User Story: Mapping it out with Gliffy

By Mary Nielsen on Oct 26, 2016 in Stories

Writers map out complex story arcs with Gliffy to stay on the same page.

Choose your own misery

Last year, we featured an awesome user story highlighting talented (and pretty hilarious) writers Jilly Gagnon and Mike MacDonald.

Here’s the skinny:

Jilly and Mike collaborated across thousands of miles using Gliffy to create their book Choose Your Own Misery.

In an interview with Comicbooked, Jilly describes the process of using Gliffy to outline and track their storylines:

It’s super involved. We use this online flowchart building software, Gliffy, which has been a GODSEND.

Before that, though, we were trying to mash the storylines into excel sheets, or storyboard them with post-its on the wall. That was a short-lived effort.

Now, we basically come up with a starting point, decide the two choices that could split off from that, and follow down a “line,” building in the additional choices as we go, until we get to the end.

We throw that into [Gliffy], then start filling out the choice tree from the bottom up.

Once we’ve filled out everything for all the “dangling” choices from the bottom up, we go in the opposite direction, build that line all the way to the bottom…

Now, the duo’s back at it with a miserable journey during the holidays.

They’ve created a mini-miserable world of holiday choices just for you. So without further ado, here’s a taste of their latest story. Jump in, and experience the misery!

Choose Your Own Misery Holidays

This is a mini-miserable story written by Jilly Gagnon & Mike MacDonald. 

Aaah, this is what the holiday season is about: sitting on your couch, protected from having to see people by the claim of “so much stuff going on, it’s the holidays, you know?” and a built-in excuse to put on a few pounds without judgment. If it weren’t for the actual holidays, it’d be your favorite time of year.

You’ve just poured yourself your second eggnog-and-rum (since you’re not going to your coworker’s “christmas cookie” party, you figure you’ve earned back a few extra calories) and turned on the television. Oooh, It’s a Wonderful Life is on. You always mean to watch it–you have vague childhood memories of seeing it, but haven’t ever watched as an adult.

You’re the picture of contentment.

Though within thirty minutes or so, you’re realizing why you never watch this movie. It’s depressing as f***. Frankly, they should all just let Jimmy do it–seriously, all that coming together at the end only gets him to didn’t-lose-everything. “You’re back at square one, a place that already required you to forgo all your dreams!” isn’t really the message you need this season.

You’re just about to change the channel to something less depressing–maybe Bad Santa’s on, or Hoarders–when you hear it.

The distinct sound of caroling.

F*** f*** F***.

You hate carolers so deeply. What motivates them–an excess of cheer? How could that be enough to get someone to knock on a stranger’s door, force minutes of awkwardness on them, and then, to top it all of, ask that person for a handout, like it’s f****ing Halloween?

Maybe it’s a sex thing, some weird holiday expression of masochism.

Like a socially acceptable gimp mask.

If you’d known you would be assaulted by carolers, you would have left the outside lights off. But it’s too late, now. Your house looks distinctly occupied. And they’re coming your way.

If you want to open the door to the carolers, click here. 

If you want to pretend you’re not home, click here.