Bill_Ingersoll, The Journeyman Scrivener

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10/31/2020 9:22 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 Earning 2,000 Points Having 3 Storygame(s) Featured Rated 64.1% 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 :)


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:

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:

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:

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

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 — but as time drags on and Amy fails to return, he realizes something has gone horribly wrong.

His girlfriend may be gone without a trace, but George now suspects he and Amy had not been alone in this forest. Someone — or something — had been waiting for them. And thus begins his night of torment.

Important Notes:

  • Contribution to the 2020 Halloween Writing Jam
  • 7 unique endings spread out across 39 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


© 2020 Bill Ingersoll

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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:

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:

Recent Posts

Halloween Writing Jam on 10/31/2020 2:40:22 AM


Interesting Comments 5 on 10/23/2020 7:00:01 PM

I hope he bought enough… um, little raincoats. He's definitely getting… um… some action now.

[Post sanitized for the sake of the children.]

My Own Personal Mead Hall on 10/17/2020 9:18:51 PM

I can just imagine the response of the scribe who jotted that gem down for posterity's sake!

My Own Personal Mead Hall on 10/17/2020 5:30:09 PM

It's certainly an entertaining read, and I'd recommend it just as a modern take on a classic poem. But I don't think her word choice accurately reflects the original; in addition to this line, there are lots of other "shits" and "fucks." This was why I looked up some of these lines when I got home, because I found it hard to believe a medieval poem that profane would've even survived, let alone be studied academically. I'm sure there probably were lots of poems in the 8th - 11th century like that, but those aren't the ones the monks chose to wrote down.

My Own Personal Mead Hall on 10/17/2020 5:14:23 PM

In the 2020 version, that line is number 1441.

Going to that untranslated version of Beowulf I bought in college because I thought the Old English text looked cool, but which I could never read, the corresponding line is:

                                   Gyrede hine Beowulf

eorl-gewædum,     nalles for ealdre mearn

You can probably read this better than I can, but I believe the gist of this line is "Beowulf dressed himself in his warrior-garb, not at all concerned for his life." It's the scene where he is preparing to dive into the water to go find Grendel's mother.

**EDIT: Nice to see my attempt at a translation was pretty close!**

My Own Personal Mead Hall on 10/17/2020 8:01:18 AM

Yeah, mead is like "sweet beer," perhaps somewhere between cider and beer.

The other book I read was Road out of Winter by Alison Stine, which wasn't bad. You can see it here, kinda, next to my chair and coffee mug at the same campsite.

The author probably should've been encouraged to pick a different title, because the plot already invites comparisons to Cormac McCarthy's "The Road." I enjoyed it for what it was, although I had a few quibbles: the transition from panic buying at Walmart to full-on societal collapse is perhaps too abrupt; and if a new Ice Age is beginning to lay claim to North America once again, then a greenhouse and some pumpkin seeds are going to do little good against mile-high glaciers. The plot is harrowing though and kept me hooked for the short amount of time it took me to read it.

I've been on a reading streak in 2020, beginning even before COVID. Anticipating a winter-long shutdown to begin any moment, I already have a stack of 20 books or so (and I should probably hit up Barnes & Noble again while everything is still open for the time being). Half of the books in that stack are about science and natural history, the rest are novels.

My Own Personal Mead Hall on 10/16/2020 5:52:16 PM

The book really is a hoot and deserves to be read aloud by a skilled actor. Some of the metaphors are perhaps too anachronistic, such as a hashtag reference and a description of Beowulf's well-crafted chain mail as being "locked and loaded" (which doesn't even make sense). Purists are sure to object, and I'm sure Tolkien is rolling in his grave. But this may be the most accessible and entertaining version of a medieval poem I've ever read.

My Own Personal Mead Hall on 10/16/2020 5:41:24 PM

This trip was a canoe-camping trip, so I actually packed 2 books (finished one, started the other) as well as various other creature comforts.

Mead is sadly hard to come by, and the one in this photo was from a case I ordered online. My experience with mead is relatively thin, so I can't offer much of a comparison, but there is an oak-barrel aged version from this company that I'm kinda smitten by. It's easy to see why people once planned parties around this stuff though; I'd take mead over Bud Light any day.

My Own Personal Mead Hall on 10/16/2020 5:23:23 PM

Just thought I'd share a photo of my "mead hall" last weekend.

The book is a new translation of Beowulf, although "interpretation" might be a more appropriate adjective. It was great fun, and I laughed out loud (in a good way) at this line:

Meanwhile, Beowulf gave zero shits.

Imagine my disappointment, though, when I looked up the original line in Old English and saw that it wasn't nearly as fun.

Creatures of the Snow on 10/12/2020 3:53:47 PM

A tradition that began in "Old Yeller" maybe? That suggests a scene in which Olix is bitten by a Cryndy and gets alien rabies, and Elia has to take him out behind the barn...