Is your interactive story getting too complex to handle? Or maybe you’re still unsure how Sana stories work? Read along! Let's take a look at the basics of how choices work and how to apply them in two different ways.
Basics of Sana Stories
Interactive Sana stories all consist of story-blocks that make up the entire story. Think of it as a single book being split into several sections, and at the end of each section the reader is either asked to continue (like turning a page) or is presented with two choices. Each choice brings the reader to a new, different section of the story.
Let’s look at what a choice looks like in the Sana Writing tool, compared to when published in the Sana Stories app
See where the text that make up the choices in the Sana writing Tool end up when being viewed through the Sana Stories app? Simple, right? After each choice, the author simply picks to what section, or in our case which block the reader should be taken to depending on the choice they pick.
These are the basics of how choices work in Sana Stories. To find out more about how choices and the Sana writing tool works, check out our Illustrated guide. To find out more about how the Sana Stories app works, check out our blogpost What is Sana?
With just two choices at a time, you can create very complex stories with many different scenarios, endings and scenes for the reader to choose from. But if the whole concept still feels unfamiliar and intimidating, let’s take a look at two examples.
Examples of basic story structures
Exhibit A: ‘Between Sea and Land’ by Karolina Wolfe
‘Between sea and Land’ tells the take of Kate and her encounter with Ahti, someone quite literally out of this world. At the end of the story, Kate has to make a decision which could change her life forever. This is what the story looks like in the Sana Writing Tool
The story consists of three blocks, where the “main”-block contains the story up until the point where Kate has to make her big decision. At the end of this main block the reader has to make a choice. The story then ends differently depending on what choice the reader picked. Simple!
With permission from the author, go ahead and take a look at the story in the Sana writing tool. We hope that this hands on approach will help you familiarise yourself with the Writing tool and this kind of story structure. Simply download the ‘Between Sea and Land’ Sana-file below, and upload it into the Sana Writing tool (www.sana-write.com) by clicking the “Upload .sana file” at the top of the page and selecting the ‘Between Sea and Land’ Sana-file from the file explorer.
This is the minimum requirement of interactivity in Sana Stories: One choice. Interactive stories don’t need to be more complicated than that!
Let's look at another story structure
Exhibit B: ‘Colour of Hope’ by Karolina Wolfe
‘Colour of Hope’ takes place in a post-apocalyptic Finland where the soldiers Näsiä and Grouse need to stay clear of mutants and opposing tribes as they travel in the former Finnish capital region to complete their mission. This is wha the story looks like in the Sana Writing Tool:
At the end of the first block of the story, Näisiä and Grouse run into a rag-tag band of mutants and the reader gets to choose how the protagonists will avoid said mutants (by hiding or scaring them off). No matter what technique is chosen, the protagonists end up successfully avoiding the mutants and the story continues in the next block, or “main branch”. At the end of this block the protagonists meet an unidentified foe and Näisiä has to quickly step away from their attack. The reader’s choice will make for a different fate for the characters and the reader is then taken to either of the two final blocks in the story.
Again, with permission from the author, you can take a look at this story too in the Sana Writing Tool. To do so, download the provided ‘Color of Hope’ Sana-file below, and upload it into the Sana Writing tool (www.sana-write.com) by clicking the “Upload .sana file” at the top of the page and selecting the ‘Colour of Hope’ Sana-file from the file explorer.
This is another simple way of constructing an interactive story. This structure can also be easily built upon to make gradually more complex stories. For example: try repeating the structure of having two choices first split the storyline in two and then merging them back together. Or maybe don’t merge them back together right away—or at all creating two potentially very different alternative storylines
We hope these examples were useful to you all!
Stay tuned for more writing tips!