It's 1:54 PM. The cool breeze taunts me by reminding me of the outside that is just beyond my reach. It's the end of the year, so I don't particularly feel like doing too much, but the ever-chipper Ms. Spencer opens her mouth and begins to speak. "Today we're going to start working on our interactive narrative project, alright? Remember, all ideas are good ideas. Just keep writing and don't delete anything. OK? Awesome, let's get started!" [[I begin writing.|Writing 1]]Feeling the brittle plastic keys beneath my fingers, I begin to type. "George wanted to go through the door, but he couldn't because it was locked." It is quite possibly the worst opening sentence I have ever written. [[I mash the backspace key and try again.|Writing 2]] [[I keep writing.|Continue writing]] (if: (history:) contains "A real dystopia")[ [[I remember the line I came up with in my dream.|A good opening line.]] ]I quickly backspace over the sentence and replace it with: "The door wasn't open." This is no way to begin a story! Where's the action, the flair, the not-being-completely-mundane!? I should try again. [[I mash the backspace key and try again.|Writing 3]] [[I try and keep writing.|Try and continue writing]]"Kimberly would be a normal human being, if not for the fact that she was an imaginary duck." Okay, I'm pretty sure that one would actually win a Worst First Line Ever contest. [[I mash the backspace key and try again.|Writing 4]] [[I try and keep writing.|Try and continue writing]]"zspunfoua LIUN YFAHUONLI UKnukj gkb9i BGJHDBGKfd." That's not even a sentence. I've just mashed randomly on the keyboard. It isn't capitalized correctly. Somehow I managed to hit the 9 key. [[Looks good!]]I decide to forge on and keep writing. After all, that's what Ms. Spencer told me to do, and I suspect she knows more about writing than I do. After a few minutes, I work out how to make an actual story out of the whole thing. It's actually pretty good! [[Next|A page of victory]]I try to keep writing, but I somehow manage to not come up with anything before the end of the period. I knew I should've kept trying until I had a better opening sentence. [[I head home and go to bed.|A page of nonsense]]The bell rings and I hastily exit, having utterly failed to make anything approaching progress on the story. "Thank you for working hard today!" says Ms. Spencer. Ha. [[I head home for the day.|A page of nonsense]]"Something happened and then everyone was sad." Somehow I've managed to come up with worse and worse opening lines the harder I try. [[I mash the backspace key and try again.|Writing 5]] [[I try and keep writing.|Try and continue writing]]The next day, I remember that our 1-page draft of the narrative is due. (So *that's* what we were supposed to be doing yesterday during class!) Leaning against the cold, hard classroom door, I quickly tap out a page of utter nonsense a few minutes before class starts. Luckily, Ms. Spencer doesn't have time to make sure each one of our 30 stories is actually a story. She looks at it, nods approvingly when I scroll to the bottom, and checks off my name on the grade sheet using one of those little golf pencils. Of course, I still need to actually write a story, but that can wait for now. [[A few more days go by, but I don't really put much work into the story.|The night before]]The next day, Ms. Spencer walks around to make sure we all have a page of narrative. I've got three, which means I'm basically done the whole project. She reads mine over. "Wow, this is actually really good! I knew you had it in you to write an awesome story!" But when she's done checking everyone's projects, she reminds us that it needs to include an element of dystopia. There's no way my story has dystopia in it, so I'm not sure what to do. I decide that the best course of action is to delete the whole thing and start over. My school laptop's "backspace" key is a bit funny. It takes a little less effort to push it then it does to push any of the other keys. [[Next|The night before]]It's 5:48 AM. Brilliant orange light streams through my window. Having stayed up the entire night before my story was due working on it, I'm hopefully pretty close to the required word count. I hit Ctrl-Shift-C to check. (if: (history:) contains "Writing 5")[ Words: 6 Characters: 49 ](elseif: (history:) contains "Writing 4")[ Words: 7 Characters: 45 ](elseif: (history:) contains "Writing 3")[ Words: 18 Characters: 91 ](elseif: (history:) contains "Writing 2")[ Words: 4 Characters: 21 ](else:)[ Words: 0 Characters: 0 ]Pages: 1 [[Crud.|The final choice]] # NARRATIVE (a story about writing a story about writing a story) [[I start playing.|Intro]] [[What's all this nonsense?|Instructions]]NARRATIVE is an interactive short story, which is like a regular short story except it's interactive. Your many years of standardized testing have prepared you for its decision-making interface: *Question 1:* What happens next? A. [[I go back to the title page.|Title]] B. [[I start playing the game.|Intro]] C. <html><a href="">None of the above</a></html>I take a moment to ponder my impending doom. (Darn! Now *that* would have been a good opening line!) The project is due today, but I'll need to turn it in in person. I could buy myself a little more time by staying home sick today, but I'd still need to do the project. [[I stay home sick today.]] [[I email Ms. Spencer.]] (if: (history:) contains "Looks good!")[ [[I give up and go in without having a project done.|Begin the Anger]] ] (else:) [ [[I give up and go in without having a project done.|Begin Apathy]] ] (if: (history:) contains "A page of victory")[ [[I turn in my old project (the one that doesn't have dystopia in it).|A decent grade]] ]I tell my mom I'm feeling sick, giving me a whole extra day to work on the story. Naturally, I spend the entire day playing video games. [[I end up right back where I started.|The night before]]I begin typing my email to Ms. Spencer: "Ms. Spencer, I'm writing regarding the upcoming Individual Writing Component assignment. [[Is there any chance I could get an extension on it?|Late submission]] (if: (history:) contains "A page of victory")[ [[Could I maybe do that whole interactive-story thing we were talking about instead?|True Path start]] ] Thanks, CarterYou know what? I'm done with this project. Done. Not even gonna bother. I put up with an ENTIRE YEAR of obnoxious, useless work without once missing an assignment. [[This time I think I'll make an exception.|Transition to black]]Later that day in English, I smell some sort of lemony cleaning fluid as Ms. Spencer announces the TurnItIn code to use to submit the essay. My fingertip pushes down slightly on the trackpad, quaking slightly. I sincerely hope she doesn't notice that my story has nothing at all to do with the prompt. Luckily, I manage to come up with a justification when Ms. Spencer asks about it the next day. "Yeah, the fact that the protagonist stays inside the whole time despite her pain was me sort of going for a metaphor for a sorta broken utopia. She thinks the house is great, but it actually isn't." It's a little tortured, but Ms. Spencer is still happy enough with my story that she doesn't make me start the whole thing over. [[In the end, I score an 85%. Not terrific, but not terrible.|Mediocre Ending]]I suppose there's no point in trying to write something now. Heading back to bed, I manage about half an hour of sleep before I have to wake up and go to school again. Since I don't have anything to submit on the due date, I get a zero on the assignment. I've still got a 75 which is technically passing, so I don't bother turning anything in for late credit. I leave school for summer holiday a few weeks later, feeling mostly apathetic about having made it through English. [[THE END|Apathy Ending]]You got the Apathy Ending. If you'd like to try again, either click the arrow on the left to undo or press Restart to try again. Or you could open up a new tab with Flappy Bird since this game is pretty boring and no one will notice if you aren't playing it. *TIP: You should generally try to turn in something. It's better than nothing!*THE END <hr> You got the Mediocre Ending. If you'd like to try again, press Refresh or use the arrow on the left side of the screen to undo your last move. *TIP: Ms. Spencer's really confident in your writing. Maybe if you try sending her an email she'll be sympathetic to your plight.*I don't get a reply. This probably has something to do with the fact that it's 5:52 AM. I take a look outside. The sky isn't orange anymore, so I guess that's it for the sunrise. I stagger exhaustedly into Ms. Spencer's room that afternoon. I fail to to get my extension, but eventually I manage to write something halfway passable and turn it in for 75% credit the week after. [[THE END|Late Ending]]You got the Late Ending. If you want to try again, press the Refresh button on your browser or use the arrow to the left to undo your last move. (if: (history:) contains "A page of victory")[ *TIP: Instead of just asking for an extension, try bringing something new to the table.* ] (else:) [ *TIP: Maybe if you had listened to Ms. Spencer in the first place you'd finish your project on time.* ]Ding! A reply quickly arrives. [["Sure!"]]That day during English class, I pop open my computer and get to work. "NARRATIVE [[Begin the game|Fake Intro]]" "It's 1:54 PM. The cool breeze taunts me by reminding me of the outside that is just beyond my--" [[Wait, this is supposed to be a dystopia, isn't it?|Transition to black]]<div style="background-color:black; color:white; padding-left:1em; padding-right:1em;"> It's 1:54 PM on another bleak day in this dystopic high-school English classroom. The year is 2153. Ms. <strike>Spencer</strike> Tedium von Deathmarch assigns ninety-seven more pages of literature analysis to be completed in the next seven minutes.(if: (history:) contains "True Path start")[ I boldly choose to instead reflect on the history that led to this sad state of affairs. It all started in the year <span style="background-color:white; color:black"> ("Hey Siri, what year was Common Core announced?") </span> 2009, when a team of mad scientists began working on a way to strip all children of any sense of independence or creativity. Since these new children were unable to think for themselves, they grew up to become zombie voters, electing whomever the textbook companies told them to elect. I am awoken from my pensitivity <span style="background-color:white; color:black"> (Is that a word? The state of being pensive?) </span> by a tap on my shoulder. "INDEPENDENT THOUGHT WILL RESULT IN ONE MILLION YEARS IN THE GULAG." intones Ms. von Deathmarch robotically. [[I am sent off to the gulag, where I am never seen from again.|Dystopia Part 2]] ](else:)[ I decide not to bother. I've already gone this far in not turning in an assignment, so I might as well not turn in any of the other assignments, right? [[Time passes.|A real dystopia]]] </div><div style="background-color:black; color:white; padding-left:1em; padding-right:1em;"> TO BE CONTINUED </div> It's a smash hit. Ms. Spencer thinks it's so good that she hands it out to all the 11th-grade and 12th-grade students, and they love it too. I end up scoring 150% on my final English grade this semester, and I'm extraordinarily happy that I actually managed to do a great job on a writing project. [[THE END|The Good Ending]]You got the Good Ending. If you'd like to try and see what all the other, worse endings are like, you can use your browser's Refresh button or hit the button to the left to go back.<div style="background-color:black; color:white; padding-left:1em; padding-right:1em;"> We move on to the most boring grammar practice sheet yet to be seen on this planet or any other, and it is at this point that I notice that one of my classmates is a demon. Not a demon like Georgie is a "demon" (he's just really annoying) but, like, actually a demon. Red skin, smoke coming out of his nose, and twice the size of a regular human, the mysterious figure next to me turns. "THERE'S STILL TIME." he intones. "MAKE DIFFERENT CHOICES. TRY DIFFERENT THINGS. THE PATH YOU HAVE CHOSEN WILL ONLY LEAD TO TORMENT FOR YOURSELF AND OTHERS." "What? What did I-- </div> I wake up. Phew, it was only a dream. [[I get dressed and head to school|Intro]]"I take a moment to ponder my impending doom." There. THIS was the line I was waiting for. I'm inspired to write a whole, three-page story based on my dream. [[Once I'm done, the bell rings and I head home.|A page of extra victory]]The next day, Ms. Spencer walks around to make sure we all have a page of narrative. I've got three, which means I'm basically done the whole project. She reads mine over. "Wow, this is actually really good! I knew you had it in you to write an awesome story!" [[I'm really pleased.|Twine proposal]]Later that night, I get an email from Ms. Spencer. "Remember that interactive-short-story thing you were telling me about? Would you have time to make one of those for us to play next week? I completely understand if you don't have time, especially with finals week and POLs so close." I type up a reply. "Is there any chance I could do that instead of my independent narrative component? Maybe adapt my story to be interactive?" [[I wait|True Path start]]<div style="background-color:black; color:white; padding-left:1em; padding-right:1em;"> At least, they're *hoping* I'm never heard from again. Unfortunately, they don't know that I know the secret of fire magic, which is super-effective against steel robots. "CHAR!" I shout, my fists bursting into purple flame. The two magnebots holding onto my arms melt away and I sprint for my life. I manage to make it to my pal Freddy's house before I collapse from exhaustion. "Freddy," I breathe, "Freddy, they're after me!" "AAAAAA, I'm on fire!" he replies. As he collapses to the floor, I recall somberly that the more exhausted I am, the harder it is to control my fire magic. I think for a moment about where else I have to go. Freddy's house is burning down, the magnebots have likely already ransacked *my* place, and Ms. von Deathmarch will know if I ever show my face at school again. [[I flee, not knowing where I can go or even if there is anywhere I can go.|The Dystopia Finish]] </div>