The Story We Cannot See: On How a Retelling Relates to its Afterstory

Bjarke Alexander Larsen*, Luis Emilio Bruni, Henrik Schoenau-Fog

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The field of Emergent Narrative in digital narrative studies has seen a lot of research since its inception in 1999, and a lot of it is helpful, but also there has been confusion in terms and a lack of focus on the specifics of how the narrative is shaped in the mind of the player. The term itself has been used to both describe the ensuing field, the concept, the process, and the resulting narrative experience. This paper aims to clarify these misunderstandings by investigating the field and defining the term “afterstory” to help solidify the relationship between the differing aspects of Emergent Narrative. Afterstory is specifically defined as the virtual, mental story that exists in the player’s mind after play and informed by the interactions and their perspective on them. Then, using previous work on retellings, the paper will relate afterstory to how people retell their afterstories, and what we can use those retellings for in relation to the system that helped form them. In conclusion, some examples will be brought forth that showcase the difficult nature of extrapolating a retelling’s quality to its interactive narrative system’s quality, but how it can still be done with careful, purposeful analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInteractive Storytelling : 12th International Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling, ICIDS 2019, Little Cottonwood Canyon, UT, USA, November 19–22, 2019, Proceedings
EditorsRogelio E. Cardona-Rivera, R. Michael Young, Anne Sullivan
Number of pages14
Publication date30 Nov 2019
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-33893-0
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-33894-7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2019
EventInternational Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling: ICIDS 2019: Interactive Storytelling - , United States
Duration: 19 Oct 201923 Nov 2019


ConferenceInternational Conference on Interactive Digital Storytelling
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address
SeriesLecture Notes in Computer Science


  • Afterstory
  • Emergent Narrative
  • Emergent storytelling
  • Interactive Digital Narrative
  • Retelling
  • Storyworld

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