Alice Little Wytham Branches
Welcome to our woodland adventure - where you decide which path to take next!
Hazel arrives at Wytham Woods just after six. She parks her car and changes into her walking boots. Through the gate, past the fallen hornbeam tree, Hazel marches up the road into the woods. To her right a path branches off the road. Should she turn off or carry on up the hill?
This is your chance to contribute to a crowdsourced adventure story set in Wytham Woods. As the story branches in different directions, you can submit your own suggestion for what happens on the next page - and then someone else can write the page after that. Together we will shape the narrative, one page at a time.
The story so far
To see how the story is unfolding, click here for a flowchart (unfinished branches are highlighted in yellow).
Guidelines for submitting
How does it work?
In Pick Your Own Path, there is no preconceived plot: the story will be written as we go along. In fact, several stories will be written!
Sign up to the mailing list by clicking the button below and you will receive an email when each new page of the story is published.
Read through the story from the beginning, choosing the paths you want (or navigate to where you left off using the box above). When the story runs out, write your own suggestion for what happens next by clicking ‘Write it!’ to open the submission form.
Each submission round lasts 2-3 days. If you are on the Pick Your Own Path mailing list (sign up by clicking the button below) you will be notified and given the deadline each time a new page is published.
When each submission window closes, Alice will choose which pages to publish - and the process begins again!
What are the rules?
- Submit your entries via the form on the relevant page of the story by clicking the ‘Write it!’ link – don’t email your entry.
- You can send up to 2 submissions for each page (if you submit more, only your first two will be read).
- You can respond to as many pages as you want – you do not have to submit something for all of the available pages, and missing a round won’t disqualify you from submitting in future rounds.
- Each submission should be no more than 300 words long, and should follow the existing style (third person, from Hazel’s point of view, present tense, please use single quote marks (‘like this,’ she said)).
- Anyone can take part – adult or child, anywhere around the world.
- If you make an error in your submission or have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org – but this email isn’t for submissions, use the ‘Write it!’ link within the story pages for that.
Tips for writing your page
This project is open to all styles of writing, but please make sure your submission blends with the pages already published in that branch of the story. For example, if the style of previous pages in this branch of the story do not include any suggestions of the supernatural, then don’t suddenly introduce a vampire!
The finished story is intended to be general adult fiction of no particular genre (eg, not particularly gory or romantic). Please bear in mind there may be children and young people reading and contributing to the project, so do not submit explicit content.
You don’t need to write a whole story in one page, better to focus on just one thing happening and how Hazel responds to it. Then give two options that will inspire someone to continue from where you leave off.
Feel free to include details of Hazel’s character, appearance, and her motivation. How does she feel as she proceeds, why does she want to go left rather than right? In the editing process Alice will make sure that these descriptions are consistent throughout all pages.
Use the hints left by others for inspiration: if another character was mentioned, you can introduce them into the story on your page; if they mentioned Hazel was afraid of something, why not make her face this fear in your part of the story?
If you’re at a loss for what to write, why not come to one of our workshops or writing sessions at Wytham? Full details can be found at wythamwoods.ox.ac.uk/events
And don’t forget you can refer to this map of Wytham Woods so you don’t get lost!
Let others know what you’re writing using the hashtag #TheStoryBranches.