Interactive fiction for writers (intermediate)

A workshop for existing writers with some experience in “traditional” linear fiction, exploring how to effectively build a fragmented interactive narrative.

Closed Hands is is a groundbreaking work of interactive fiction by PASSENGER, directed by Dan Hett. The game follows the deep intertwined stories of five people thrown together by their involvement in a fictional terror attack.

Join the game’s director and lead writer Dan Hett to explore both the tools and techniques used in Closed Hands, and how you can write and create interactive stories yourself.


Who is this for? 

This is a workshop session specifically aimed at existing writers including (but not limited to) existing authors, screenwriters, journos, poets…basically anyone who is already established and writing in some capacity.  If you are interested but have no writing experience, check out the beginners workshop.

Workshop structure

The workshop is taking place online.

It is envisaged to be around three hours long, with a good break in the middle and time at the end for questions and discussion.

Broadly the workshop is in two halves:

We’ll take a look at Closed Hands, both in terms of the narrative structure and the way in which the reader experience can change as it is played etc, touching on some of the philosophical questions around interactive fiction as a whole, and why Closed Hands exists as a piece of fragmented interactive narrative and not a piece of linear fiction, for example. During this we’ll also look at some of the ‘guts’ of the game, explore how it ticks, and take a look at the tools we used to both prototype the story and ultimately build the game, as well as examining some existing IF games that do this stuff really well.

A more practical guided exercise, quickly taking us through working with both Twine and Ink to create simple branching stories and conversations. This is by no means a comprehensive course, but is more a toe in the water and hopefully a springboard into further learning. Critically, this practical side is much more about the WHY than the HOW and discusses designing and creating convincing dialogue and story flows  rather than focusing purely on the tools.

Around the tech we’ll be talking about things like conversation structure , breadth versus depth in IF, with plenty of examples and case studies to delve into.

Materials and next steps will be given to complement the learning on the course such as:

  • software links
  • notes from the tutorials
  • recommended reading and viewing

3 hours

This workshop is for people aged 18 and over.