my journey

Writing a Choose Your Own Adventure Book: Story or Guide?

I have been struggling with if Legend Tripping: A “Choose Your Own” Travel Guide will contain a story or be a true guide book. That’s probably confusing for some, but that’s the best way I can describe it.

I began writing this book under the assumption that I would follow the structure of every “Choose Your Own Adventure” I’ve ever read. That is to tell a story and allow for the reader to become the protagonist. I began writing Legend Tripping as a fictional story, which allows for the reader to become the protagonist.

I got four chapters in (complete with choices and paths) before I skimmed through Which Cult Should I Join? This book is a non-fictional “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style book, just like mine. This author’s approach is different to my own and, to be honest, I’m thinking this format fits my book best but is less creative.

So, now I’m stuck trying to decide on a structure for my book, which is slowing down the writing process. I’ve got the locations written, all that’s left is to put the book together, but I can’t do that because I can’t decide which route I want to go.

Let’s examine the pros and cons:

Story Format
Pros: Engage the reader as the protagonist. Give the reader other characters to care about. Immerse the reader in a different world.
Cons: Less emphasis on being a proper travel guide because the story might take over. Story is a vehicle for the “Choose Your Own Adventure” format and is therefore less detailed and could become contrived. Story could become somewhat repetitive as choices get more difficult.

Guide Format
Pros: Fits a non-fictional travel guide perfectly. Engages the reader as the protagonist in a more direct way. Still able to be a proper travel guide with this format.
Cons: Simple (Maybe too simple?).

I can’t really find any cons to what I’m now calling the Guide Format. It’s a shame that if I do end up writing the book this way, that I wrote four chapters of good story that I can’t use (My editor thinks it’s good story, but editors are your biggest fans, aren’t they?) There are significantly more cons to the Story Format than the Guide Format that I can see. So, I guess I have my answer.

What do you guys think? Leave a comment below or subscribe to my mailing list!


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