Happily Ever After…Or not

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Happily Ever After…Or not
Rajesh Nair



In my project, I plan to create a mobile app that delivers a range of interactive short stories, along with illustrations, to users. The user will read the story as if they themselves are the main character and therefore demonstrates their stake in what happens. At certain points in each story, the user will be forced to make a decision that will dictate the direction the plot goes. Ultimately at the end of the story, the user will arrive at a unique outcome that would be based on the decisions they made. My app will provide a mix of different stories in different genres that would appeal to a wider audience, compared to usual storytelling apps that deliver one large story or overall theme. Having experience and passion in both creative writing and programming, I seek to demonstrate my skills in both areas and the lessons I learned in DCC.


I love stories. Stories make up who we are, how we live and what we believe. They entertain us, they educate us and they add to our experiences. What truly draws us to the story is the choices made by the characters such as whether to save a friend from a fortified dungeon or run away happily ever after with the love of your life, whether to capture a live alien and study its capabilities for the good of mankind or release it to its home world for the good of your soul, these choices are what drive a narrative. But what if we could make these choices? What if we all were the main characters in a dramatic tale where our choices can lead to different outcomes and it would be at the simple touch of finger? I want to make an app where we are given a narrative of our choice, and our choices in the narrative define our story and therefore our experiences. This app will contain a compilation of short stories, along with illustrations, of various genres that we may choose to delve in. Within each story will come a point where you must make an on-the-spot decision that may be life and death. The decisions will be yours, the outcomes will be yours and ultimately the experience you gain from it, will be uniquely yours.


In my project, I will be utilizing Android Studio to build and customize my app for Android mobile technology. I will also be using Photoshop to develop the images used for my app. Within the Studio, I will be creating an interface where a user can access the app’s library of short stories, each of which comes with a small summary, and choose a story to explore. For each page in each story, it will be organized as a large block of text containing the narrative along with an illustration of the scene that is shared in an allocated space through ImageView. Throughout the duration of the story, input data will be required of the reader in order to pursue further into the narrative. Each page will have the option of going either back or forth in the narrative or bookmarking one’s place. At various points in the story an additional option will be presented where, based on the events of the narrative, the user must make a decision on the next event in the story. Each option will cause to storyline to diverge into two more separate storylines that hold their own set of choices and outcomes. The decisions made will be permanent for the duration of the story and therefore cannot be changed. Through whatever options the user picks, they will follow their own unique storyline that will lead to their own unique outcome. Upon reaching that outcome, they may have the option to play again and experiment with different choices or return to the main user interface and explore other stories.


My initial inspiration for this app came from a style of novels I used to read when I was young, known as Choose Your Adventure series. These books were the first of such a genre known as gamebooks, long before apps and the internet, and had a successful range of stories to provide the reader. One such book I read was called, “Journey under the Sea”, where I take the place of a deep sea explorer discovering the lost city of Atlantis along with its many dangers. The series originally began in the late 1970s and as one of the two authors, Edward Packard, realized how enthusiastic his children were when brainstorming ideas for what the main character would do in a situation. His successful series inspired several spinoffs in the later years. But by the time of the internet, the idea of interactive storytelling was reborn in the form of online stories and decisions that were soon constructed into apps for mobile technology. In the websites noted, several interactive storytelling apps grew in popularity as they showcased user-friendly interfaces with fantastic, dynamic stories and beautiful illustrations. Some apps took on themes, such as interacting with the tales written by Edgar Allen Poe and experience his horror-filled world. Other apps utilized mini-games within the reading to continually add on to the user experience. In many of my noted readings, interactive story-telling is not as all-together popular as it perhaps once was during the days of Packard and Montgomery. However, the genre itself still holds a valuable place in the reading world and is still able to provide positive effects and an overall thrilling experience for the reader.


Stories have always been an important part of my life, whether it be in the form of a book, a movie or even a video game, I find it vital to my character and experiences. While I do study Computer Science, I am also deeply passionate about writing stories as well. Therefore the idea of creating an interactive story app holds the ultimate fusion of my passions that may spurn forth an experience that could prove refreshing and vital to others as well. My app would prove to be an entertaining and engrossing experience while retaining the ease of accessibility as Android app, allowing anyone with an Android to escape into a narrative that I provide and become someone else for a period of time. That is not to say that interactive story apps do not already exist, as there are many apps in the forefront of that particular field. Such apps, like mine, seek to tell a riveting tale, coupled with illustrations, where the user can decide at any given point on where the story should go. Once decided, the story continuously branches off into a new direction that ultimately leads to a new, unique outcome. However the main difference between my app and most, if not all, other interactive story apps, is that mine will not be restricted to one large story but rather several short ones of varying genres. Each story will represent a different perspective in a different world and therefore widens the audience of potential users and allows present users to delve into an entirely new experience every time, giving high replay value for the app.


I have had experience writing short stories as a hobby and for the occasional school project. I draw as a hobby and have taken a class in Photoshop and developed several types of online images utilizing the tools provided in Photoshop and pictures found from the internet. I have coded and created several mini-games utilizing Java and Python as well as having limited experience in Android Studio by developing very simple apps. However, I still have much to learn in terms of creating apps in Android Studio and getting familiar with the environment and therefore will have to allot possibly a month to be fully situated with the tools provided.

APPROACH (aka “methods”)

I will be exploring online tutorials in learning to operate Android Studio as well how to create a basic interactive story app that includes pictures. I will also need to learn how to implement a user interface that can access a library that stores the short interactive stories. I will be utilizing skills from my hobbies and pastimes to develop my short stories and their various decisions and outcomes. I will be utilizing my knowledge and coding skills from my major and past coding projects in implementing this app.


Most, if not all, of my work will be done at my home utilizing my desktop computer and laptop. It will be worked in the evenings of the weekdays, if time permits, and during weekends.

  • About 2-4 weeks to be more familiar with Android Studio and any other programs in conjunction with it and learn skills necessary for the app.

  • 2 weeks to write 3-5 short narratives, along with their different decisions and different outcomes.

  • 1 week to create illustrations in Photoshop.

  • About 1-2 months to develop the app.

  1. 2-4 weeks to create each interactive story

  2. 1-2 weeks to organize stories into one library

  3. 1-2 weeks to develop user interface to access library

  • Total estimated time: a little over 2 months-almost 4 months


This app is built for people who enjoy riveting, eventful narratives that allows them to decide their experience. This app will be expected to tell a singular tale or be of one genre that can hold good or bad decisions that would lead to respectively good or bad outcomes. However unlike the other similar apps, this project shall allow a wider audience of users of different tastes for different genres of storytelling to explore the stories that they are most interested in. Also in regards to the good or bad decisions and outcomes, each story will hold more gray decisions and more mixed outcomes that cause users to want to explore every option to realize what was best for them.


To consider the cost of some online tutorials and the cost of any extra programs that may be needed, the budget would be $100-150,


This project will help me develop my skills as a fiction writer, as I hope to use these skills write novels in the future. This project will also help me develop my skills as a coder and an app designer as it is my field of study and app programming is the most interesting aspect of it. It will live on as a demonstration of my ability to combine my studies with my passions and an example of the kind of work I wish to do in the future. I will distribute this through the Android play store and possibly build on in it with more stories, more decisions, better writing, and better illustrations and possibly throw in a few mini-games within each story. This project will allow me to carry the risk and creativity that DCC has taught me and use it to fuel my aspirations as an app designer and as a fiction writer.


  1. Montgomery, R.A. Journey Under the Sea. Warren: Chooseco LLC, 1978. Print.

  2. Hendrix, Grady. "Choose Your Own Adventure How The Cave of Time taught us to love interactive entertainment". Slate. Retrieved 29 December 2012.

  3. "Interactive Book Apps -10 of the Best." The Guardian. The Guardian. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.

  4. Grossberger-Morales, Lucia. “Sangre Boliviana”. Leonardo 28.4 (1995): 246–247. Web...

  5. Ryan, Marie-Laure. “From Narrative Games to Playable Stories: Toward a Poetics of Interactive Narrative”. Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies 1 (2009): 43–59. Web...

  6. Walsh, Richard. “Emergent Narrative in Interactive Media”. Narrative 19.1 (2011): 72–85. Web...

  7. Jackson, Sarah. “Reflections Behind the Mirror: Copier Art as Metaphor”. Leonardo 28.4 (1995): 245–246. Web...

  8. John Yearwood, and Andrew Stranieri. “Narrative-based Interactive Learning Environments from Modelling Reasoning”. Journal of Educational Technology & Society 10.3 (2007): 192–208. Web...

  9.  Scott Kraft (October 10, 1981). "He Chose His Own Adventure". The Day. Retrieved March 15, 2011.

  10. Chaouli, Michel. "How Interactive Can Fiction Be?" Chicago Journals 31.3 (2005): 599-617. Print.

  11. "Interactive Story." APPCRAWLR. Web. 23 Nov. 2015. .

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