CYOW #4: Blackout Events

Choose Your Own Way #4: Blackout

Salon Event: May 22nd, 2021.

Theme : Blackout
An Interactive Fiction Event,
#cyow4 #cyow2021

Online Presentation Salon Date: May 22nd 2021, 7PM PDT (Pacific Daylight Time)
Location:, Discord, Here!
Featuring: Jon Dawes, Christopher Alan Slater, Kay Slater, Lisa Smedman, K. Alix Anttila, Fenrir Cerebellion, and YOU!

Exhibition Tour Video of our 2021 CYOW 4 Submissions (spoken English with closed captions in English). Full transcript can be found here.
  • Banana Blackout
    Twine Choose Your Own Cookbook, CYOW 4: Blackout, May 2021
  • Flight Night
    Interactive Fiction (Twine), Chapter One: Flight Night CYOW #4 Blackout Salon, May 2021
  • So You Think
    Interactive Fiction (Twine) CYOW #4 Blackout Salon, May 2021
    Twine Narrative Experience, Blackout: An Interactive Fiction Salon, May 2021
  • Ending Bravery 2.0
    Twine Narrative Experiment (continues), Blackout: An Interactive Adventure Salon, May 2021
  • Theseus in the Dark
    RPG Maker Game by Lisa Smedman, CYOW 4: Blackout, May 2021
This is a 6 minute video (spoken English with closed captions in English) inviting folks to participate in the project. Visual descriptions and full transcript available here.

The month of April (2021) is your invitation to create something for our 4th CYOW (Choose Your Own Way) Interactive Fiction event!

Workshop: Intro to CYOW
Workshop Date: Sunday, April 4th 2021
Captioned & Transcribed Video below.
Description: Learn about past CYOW Events and projects, more about the Choose Your Own Way genre and existing literature, and Q&A for new participants.

Our archived workshop from Sunday, April 4th. The video is primarily Kay talking through some of the different options, but the video also shows some of our archive pages and previous projects. The video is in spoken English with English closed captions. A full transcript can be found here.

Workshop: Intro to Twine
Workshop Date: Sunday, April 11th 2021
(Completed – captioned archived video forthcoming)
Description: Learn about Twine, the open source storytelling tool that can help you transition your story into a digital and interactive format. A basic show-and-tell session with an open Q&A session.
Start Using Twine Now:

Join us for this workshop on Sunday, April 11th! This is a very very simply introduction video. The video is 2 mins in length and there is no sound. The video tells folks about Sunday’s event, and shows a silent view of the Twine, open source tool. There is no audio description.

Learning Twine (an interactive story) [download] : This is an example story that we created and shared at our workshop using Twine (Harlowe format). The story shows the actual “markup code” that was used in every passage so you could duplicate this yourself if you wanted to test and try something out!

Workshop: Info Session
Workshop Date: Sunday, April 25th 2021
Description: Get your projects ready to submit for the Salon Presentation event. Learn more about how to craft your artist statement, prepare your work to be accessible to as many audiences as possible, learn about content warnings for general audiences, and more.
RSVP & Share:

Workshop: Wednesday Night Work Sessions
Workshop Date: April 7th, April 14th, April 21st, April 28th 2021 (and we will continue to gather and plan through May – so join us online!)
Description: Join us every Wednesday for a working session with other creators. Work on your own projects and chat with others while you work through your ideas.
RSVP & Share:

Looking for examples from previous events? Check out:

Let’s make even (more) interactive narratives! We will use the theme BLACKOUT to create interactive stories, art, and games during the month, so mark your calendar for our 4th narrative event where we create interactive stories/projects/games together in the weeks leading up to our salon/show event on May 22nd.

[covid-19]: This event is 100% online! We’ll all be creating throughout the month of April, hosting streaming workshops to keep you on track, and lurking on discord to chat daily about your progress (or blocks). Our final salon (live event and chat) will be hosted on discord, and interactive games will be hosted on for you to check out with us or at your own pace. Stay connected – stay home – stay safe.

This is our fourth interactive narrative event. For a feel for our previous events, check out our CYOW archived events.

The theme that connects our work is BLACKOUT, but the format in which you present your interactive story is up to you. You can do a mini booklet, a zine, a Twine project, a performance piece, an RPG game, an audio project, or any other format you can think of! We require that you submit your projects (even in progress) by April 30th so we can review them for our audiences, and help you build your artist statements and any content warnings prior to our sharing them on May 22nd. During the weeks leading up, we invite you to use the hashtag #cyow4 as you document your process!

Documenting your process is very important to these events. Take photos, share what you’re doing on our discord server, tag us in your WIP posts. In the end, we won’t turn away previously published work, but we encourage you to try something new and at least want to see you still working on it during the month of April. Whether this means remixing an old project, updating your writing on a published piece, or simply adding more to a past CYOW project; it’s all welcome. But, what we don’t want are completed past projects, conveniently connected to the theme, that have already had their time in the sun. It’s all about trying something new!

How to participate:

Just start making something! Never tried Interactive Fiction? You can find hundreds of different ideas and published games online. You can even check out the work we’ve produced at our previous events. As you work, stay connected with us by sharing your process and tagging us or using the hashtag #cyow4 or/and #cyow2021. Take pictures and make notes as you work! Join us at a workshop, on Discord or join our Facebook creators group! Once you’re ready to submit your project, reach out to us at Be sure to send us something by April 30th so we know you’re wanting to participate in our salon event!

Our application process for a CYOW (Choose Your Own Way) event is very informal. As long as you adhere to basic rules of respect and anti-oppression, are willing to label any content that may be unsuitable for public/all-ages consumption, and are willing to challenge yourself to produce work on theme with the event – we want you to participate. The jam days/workshops (which happen in the weeks leading up to the salon event) are optional. The final salon event (May 22nd) will showcase work that was produced! Our collective members reserve the right to review and approve all materials prior to their being presented at our public events for safety and consideration of our audiences. Please consider our society’s mandate prior to submitting work that is harmful, oppressive, or illegal.

Not interested in showing your work, but do want to participate in the lead-up workshops and the creative challenge? First time making interactive fiction? You are very welcome to join us making in April and then not submit your final project; we primarily work connected via Discord and Facebook messenger to bounce ideas and help each other. Also, we do not require a FINISHED idea to show at our salon events. Work-in-progress is welcome.

The Papercut Arcade defines *artist as a person who practices any of the various creative arts, such as a sculptor, photographer, painter, novelist, poet, or filmmaker. The keyword is practice; therefore, if you make art or produce work with the intent of participating in a The Papercut Arcade challenge or exhibition, you ARE an artist.

CYOA = > CYOW: We had previously called these events CYOA in honour of our childhood love of Choose Your Own Adventure Gamebooks. They shaped who we are now as people. However; one of the original authors has since formed a new company and formalized a trademark with which they are going after indie game designers and publishers. Rather than deal with any of that (but still keeping in the spirit of the choose your own narrative adventure games), we’ve renamed our narrative events starting in 2020 to CYOW or Choose Your Own Way.

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