November 28, 1999
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Should a story be linear, starting at the beginning and ending at the end,
or full of hyperlinks that take you in and out of the story line? Or
perhaps the reader should be able to control the action, making decisions
that affect the outcome. Or do you think the best stories are
personalized, so that you play the main character? The Internet holds many
possibilities for storytelling. Here are five examples of interactive
storytelling, each choosing to use the medium differently.
“Ahoy! Have ye heard the secret of this ramshackle inn where ye’r lodgin’?
They say it’s full of booty but nobody’s been able to find it.” Join this
interactive adventure (customized with your very own pirate name), and
while looking for the loot, you’ll unearth tales of real pirates. When
your adventure is finished, click on Books for Buccaneers (from the main
menu) for elementary and young adult reading lists.
“War is a horrible thing. But the war with the Raccoons from Mars was
the most horrible of all. Mostly because no one is quite sure what really
happened … or if it happened.” This illustrated science-fiction fantasy
for middle-schoolers is not linear, but full of hyperlinks that lead you to
meander through the story line. Yes, it’s convoluted, but that’s part of
“Dive into Ace on the Case: Secrets@Sea and see if you can solve the
mystery.” In this educational adventure story for grades four through
seven, the reader steps into the “starring role of Ace, assistant
investigator to Paula Pacific, who is assigned to examine unusual
behaviors noticed in killer whale populations in the Alanamorris Strait.”
As you pass through the story, you’ll complete a number of ocean-related
activities, which will lead you to the solution.
This treasure trove for pre-schoolers and early readers houses dozens
(and dozens) of customized stories for reading-aloud and printing out.
Answer a few questions (“My first name is …” “I am a ..” “Two of my
neighborhood friends are …”) and you’ll be treated to an illustrated
story, personalized just for you. Topics include Holidays (“Hanukkah
Latkes, Yum”), Adventure (“Letter to my Alien Parents”), Birthdays (“A
Birthday Picnic with Friends”), My World (“Back to School”) and Baby (“My
Baby’s First Birthday.”)
Remember these? To complete each Wacky Web Tale, fill in the blanks as
requested (a noun, an adjective, a boy’s name, a verb ending in -ing.) In
addition to tales created by the publisher Houghton Mifflin, there is also
a ninety-day archive of tales written by readers like you. To submit your
own tale, follow the Submit Tale link (look in the left hand margin), but
be sure to read the Tips for Writing a Wacky Tale first. It includes help
with parts of speech, as well as useful tips such as “Try not put to the
word â€˜a’ before a blank that you want the reader to fill in with a singular
noun because someone might enter a noun that begins with a
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Copyright © 1999 Barbara J.
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