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I need to read a whole bunch of Make Your Own Adventure stories for future analysis. ;)

Freytag's Pyramid, which illustrates dramatic ...

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Many mediums have a standard narrative structure, for journalism that structure is the inverted pyramid. The three act structure could almost be considered a meta-structure, as it is used in concert with other formats. However, TV tends to use a certain flavor of the 3 act structure. What structures are common in branching and interactive narratives?

The twists and turns of interconnected and multi-branched narratives can move in almost infinite directions. However there are a few that are standard formats that exist.

Strict Choice

This is the ever expanding and thickening web of narrative branches. Each choice has at least as many choices as the last and perhaps more.

Forking Paths

Each decision point in the story is binary, you can either go one way or the other, each has two choices. Though the complexity might be small in the beginning it will increase rapidly.

Detoured Linear Plot

The plot line is linear, but at each decision point you depart from the main story to take a detour and then return.

Limited internavigability

At each level of the narrative’s decision points, you can choose to move to any other decision point at the same level.

Parallel Paths

There are only two narrative tracks, restricted by certain gateway decision points. The best known example is Bioshock. This whole good vs evil approach has become pretty common in video games in general.


A set of pre-defined decision points moved through in any order the participant chooses. This is common in open world video games.


A narrative with two separate paths occurring simultaneously and affecting each other.


This narrative type provides a number of objects, goals or decision points that is reached via multiple paths. It allows the user to pick their own story and mix up various story elements and events themselves. This is common in ‘endless’ games like The Sims.


Branching Narrative” by Hartzog

Narrative on Play With Learning

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  1. example my ass 2 on Wednesday 2, 2011

    I’m in high school and starting next year I will have to start looking at colleges. I know I want to find a college just for creative writing. I love writing stories of all sorts, and I know of a couple colleges that specialize in creative writing. But where would you recommend? Remember, I’m talking about creative writing, not journalism. Any suggestions?.