National Organisation of Media Arts Database

Writing for Interactive Narratives

Provided by
Swinburne University of Technology

Run since 2008


HET236 Writing for Interactive Narrative introduces students to both the theory and practice of writing for interactive media. By drawing on examples from games and other forms of interactive media, the unit shows how the notion of interactive narrative has developed from literary history through early experiments in hypertext writing through to the complex interactive storylines of contemporary video games. The unit also deals with the relationship between story and character creation, focusing on how the move to interactivity problematises traditional ideas about character.

Teaching Methods:

The unit is designed to give students a practical understanding of the construction of interactive narratives, and focuses on a workshop model of narrative development. Students will attend 1 lecture per week and will use the following workshops to develop a practical understanding of the theoretical content presented in the lecture.


1) Narrative Analysis (Individual) 30%
2) Character/Backstory Treatment 35%
3) Narrative Design Script (groupwork of three-four) 35%

Generic Skills Outcomes:

• To develop advanced reading and writing skills.
• To develop confidence in different communications situations.
• To develop research skills in the library as well as the internet and other forums.

1) Introduction to Unit
2) Learning from the Past: Text and Hypertext
3) Interactive narrative theory
4) Story-boarding for Interactive Narratives
5) When Characters Talk Back
6) Principles of Character Development
7) Putting All Together: Characters in Context
8) Final Fantasy
9) Run Lola Run
10) Max Payne as Interactive Cinema
11) What Went Wrong: Gears of War and the Mystery of RAAM
12) Conclusion: A Return to Linearity?