Bill_Ingersoll, The Apprentice Scrivener
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.
You 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.
- 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.
It'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.
- 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:
As 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.
- 8 endings
- 1 night of terror
- ??? vicious moles
© 2019 Bill Ingersoll
Image source: wallhere.com.
You 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.
- 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
Manuel 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" â€” 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 PostsBoardgame Thread on 2/21/2020 5:32:17 PM
Glad you enjoyed it. Admittedly, the one time I was able to play the new version there was a time constraint, so there might have been aspects I missed. But there were three of us playing, and most of the time when a fireball rolled not much happened because the board was so big and it was easy to miss all the players.
To be honest, I remember very little about the original... except that it impressed me enough in 1988, apparently.
Highlights of the Past Year on 2/4/2020 4:55:15 PM
You forgot the nose ring...
And congrats to Gower!
Recursion Theory: [UPDATE] on 1/25/2020 2:30:59 PM
I spent several hours reading/playing this story game today, making it all the way to the end of the preview version. The majority of that time was spent cycling back through that third day over and over, wondering where the missing clue was... only to realize (with the help of the "Heavenly Hints") that I had misinterpreted the one clue I thought I had deciphered!
From a writing perspective, there is not too much that I can say. Your grasp of the language is pretty firm, and the only punctuation/grammar issue I noticed on a repeated basis had to do with dialogue:
"Where did you get that key from, dad?" Your eldest queried.
"Where did you get that key from, dad?" your eldest queried.
Otherwise, I encountered no coding issues.
Could the story be improved? Maybe, but this has to do with whether your intention is to write a story or a puzzle. And in what you label as "chapter 3," this very much becomes a puzzle.
As a story, I can see that you made very good use of your initial feedback, as the initial page did a better job at getting my attention as well as setting the stage for the recurring time loops. I still think the individual members of the family could be a bit more sharply drawn -- by which I don't mean the addition of oodles of exposition, but maybe three lines per person to describe what each family member means to me. This could be the brief remembrance of some little personality quirk, or perhaps a little anecdote of something the person did that illustrates that quirk. Otherwise, all I really pick up now is that there is a wife, two daughters, and a brother who chauffeurs everybody around. The women come close to being vivid characters, but the presence of the brother seems odd; did my wife and I lose our driver's licenses or something?
You seem to be a detail-oriented writer, noticing all the little nuances of daily life -- who made what for breakfast, and who prefers which brand of coffee, for example. I very much appreciate this, but it does make it stand out when some details get fudged.
One example is the reference to the baseball game on TV. I believe the time of day is 11:00 AM, and the game is already in the ninth inning. Elsewhere, a detail on the Philosophy Club poster leads me to believe the story is set in the month of October. The problem I had with this otherwise nice addition of detail is that professional, televised baseball games are never played that early in the day, unless there is a time zone discrepancy. In October, any game would be a playoff game, and none would begin until 1 PM Eastern Time. Given the average length of a baseball game is 3+ hours, that Giants game that is wrapping up at 11 AM would only make sense if the game was being played somewhere on the east coast... and this story was taking place in Hawaii.
Second, as I mentioned above, George's role in the story so far is... odd. Maybe his presence is explained in the unpublished part of the story. However, it would be highly unusual for a nuclear family of four -- where even the kids seem old enough to drive -- to be so dependent on the bachelor brother to drop them off at the seminar and then pick them up later. This detail had me asking questions that were never answered. Maybe there should be some salacious reason, revealed later in the story, why Mom and Dad can't drive anymore.
Finally, the seminar on physics, which seems to be such a key element of this first act, is glossed over a little bit too much in my opinion. Prof. Ratburn (interesting name!) steps onto the stage without introduction, asks a question, and then rapidly disappears. Liam seems to black out during the rest of that episode. And I find it hard to believe that no one would notice a cup of green goo placed at every seat.
A small number of choices seemed to be not in keeping with Liam's character. The one that really comes to mind is the "sneak around / pull a prank" option in the third chapter, which to me made sense only from a game perspective, and not because of anything intrinsic to the story. Liam, the character, is only vaguely aware that he's repeating the same horrible day over and over again, never retaining more than a slight sense of deja vu. The reader, however, is looking for ways to break the loop, so after a certain point I was playing more as Bill than as Liam, looking for keys and passwords. At one point, the entire family is breaking into a room, guessing a 5-character password, and obtaining a useful object. "The family that snoops together, loops together," I suppose. Later it's Liam doing the snooping on his own, even though he knows so little about what's happening to him at that point. I am pointing these out not as criticisms, but as places where the game elements are overpowering the story elements. Perhaps Liam needs to retain more memory between loops, so that he too realizes he needs to find the answers that are behind those locked doors.
As for the puzzles, I did ultimately need to cheat on both. The text one, I admit, was quite clever, and I did a virtual face-palm when I figured out where I went wrong. However, I think the clues for the numerical puzzle could be tweaked. One in particular was very abstract, and I'm not sure I ever would have gotten that one on my own.
Overall, I think you are on track to publish a stellar story-puzzle, or puzzle-story as the case may be. Not only are you seeking help and feedback, but you seem to be taking good advantage of that feedback. Having read your prior concerns about the on-page scripting, potential issues with the "go back" feature, and your use of items, I did have some reservations about what to expect.
However, now that I've read the story / played the game to the point where you have locked it down, I understand much better what you are trying to do. The "go back" button really isn't necessary, since there are no false endings to avoid. I expected the gray text to be distracting, but I learned that it was actually helpful in determining my progress through the loops. And the use of items works well here. None of it was buggy.
I am looking forward to reading more or the story! I just don't go changing the passwords on me.
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.