Bill_Ingersoll, The Journeyman Scrivener

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7/17/2024 5:55 PM

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Esteemed Architect Exemplar



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. You can view my blogs here, and explore the same places I love to explore here.

But here I am 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 into something I'm proud of as an adult. 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.

UPDATE! I have made available some draft chapters for a "linear" project I'm currently writing outside of CYS, but inspired by an old story prompt from several years ago. You can access that story here.

Trophies Earned

Earning 100 Points Earning 500 Points Earning 1,000 Points Earning 2,000 Points Having 3 Storygame(s) Featured Given by BerkaZerka on 07/28/2022 - Collect the whole set! 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:

Featured Story 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 — 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


© 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:

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

Draft Sci-Fi Story on 5/30/2022 11:16:28 AM

I hope everyone is well! I've posted the opening chapters of a sci-fi story I've been writing for the last few months, inspired by an old CYS story prompt from several years ago, but which I decided would work better in a "linear" format. I understand there is a contest in progress at the moment, but if anyone is looking for a break (or a distraction) you can access the story here, in the form of an unpublished storygame. Constructive criticism is always appreciated!

Interesting Comments 7 on 6/30/2021 7:12:05 AM

You better believe it. Shit is the cause of every death in that story.

Site updates, Spring 2021 on 3/30/2021 6:02:25 PM

I'll echo the above: the updates look great! As does all the new artwork, of course. Thanks to everyone who has been contributing to these improvements!

All the new categories should keep people busy working to obtain some of those coveted featured story slots.

Why? on 2/2/2021 5:29:34 PM

Pfft, don't tell me how to clean off my car. Just point me toward the road and it will all blow off once I begin to speed up.

Things that make me happy on 1/22/2021 7:58:21 PM


Things that make me happy on 1/22/2021 7:54:23 PM

Everyone from Gilligan's Island in this video is gone too... including Dawn Wells, who died last month from COVID complications.

Things that make me happy on 1/21/2021 5:15:36 PM

Gilligan's Island vs. Batman on Family Feud. Yes, Youtube says this was a thing.

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WARLORD LARPER for POTUS on 1/10/2021 5:35:43 PM

This gem appeared in my FB news feed today:

I'm really not sure what to make of this... On the one hand I want to completely agree with it, but on the other I think it was posted by someone who genuinely thinks this is an issue. And when I think about it some more, I wonder if this was created just to troll the "cryptozoology" crowd?

If so, this Bigfoot/Biden comparison reminds me of a meme I saw making the rounds several years ago promising the upcoming Spring Equinox that year was ALSO going to have a full moon AND a solar eclipse on the same day. All the new-agey types were "Wow, that's so cool!" and entirely dismissive of anyone who dared point out such an event would be impossible.

WARLORD LARPER for POTUS on 1/9/2021 6:35:43 PM

"Made in the USA"

WARLORD LARPER for POTUS on 1/8/2021 10:07:45 AM

Look at these brainiacs, climbing a wall to defend a POTUS whose primary campaign promise was to build a border wall to keep people out of the country.