Bill_Ingersoll, The Apprentice Scrivener

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1/18/2020 6:46 AM

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Esteemed Architect



I am the author, coauthor, and publisher of thirteen books that I will broadly categorize as "regional non-fiction." Despite being a published writer--or perhaps because of it--I am well aware that getting ahead in this genre is an uphill battle. Therefore, rather than letting some of my story ideas languish or become forgotten, this seems to be a good format to share them.

Trophies Earned

Earning 100 Points Earning 500 Points Earning 1,000 Points Having 2 Storygame(s) Featured Rated 64.3% of all Stories


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:

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:


Previously in the Orion Chronicles:

1 - Marooned on Giri Minor

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

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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:

The Saints of Kaitoo - PREVIEW VERSION

Saints Title 2Manuel Rodrigues dos Santos is a colonist living on KAI 222-d, an Earth-type planet orbiting a distant star. One of 37 travelers who endured many decades of cryosleep on the one-way journey to "Kaitoo," he and his wife escaped hit squads and rape gangs on Earth for an opportunity to forge a new life on this unknown new world. But upon their arrival, Manny emerged from his tube only to discover that Marisol had perished during the journey.

Now, many years later, Manny hunts the creatures known as the "saints" — an arboreal invertebrate that is the primary source of protein for the Newfoundland Landing colony. As he leads a multigenerational group of his fellow colonists on an annual hunting trip into a remote mountain range, he struggles to control his secret desires for a certain beautiful young woman who reminds him of his dead wife. By day she seeks to learn his craft; by night she seeks a more intimate kind of connection.

Is she who she seems to be? And as their encounters become more intense, is it worth hazarding everything he has built for himself by pursuing a forbidden romance?

Recent Posts

MRROOOW! *hiss* *spit* on 1/16/2020 8:43:55 AM

I don't recall having any issue with you until recently. As I recall, I enjoyed DF2 and rated it highly when I helped judge the lone hero contest. I am here to write, to talk about writing, to offer feedback on other people's work, and help people improve if I can. But if people are going to engage in middle school pranks, I'm prepared to stand up for myself since I realize it's every man for himself here.

I am looking forward to giving a full review of "Music" in the near future.  

MRROOOW! *hiss* *spit* on 1/15/2020 8:46:38 PM

My stories were scoring in the mid sixes for a while, before taking precipitous nose-dives all of a sudden in December. Even without admin powers, it wasn't hard to track down the culprit(s).

And this week, "Giri Minor" was rated higher than "Music" for 2019 games... until someone who had previously rated the story demoted it to a 1. Coincidentally, "Giri" and "Music" switched places in the ratings.

My hypothesis is that some long-standing site members are clearly bothered by the fact that someone can show up out of the blue... and in less than a year (1) earn more experience points, (2) earn more commendations, and (3) get their first three stories featured. 

MRROOOW! *hiss* *spit* on 1/15/2020 8:28:12 PM

There has been a lot of that going around.

MRROOOW! *hiss* *spit* on 1/15/2020 8:13:02 PM


What are we reading now? on 1/15/2020 6:58:41 AM

What am I reading right now? This.

2019: Objective Weighing of Value thread on 1/15/2020 6:53:15 AM

Thanks. Glad to be here. Don't forget I also helped judge the Lone Hero contest.

Recursion Theory: [UPDATE] on 1/13/2020 6:44:11 AM

I am looking forward to reviewing the updated story. Thanks for posting the links.

Voting for Best of 2019 on 1/7/2020 11:39:46 PM

These are all fair observations. Thanks.

Voting for Best of 2019 on 1/7/2020 10:02:13 PM

I can't speak for this game, or these references, but Woban Island was frustrating because I never could use a specific piece of info to influence choices. The information (being vague to avoid spoilers) explained why something important was moved. The issue is that no choices allowed for me to search in the location the object moved to.

I hear that, but as I said in my "Merlin" review, I think you and I have differing conceptions of what a branching structure should look like. Your stories have a geometrical quality to them (I'm thinking specifically of "Gower" and "Merlin"), by which I mean choices are presented at almost the exact moment in every branch. They are symmetrical in the sense that every branch is almost equal in length.

That's not meant as a criticism, just an observation that your style is different from mine. I consider my approach to branching as being more organic, meaning I want to mislead the reader down a few rabbit holes*. That's part of the fun of a CYOA, the sense of getting lost and exploring the alternate possibilities. As the writer, my role is to make those rabbit holes as interesting as possible, such as by populating them with interesting characters and whatnot.

I see the choices in these stories as being situational, not random. In real life, we make choices all the time, not all of which end the best. For instance, you're in the mini-mart, and two cash registers are open. Both have one customer ahead of you in line, so which line do you get in? You see one person has a big load of items, the other person just has a six-pack of soda. So based on that observation, you assume the person with the soda will be done faster, so you get in that line.

But! The person with the soda is addicted to the lottery. She has a long list of scratch-off tickets she needs to buy, and she keeps arguing with the clerk until she gets all the right ones. Then she wants to play the Powerball, but she has to stop and remember all the random numbers that "came to her" throughout the day. It's a serious process; don't rush her. Then it comes time to pick the pack of cigarettes she wants.** Meanwhile, the guy with the big load of stuff knew exactly what he wanted, didn't argue with the cashier, and was out the door in a matter of minutes. Turns out that line has been zipping right along.

So: you made a choice based on the available information. But you can't control the choices made by other people, and so unexpected events continue to happen.




*In Grass Planet, "rabbit hole" is meant literally.

**Based on a true story.

Voting for Best of 2019 on 1/7/2020 9:26:54 PM

This made the game feel less like a puzzle to figure out (which is fun) and more a test of endurance [how many wrong paths am I willing to check off in the quest for the right one.]

This right here was certainly something I was worried about when I was writing the story — how much branching was too much? Early in the process I did consider having three ways to find Munro, but the idea turned me off because I thought that would be too easy, as in almost no possibility of failure. Real life isn't that easy, so why should a storygame? Also, it would mean Munro would probably have to be in a different location in each branch (lack of internal consistency) and it would make the entire second half of the story (everything after you find Munro) more difficult to execute.

So I took a risk and went for broke on branching. Basically, I was counting on the "OCD'ness" of the typical CYOA reader (myself included) to stick with a good story and see it through. Based on the reviews, that indeed has happened... because all of the people who left comments (except Ninja) made it to the end. And most of that feedback has been positive. However, it's been a smaller group of finishers than I hoped.

As for the claustrophobia thing, once again I beg your patience with that. It plays a prominent role in the second half of the game, and is the set-up for the one and only variable-locked choice in the story.

And I should say, I'm not trying to tell you your opinion is wrong. I was just expecting feedback like this months ago, and have been dragging my heels on a Part III pending the response to Part II. And if it makes anyone feel better, my current story will have no dead ends of any kind