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 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.
- 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
Theryl 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.
- 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
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:
Betha 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
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
Recent PostsBreak! (The Contest) on 8/11/2020 3:52:39 AM
Beirut's Big Boom on 8/6/2020 8:30:56 PM
I have to say, it's easy to see why there are so many videos of this and why people weren't worried about being so close. At the point where every one of these videos begins, it looks like a fireworks show going on inside the building. Cool, right? Get the phone out and zoom in a little bit. Then it's Armageddon.
Beirut's Big Boom on 8/6/2020 8:22:35 PM
He was pretty clearly in a neighboring building, directly overlooking the warehouse that was about to blow, and the "after" photos of that port complex show everything but that grain silo was leveled.
Therefore I wouldn't bother buying that guy a birthday present this year.
Beirut's Big Boom on 8/6/2020 10:11:54 AM
As I recall, there was a very similar explosion in West, TX a few years ago, caused by similar (same?) chemical ingredients. The only reason it got second-tier news treatment was because it occurred at the same time the two Boston Marathon bomber manhunt was unfolding on live television.
These phone videos just make me want to say... dude, put the phone away and get out of there.
Break! (The Contest) on 8/5/2020 4:39:30 PM
Mostly done, just a few final loose ends to wrap up.
"Thriller" tag? on 8/5/2020 6:54:48 AM
"Thriller" tag? on 8/5/2020 6:45:17 AM
For the Mods:
I don't suppose it's possible to add a "Thriller" tag?
By which I don't mean the MJ video, but the fiction genre. Seems like a broad enough label that it would apply to quite a few new and existing stories.
Text alignment on 8/3/2020 10:21:37 AM
After typing your text, you'll need to go to "Source" in the menu and apply this code to your title:
Save the page... but don't get discouraged if the text editor doesn't show the centering. You'll need to go into the story viewer to make sure the formatting is correct.
Note that every time you make any changes to that page, you'll need to reapply the centering code.
Shared Universes? on 8/2/2020 3:23:18 PM
This is something I've encountered here and here. These are stories that are intended to be part of a larger, continuing storyline, and so each story has to end in a way that sets up the next. With the first, I wrote four different threads that led to that one main ending... although I found it ironic that after going to all the trouble of writing all those branches, I then had to unwind them to create that shared ending. In the second story, I tried the opposite approach: writing just one "canon" ending out of a maze of 45 branches. Neither approach was completely satisfactory, and thus I have been hesitating to do a Part III.
A few months ago I started another serial, the first of what may be a four-parter. Here my approach is not to worry at all about continuity, and just let the readers decide what they think is the "best" ending. The main character winds up in a completely different situation in most of the endings, and as mizal remarked in her review it's hard to see how a Part 2 could continue the story, but my solution in this case will be to focus on a completely different character for each story.
And both sets of stories are in the same "universe" so to speak, although that's mostly to save myself from having to reinvent a new backstory each time.
Brainstorming a secret organization's name on 7/30/2020 5:41:25 PM
The International Network Finding Offworld Intelligent Life
They even have a uniform: