Choose Your Own Narrative

So, at some point I'm going to start a Choose Your Own Adventure story and I've run into the dilemma of deciding the particular style and tense. So below I have three two-paragraph segments written in different styles and/or tenses. What I'd like is WFG's help in deciding what would would be more pleasing to see in a CYOA. Also, if anyone has a suggestion for a different style or tense, I'd be more than happy to post a sample in said style. On with the samples!


You are standing to the west of a white house. There is a mailbox here. As you walk around the outside of the house, you find that all of the windows and doors are boarded up. After finding no way in, you decide to follow a path into the surrounding woods.

Eventually you come across a large ravine. There is a rickety bridge here, which leads all the way across. There's also a set of stairs that look a lot safer heading to the ground. Do you take the quicker path over the bridge? Or the safer path down the stairs.


I found myself standing on the west side of a white house in front of a mailbox. After walking around the perimeter, I realized that all of the doors and windows were boarded up. Since there was no way for me to get inside, I decided to take a small path that lead into the surrounding woods.

Eventually I ran into a large ravine. There was a rickety bridge that lead all the way across. I also noticed that there was a set of stairs leading down that looked like a much safer way of getting across. So I had to wonder, take the quick way across the bridge, or the safer way down the stairs.


I'm standing on the west side of a of a white house in front of a mailbox. I realize that there's no way in as walk around. All the doors and windows are boarded up so I start down a little path that leads into the surrounding woods.

I doesn't take long, and soon I'm at the edge of a large ravine. A rickety bridge leading across swings lazily in a breeze. I look around, noticing the set of stairs that leads to the bottom of the ravine. Now I have a choice. Move quickly across the bridge, or safely down the stairs.

Yay for number 3!

Yay for number 3!

You are indeed a silly rabbit...

Definitely go with present tense for a CYOA, so out of those, #3 gets my vote too, although second person present could work nicely too...

Well I like second person present tense for two reasons; one, it makes me feel Like I'm DMing (which as a DM is a nice feeling) and two, it reminds me of the old school CYOA's that I used to read as a kid.

Just watch out for the grue!

Yes!!! I'm so glad that someone got that line.

I was waiting for someone to mention Zork...

As someone who used to read Choose your own adventure's as a kid, I prefer the second person(#1). It just seems the most natural for the format. It's the one thing that makes CYOA more memorable than other books.

I was waiting for someone to mention Zork...

Edit: Ooops, double post :( mod squad!!

What's a grue?

Oh, and what's a zork?

A Grue is a monster from the series of games set in the Zork universe. (Zork, Return to Zork, probably others) It's also where Drew pulled his quotes from.

Don't forget Zork Nemesis and Zork Grand Inquisitor!

As for the pulling of quotes... It's been so long since I played that I don't remember running into a ravine, and if that's where I got that part from it was purely unintentional.

I meant the house though... It was too classic to pass up


The mailbox is closed.


The mailbox reveals a leaflet.




Incidentally, what kind of platform are you planning on using for the CYOA?

I'm gonna need some clarification on that question EJ.

Are you curious if I'm actually going to make a game (This question was actually posed to me earlier). Or are you asking how I'm going to execute it as a story?

Well, I was gearing the question more towards what kind of content management system. Like, Wordpress, wiki, etc... I only ask 'cause I've had ideas similar to this in the past. I'd always thought wiki would be a good platform for such a story. :P

You say you were asked... You didn't say what your answer was though... If you were thinking this way though, I might be curious with helping out on the more technical side of things...

The thought DID cross my mind to make a text game, but I don't really have it in me to come up with a ridiculous amount of puzzles ranging from simple to evil.

As for the CMS, I'm going to be using Wordpress. It's going to be a bit tedious what with all the cross-linking I'm going to have to pull off, but I've become rather fond of the system.

It is Tuesday, and you are visiting your uncle mysterious rich uncle Bill, who your aunt Margaret had requested you go see mentioning some "odd venture" of his that you would surely be interested in. Frankly, anything he did could be considered odd simply by stint of him doing it, so you are feeling a little wary as you head up the path to his house. Suddenly, the path splits into a fork. You don't remember there being a fork to your uncle's house, and you are left standing there with a choice of left or right and no guarantee of which direction may be correct.

Gritting your teeth, you turn the steering wheel hard right and narrowly miss the jagged rocks. Breathing hard, you realize that turning left would have taken you into the wrong current and into certain death. You point the prow of the 'Cruddy Stark' towards international waters and vow to save your uncle.

And not a moment too soon! As you heft the machine gun, Werner comes barreling down the hall of mirrors with a bowie knife clenched in his teeth and a gigantic ham with nails sticking out of it in each hand! The cold, heavy metal object in your hand shudders and beats a bruising stacatto into your arms as you let loose with a hail of bullets, cutting down several reflected images of the mad Austrian which die in crashing shards of light before the real one spasms with an exploding line of red across his body. He falls and the remaining mirror images follow, before they too burst into pieces as your machine gun spray continues onwards. You are left with a choice- inspect Werner's body, or leave before the Secret Firemen show up?

Dropping the weapon, the blade flattening the grass as it falls, you rush forward towards your uncle. Suddenly he melts away into a puddle of burning rubber, and the ground opens beneath your feet! You fall into blackness...

Gritting your teeth, you pull the wheel hard to the left. Suddenly, the current feels all wrong! In fact, it's pulling you right into the jagged rocks! The 'Cruddy Stark' shatters into splinters, and soon the bones of your body follow. You are dead.

Undeterred by this momentary setback, you grab the oregano and begin to respice your dish while the Seven Lords of Death And Pasta watch you and The Thirteenth Horseman from atop their great balcony seats. After enough mixing, you leave it to simmer for a minute, then pull your the pot from the hyperstove, pour the mixture on top of the cherubim-filet, and lift your creation up to be inspected. The Thirteenth Horseman presents his dish, Pile Of Chocolate Screws A La Carte, and the Lords telepathically taste-test you both- but with you having remembered their worship of the color green, your dish is an instant success! The Horsemen is cast into the land of Nod and you are crowned King of Double Mars! Congratulations, you've won!

You grab Natalie's hips and pull her towards you. Her expression is inviting, her eyes half-lidded, lips half-open, breath hot, body warm. She starts to grind against your thigh, breasts heaving. "Darling," she gasps huskily, as her hands slowly slide down towards- dammit, kid, have you been reading these pages in order? You're supposed to follow the little instructions at the bottom! You darned kids and your, your computer video games and internets, can't even follow simple book instructions anymore, can't do anything without double-clicking a typewriter on some fancy web-sight computer link. That's it, I quit, go choose your own goddamned choose your own adventure. I'm choosing some whiskey.