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Author Lorenzo Pelosini shot by Avi Kaye
Once upon a time, stories were rigidly defined by the author, leaving little room for the reader to impact the plot or outcome of a given story. These days, however, Italian author and screenwriter Lorenzo Pelosini is challenging that narrative by engaging with new forms of media to craft compelling interactive stories that his readers can directly engage with.
Interactive stories aren’t a new endeavor; the concept was explored in role-playing gamebooks in the 1980’s, where readers could make choices to direct the plot at certain points, then flip to the corresponding page to explore the consequences of their decisions.
Another, more engaging storytelling experience was popularized among the tabletop gaming community in the 80’s in the form of the legendary Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, of which Pelosini himself is a long-time player and Dungeon Master—the game organizer and participant in charge of creating the details and challenges of any given adventure, while maintaining a realistic continuity of events.
“Being a Dungeon Master is mostly like writing a novel: you set up the world and the adventure for your characters,” Pelosini explained. “But unlike a novel, here, your characters are the real people you’re playing with, and they may decide to do whatever they want.”
This interactive approach allows readers to guide the story in an innovative and exciting new way, one that has transformed the whole process of reading. This interactive approach to storytelling also saw success in the world of video games, where players often take on the role of the story’s protagonist. In some narrative-focused games, the entire world can be shaped by even the smallest decisions that the player makes throughout their adventure.
As games became more interactive, however, the world of literature and books seemed to largely remain a one-way form of communication, from author to reader. That is, until a company called Game Garden teamed up with authors like the literary wunderkind Lorenzo Pelosini to bring a fresh, new approach to the way stories are written and consumed.
Founded in 2009, Game Garden is a leading mobile and social game developer with eight titles and more than 27 million players around the world. In 2019, Pelosini—then already widely known for the novels “The Flight of the Hawk” (2013) and “River Runner—The Golden Thread” (2014)—was tapped by Game Garden to begin writing interactive novels, a role in which his experience with roleplaying games and branching narratives would prove invaluable.
Excited by the opportunity to create something fresh and engaging, Lorenzo Pelosini set off to write “Demons in High Heels”, the story of a young woman named Lily who finds herself caught up in a war between Hell and Heaven, divided between two moral worlds. Throughout the story, readers can make numerous decisions on behalf of the protagonist, further aligning her with the world of Angels or Demons as she finds her place in the overwhelming world of New York City and its fashion industry.
“Lily, our protagonist, is an actual hybrid of Angel and Demon, hence she can choose her side and her own nature willingly,” elaborated Pelosini. “It would seem like a simple moral conundrum to solve, except that both sides, at times, seem to be equally corrupted by their desire to prevail. And here’s the final question: how can a daughter of two worlds pick a side when nobody is really on hers?”
Readers can immerse themselves in “Demons in High Heels” exclusively on Game Garden’s “Love Choice” app. Initially, novels on this app are released chapter-by-chapter, allowing readers to fully explore the possibilities of each segment. Each month, a new chapter—and a bevy of new choices—becomes available to the hundreds of thousands of readers active on “Love Choice.”
As each chapter is released and experienced, readers often leave their thoughts and praise in the form of comments, giving Pelosini a unique feedback mechanism that he’s never experienced when writing stories for more traditional media.
“When I read the comments of a fan, it makes the writing process feel much more alive,” Pelosini commented. “Writing a novel can be isolating, but when you know that as you’re writing the next chapter, someone in the world is reading the previous one, it gives you motivation, and a happiness beyond compare.”
Due to the overwhelming success of “Demons in High Heels,” which boasted more than 200,000 readers on the “Love Choice” app, Lorenzo Pelosini was asked to write a follow-up novel.
Cover for Pelosini's "Demons of New York" from Game Garden
In September of 2020, he released “Demons in New York,” a prequel which follows the story of a young woman in the 19th century trying to escape the rigid dogmas of a patriarchal society.
This story also garnered high praise, and Pelosini is currently working on its grand finale, and he has hinted that there may be another installment of the “Demons” franchise to come.
“The reason why I’m allowed to tell stories professionally is because people decided to listen, and as cheesy as it may sound, this is a thought that moves me to tears on a daily basis,” expressed Pelosini. “I’m honored; sincerely and overwhelmingly honored.”
With such overwhelming support and praise for his stories, Lorenzo Pelosini is able to focus completely on his writing and continue to push the boundaries of interactive storytelling. As he continues to hone his craft and explore new narrative territories, readers can’t wait to join Lorenzo Pelosini on his ever-unfolding adventures.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
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