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[Books] StoryShift, An App That Lets You Control The Story

StoryShift is a new free storytelling app that allows readers to shape the narratives. How does it work? Think of it as a democratic version of choose your own adventure. The writers will release the first chapter of their tale which will end with a choice, everyone votes, and based on the winning decision, the writer moves forward with the story. Voting is open for a week, allowing everyone ample time to catch up and giving the writer some time to continue his/her work.

James Renner is one author working with StoryShift, and his first story is “Expedition Z,” a zombie story. It follows two young explorers sent across what remains of the United States in order to locate survivors. Sounds like it could be a new way to experience horror. You can try it out here.

From the press release:

New York, NY: In January, Evil-Dog Productions quietly debuted its new app, StoryShift, on a few popular gaming sites, including NewGrounds and ArmorGames.

The concept is simple: authors write the first chapter of a new work, ending with a “choice” for the reader. Which path will the character go down? What weapon will he use to battle the armies of darkness? That sort of thing. The reader votes. The votes are tallied. The most popular choice is then incorporated into the next chapter.

“I wanted to build a platform to work with amazing writers,” says app developer, Marco Arsenault. “I combined my fond memories of Choose Your Own Adventure books with that social aspect of today’s technology to build StoryShift, a way to bring together the talent of writers and artists and the readers, in a unique community-driven storytelling experience.”

Each round of voting lasts a week and the authors are then given a few days to write the next chapter. The first round of stories included short works of Horror, Sci-fi, Fantasy, and even a few comics.

Author James Renner (The Man from Primrose Lane, Sarah Crichton Books) discovered the app while playing online games with his six-year-old son, and was immediately taken by the idea.

“As soon as I realized what Evil-Dog had created, I got all jittery and excited,” says Renner. “It was the way I used to feel as a kid, going to the library to pick up another Choose Your Own Adventure. I had to be a part of it.”

Renner contacted Arsenault and soon his new thriller was up on StoryShift. Renner’s “Expedition Z” is set 20 years after a zombie apocalypse. It follows two young explorers sent across what remains of the United States in order to locate survivors. Already, thousands of readers have voted on what happens next for Renner’s characters.

“This app makes for immediate interaction between the reader and author. There’s nothing like it. This will change how stories are written in the future. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited about storytelling. I feel like that kid, again, finding something new at the library.”




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