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DINE: Writer's Guide

by Andrew S. Gordon, Obiageli Odimegwu, and Olivia Connolly
August 4, 2016

Andrew: We built the DINE platform in the summer of 2016. Our team consisted of an amazing group of interns and students workers who all came together to develop new technologies for interactive fiction. Two very special members of our team were Olivia Connolly and Obiageli Odimegwu, who spent the whole summer writing hundreds of experimental DINE narratives, as well as two long-form works: A Quiet Street and Runner. Olivia, an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, majored in the narrative studies program. Obiageli was a graduate student in the USC Cinema School, where she focused on writing and directing for the big screen.

As we were wrapping up the last couple of days of our amazing summer, I sat down with Oby and Olivia to get their thoughts on how to write for the DINE platform. At this point, both were among the world’s most seasoned interactive fiction writers, and I was eager to get their advice for future authors of DINE narratives.

Andrew: How did you get interested in Interactive Fiction?

Obiageli: I think because in a way Interactive Fiction is always something that I am doing in my head when I am reading books that I really love. I’d always be thinking, I wish we could stay in this room longer, or explore that substory in greater detail, because little sub stories within a narrative context are my favorite things to come across when reading fiction. It’s always really fun when as a reader you get to be taken on this little adventure that is somewhat related but somewhat tangential to the whole story. I always wished that I could spend more time with those guest starring characters.

To give a more concrete example so I’m not just rambling, in Gone Girl, the ex-boyfriend of the main character is a real creep and we get to spend quite some time with him. A character who we only get periodic glimpses of however, is Creepy Ex-Boyfriend’s Mother who is a fascinating character that lights up the page every time she pokes her head in. And characters like her always make me wish I could force interactivity into traditional books just so I can follow them along and spend more time with them.

As a filmmaker, I am also really interested in the new burgeoning frontier of VR filmmaking and I think that interactive writing is going to be really instrumental in the exploration of that burgeoning field.

Andrew: One of my aims with DINE was to create a writer-centric tool - something that felt more like creative writing than like computer programming. Where did the two of you earn your PhD degrees in Computer Science?

Olivia: DINE is an amazing tool for creative writers. I know NOTHING about technology and I was able to use DINE. The platform of DINE was straightforward and ran smoothly. Writing for DINE felt like writing on Microsoft Word but with cool tricks up its sleeve. DINE was a unique challenge to write an outcome in a way that would agree and match to potential user input.

Obiageli: I took one programming class in college and basically cried for a semester and that was the extent of my computer science background coming into this summer. So having a programming/CS background is not at all necessary to write successfully with DINE. It’s a really intuitive writer’s medium.

Andrew: Both of you have written screenplays, stage plays, short stories, and other narrative genres in the past. To which of these genres is DINE most similar?

Olivia: In my opinion, writing for DINE is most similar to writing short stories. When writing a DINE page, you’re able to set up the introduction as the beginning of a story, the outcomes of the story are equivalent to the middle of a story where the player faces climactic situations and must eventually make a decision, and the final outcome is the end of the story in which everything is resolved. DINE works best when the writing style is a narration of actions, so writing for DINE is least similar to playwriting which is heavily driven by dialogue, and doesn’t include many actions to allow actors to decide how to perform.

Obiageli: DINE most immediately resembles a short story as it is written with prose and dialogue as opposed to the concise descriptions of series of events, interspersed with dialogue that a screenplay is. However at the same time, DINE is also like a screenplay in terms of not having access to all the freedoms/tools you would with prose. Because in DINE, it is always important to leave room for the interactive component, you don’t have the same total control of a story as you would with prose. Similarly, since a screenplay is a transitory document that will eventually be changed and transformed by actors and directors as it is made into a film, there is a lack of total control there too.

Andrew: How long does it take you to write a page of DINE narrative with its interactions? What are the steps?

Obiageli: It depends. For The Water or The Machine (both single page stories) writing everything from prompt to outcome took me about two hours each, so not long at all. For The Professional or Two Types of People or The Intruder, each page took me at least four hours but probably more. For my long piece, Runner, some pages have taken an hour to write, other pages have taken a whole day. So I really think that the time it takes to write each page is dependent on the story you are trying to tell and how you are going about telling it.

Andrew: I was basically building the DINE system while the two of you were writing with it. Are there things that you particularly liked or hated about the technology platform?

Olivia: The technology platform was great. It was very easy to use and straightforward. I like that you are able to categorize multiple pages under one project.

...on page design...

Andrew: How did you both approach the workflow of writing stories for DINE? Would you outline the stories before beginning? Or just start writing with a general idea of the story you wanted to tell? Do you think that one approach works better for DINE than the other?

Obiageli: I personally don’t like outlining as I lose all desire to write a story if I already know how it is going to end so I would typically start my DINE stories by trying to answer questions that I found interesting: How would a professional griever come to terms with the end of their way of life? What if a small mechanical hand functioned as a new form of pain therapy for people with missing limbs? What if my little brother watched a staticky TV for 45 minutes everyday? With these questions in mind, I would start writing the stories so that I could hopefully discover what the answers were.

It was an approach that worked well for me. However I think that a person that did like to outline their stories in detail before beginning would also find it easy to use DINE. It just depends on the writer. I would say that for longer stories, writers like me who don’t like to outline, might find it easier to just get the whole story out with a leading outcome pattern in the first draft and then perhaps go back and change some of the pages to utilize other patterns in subsequent drafts. I think this makes the workflow a lot more manageable for writers who don’t like to outline. However, writers who do like outlining can obviously map out the exact way the story will unfold by pre-planning out pattern/page combos before they begin writing.

Andrew: We ran a number of experiments with crowd-sourced players in the summer of 2016. We found in our experiments is that it didn’t matter much whether the set-up to the interaction was long or short. I was hoping that shorter setup texts would have worked better, so that I could tell Oby to stop writing so much! In the end, both of you settled into setup lengths that were about the same - a bit over a page of written text. How did you end up there?

Obiageli: Haha! Yes definitely writing ten words where one will suffice is a big problem for me and my first drafts are always horribly long! I think that I eventually settled at a bit over a page of written text (at least for the initial prompt) because writing the outcomes themselves takes quite a bit of time and doing as well, so maybe it was a form of self preservation? But more seriously, a bit over a page for the initial prompt felt about right to deliver the setting, tone, world and then the expectations of the user leading into the first outcome.

Andrew: In classic Interactive Fiction from the 80s and 90s, the interactions tend to be written in the present tense: ‘You are in a little maze of twisting passages, all different.’ DINE works best with past-tense narratives, though, with respect to the language processing. Does it seem natural to write DINE interactions in past-tense?

Obiageli: It feels natural to me to write DINE stories in past tense I think because most of the stories and screenplays I’ve read have been in past tense. And while I have read stories that have been written in the present tense and enjoyed them a great deal, something about writing stories in the present tense puts me in the mind of taking notes for class. I always feel very self-conscious while I am doing it and it is very hard to lose myself in writing the story. Instead I am very conscious of trying to write the story which makes writing very hard.

Andrew: We also ran a number of experiments to see what style of writing led to better (more coherent) interactions. One thing we found is that players would tend to write their interactions in the same style and tense as the way you wrote the setup. Thoughts?

Olivia: When writing, it was important to be aware of the writing tense. Focusing on writing in past tense and focusing on narrating actions helped guide the players' inputs to be in the past tense, which helped in coherent pairings of outcomes.

Andrew: One of the things our experiments found was that players would match the writer’s style for expressing dialogue acts. If the writer used quoted dialogue (“Over here,” he said) so would the player. If you narrated the dialogue instead (He called out to me), so would the player. We also found our technology worked best with the latter style of player input. How much of a burden would it be to change the way that you write dialogue in your narratives?

Olivia: I think the tense is a really easy thing to be aware of when beginning to write a story. When writing, authors should continually remind themselves of the tense that they are writing in because it is easy to slip into a different tense.

...on writing outcomes...

Andrew: Successful interactions in DINE are super-dependent on the first 6 to 10 words of each outcome. From a writing perspective, how did you conceive of this dependence, and how did you write them?

Obiageli: When writing the outcomes, I would basically try a couple things like the following:

If the user wrote: > I walked around the parking garage.
First Outcome Attempt: The sound of my footsteps smacking against the concrete echoed through the parking garage.

If when testing it, I found that inputting the above user prompt didn’t trigger the right outcome, then I might change the outcome to something like the sentence below.

Second Outcome Attempt: My car was nowhere in sight.
Third Outcome Attempt: As I walked around the parking garage, my car was nowhere in sight.

The first outcome attempt tries to draw on causal relationships: Walking gives rise to footsteps. The second outcome attempt tries to draw on related objects: Cars are parked in parking garages. And the last outcome attempt narrates what happens after or concurrently with the expected user input.

Andrew: When playing your early experimental pieces, I felt like there were three or four recurring patterns in the way you wrote the outcomes for the interaction. What patterns were you trying to explore?

Olivia: The patterns explored were mainly recycled outcomes, leading outcomes, and prompting outcomes. Leading outcomes are limiting because they often mean that the outcomes must be revealed in a particular order, thus making it necessary for the player’s input to easily link to the correct outcome. This style can lead to disappointment for the player when their desired input is completely overlooked because it was not anticipated. The leading pattern may lead to confusion for lack of coherent outcomes. Recycled outcomes can be written in the hopes that the order of the outcomes does not matter. Every recycled outcome should lead back to a blank slate, allowing the player to begin again at the starting point. Another style was prompting outcomes through the set up introductions by providing lists of potential actions the player should do.

Andrew: In many cases, the outcomes on your pages were very strongly connected. Could you tell us how you approach this style of page writing?

Olivia: When first writing with DINE, I was expecting to have the control of writing a short story. When writing a short story, the author has complete control over the beginning, middle, and end, and complete control of the order of events. However, in DINE, the writing is uniquely challenging because we can strive to present a story in which the order of events does not affect the plot. In writing DINE, it is very tempting to make the outcomes strongly connected to control the order of events. To make the outcomes connected, I would prompt or lead the player to provide a certain response, which would trigger the appropriate outcome in the string of events.

Andrew: When you first started writing these highly-connected sets of outcomes, I was worried. It seemed that there was only one correct way to get through these pages, and the player really had no choices to make. Is this really interactive fiction?

Obiageli: It is interactive in the sense that the user is having to do something in the story to move the story along but in terms of whether the user has any real agency when they are being heavily directed towards one choice-- then no. Leading outcomes are not interactive in spirit even if they might be in fact.

But I think it is interesting and beneficial for the user to experience moments of passivity interspersed with moments of agency and choice over the course of playing a story. I think it gives the story texture and the user diversity of experience as they move from page to page.

Andrew: In your writing, It seems very rare that there is more than one outcome that moves the player along to another page. Did you try having multiple endings, or outcomes that would lead the player to totally different pages?

Obiageli: Two Types of People was one of the stories I most enjoyed writing because it did have pages that utilized multiple endings/paths that the user could take through the story. If the user acted in ways which were the most obvious, they would follow a very linear path until they came to a very absurdist page that suggested taking the path of least resistance (which required following directions blindly) was never the smartest course of action to pursue.

Cave of My Own Making was another story which had two distinct paths down which the player could walk. I think that these multiple branch stories worked best with the leading outcomes because that way, the writer can predict in their mind all the different paths down which the user can walk.

Also, I’ve been thinking recently that a great approach for all DINE writers to take would honestly be to first write most of the DINE pages utilizing leading outcomes, to keep the workflow efficient and get the story down in the first draft. Then once the first draft is done, I would suggest going back, now that the skeleton of the story is established, and playing around with changing up the leading outcome pattern and playing with different patterns instead. Just a thought.

Andrew: How many outcomes did you aim for on each page? How did you decide when you had authored enough to support the interaction?

Olivia: When writing a story with closely linked outcomes, I sought to provide at least 6 outcomes. Writing a small amount of outcomes was easier because it provided DINE with fewer alternatives. The greater amount of alternatives leads to the greater amount of chances for DINE to provide an incorrect response, which is undesirable for closely linked outcomes. When writing a story where the outcomes were not linked, it was fun to create 8-12 possible outcomes. When writing, I thought about how DINE doesn’t play through every interaction. Some are skipped over. I set a minimum of 6 outcomes for closely linked stories because that provided players the opportunity to make it through at least a few outcomes before the page ended or connected to a second part.

Andrew: The length of your outcomes tends to be short - a few sentences each - except for the ones that end the story or move you to a different page - those tend to be very long. How did you come to settle on this style?

Olivia: In the middle of the interactions, I kept the outcome lengths shorter because a longer outcome might reveal an awkward mistake of appearing in the wrong order or make the interactions more complicated. You wouldn’t want to write an outcome like ‘I screamed because gum would not come off the bottom of my shoe!’ and have the next scrambled outcome be ‘Without looking where I was going, I stepped in gum.’ The final outcome was a great place to reveal any information that would tie up all loose ends or move the story forward.

Andrew: DINE does not give writers any control over how the player’s text interactions are going to be processed - or which outcome is going to be selected by the system. Was this frustrating?

Obiageli: I definitely think that it was frustrating in the beginning. And I definitely had many uncharitable thoughts towards my keyboard and all the varied horrible things I could do to it. (I’m not sure why my poor keyboard took the brunt of all my blame but it did.) But eventually, it became like anything else:

You don’t get caught up obsessing over complete control and perfection because both are unattainable (in DINE and in life). You work with and tweak the outcomes to the best of your ability until at least you can play-test the story successfully all the way through. And then you just leave the rest to DINE God and move on to the next page or/story. (My keyboard and I are on much better terms since I’ve pledged fealty to the DINE God, made a clay idol in its image (which I obviously worship) and acknowledged that I am infact but a lowly mortal who has no right to question the capricious ever changing whims of a God).

Andrew: In the authoring interface, I ask writers to give four examples of things that players might type for each outcome. Did you actually write four examples for every one of yours? Was this helpful? Difficult?

Olivia: I would actually write four examples for each potential outcome. This was very helpful and eventually started to shape my actual outcomes to be all-encompassing of potential user outcomes. While writing the four examples, I would anticipate the most common player responses that would be triggered by the outcomes.

Andrew: As you found out later in the summer, DINE does not actually use these four examples when matching user inputs to outcomes - at least not until lots of real player-input is collected. Knowing that, is it still worth doing?

Obiageli: Yes, it is definitely still worth doing as I am hopeful that some future iteration of DINE will co-opt into its outcome ranking algorithm the proxy user inputs that we provide.

Andrew: After collecting thousands of interactions from crowd-sourced players, I asked both of you to hand-annotate the correct outcome that should have been selected for each input. Were you surprised by things that anonymous strangers typed into your pages?

Olivia: Strangers typed very interesting things into the pages. It was very rewarding when participants were clearly engaged with the story. Some responses tested the limits of DINE and made me realize potential user inputs that hadn’t occurred to me. Some responses were completely ridiculous but they were entertaining as well.

...on specific examples...

Andrew: In some of your other experiments, the outcomes were totally unconnected, and you could see them in any order and the narrative would still make sense. Can you tell us about your approach to these pages?

Olivia: In A Piece of Cake, the player is presented with a decision, to eat cake or to resist eating cake. The outcome of each response is totally unconnected, leading the player right back to the decision that they eventually have to face.

In Coaching the order of outcomes does not matter at all. The actions of another character affect the player, but the player can only control his or her own actions. The outcomes are not connected but each one reasserts that the actions of a character are affecting the player.

As I was writing these, it was important to have the player remain in the same setting, because changing settings would be made by controlling the order of events. I also didn’t introduce any new characters in the midst of the outcomes without immediately removing them from the situation in the same outcome. If the outcomes came in a random order, you wouldn’t want a new character to surprise the player if the character’s introduction was skipped over.

Andrew: Olivia, your long piece A Quiet Street takes us on an adventure in small-town America. Could you tell us how you conceived of this work, and tell us about your workflow?

Olivia: I really wanted to write about a slow summer in a small-town in which the player would go about daily life and face small decisions as well as larger, dramatic decisions. In A Quiet Street, the player faces a lot of circumstances beyond his or her control, like having their Farm House being broken into or observing a crime scene. The player is led by the promptings of stronger characters with authority in scenes like A Quiet Street or Jenny’s Date, while the player is also left to face the outcomes no matter what their input is in scenes such as Mr. Parker or The Church. I enjoyed writing a long form DINE with many pages because I was able to combine the styles of previous pages I’d tested throughout the summer.

Andrew: Olivia, one of the pages that I really liked in A Quiet Street was called ‘Farm House.’ Can you walk us through your approach to authoring this page?

Olivia: On the Farm House page, the description of the situation sets up the problem that the player will face. At the end of the description, the player is prompted to get out of a tree. This action is easily linked to the correct outcome. In every outcome, I prompted the player to do a certain action, to lead the story forward while revealing aspects of the story beyond the player’s control, like the actions of other characters or the settings. The final outcome or ending of Farm House is long and also sets up the storyline for the page that follows.

Andrew: Oby, your long piece Runner takes us across a post-apocalyptic wasteland alongside a woman who runs packages to and between the strange and varied communities that remain in the aftermath. Could you tell us how you conceived of this work and tell us about your workflow?

Obiageli: In Runner, I wanted to write a classic hero’s journey that would be episodic in nature. I thought an episodic story would better sustain my interest and stamina while writing a longer piece. I don’t enjoy outlining stories as it removes the discovery portion, my favorite part of writing, and ruins the surprise for me before I even begin. So I just wrote down vague ideas of what I wanted the communities the runner came across to look like and started writing. This approach worked and didn’t work. It worked in that my first draft was indeed an episodic hero’s journey bisected into three parts. It didn’t work in that there was no overarching character transformation through the beginning to the end of the story that necessitated the story being told at all. That was not a fun discovery to make after many days of writing. Luckily, I was able to figure out how tie the story together in a way that hopefully feels organic.

Andrew: The two of you have very different writing styles, and seem to gravitate toward very different genres of fiction. Did you think that DINE lends itself to some genres more than others?

Obiageli: I think that DINE is very versatile in terms of being able to be used to tell all different genres of story. But I think that different patterns we’ve discovered while writing for DINE lend themselves to different genres of fiction more than others. Very plot heavy stories would obviously do best with the leading outcome patterns. Absurdist stories where the order in which things occur does not matter do very well with the recycling pattern. Action heavy stories/pages do better with the guided pattern, where a list of things is provided to the user in the prompt.

Andrew: Oby, some of your early experiments gave me nightmares. Do you think that DINE lends itself to the genre of psychological cyberpunk horror?

Obiageli: I definitely think that DINE does. Being fed one line of information that is unsettling and then having all this blank white space as you contemplate what you are supposed to do/what is happening/what is going to happen next can feel very effective. I tried to explore this in That Show on TV, Do You Trust Me?, 72 & York and There’s Something About Arlene. And I definitely think that the future writers of DINE should explore this genre more. But honestly I think that DINE is very versatile and lends itself to all sorts of genres.

Andrew: When we asked our crowdsourced players which of your early experiments had the most coherent interactions, the top ones were Pull Over/Sleep Under, The Queen, and Henry Avenue. What was your approach to these pages, in particular?

Olivia: For The Queen I gave the player a list of instructions on how to greet the Queen, as well as slightly nudging them to certain responses in the various outcomes. For Henry Avenue, I prompted the players to certain responses while writing the outcomes mostly so that the order did not matter. In the Henry Avenue outcomes, I had key words that the users would hopefully use in their inputs to create a higher chance of being linked to the correct output. Henry Avenue was about a haunted house, and players might have been more forgiving if the outcomes were not coherent because it was a “supernatural” experience.

Obiageli: For Pull Over/Sleep Under I wanted to do a story with a short prompt and recycling outcomes. I wanted the decision that had to be made to not be overly complex (Pull over the car for the night and risk getting fired for not delivering a package on time or keep driving in the hopes of delivering said package on time and risk falling asleep at the wheel) and I wanted to give the user various things they could do to waylay making this decision. I went about that by setting the story in a really familiar place, a car. And then I gave the user a series of things that they could do to keep from falling asleep. I also hid a couple things in the outcomes that I hadn’t given in the prompt that the user could also do.

...on writing for Virtual Reality...

Andrew: This summer you also worked with filmmaker Kayla Briët to design DINE narratives that could be turned into interactive virtual reality experiences. What was that like?

Olivia: Writing for Virtual Reality was different from writing for DINE. When writing DINE, authors could move the player in one direction or reveal to them how their character should feel, act or speak. However, in Virtual Reality, the player is essentially like an X. As the writer, you can’t assume that the player will do anything or write in the assumption that the player will do exactly as you anticipate. When writing for virtual reality, the player is in a position not so much as to act, but to react. When writing DINE for virtual reality, I focused on creating a setting that could be experienced in many different aspects of a 360 degree camera, and not just a flat frame.

Andrew: How did you change the way you wrote your DINE scenarios to accommodate the needs of her VR production?

Obiageli: DINE is really wonderful and flexible because it exists on the page so you can convey whatever backstory you would like in the same way that you would in prose. You can have fantastical, ridiculous things occur without having to worry about how they will be realized. And though the user playing the story is the main character, you can give the user a ready built character to wear with a history and a past and hopes and fears. VR is very different from that. VR much like film is of course a visual medium, which means, you can’t rely on prose, you can only rely on what can be shown on the screen.

Additionally because VR is a visual medium, you can not color or fill in the User character at all. The User has to essentially remain a giant X around which you then build a world. It was a really cool experience writing in this way because I had never done it before. It really forces you to think about the camera because of course the camera is the User/Audience.

It forces you to think, okay, if I want this User to feel scared, how would I go about blocking things around the camera to accomplish that. (I use blocking in terms of writing not directing). I could have one character lean in really close to the camera (User). I could have two characters back the camera (User) into the corner. In that way writing for VR was different from any other writing I’ve done before.

Andrew: Oby, your The Long Walk narrative was ultimately used as the basis for Kayla’s 360-degree live-action VR production. When you put on the head-mounted display, does the VR experience match what you were going for in the writing? What was surprising?

Obiageli: Haha, I think I imagined a lot more dramatic (and impossible given time constraints/budget) lighting setup but honestly, other than that, it was exactly the same. I tried to think a lot about the camera when I was writing The Long Walk. Usually when I am writing a traditional screenplay, I don’t fixate so much on what the frame is going to look like unless it is a short I am planning on directing.

However, with The Long Walk, so much of it working effectively as a script was dependent on the camera. So much of giving the user the exact feelings and experiences I wanted them to have was dependent on how the camera was approached. So I wrote in a lot of characters leaning into the camera, looming over the camera, backing the camera into a corner and at one point converging in on the camera from all corners (I was thinking of that ending scene in Rosemary’s Baby when I wrote it) and literally blocking light off of the camera’s purview. I wanted all of this to make the user feel scared, helpless and out of control. I think it would be very difficult to write for VR without also thinking and visualizing exactly how the story would play to and from the camera’s POV.

...on the future of DINE...

Andrew: When the summer was over, we opened up the DINE platform so that anyone could write their own interactive fiction. Who should be the target audience for DINE as an authoring tool?

Obiageli: I think that DINE should target online creative writing communities. The authors on these sites write stories for the love and joy of writing stories just like any other traditionally published authors (except with more metrosexual centaurs falling in love with non-gender binary mermen who are also part warlock (because really what self-respecting merman isn’t?)). And if they are incentivized by the ability to receive reviews and interact with readers, they could be quite prolific. Hopefully when the writers come, the readers will follow (And they won’t regret it once they come across the tale of Blaine the Centaur who went to the mall in search of the perfect skinny jeans only to meet cute with mysterious barista, Alex/a, who despite working at a coffee shop seems strangely afraid of having direct body contact with any and all spilled liquids.) Then they could build on DINE a community similar to the healthy active ones that already exist, but different too because DINE has the interactive narrative component that those other sites lack.

Andrew: When we opened DINE up to everyone, we added the ability for players to provide public comments back to the authors. Is this really a good idea? I can imagine all sorts of problems - trolling, flame wars, tears. Why did you ask for this functionality, in particular?

Olivia: Many authors seek creative writing platforms rather than writing alone in secret as a way to share their stories and receive immediate feedback. DINE provides instant satisfaction of writing a quick story and receiving critiques rather than spending months writing a novel and sharing it to only find that no one understands a thing you wrote. The comments allow the authors to realize what works and what they should improve.

Andrew: Are there other patterns that you would like to try, when you have the time?

Olivia: I would love to try other patterns of writing shorter pages that face a quicker decision, along the lines of ‘yes, I will do this’ or ‘no, i refuse to do this,’ and linking a yes or no page, to grant the player more authority and ability to pursue the story they want to play. Writing DINE in the pattern of the order of outcomes not affecting the story was challenging, but I would like to write better stories for that style as well.

Andrew: Together, the two of you wrote over 230 of these DINE interactions in the summer of 2016. Now that the summer is over, are you eager to forget about DINE forever?

Obiageli: Definitely not. It’s been a really awesome and challenging summer. And exploring interactive fiction through DINE has been wonderful and really, really fun. I definitely know that I will be returning to the site to write more stories in the future because I’m still thinking about it all the time. Whereas before I would have an idea and think, that would be a really good screenplay or TV show or even short story, now I’m also thinking, that would make a really great DINE. I definitely think that there are some stories that organically lend themselves very well to DINE so yes, I will definitely be returning to DINE in the future to write more stories.

- end -

Andrew S. Gordon, Obiageli Odimegwu, Olivia Connolly. August 4, 2016. Photo: Kayla Briët