Hidden sections

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

Interactive stories don’t just land on the perfect round number they’re so often presented as. “Turn to paragraph 400” has to be designed that way, and as a result there are occasionally extra bits of story added in to pad out the main story, or entire sequences removed to get it down to the magic number.

The Altimer has 300 sections…but you will only ever read 299 of them if you’re exploring the story.

One section in the book has no inputs and no outputs, it simply exists – for two reasons:

  1. It makes the book a nice, round 300 sections.
  2. It contains a tasty red herring for those readers who cheat by reading around the sections they’re on to get clues.

What made me think this? I completed a first draft of the sequel to The Altimer yesterday, and it’s landed at 393 sections. What should I do with the extra seven sections?

The chances are it’s going to turn into a silly distraction halfway through the book, but quite a big part of me would like to drop in an unnecessarily thought-through section about something ridiculous as a gift for you.

All I’m saying is: Look out for a picture of a clown.