Outlining Interactive Fiction ( blind user)

Hey everyone!

I’m a totally-blind author, and I’m curious how everyone outlines their interactive games. I’ve been using Word documents to try and keep track of the emerging narrative threads, and it’s just not getting the job done. It becomes very messy when trying to reconnect various threads after they’ve separated temporarily, and I’d imagine that there has to be a better, accessible way to do this. Does anyone have any suggestions or input?

Also, do any blind authors have advice for how they keep track of spacing/indentation when integrating code into your game? I’m using JAWS, and it’s hard to catch errors in syntax related to spacing, as JAWS doesn’t announce spacing unless I inspect code character-by-character, which is too time-consuming to be realistic.


One method I’ve taken to using recently is creating a bullet point outline for each subplot including chapter number.

For example
Boss Rush Arc
Chapter 2 Investigation
Chapter 3 player chooses to cross the point of no return
Chapter 4 Retaliation. Antagonist strikes back
Chapter 5 water buffalo loving grandma offers player shelter
Chapter 6 Onward player chooses between hyperviolence investigation or seduction
Chapter 8 More stuff

When I am writing the chapter files each subplot has a gosub in each chapter with an *if statement conducting the player to the relevant subplots when appropriate


If you’re not using your device default program, you should be able to use Search and Replace function. Use an alternative character to replace your indentation character (tilde “~” or something) then replace it with tab. Note that this only works if you use tab instead of space as indentation.

Probably not the most convenient way to do it, but that’s what I can think of. Not a blind user myself, so unsure if this would be effective at all :sweat_smile:


For me, convenience of accessing my notes is most important. So I just use Apple notes with bullets, lists, and indents. That way I can toss ideas into my phone wherever I am, but when I get to my Mac to code/write, I can just open it there and read it too, or reference from the phone.

That said, I also have a .txt file on the go with lots of facts for referencing. Oh, and a second .txt with variable lists and time lines, although in previous games I usually combine this Coding Reference Sheet. I like it that way because I can open those files while writing/coding and grab lines of text as needed.

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A few suggestions:

  • the iOS app MindNode is an accessible mind mapping application. Best of all, you can export it into text which already comes out properly indented
  • you can get jaws to announce indented characters by doing the following: Open the app you want indented characters on for. For this, it would be your text editor of choice. Press jaws key (insert or capslock probably) + 6 to open the settings center. Confirm creating a jcf file if prompted. Type indent in the search field Then press down arrow. The first result should be “say indented characters.” Check that option then tab to and press enter on the okay button to confirm. If you want it to be universal, skip the step of opening your text editor first or creating a jcf file.
  • or you can use nvda which also reads indented characters by turning line indentation reporting on in the document formatting settings. One major reason I recommend nvda over jaws for this is that it also has an addon which allows you to move between lines of the same indentation. So for example, you indent something once, indent the next 3 lines twice, and then go back to a single indent for the next line. Using a keystroke, you can move between the two lines that are single indented, skipping the double indented lines. Press another keystroke to move to child blocks and then move between the double-indented lines
    You didn’t ask this, but I also recommend against using microsoft word. The way word formats text, you are going to have issues if you export that into plain text for use in choice script. For accessible plain text writers besides the standard notepad, I recommend either notepad++ or microsoft’s visual studio with the choice-script extension enabled.

I hope this was helpful and please let me know if you need clarification on any of this, links to anything I mentioned, or have further questions.


Awesome, thanks! If you are a screen-reader user, can you please expand on what app you’re using on your apple devices, aside from the native “Notes” app?

Thank you, this is great! I’ll probably have more questions as I move forward, but for now, I’ll just be digging into what you shared.
Is there a community of blind Choice Script users that you know of? This was very helpful, so it wuld be nice if there was an outlet specifically for screen-reader users to discuss these things.

Sorry, I’m not a screen reader. I just use Notes and Sublime (used to use Notepad ++) :slight_smile:

unfortunately not. There are a few discord servers for beginning CS users that are really helpful though including https://discord.gg/8rNqceyD which I run and https://discord.gg/NZvPmNMe which autumn19 runs. The communities are both very helpful and there is a lot of discussion both about writing and and choice script specifically. A lot of that is useful to blind users too, and you can always be free to @mention me with something blind-specific.

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