Monday, November 22, 2021

GAMEBOOK ACADEMY _____ Meet Sam Isaacson, he's created the perfect fantasy gamebook for young readers, with fun ideas, simple language, engaging visuals and a streamlined character score sheet

NOTE: This is part of a series that explains how to create your own simple gamebooks. More articles here.

Hi Sam, please introduce yourself!
Well, I love to read all sorts of books and have enjoyed gamebooks in particular since I was a child. Now I have four young children of my own, I find less time to read than I’d like! But I do my best to make time to write gamebooks. The Entram Epic is a science fiction gamebook trilogy, and I’ve also written two comic fantasy mysteries: Escape from Portsrood Forest, and The Bradfell Conspiracy.

Tell us about your new gamebook.
You’re a Wizard! is my latest gamebook, and this one is aimed at younger children. You – the reader – take on the role of a schoolchild, who is invited to perform a secret errand in a magical complex under your school. I won’t give the game away, but it turns into a bit more than that! You’re a Wizard! has got the classic ability to choose your own actions, a streamlined character score sheet and introductory approach to skill checks, and beautiful original art on pretty much every page. 

Why did you decide to make a gamebook for younger readers?
My kids are aged between 4 and 9 – I wanted to give them a gamebook to play, but was struggling. So many needed dice, creating a barrier to even trying, and most were too long, complex, punishing, unpredictable, violent or gory to make my kids want to read them or for me to want them to! I wanted a way for my kids to really enjoy a gamebook containing the key elements of a fantasy setting, without the violence and other more grown-up stuff inherent in a lot of gamebooks. In short, You’re a Wizard! is the gamebook I want my children to read.

What is your gamebook creation process?
Storyline. Process flow chart. Spreadsheet. Write up. Edit. Playtest. Discover errors. Re-write. Playtest. Nearly give up. Persevere. Finish!

What advice would you have for parents and teachers want to introduce their kids to gamebooks?
I hope my book’s a great entry point – the ideas are fun, the language is simple, the visuals are engaging. I think gamebooks should be great for early readers – each section is short enough to read quickly, the inevitable consequences of your actions make reading the next section a compelling option, and the fact that the hero of the story is YOU speaks for itself! In fact, in You’re a Wizard! you’re encouraged to draw a self portrait in your character sheet to underline this point.

Buy on Amazon US
Buy on Amazon UK

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