How many WIP's are sensible for an author?

If you scroll through the CoG forum, like I do almost every day, you see so many great Ideas and projects that are currently “work-in-progress”.
If I see one I didn’t knew yet and it even has a demo I almost always click it immediatly, no matter what it is about. If it has an interesting premis, even better!

On good days I discover a great story, where even the demo get’s me so investesd that I can’t wait until the project is finished. ( I would like to think that this is what a demo is supposed to so.)

But more often than I would like that is only partially what happens.
It usually goes like this:
I see this new project on CoG, I read the exciting premis, start the demo…
And then I realize it ends not even halfway through the Charakter creation.
To me this is way worse than a demo that ends on a cliffhanger.

If in that case I always wonder why someone would post that in the first place? It doesn’t represent the game you want to creat proporly. There weren’t any real choices except maybe the gender of the MC and the reader didn’t get a good impression of whats the game going to be like.

That led me to always check how far the demo is done. If I see it has a wordcount like 3000 words or if the author writes that the prolog is halfway done, I won’t read it even If I liked the discription. I personally think that it doesn’t take much to get me invested in a story. So it’s hard to read about good WIP’s, only to find that there is a Demo but a painfully short one.

I also get the feeling that those kind of Projects tend to be left to die out there. But that could be just my perception.

Now to the thing I originally wanted to talk about. ( After an eternity of me wining about Things I probably don’t understand.)
It seems usual for a lot of authors here to have side-projects besides the main WIP.
I can imagen that it is a great commitment to actually creat a game here. I have read that it takes an average of 2 years to finish one.

But somtimes when you write a story, just get stuck. You have no ideas how to continue, no inspiration or you just kinda lost intrest in the Story you are currently writing. But as a creativ mind you have a great idea for another Story but you don’t won’t to abandon your current Work.

I imagen that this is how most of those side-projects are borne. And I belief that this ist a good way to get your creativity back to Work.
But at when get those side-projects to distracting?

I mean having an idea for a game and actually posting a demo here are to different Things. It takes a lot of afford to do so. So it kind of hurts to see someone here with like 4-5 WIP’s, all of them really good but none of them is Close to bening finished.
I think there are already so many great projects out there that seem to be left to die.

But all of that is just what I think and I would like to hear someone elses opinion on that matter.
Thank you for your Time.


Honestly it depends on the author and their skills at multi-tasking. This isn’t a question with a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer. But having multiple projects is a valid writing technique. It’s actually recommended when you write a manuscript to let it “cool off” and work on something else for a period of time so that you’re detached when you go back and proofread it.


I’m in awe of authors who can work on two or more projects at once, I just don’t know how they do it. When I start a project, I get a kind of creative tunnel vision which means I can’t even think of anything else until it’s done. I definitely think there would be advantages to having multiple WIPs on the go at the same time, like the fact that hopping between them regularly means that you can keep them all fresh by giving yourself breaks. I just can’t do it, is all! But different things work for different authors.


There is plenty of research out there that has nailed the coffin shut on humans being able to multitask. When people try it always results in all the tasks they are trying to juggle being inferior and slower than just focusing on one task at a time.

I would much rather authors focus on one thing at a time, and when an idea strikes for another story just jot down a synopsis and come back to it later.

There are many great wips I would have bought without a second thought, that sadly, have been abandoned due to authors overwhelming themselves with too many projects. Not all necessarily visible here on the forums, life likes to throw people curveballs from time to time.

On a side note, Grammarly thought the first sentence in that last paragraph, was a compound sentence until I added "sadly, " between “that” and “have”.


I am currently keeping myself on 2 WIPs truth be told. And that takes a HUGE chunck out of my time. If i was working on the third, it would be absurd. I feel stretched as it is. Sure i have some demonic writing speeds, multi-tasking ain’t tat bad.

But always one or another suffers when you have multiple ones. Or well…one has to go slower than the other. But, luckily for me…i take pride in my speed!

But it is difficult really, and a lot of WIPs fall apart since people either run out of ideas, or their favorite one thing over another. :thinking:

I suppose starting a WIP in my opinion shouldn’t be done unless you really have content for it, and story written down…or at least a GOOD chunk of it. :man_shrugging:

Grammarly…yep. I know how you feel, it enjoys messing with me as well! :laughing:

The down side of your “speed” however manifests in spelling, grammar and “sentence flow” issues aplenty. It certainly seems like English is not your primary language and this is exacerbated by you racing to the finish line instead of taking the time to give your works due care and attention.

Grammarly for the most part is correct in it’s assessments however. I just thought it amusing that adding a word and additional comma turned a compound sentence into a not-compound sentence.

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Well, I suppose it is correct. It’s not perfect though. :thinking:

Regarding my…down side. What can i say, no one is perfect. As for me not taking the time to give my works care and attention. That would be false.

The first thing i wrote, i won’t deny it. It’s crappy. I myself joke about it on my own account in other projects. But others? I dare say improvement is noticeable by far. But i always say, i do the best i can. And i try my best to not keep those reading waiting too long.

I am fully aware of taking time to polish things is needed. And i can always do that at a later point. But neither i want to be like many authors out there, waiting two years to release something.

We all have our way of doing things different people, different ways of course. Which is PERFECTLY fine. But if i have to make a small sacrifice in terms of grammar and spelling but push the WIP out there and ACTUALLY finish it, instead of taking god knows how much time. I will do it.

Do i need to polish it later, work on it after that? Sure i do, and i will do it. Simple as that.

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I understand that abandoned projects may frustrate us as readers, however, the purpose of WIP’s is us to help the author not us to demand from them. If it bothers you, I would suggest you wait for the released games.

Also, even demos of 3000 words are hard to put together, so, I can see many reasons why some authors want to post an early demo- motivational, feedback. Anyway, it makes me sad to see a project that I liked to die, even so - it happens. Most of the authors of these WIPs write for fun.


As long as you’re faster than Havenstone you’ll be fine :stuck_out_tongue:

However your works (even the current ones) are very hard to read and mentally draining for a native British English speaker. I spend more time mentally fixing language issues than enjoying the story you’re trying to tell. This makes me less inclined to buy the finished product, should you finish.

One well written WIP is better than four rushed ones.


Creating a game is exciting and being an active member of a dynamic community is attractive to some. Often, people will not see (or understand what they see) the consequences of beginning a project.

Others will feel that they can work to overcome whatever obstacles that might exist and that in doing so, they will be able to complete their project.

My opinion on starting a WiP thread has changed over time. I now will not start a WiP until well after the project is under way and I am ready to advance the project from being a slice-of-life demo to a full working version of the game.

I often question the applicability of Discourse to this process – the vision of this forum software development team often does not align with this community’s needs and often changes are done to further their social media driven vision to the detriment of our authors/developers.


From personal experience, I would say that even one WP is a huge undertaking. One has to put all his free time and care and love for it. Although I understand authors that try to do others, too. If one gets stuck on “Writers block” or whatnot it’s useful to change the pace and look at different things on another WIP. But always there should be one which is the primary focus.

I have struggled myself with the thought of making 2 more as I have ideas which I want to come to life, but in the end, if I do that, the progress would halt, quality would suffer and I would be overwhelmed.

I think it’s best to focus on one WIP and if the author has new ideas then to write them down, but not go fully into it. It’s better to finish one project than take a decade to finish 2 or more…


Given your posts in another thread on the attitude of the developers of Discourse (same fols behind stack exchange if memory serves) I’d strongly suggest finding alternate software. Not at all an easy task though.

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Faster? Possible i say? :thinking:

Understood, truth be told. For someone who learned english by literally listening to others, and reading it on his own. I dare say i am fine. When i was going to school…we didn’t have english classes. Don’t ask…this country is…bah.

So i self learned it, no books or anything. So you will have to forgive my style of writing. I am not sure what can i do to make it easier to read, but i’ll try what i can, depending on what sort of feedback i am given. I really need things pointed out.

As for BUYING my products. You won’t get a chance for that truth be told. Not now at least, and as for the future? That is difficult to predict. But everything so far is free. :slight_smile:

As for your…one well written WIP is better than four rushed ones. Agreed! :slight_smile:

But either way, to not turn this into a personal discussion here. Thank you a lot for your words and your honest opinion. Really, really appreciated!



Honestly, I think with the English cleaned up your work would be worth buying.

I think we did de-rail slightly but the gist of what I was going for was that your rushing multiple wips was having a negative impact on their quality, at least in my opinion.


One WIP if you are serious about finishing it and not just playing around with concepts and coding. Getting one game out in three years is better than two in six.


Warning. Long rambly post follows :slight_smile:

WIPs are like rabbits. The multiply out of control if you don’t watch them carefully. I mean adding a second WIP won’t do any harm right? Whoops, somehow now there’s 3, that wasn’t meant to happen. Now there’s 5, where did the extra two come from?.. :rabbit2: :rabbit2: :rabbit2: :rabbit2: :rabbit2:

But yeah, it’s one of the joys of being a writer with an out of control imagination. There’s always something new and shiny that you want to put down on paper (computer screen?) before you forget it… and then it’s so much more fun and easier to write than the older project that’s getting snarled in complicated variables and branching storylines at 80k+ words so you keep going with it, and before you know it, there’s another WIP to add to the list.

I know with mine, I had the best intentions with starting some “side projects” were meant to be just that- mini projects. Oedipus was meant to be under 60k (was about 110k when complete from memory). I thought Dragon Chronicles would be under 50k, but it’s currently 80-90k and still not quite done. Abysm’s veil started out as a contest entry. It’s probably going to be closer to 200k when finished. It’s really hard not to end up with scope creep, and then those little mini projects become full sized ones even when you don’t mean that to happen.

So yeah, the fewer WIP’s the better for getting something actually completed. One-two max is probably ideal. (Says the person with more than that due to the rabbits episode. Do as I say, not as I do :wink:) I did let them multiply out of control a while back, and they’re all 60k+ at the moment- so a lot of work has gone into all of them. It’s not writers deliberately trying to annoy people with starting extra games, it just kind of happens if you’re not careful. I’ve tried to learn the lesson and am now working through the existing WIP’s to get them all done, but I find I need to switch between two WIPs from time to time (or just write a strictly miniture project like for Ectocomp) as I need a break from them/get stuck. So I think 2 at a time to focus on is fair if you work that way.

I realise that having slowly updated WIPs can be very annoying for testers, but there will always be abandoned WIPs happening on the forum as it kind of acts as a sounding board for new works and ideas to be tried out (and not all will meet with a good reception or the author may just change their mind), and is full of people writing stories part time/ as a hobby/ new writers trying out CS.

It has always happened, but I wonder if one of the things that is exacerbating this is the trend to push for longer and longer games in order to have them be popular. Anything under 200k is now considered short, but the amount of work required to produce a 200k game is not double that of a 100k game (which used to be the standard for a “reasonably long” game a few years ago). Games get exponentially more time consuming to manage (and less likely to be finished as they stretch out over years) for a lot of writers the longer they get.

It’s particularly bad for new HG authors who I feel like often get overwhelmed, abandon projects +/- start new ones instead of getting a smaller game completed, learn from building that, then move onto a longer game if they want next time. I suspect it’s one of the reason we get a lot of those very short demo concepts that never go anywhere past that.


For me, it feels like the important thing is what the author gets out of it, rather than what readers and assorted outsiders feel is “sensible.” Are they looking to actually sell a finished product? Or are they just having fun writing and noodling around with code, and if it eventually crosses the finish line that’s cool too but not really a concern? There are no wrong answers, imo.

Tl;dr - I approach WIPs the way I do fan fiction: It’s the author’s project, and they’re inviting me along for the ride free of charge, but ultimately it’s not about me. If they want an editor, they’ll pay for one. I’ll just enjoy what’s on offer.


I’ll be honest I am also working on another, unposted WIP. It helps me combat my writer’s block ten fold. Truth be told, that WIP will probably never get finished, but it’s fun to take my mind off my main work for something fun, creative, and different, while still using my motivation to write even if I have no new ideas for my main WIP. The two stories are completely different and require much different coding so it has helped me become a better writer/coder. Another thing I do to help writers block is do research on the type of story I am trying to write. All these methods have really helped develop my writing. Plus, with a side WIP I’m not as invested in, new ideas come more freely to me for the game I actually would be interested in publishing. I’m not saying start a hundred new projects (lol, i definitely have a ton of notes in my phone for new projects), all up to the writer on what you can handle!


Literally every single word of this is unvarnished truth. Particularly the bit about first-time authors. I bet that the vast majority of first-timers who got published as opposed to stopping before the finish line didn’t have multiple WIPs at the time.


The first part of this sentence is true from my experiences and observations but I do not see the “trend to push for longer and longer games” influencing this – at least since I’ve been here.

The number of “active” WiPs at any one time seems to be (anecdotally) pretty stable.

Authors/developers active at one time change - turnover of author/developers seems to ebb when summer and other “breaks” like holidays happen and flow during the rest of the year but the actual number of WiPs do not.

One of the things that has changed is the automatic timer now active on WiP threads. The opening and closing of WiPs may influence what people conclude or observe.

The social media real-time “conversation” format of Discourse impacts how WiP threads operate and the lack of threaded discussion formatting I believe makes it much more difficult for an author/developer to conduct a proper feedback loop – unless they take the effort and time to foster it.

A skilled and involved author/developer can get a lot out of their experience here; some will prefer alternatives like Tumblr – which really makes the process complicated.

Edit –

This is part of the problem – The WiP thread is supposed to be a milestone that an author/developer uses to get their game published by the HG label. Feedback, even that which tells the author that they need editorial help is essential to this process.

If testers treat these as nothing more than fan fiction blog pieces, it defeats the purpose for these in the first place.