“Minimalist Story Generators #1-5” are five short works of electronic literature exploring the minima of interactive narratives: attempts to find the smallest amount of prose and code that create something both meaningfully interactive and recognizably a story. While e-lit’s soil can be fertile ground for the creation of sprawling works (expanding exponentially through rhizomatic connections rather than in the linear fashion of a traditional book), developing large projects can leave little time for crucial reflective work analogous to sketching, prototyping, journaling, and workshopping. These five pieces, developed across a five-year period in between and alongside larger e-lit projects, capture core mechanics that would later drive much larger experiences, explore abandoned ideas, and offer different windows and opinions on the integral aspects of narrative and agency. The project is inspired by projects such as Nick Montfort’s collection of minimal poetry generators and Warren Sack’s practice of self-reflective software studies.
Aaron A. Reed is a writer, programmer, student, and teacher of interactive narrative, focusing on finding new ways for storytellers to craft deeply personal digital experiences that respect and honor player choices. His work has been featured in the Electronic Literature Collection, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and at indie game venues from Slamdance and IndieCade to the Independent Games Festival at GDC. Aaron has an MFA in Digital Arts & New Media and is currently pursuing a PhD in computer science with the Expressive Intelligence Studio at UC Santa Cruz.