20 Ideas to Improve Your Interactive Storytelling – FAST!

If you’re developing, creating or publishing your own interactive stories, you will know that there is little out there on the web in the way of information or help.

Even though this area of media is growing, apart from finding the occasional random blog article, how do you get good info and ideas?

At Bellyfeel, we have been producing interactive storytelling for 25 years. We have raised millions of £’s in funding and investment for projects, we have won many global awards, and best of all – we have reached millions, maybe even billions, of people around the world with these stories and pieces of interactive media.

There is nothing like experimenting to find out what works and what doesn’t. Over 25 years we did SHITLOADS of experimenting. We made many dumb moves, some hideous mistakes and yet sometimes we kicked everyone else’s ass.

We’re publishing an online course in Spring this year all about Interactive Storytelling and in advance I want to share some of the things we’ll be covering.

In no particular order – for your delectation, enjoyment and use here are 20 Interactive Storytelling ideas that will help you and hopefully inspire you…

  1. Stories ARE ALREADY INTERACTIVE in the minds of the audience – forget this at your peril. Find ways to take advantage of this fact.
  2. Keep writing – it’s a story, so you (or someone else) has to write it – but even better – get your audience to write it. That’s super-interactive!
  3. Don’t believe the hype – interactive storytelling is now becoming more mainstream than ever, but don’t take anyone else’s word about products, tools and stories that are supposedly good – try them yourself and see for yourself.
  4. Innovate with different formats – Choose Your Own Adventures are booming at the moment but are overall they’re quite boring – interactive storytelling can be anything you want! Don’t limit your story.
  5. Handheld personal interactive stories are great – but so are big screen group experiences.
  6. Keep an eye on Netflix (and YouTube) – they are spending millions of $$$ on interactive storytelling.
  7. Use chatbots as part of the core of your storytelling experience – write your major characters as chatbots – you’ll learn a lot about them.
  8. Use quizzes for exposition – they are interactive and gamified – quizzes make boring old exposition fun and interesting.
  9. Monitor the world of online marketing for interactive technologies and user experience innovations – there is more going on here than you would imagine, plus these guys really know the value of an audience list.
  10. Audience list – see previous point and don’t forget to gather your audience. If you’re independent and you want to build your business, then you must build and maintain your audience list.
  11. Track down the back catalogue of ground-breaking interactive storytelling games: Erica, Her Story, Journey, Beyond Two Souls for example – there are so many good ones – they will make you think…
  12. Music will help you create an emotional core to your story. Interactivity can send the audience in many different directions and onto new platforms – but music will ground the experience.
  13. Twine – the story authoring software tool that can be used for writing and planning. This is a great piece of kit. Try it. Use it. Abuse it.
  14. Index cards – use in development – yes, analogue – it’s easier to move things around! Plus drawing your story shape and format in diagrammatic form will help you see the whole.
  15. Test test test – test everything – get feedback and watch what your audience really like (rather than what you think they like!)
  16. Make it emotional – don’t be boring. Systems encourage interest fatigue. Stories should be exciting and full of WOW! moments.
  17. Transmedia strategies are still good – (especially Storyworld development) Transmedia isn’t dead – it’s just the norm (minus some of the nuance and non-repeating aspects)
  18. Social media is a hard horse to break – an interactive story solely on social media means you have little control over many elements of the format – and platforms can change overnight which could really screw things up for you.
  19. Interactivity is an illusion – don’t be fooled. Interactivity happens in the mind of the audience, everything else is an illusion.
  20. The Bellyfeel 2020 interactive storytelling course – coming soon with plenty more tips like these – sign up here!


Feel free to comment below on the one you liked best – or worst…


Or tell us what we missed!



About the author

I run Bellyfeel which gives me the opportunity to develop innovations in media, education and entertainment, plus exploring the future of storytelling. More here...

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