Guidelines for Writers
Interested in writing for Chooseco? In the world of Choose Your Own Adventure, the regular rules are different. Time travel, fantastical beings, and outer space adventure exist in the day-to-day reality here at Chooseco. But in order to graciously escort you through the submission process we’ve created these writing guidelines, which we hope you’ll find helpful.
What to Send
Set the hook and reel us in! We request the following components for submission to write “a Choose."
- The opening sequence through to the first choice.
- Continue one of your choices through other choices until an ending. Make it a good one!
- Include a list of other potential endings so we can get a good idea of the different paths this story might take
- Please format your work to be double-spaced, in Courier 12-point font. Please include your name and proposed title in the footer on all pages. Add the month and year as well.
- All submissions must contain a signed Submission Release (attached below). We receive many overlapping submissions, and many submissions that overlap with the ideas already in our 160+ books. If you send a writing sample and label it, we’ll know that you aren’t submitting the sample for publication.
Interactive Writing—Advice for Everybody
Jot down some ideas about a topic that interests you. They could be adventures that occur only in your imagination, or something exciting that happened when you went on vacation last year. Describe each idea with just a couple of sentences.
Next, choose one of your favorite ideas and expand it. Write several paragraphs, developing the set-up of the story with setting details such as time period and location. Make sure the direction of your story is clear.
Assemble your characters. “You” of course are the hero. Are there other heroes? And how many villains? These will be your main characters, but they will need some support: friends, family members, even pets! Think about what might happen when these characters meet, and how they will interact. Get to know your characters—what are their names? What do they look like? How do they talk and act? Build up their lives and personalities until they seem real to you.
Remember: you want to catch your reader’s attention with the first sentence and draw them into your story. Include details that will create the mood of your adventure. Is it scary? Eerie? Funny? Urgent? Plan out how to create multiple plot lines that your reader will be excited to follow. What’s so great about writing a Choose Your Own Adventure is that you don’t have to choose one outcome. You can write happy endings, terrifying endings, cliffhanger endings, and you can use them all!
REMEMBER: Choose Your Own Adventure fans like to die in at least one ending of every tale.
We get this question a lot: what crazy computer software from the future tracks all those stories to make the book? Many creative people have coded software that helps tell nonlinear stories and tracks their different threads. When our writers work on new material, they write longform but use other tools to track the story’s shape. Many of our writers use a map of some kind: flow charts or reverse tennis ladders. Some writers make notes on the maps and other writers just track the numbers. One writer likes to write his ideas on index cards and position them on the wall so he can see how the story is developing. If you’re writing an interactive piece you’d like us to consider, a map to help us understand how your story works will help a lot.
Here are some fun visualizations of already-written Choose Your Own Adventure books:
The Fine Print
Please note that Chooseco does not currently accept online submissions of manuscripts. If you are interested in submitting a manuscript please print and fill out the Submissions Release:
Mail your manuscript with cover letter and Submission Release to:
P.O. Box 46
Waitsfield, VT 05673
Thanks and good luck!