Penny McPaperface

This is an interactive story intended to illustrate the principles outlined in this tutorial post about pen-and-paper interactive fiction. A hyperlinked version of it can be found here for comparison.


Once upon a time, Penny McPaperface was writing a story in Twine. Twine let her put together a really top-notch bit of interactive fiction using simple hyperlinks mixed in with the text. However, because she wanted the story to work when inscribed on a thin slice of dead tree too, she considered writing out all the interactive options at the end of each passage so she could stick numbers next to them. Whatever should she do, she wondered?

End each passage with a list of options: 2

Naah, it’s fine. Just keep the links in the text: 3


Having decided to end each passage with a list of options, Penny McPaperface finds it easy to separate what’s happening in the story now from what the player can choose to do next. Also there’s room to stick numbers next to the options, which seems as though it’ll be important once this story is printed. She decides to celebrate! But how?

Tea and cake: 4

Vigorous self-back-patting: 5


Well, this sucks.

Because the hyperlinks are smushed right in with the rest of the text, there’s no room to tell the player what to read next, and the thing makes no sense whatsoever when printed. You know what she totally should have done? End each passage with a list of options.

At this point a velociraptor with an uzi and sweet shades bursts through the window and starts yelling about the rise of the barbarian killbots, but Penny McPaperface is far too busy sorting out this mess of an interactive story to go on any awesome adventures right now.

Told you it sucks.


Ahh, yes! That tea really hits the spot, and the cake isn’t too shabby either.



Penny McPaperface gives herself a hearty pat on the back for a job well done.

Then, suddenly, a velociraptor with an uzi and sweet shades bursts through the window.

“Barbarian killbots are taking over the future!” it yells, frantically waving its tiny dinosaur arms. “Only YOU, Penny McPaperface, can save us! One might say it is an adventure in which YOU are the protagonist!”

Hey, neat! Penny considers that if she’d got up to make tea, she probably would have missed the dinosaur crashing through the window and that would have been a shame. She hadn’t thought that last choice would be particularly significant, but apparently it was.



One comment

  1. Pingback: Twine for Beginners: Pen and Paper Stories | Damon L. Wakes

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