Hi! I’ve recently started learning ChoiceScript, as I want to be able to make my own game. I’m a big fan of superhero games like Fallen Hero, so I wanted to try my hand at writing my own superhero story. However, I’m a little uncertain how to proceed.
Could someone tell me what to do first/how long each stage would probably take/any general tips?
Depends on how much time you spend writing, I guess. Some authors take years to complete their story and then it goes through the process of getting published which can take more than a handful of months to a year.
For me, personally, I would expect at most 40,000 words per month when I am working on my story relatively consistently. Others might be faster or slower — I’m likely on the faster end. Consider that NaNoWriMo, a challenge to write very quickly, has a goal of 50,000 words in one month.
While I think it is good to set goals to reach, I would not recommend putting yourself on a timeline, as everyone learns and write differently!
On the topic of… well, topics:
It takes some trial and error to find the story you want to write. I asked @malinryden how long it took them to come up with Fallen Hero, and the answer was more than 10 years! Another author I look up to and another great example, @pimenita started writing two(!) stories before coming up with The Passenger. Writing is a process, so don’t get down if you don’t click with your first story and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t think of anything right off the bat!
As for coding:
ChoiceScript is (thankfully) a pretty easy language to learn as long as you practice! I’m speaking from my own experience when I say it took me about four or five months to get the basics, but I’m still learning, you just have to keep at it and not give up on yourself or your story. Ask questions! There has not been a single author I’ve contacted that wasn’t more than willing to help me out with my questions
I am a slow writer. Sometimes I’m on a roll, most often I’m not. I’ve been working on my WIP for about 10 months and I’m right around 50k words including all my code. BUT! I’m a slow and steady kind of person, some people can crank out 5k words in a day, some can do 10k (I’m more of a 2k/day on a good day type, myself)! It really varies and each person has their own pace, so I wouldn’t really set up a timeline compared to anyone else.
All in all, it really comes down to you, the author, and how much time you can dedicate to your work (and boy is it work, but the fun kind). Take breaks, pace yourself, sometimes it’s better to let the WIP sit for a while so new ideas can flow. Hope that helps!
This blog from the choice of games developers on the types of things you need in hand before you write might be helpful.
I’d recommend having a look at the outlining and writing design documents that CoG use for their games. Even if you end up moving away from them, it’s useful to see the sorts of structures that exist and compare the documents with playable games.
I will give you my most important piece of advice:
Write one scene. Any scene. Maybe from a story you’ve written before. Maybe just something you make up on the spot. Don’t worry about structure. Don’t worry about the big picture. Just write one single scene and figure out how that works. How choicescript works. How things fit together, and how much the text you write affect the things that actually show up on the page.
Even if you have written books before, interactive fiction is DIFFERENT. Your first job is to figure out what you like and how to go about doing it.
Maybe it’s a fight scene. Maybe it’s an argument. Maybe it’s a weird dream sequence. It doesn’t matter. You need to see if it’s fun for you to write this way, so try it out!
Once you’ve done that, you can start figuring out what kind of a story you’d like to tell, and that’s when all the resources come in.