As a romance reader, I have certain expectations. I expect a romance to be built between a compatible couple whose journey to their happily ever (or happy for now) both interests and intrigues me. I want to be swept away by the author’s skill and submerged into their imagination. I want to be entertained. I want to be stimulated and titillated.
I don’t want to have to work for it.
Lately, the buzz in the literary community is interactive romances. Interactive stories in general are not a new concept. As a child, I loved the Choose Your Own Adventures stories. By your own choices you were given numerous stories and endings. I enjoyed the ability to pick and choose my own (or the hero's) fate. The appeal of interactive stories is while you are given the beginning storyline, you are essentially put in charge of the character(s), choosing their fate using props and choices given by the author.
Dream Your Own Romance and Make Your Own Romance are two series of interactive teen romances written in the '80s. With such titles as Summer Love and Winning at Love, readers are able to make choices throughout the books that address life choices and romance.
Happily Ever Afters is an interactive story site that offers inspirational Christian fiction. In each story, in every chapter, you are given two choices, which will affect your ending.
Romance Stories—An Interactive Fiction Collection by Christina T. Crooks is a series of six interactive romances. The blurb says:
Explore the playfulness, action, and sudden mortal danger of these adventures with built-in hyperlinks where you choose the direction the stories take. Thirty-five possible endings, but only a few will be a happily ever after. Can you find them?
FimFiction.net has a choose your own adventure story where you choose your Brony Hero of Equartia. An excerpt from the website:
After being sucked into the magical land of Equestria, YOU find yourself as the legendary Brony Hero in this exciting interactive adventure. Will you find the Time Orb and restore peace to the land? Or will you marry Fluttershy? Will you defeat the evil demon king Tirek? Or will you marry Luna? With 21 endings to choose from, only you can decide your fate!
A Girl Walks into a Bar by Helena S. Paige is set up more like the older Choose Your Own Adventure books. As you read the book, you are presented with choices that take you to different pages and eventually lead you to the ending. Different choices will lead you to different endings. My review partner, Mandi, read this one and said she would have enjoyed more “choices” in the bedroom.
Torn Between Two Lovers is a romantic suspense trilogy by Jo Davis. It's built on the premise that readers will be presented with two books, two different heroes, and will get to vote on who the heroine ends up with. The “winner“ will be revealed in book three.
Coliloquy launched last year with the intent to bring the interactive “choose your own adventure” concept to the e-book market starting with four titles. Their title selection has increased since then and they now offer quite an array of genres to choose from. Originally developed as a Kindle Developer Program for Active Content, the titles are are now available on the entire Kindle family, NOOK Tablet, and other Android-based devices.
Even gamers are getting in on the action. A new project from the female-focused development studio Silicon Sisters promises ”an interactive guilty pleasure" for romance novel fans. Video games that center around love, sex, romance, and relationships aren’t new, but it does veer away from the mainstream. Japan has been making visual novel and dating sim games for years, but the Vancouver-based company has decided to enter the fray with a new interactive game geared towards adult women and romance. Called Everlove, the game will take the form of a an interactive narrative that plays like a romance novel brought to life. The game puts players
in the role of a young woman named Rose who is undergoing a past-life regression. Through her interactions and relationships with other characters in the dream world, the player(s) will help to make the character of Rose in the modern day. The eventual outcome of the game will depend on the paths chosen during the exploration of her past life.
So tell me, does having the ability to guide your romances towards a happily ever after appeal to you or do you just want to read a predetermined path?