Digital novel lets readers choose the ending
A NEW digital novel will let readers choose how they want the story to end.
In a radical departure from literary tradition, author Caroline Smailes’s latest work 99 Reasons Why has a choice of 11 possible endings.
Readers’ tastes and mood will influence the outcome, as well as their answers to a series of multiple choice questions on colours, numbers and objects.
Smailes came up with the idea – reminiscent of the multiple endings in the 1992 comedy Wayne's World – after learning that some readers felt her two previous novels finished too gloomily.
Her latest offering, a 99-chapter family drama about obsession, aims to cater for the tastes of all readers by including endings ranging from a “happily ever after” to a grisly Tarantino-style finale.
Smailes told The Independent: "Different readers will have different reactions, interpretations and feelings about the story, depending on which ending they choose.
“This is the reader taking responsibility for the ending."
Her publisher, Scott Pack, said recent advances in ebook software had made the idea possible.
"I'm not aware of anyone having done this digitally yet," he said. "There is more [technological] freedom now. So we wanted to exploit that."
Mr Pack added that, as head of The Friday Project, a HarperCollins imprint, and of digital product development for the publisher, he believes there is huge potential in interactive books for adults and children.
99 Reasons Why, out next month at £7.99, tells of a housebound woman who spies through her bedroom window on the world outside while her family turn to crime.
Smailes said: "The book was never intended to be in a print version, which is an unusual signing and which altered how I approached writing it."
Readers with a Kindle or other ebook device will be asked questions on their interpretations of the characters to determine the ending. If still unsatisfied, they can go back and read an alternative ending