I’m heading to Mozfest in London in a couple of weeks time, and am hosting a session called “Get interactive with fiction” along with Stella Wisdom from The British Library, as part of the Youth Zone. The plan is to introduce writers (and potential writers) to a different form of story writing — interactive fiction (also shortened to IF). Most written stories when they appear in books go from A to B and don’t wander off the path along the way. With interactive fiction it’s different — you can create stories and let them wander as much as you like, head in many new directions, and come back to the path again (if you want to). If you’re at Mozfest you can come along to the session and we’ll show you how to write and share your own short interactive fiction stories using free software — free software that you can download onto any computer once you leave Mozfest too, so you can carry on writing IF after the event has ended.

As the Digital Services Lead for Surrey Libraries, I’m part of the team that (amongst other things) runs fun tech events. This has given me the opportunity to run interactive fiction workshops in libraries for adults, young people, and members of staff already. These sessions had an enthusiastic response and led to those attending creating a piece of interactive fiction by the end of it. It opened up a new form of storytelling for existing writers and showed them that it’s not such a big step to move into writing interactive fiction.

I’ll be sharing two bits of free software at Mozfest — Squiffy and Twine. There are other free tools that can be used to create interactive fiction, but these two can be downloaded on any computer, and don’t need an internet connection to work. I’ve created part of a story already using both Twine and Squiffy, and during the Mozfest session those at it will be able to write more of the story themselves and create their own stories. We’ll also be talking about how interactive fiction stories created can be shared with others on sites such as TextAdventures.co.uk and Interactive Fiction Database.

The session is intended to be an introduction for people new to interactive fiction, and it would be great to see how creations begun at Mozfest developed over time. I’d love it if the session inspired a passion in others for writing interactive fiction, who in turn went on to share their passion with others.

I’m excited about attending Mozfest — it will be my first time, and there’s so many fun and creative session happening throughout the festival that I know I’ll come away inspired to try new ideas out for myself.