I am writing a game book where the story's plot is about an antagonist who keeps people hostage and, based on the reader's choices, they can survive or not. Now I am at a point where I am deciding between two different ways how to tell the story:

  1. The reader is communicating with the antagonist (kidnapper) and tries to save lives of his family members or friends. In this scenario, I see the problem in the fact that there is a conflict between the reality and the characters I am presenting to the reader. For example, he might see that his mother would never behave like that, and it would ruin his immersion to the story.

  2. The reader is interacting with the protagonist (kidnapped person) and makes decisions for that person so that he/she escapes. This kidnapped person is a character he has never met, and they can create a connection through storytelling.

What do you think that will have a bigger impact on the reader's mind and in which case he will care more about saving the people lives?

  • 1
    Do you have room to create a story branch for each? Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 10:44
  • It would be interesting to see the story from both perspectives, thanks for the idea
    – skornos
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 16:49

3 Answers 3


If you stick with the first option, I'd suggest you find a very interesting back story for your kidnapper, so that when the reader 'talks' with him, the conversation will be interesting. Otherwise, if the kidnapper doesn't have such an interesting backstory and motives, I don't think I'd be interested in interacting with him for a long time. Κeep in mind though, that if you interact with the antagonist more than the protagonist, the antagonist will be kind of the protagonist, even if he is the 'bad guy' -- thus an anti hero. By using this option, the reader will sympathize or hate more the antagonist and will care a little less about the kidnapped people.

Ι believe the second option will make the reader sympathize with the kidnapped person, because through storytelling they will get closer and get to know each other. If you want something like this, I suggest you go with the second option.


At risk of sounding trite: the scenarios are moot. What will make your reader care about the outcome is a well written story. Always write passionately if you want a passionate response from your reader.

And I don't mean romantically, I mean to write what interests you most. Write whichever character you are most invested in, that is the most surefire way to ensure that it will be your best writing, and to convey investiture to your reader.

If you're completely undecided, brainstorm until something excites you. And if brainstorming fails, then go in a completely different direction; chances are that you're only stumbling because you're taking a wrong path.

Follow your instinct, write with passion, throw all your energy on the page, don't fret over logistics.


I'm no writer, but.. have you considered perhaps that you can avoid things that your reader would find unbelievable by remaining in perspective?

If 'their mother' acts in a way remotely justifiable to the situation, they can infer reasons of their own, you do not have to provide them, trying to tell the reader how their mother is feeling, or what their character is thinking is just asking for trouble imo. Any dialog situations can be perhaps '2nd hand' kidnapper says "She said x when I did y' rather than from the horses mouth, or however that phrase goes.


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