Writing a branching scenario can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never written one before. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the planning stage of writing a scenario, so here are some steps help you write your branching scenario.

1. Brainstorm

Before you get started with writing, you need to brainstorm ideas for your scenario. What situation do you need to cover in this scenario? What do you want the learner to do in this situation? How do you want to format it?   

Once you’ve brainstormed your scenario and have a rough idea of how you want to set it up, it’s time to get started on the outline.

2. Create the outline

Outline your branching scenario like you would a book or essay. Outline the plot you wish to create with characters, a climax, and a resolution. This will create a scenario that is both relatable and engaging for the learner.

When the basis of your plot has been written, you can get started with the subplots and any conflicts that will arise throughout the scenario. Outline what your introduction may look like, the correct path(s) you would like the learner to take and any incorrect branches you want the learner to avoid. All branches from the first selection should be written based upon the selections made by the learner.  

Visualise it

Scenarios can get complicated. Simplify the process by creating a visualisation of your branch outline. This can be done by drawing the branches out on paper, or by using an online program, like Twine. By doing this you can start with the introduction and create branches from each selection linking them where required. 

Once this is done you should have formed a general outline of what your scenario will look like that can be expanded upon when adding further content.  

3. Write the introduction

Once you're ready to move on from your outline, it's time to get started on the introduction. The introduction should build the scenario for your learner. Here you can outline the plot, characters and any important information the learner may need to know to select the options to move forward.

This is the beginning of the scenario and the learner will be making selections from it, so it's important that it contains enough information on the details of the scenario. Creating a detailed introduction will allow the user to make the best selection for the branch options.

4. Building branches

Once your introduction is done, begin building branches for the learner to select from. Here you can use the outline you created and extend upon it. To ensure your learner stays engaged, add each branch as an extension to your story.

The details of each branch should follow the learner's previous selection, so ensure you're keeping up with each previous selection in your visualisations.  

Correct answers first

In some cases, it may be easiest to start with the correct pathway and then write any additional paths from there. By doing this you can highlight the exact steps you would like your learner to do in the situation described. Once this is done, you can then include any incorrect steps in separate branches extending from each of these steps.

5. Conclude your scenario

Once you have added your branches, conclude each final answer with either a success or a fail endpoint. By doing this, you can inform the user of mistakes they may have made and how they can improve in the future. This is the perfect opportunity to ensure the learner acts as desired when presented with this scenario in real life, so expand on where they may have failed or succeeded in the conclusion.