When I was sitting down to write ‘Prisoner of the Wizard’s Harem’, I was tempted to go with an anonymous protagonist for the reader to play. This is standard in many choose your own adventure kind of stories. The problem is that many of these stories also pick a neutral gender. Since I am writing erotica, I had to pick a gender for the protagonist, or else I would have written twice the story to accommodate the other gender as a choice.
Once I picked a gender, I decided to go an extra step and actually give a name to the character. The reader plays Nash Nighthammer much like a gamer would play Lara Croft. When I embraced this idea, it became a hell of a lot easier to write.
It doesn’t hurt that I have written about Nash before. I picture him as a guy who desperately wishes he was in fantasy story written by Robert Jordan or R.A. Salvatore, but instead he is stuck being written by an erotica writer. He is the reluctant beefcake, a hero who will always have to fuck the witch rather than slay her. It is not his fault he is so damn handsome and yummy.
It is that sexual reluctance that I think makes the book work. As a reader, you want to make the right choices and see as much sex and entertainment as possible. If Nash was just as eager, he might become a bit unlikable as a sex fiend. By making him reluctant, it makes it the responsibility of the reader for whether he gets any or not.
I have read quite a few interactive fictions and I really believe that the best wat to go it to assign the reader a character and a role to play as opposed to trying to leave it as wide open as possible. By assigning a character, you can develop a voice that shows the character’s view of the choices. Instead of a dry analysis of the situation, you can present choices with the flavor of the genre.
Oh, shit. Water Elementals are terrible opponents. Only magic has a chance of defeating it. What shall you do? Take something from your pack by turning to 259. Try to get the element of surprise by attacking and turning to 318. Make a cowardly run for the edge of the pool by turning to 145. If you decide to go against the odds and try using your personal skills, talk to the Water Elemental by turning to 273.