As in: playing with the format, not playing an interactive fiction game.

In late spring-early summer of 1990 (or was it 1991? I can' t remember; but at such a historical perspective, a year here or there doesn't change much.) my family and I were heading out to the construction of our house.

We stopped at a supermarket, and in front of that I scanned the shelves of a magazine stand-slash-bookseller. After spotting a promising paperback with a skeleton (skull? Goodness my memory is awful.) on the cover I proceeded to throw a fit only an eight (nine)-years-old kid can pull off in order to acquire said paperback.

My parents ended up buying it, adopting the motto "At least he'll be quiet and not in the way" -and they were right. I spent the day curled up near a stash of bricks reading what I think was both the very first fantasy book (but far, far from the last) l've read and my very first brush with the 'Choose Your Own Adventure' books (and fantasy and other roleplaying games; again, far from the last).

For the life of me I can' t remember the title of it. Or much anything about it, other than it fascinated me.

Not the content, mind you. By that time I've read The Lord of the Rings at least three times, any and all science-fiction (we didn't have fantasy books at home, but plenty of Asimov, Lem, and the likes) and mystery (Agatha Christie, Erle Stanley Gardner, etc.) I could get my little hands on. (Or asked the adults to reach them on the higher shelves.) I was fascinated by the format.

And here I am nearly 30 years later, and my fascination is still the same. With the shift from reader to storyteller of course,

I've mentioned already on this blog that I'm really into the "meta" of writing; that is, the formats and media choices authors male for telling their stories. Multi and mixed media interests me; unusual meta choices really turn me on.

Recently I (re)started exploring interactive fiction. I figured some of its methods could really benefit pards of the project I've set out to do, plus it's a really fun thing to learn about something new.

What I found is that interactive fiction has been classified and understood as a type of video game. Which makes sense, given the facilities it uses and the audience it attracts.

I, however, am more interested in it as a writer. Can a piece of fiction be interactive but still remain primarily something you read, and not 'play'?

I don't have an answer, yet. But now that I found this proverbial bone, a key piece of the puzzle I'm solving fell into place. It's gonna take time to flesh out just how - and whether - it's going to work, but that just means more fun for me!