Here’s SNAFU’s scene chart for what is officially ‘day one’ of the story. There’s stuff up above that, but that largely happens in prologue (some character narratives start earlier than day one).
(click the image for a larger view)
Heck, this isn’t really even day one, proper, all of this one starts late in the day. This is mostly just an evening of story, starting around dusk (except for scene 315 up near the top there, which is an afternoon scene).
Each box represents a scene, and each scene… well, some of those scenes are purely linear, but most of them follow one of these models. The branch-and-bottleneck model is the most common, but most of the models are generally represented within individual scenes.
The key thing here is that, not only do choices have consequences, but they never stop having consequences. Every choice throughout the story creates some sort of ongoing narrative variation. Even if they don’t change the course of major events (and some certainly do!), they change the story on smaller scales, at the personal and inter-personal levels.
That means we don’t have to go into a full-on time-cave model, where the story just branches infinitely, and we don’t have to abandon set-piece scenes either, because every character’s precise actions and interpretations can vary based on choices previously made by themselves or by others.
The downside is that it is a knotty tangle that it is actually more work to chart comprehensively than it is to actually write. With some of these individual scenes, I wouldn’t even know how to begin making a coherent chart of the narrative variations.
And yet, it all turns into a consistent narrative, and I’m not finding it hard to manage. Not yet. I suspect, further down the track, proofreading variations is going to become something of a pest. Thankfully, I’m enjoying reading the narrative as much as I enjoy writing it, so there’s that.