I had a lot of fun writing How To get To Rio and The Call of the Wild, for the Choose Your Own Ever After series, and love the message that a girl’s destiny is in her own hands. But the pick-a-path style was definitely a challenge to write! Here are some tips if you are considering this genre.
WRITING A CHOOSE YOUR OWN ENDING STORY
I have to admit I am not normally a methodical planner. I tend to have a clear idea of where a story will start, where it will end, and just a line, at most, on each chapter. Normally, the main character comes up against a problem early on in the story, and then spends the rest of the book trying to resolve it. How To Get To Rio is quite different. It has seven different endings that all evolve from the same opening chapters. That took a lot of planning! The threads for all of the story paths had to be woven into the beginning. I needed to plan the story lines carefully so they would unfold and provide more tough choices for Kitty and a range of possible happy endings.
Choices should be difficult
We all make hundreds of decisions every day – some big, others small, but the toughest ones tend to be those where the choices are equally appealing or equally unappealing. In How to Get To Rio, Kitty’s first choice is where to spend the holidays – camping with her best friends, or at a glamorous beach resort with popular-girl, Persephone. Kitty wants to be with her besties, but she doesn’t like camping much. She also really wants to get to know Persephone, but she doesn’t want to let down her friends. And there’s an added attraction to the beach resort – the very cute Rio will be there. Kitty faces a tough choice. If your main character is torn, hopefully your readers will be, too.
How To Get To Rio is essentially seven short stories in one book, so it was a bit like writing a series. And just like a series, characters have to behave consistently throughout. But they also have to grow from their experiences, – just as they would in any other type of story. Of course that’s tricky and I’m always glad of my editors’ input when my characters drift of course. But I also love the way characters have the power to surprise me, no matter how much planning goes into them! The other thing to keep in mind about characters in this type of book is: less is more. A huge cast of characters can be very confusing as they weave their way across different paths.
Despite the challenges, I loved writing How To Get To Rio, because it gave me a chance to come up with lots of different story paths. I included a tribe of little brothers in one of the pathways to make sure there was plenty of scope for fun! I also really like the premise behind the series – that situations will turn out differently depending on the choices we make. It’s choice, not chance, that determines our future.