Within the Demian Katz Gamebook Collection, I began my research by encoding a large portion of the Choose Your Own Adventure (1979-1998) series. This series is comprised of gamebooks written by a handful of authors that incorporate various storylines. Although each book in the series is unrelated, they all carry the same basic series structure of page amounts, illustrations, branching narratives, and multiple endings. Under the blanket genre of adventure, some of these books break off into more specific sub-genres including mystery, historical fiction, western, science fiction, and fantasy.

Two Authors

Edward Packard and R.A. Montgomery are two of the most prolific authors in not only the Choose Your Own Adventure series, but also in spin-off series as well as gamebooks in general. Just within the Demian Katz Gamebook Collection alone, there are 85 of Edward Packard’s works and 82 of R.A. Montgomery’s works. As I continued encoding my portion of the collection, I became more and more interested in comparative authorship. I questioned if an author’s writing style and narrative elements would manifest in a book’s encoded data or story graph.

In order to compare these two authors, I narrowed down the samples to a selection of 15 books per author. Edward Packard’s chosen samples include 13 Choose Your Own Adventure series books, one Escape from Tenopia series book, and one Escape from the Kingdom of Frome series book. R.A. Montgomery’s chosen samples include 13 Choose Your Own Adventure series books and two Choose Your Own Adventure: Dragonlarks series books. As I started studying each of the sample book’s graphs, I realized that the series itself was widely diverse in graph shapes. It really varied from book to book whether the graph would be more linear, arboreal, or web-like. Linear graphs have less nodes that break off into choices, which appears in the story graph’s length rather than its height. Arboreal graphs’ nodes are often choices, which gives the graph more branches. Web-like graphs do not flow in order, meaning that a later node can lead to an earlier node. This makes web-like graphs increasingly difficult to follow.


R.A. MONGOMERY Nodes Average Degree General Shape
03-10 Blood on the Handle 88 1.98 arboreal
03-12 Stock Car Champion 89 2.02 arboreal
03-25 Chinese Dragons 90 1.98 linear
03- 27 Smoke Jumper 88 1.98 linear
03-31 Island of Time 89 1.98 linear
03-37 Behind the Wheel 87 1.98 linear
03-39 SIlver Wings 86 2 arboreal
03-55 Motocross Mania 90 2.02 arboreal
03-59 Project UFO 90 2.02 arboreal
04-05 Last Run 92 2.17 linear
04-11 Tattoo of Death 92 1.98 arboreal
04-12 Possessed! 96 1.98 arboreal
04-22 Death in the Dorm 91 2 linear
04-29 Killer Virus 90 1.98 arboreal
42- 36 Haunted House 46 1.96 arboreal
42-37 Your Very Own Robot 46 1.96 arboreal
EDWARD PACKARD Nodes Average Degree General Shape
04-02 Who Are You? 95 1.98 arboreal
04-04 War with the Mutant Spider Ants 97 2 linear
04-06 Cyberspace Warrior 93 1.98 linear
04-08 You are an Alien 95 2.02 linear
04-10 Sky-Jam! 96 2.06 linear
04-13 Typhoon! 91 2.07 arboreal
04-15 Fright Night 93 2.09 arboreal
04-19 Hostage! 100 1.98 linear
04-21 Greed, Guns, and Gold 95 2 linear
04-23 Mountain Biker 92 2 arboreal
04-25 Power Dome 93 1.98 linear
04-33 Fire on Ice 92 2.02 arboreal
04-34 Fugitive 92 2 arboreal
04-70 Computer Takeover 100 2.02 linear
11-11 Tenopia Island 108 5.83 web-like
11-15 The Castle of Frome 106 3.43 web-like


In the Choose Your Own Adventure samples’ graphs, as well as the rest of the series books’ graphs the shape of the graphs were not indicative enough of the book’s author. As I collected the data from each of the sample books, I realize that the series’ structure was more prominent than the authorship. The books within my sampling were in the 85-110 node range and had an average node degree of 2.01. Both authors’ books had a variety of linear and arboreal graphs. This implies that neither of them preferred a specific narrative structure when composing the books and inputing narrative choices.

Montgomery: CYOA

Packard: CYOA

Differences and Conclusions

When I looked at the samples outside of the Choose Your Own Adventure series I was able to see more prominent differences. These difference were not as indicative of the authors themselves, rather the series they were writing in.

Montgomery: Dragonlarks

The Choose Your Own Adventure: Dragonlarks series is a spin-off series for younger readers to read before bed. When I analyzed the data from these two samples of Montgomery’s books, I saw about half as many nodes as in a regular series and an average node degree that was about the same or less. Since these books are shorter their graphs were more arboreal than linear.

Packard: Other

The Escape from Tenopia series features one book from Packard, which is homogenous with the rest of the series. Like the Escape from Tenopia series, the Escape from the Kingdom of Frome series also follows similar structure. These samples’ graphs were both web-like and had much higher average node degrees even though they both had around 105 nodes. Tenopia Island had an average node degree of 5.83 and The Castle of Frome had an average node degree of 3.43.

Across these series, I found it very interesting that the structures used somewhat overshadowed the individual books’ authorship. Both Edward Packard and R.A. Montgomery were able to adjust their writing style and narrative structure according to the gamebook series they were writing in.