RA Montgomery looms large in my mind. When I discovered the Choose Your Own Adventure books as a middle schooler, they blew my mind. I couldn't read them without a tiny spiral bound notebook at my side (because they were library books and I was a darling child who respected them). I would track with delicious precision which paths I'd chosen so I could read them all. I guess there's earlier examples, which you can read about in this fascinating history. Credit should also go to Edward Packard, who seems to have joined RAM at the same time and who we have to thank for the bizarre second person motif.
When I sat down to write my own interactive fiction story, I toyed with the idea of writing in second person, but couldn't do it. First of all, it was, like, hard. Second of all, it was really weird to write sexy scenes. It felt like I was directing an illicit phone hotline or something. I couldn't get into it as an author, and thus it was likely I wouldn't get into it as a reader. I'd love to hear from romance authors who have chosen to write in second person!
Abandoning that tradition, I have to say keeping track of the paths was my biggest challenge. I had to teach myself about bookmarks and hyperlinks, which I'll blog about soon. I had to create an index, so that I wouldn't get lost in my own manuscript. But other than that, writing an interactive story has been incredibly fascinating.
It's like a puzzle. Which is strange because I'm not a puzzle-head. I don't particularly care to be challenged by those horrible twisty iron ring games or hopping pegs. But since I also rejected another aspect of RAM's writing--the cheaterpants repeated choice, where two different storylines end up dumping you back to the same moment-- I was working in a more linear world. Then it became a butterfly effect experience, and it is a blast!