pages
  • Written for the Sci-Fi September Prompt!

© 2020 Bill Ingersoll

Image source: goodfon.com


Eyes on a Moon of Blindness

Eyes Alt TitleTheryl Ureste fears she may be one of the few survivors of a genocidal attack on the planet Chaandria. As the alien race known as the Iib Ch'iib exterminate the 12 million humans living on this distant world, they have so far overlooked Ureste's small-scale titanium mine on the rocky moon Chhota Chandrama. For the last three months Theryl has been watching with horror as the alien fleet grows in strength, her despair mounting as all contact with Chaandria is lost — and with it, all likelihood of finding her husband and young son. Supplies are dwindling, and soon she and her employees will face starvation if they don't escape to safety.

Therefore Theryl must attempt an impossible journey if she has any hope of locating her family in the middle of the war zone. This is an action will almost certainly attract the attention of the Iib Ch'iib conquerors — and lead to instant annihilation.

Important Stats:

  • 7 endings, with any single read-through about the length of a short story
  • 12 million people exterminated by the Iib Ch'iib
  • 13 lightyears to the nearest safe world
  • 2 lost members of your family
  • 1 driving motivation

 Not every family's story ends in happiness.

© 2020 Bill Ingersoll

Revised April 30, 2020 to substitute artwork

Image source: wallpaperplay.com


Marooned on Giri Minor

Giri TitleYou are a young recruit in the Astral Navy, serving aboard a minor transport vessel making routine personnel transport runs to Star Base Ishtria. When a malfunction requires the captain to drop the ship out of hyperspace, you find yourself in orbit above Giri Minor--a deserted world with a dark history and circled by uncharted asteroid clouds.

This is a story told in the classical "gamebook" format. This means that it is more narrative-driven and less of a game, and roughly the same length as many printed books in this genre.

Important Stats:

- 19 endings, including 4 "preferred" endings, and 1 epilogue

- 1 abandoned colony

- 1 alien with ambiguous motivations

- 16 passengers aboard the transport ship, 4 crew members, but only ??? survivors

- Thousands of sand-dwelling creatures with mind-altering properties

Can you survive Giri Minor?

 

(c) 2019 Bill Ingersoll

Image source: tomswallpapers.com.


Featured Story Secret of the Grass Planet

Grass Planet TitleIt's been four years since you were rescued from Giri Minor, and because of your heroic actions you have been commissioned as an officer in the Astral Navy. Your first assignment as a newly-promoted lieutenant aboard the Starship Orion: search for the noted xenoanthropologist Dr. Lori Munro and her husband Ander Dyo, who have gone missing on the planet Folvan. As you explore the so-called "Grass Planet," known for its expansive prairie environment and bronze-age civilization, you will find that not all is as it seems.

This is a story told in the classical "gamebook" format. This means that it is more narrative-driven and less of a game, with many unique storypaths resulting from the choices you make.

Important Stats:

- 45 endings, with 1 epilogue, told in 105,000 words

- 5 people assigned to your expedition

- 4 missing researchers

- 3 hungry teek-teeks

- 2 Iib Ch'iib raids

- 1 closely-guarded secret... and only 1 way to learn it.

Will you unlock the secret of the Grass Planet?

 

(c) 2019 Bill Ingersoll

Image source: tomswallpapers.com.

 

Previously in the Orion Chronicles:

1 - Marooned on Giri Minor


Shelter for the Night

Shelter TitleGeorge and Amy are one day into a forty-mile backpacking trip in the Adirondack Mountains — tired, hungry, and discouraged by the threat of rain. Their path has brought them to Shingle Shanty Lake, the site of a dank cabin that by all appearances hasn't been inhabited for many years. They are reluctant to camp among the debris and mouse turds, but the rain is falling hard and darkness is coming fast.

As the shower begins to ease, Amy steps outside saying she'll be gone for just a minute. This leaves George alone inside the cabin, waiting impatiently — not realizing his night of torment is only just beginning.

** Updated November 2020 **

This storygame was originally published to meet the 2020 Halloween Writing Jam deadline, but there hadn't been time to complete all of the intended branching. This version includes a second primary story branch as well as 4 additional endings, satisfying my original ideas.

Note that both branches are intended as independent stories, with abundant inconsistencies between the two. Each stands on its own. Exploration may be required to find where each branch diverges.

Important Notes:

  • Contribution to the 2020 Halloween Writing Jam
  • 11 unique endings spread out across 51 total pages
  • Individual storypath lengths range from 8 to 16 pages

© 2020 Bill Ingersoll

All photos by the author


Utopia Planitia

UP TitleBetha Willamon is a citizen of the city of Utopia Planitia, a former American colony on Mars and an important shipyard for the production of deep-space exploration vessels. In its heyday it was a thriving city, built under the Martian surface. But ever since the despot known as Colonel Green took control, living conditions in U.P. have become soul crushing… and no one is allowed to leave.

When Betha hears a rumor of a U.S. Space Force expedition that has recently landed nearby on the surface of Mars, she dreams of fleeing to a place where trees grow tall and people swim in fresh water. But is it even possible to escape Utopia?

Choose from two versions of this story:

  • Tiny 'Topias Jam Version: 2250 words, 15 pages, 6 endings
  • Expanded Version: 11,434 words, 31 pages, 10 endings
  • SUITABLE FOR MATURE READERS ONLY

 

© 2020 Bill Ingersoll

Image source: goodfon.com


Vicious Moles of Nature

Vicious Mole Main Title 2As evening arrives on Thanksgiving Day, Hammie Dansker is still struggling with the recent death of his father — and the even more recent marriage of his mother to his uncle. After a tense dinner prepared by his mother and former girlfriend, Hammie steps out onto the porch of his late father's farm… and notices that the dogs, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz, are dead. A familiar but unwelcome sound can be heard out in the pastures. This can mean only one thing: the Vicious Moles of Nature have returned!

This is horror story… based on a tragic misinterpretation of Hamlet.

Important Stats:

- 8 endings

- 1 night of terror

- ??? vicious moles

 

© 2019 Bill Ingersoll

Image source: wallhere.com.


Featured Story Woban Island

Woban Island Title 3You have been hired to retrieve the Stone of Vul-Kar, a purple gem located in an ancient temple on Woban Island's highest point. But this mysterious and recently discovered speck of land in the South Pacific is inhabited by a fierce tribe of three-eyed cannibals who are determined to kill any and all intruders. And as forbidding as that sounds, the Wobans are just some of the obstacles that stand in your way to glory and avarice: greedy collectors, ruthless murderers, and scorned colleagues all await you on the adventure that lies ahead.

Will you be able to retrieve the jewel and bring it back to your employer safely? Or will you be just the latest victim of this deadly island?

A Brief Note about this Gamebook:

I first wrote Woban Island in 1988, when I was in the seventh grade. The story was inspired by "Fireball Island," a three-dimensional board game that debuted in 1986 and was reissued in 2018. The object was to be the first player to reach the jewel located on the highest point of the island, without being bowled over by the red marble "fireballs." In my story, I substituted the fireballs with the three-eyed Wobans because I thought they would be more interesting to write about, and less of a random force of nature. Otherwise, the basic premise remains the same: you are one of several adventurers vying to be the first to reach the jewel.

This version is a page-by-page modernization of my 1988 hand-printed original. It is told in the traditional gamebook format, similar to the classic Choose Your Own Adventure™ series I was reading at that age. But rather than just transcribing an otherwise amateurish work from my teenaged years, I embellished the story, fleshed out the characters, and added tons of detail. This CYS version of Woban Island is a new edifice built on an old foundation.

Accept Woban Island for what it is: a preposterous and fantastical adventure story written by a 13-year-old, adapted 31 years later for the momentary amusement of a 21st-century audience. If you dwell too much on plausibility, you're missing the point. I had a hoot writing this one. Twice.

Important Stats:

  • 29 endings
  • 3 main story paths
  • 2 potential "employers"
  • 1 objective: be the first to obtain the Stone of Vul-Kar

 

(c) 1988 & 2019 Bill Ingersoll

Image source: Wallpaperplay.com


Recent Posts

WTF, it's COLD outside?! on 12/1/2020 9:25:47 AM

This was their turf, back in the day. Now, though, the Mohawks tend to hang out on the St. Lawrence River.


WTF, it's COLD outside?! on 12/1/2020 8:16:16 AM

It's not like I actually live on a mountain... Just within a short drive of them.


WTF, it's COLD outside?! on 12/1/2020 7:52:28 AM

The Adirondacks in New York State.


WTF, it's COLD outside?! on 12/1/2020 7:50:43 AM

What do I usually do in the winter? Stuff like this, every chance I get.


Add "End Game" to Dead Links on 11/28/2020 1:38:16 PM

In this particular case, there were no end game links of any kind. He wrote about two pages of story, and had about five links on each page -- only one of which pointed to another page. There were half a dozen items, none of which did anything to advance the story. So this was literally an unfinished story.

The other idea might be to make it impossible to publish a story that fails to meet a certain standard -- such as a lack of end game links. I assume this much wouldn't be difficult; the site does a basic evaluation of a storygame during the publication process anyway, i.e. by counting the number of pages and links and comparing it to the average.


Add "End Game" to Dead Links on 11/28/2020 7:11:11 AM

Currently, when someone (*cough*cough* @PersonDude) publishes an unfinished story, it is rife with dead pages. If the author couldn't be bothered to complete his own story before hitting the "Publish" button, then the reader gets this standard message:

No Links. You may go back or reset to start over.

I propose that in addition to these two options, and "End Game" option be added. This will benefit the sanity of all.


My Own Personal Mead Hall on 11/24/2020 10:11:08 AM

Ha, that thing in the first picture is just a stump that was so rotten it was turning into wet sawdust.


This Week's "Mead Hall" on 11/24/2020 10:09:50 AM

This stuff was only 6.9%. I can say from experience my ceiling is 13-14%.


This Week's "Mead Hall" on 11/23/2020 6:53:42 PM

To me, it's sweet and mellow... but with a high-ish ABV. So if you could get your hands on enough of it, then yes you could have yourself a rousing good time, for sure.


This Week's "Mead Hall" on 11/22/2020 6:01:09 PM

A use a friend of mine insists is the primary use of my own books.