January 2023's Writer Support Thread

Building on what everyone else has said:

  • The supernatural genre incorporates elements that cannot be understood by science and operate outside the rules of the real world

Supernatural fiction normally concerns itself with matters of god, the soul, archangels, and resurrection. Subgenres include supernatural horror fiction (i.e. the work of H. P. Lovecraft), Gothic (i.e. Frankenstein), ghost stories, supernatural thrillers, and other macabre stories in the horror genre.

  • The paranormal genre of literary fiction includes beings and phenomena that are outside the realm of normal scientific understanding of the natural world.

Though the paranormal genre may include supernaturalist elements, this fiction genre generally includes creatures that have been popularized by folklore, fairy tales, and popular culture, such as fairies, aliens, shape-shifters, and the undead.

So, the key is supernatural = godlike/deity and themes that you normally find in religion and myths – things that can never be totally answered by science and modern learning

and

paranormal = fairy tales, folklore and urban legends. These topics might someday be explained (ie. ufo phenomena)

5 Likes

I feel like supernatural and horror mix really well. Like, when you think of a ghost story, nine times out of ten, it’s going to be a horror story.

1 Like

Both supernatural and paranormal mix well with horror.

Sometimes authors mix both supernatural and paranormal together – much of modern fantasy has elements of both.

1 Like

My beta plans will be delayed a day or two due to migraines, but I am otherwise still quite optimistic.

7 Likes

There’s 365 days each year (some of them even have 366!) to release a beta, but you only have one head (presumably, I dunno your life). Take care of yourself first.

8 Likes

Yes! Yes! Yes! Chapter 14 of Last Dream is ready to play!

I can’t believe I did it! Three chapters in about one week! And that’s only because of this forum’s great people supporting me! :two_hearts: :two_hearts: :two_hearts:

THANK YOU SO MUCH, EVERYONE! :gift: :gift: :gift:

I promise I won’t stop writing and will do my best to keep this incredible pace (although I guess it’s a miracle).

12 Likes

You may be conflating the genre with the show. Supernatural fiction usually doesn’t involve angels lol. What happened to, like, ghosts and cryptids?

I also think separating paranormal and supernatural fiction is like trying to make a new genre and calling it “terror” and explaining in depth how it totally isn’t “horror”.

3 Likes

I dunno, maybe it has paranormal things that just look supernatural but actually are natural? Like, someone pretending to be a poltergeist, or something. Although then it probably would end up as mystery or something.

2 Likes

I’m not sure cryptids count as supernatural. Like, is the bigfoot supernatural? :thinking:

Anything with angels is definitely supernatural (or, depending on the twist, sci-fi), though you’re obviously correct in that most supernatural stuff does not involve angels.

Lovecraft isn’t supernatural horror, it’s cosmic horror.

This one caused me actual physical pain. Frankenstein is sci-fi horror, not supernatural horror.

Genre depends a lot on the twist. If someone’s pretending to be a ghost, that can be horror, but it’s not supernatural or paranormal. It’s just a scam (example: The Hound of the Baskervilles isn’t a supernatural or paranormal story). If the ghost is real, and it’s the soul of the dead trying to convey a message and rattling chains and whatnot, that’s supernatural. If it’s the result of the electrical impulses of the brain, then it’s probably paranormal.

My rule of thumb: if it involves pseudo-science, it’s paranormal. If not, supernatural. The Gabriel Knight series of games is about the supernatural; Grey Matter (also by Jane Jensen) is paranormal.

4 Likes

@will and @JBento – classifications of genres are both subjective and debatable. Which is why I won’t nay-say either of you, except with the following:

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, one of the most famous works of the Gothic canon, is also considered to be the first science fiction novel – and for good reason.

Yet, because the very nature of the monster is in question throughout Shelley’s work, there is a debate on whether it is a naturally explained monster, or not.

If you are absolutely certain that the monster can be explained by science then to you, Shelly’s work is Gothic science fiction horror, and nothing but that.

If, on the other hand, the monster is an unknown entity, and you’re unsure what’s going on (including whether insanity is involved or not), then Shelly’s work is Gothic supernatural horror fiction.

Gothic is an Archetype categorization that provides a continuum between genres, and it is what ties works often in one genre to others in a different genre. Dracula and Frankenstein are both Gothic works. In @JBento 's mind, they belong to different genres, and in my mind they belong to the same genre.

Here is a Venn diagram that illustrates this concept:

This diagram can be found here: Differences between Gothic and Horror (and Science Fiction)

National Geographic wrote a wonderful article on: Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus which I recommend which explores Shelly’s particular mix of science and the supernatural.

Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus

While I acknowledge Shelly is the “Mother of Science Fiction”, her story is also a work of the supernatural.

As put in the National Geographic article:

Shelly’s work portrays Dr. Frankenstein as a victim of the fates, and his science as a byproduct of chance, as much as through method.

6 Likes

I think that while genre can be useful for marketing purposes and for deciding whether something will be to your liking, there’s no way to strictly define it. There’s too much overlap in elements between genres, like thriller and horror, for example.

I hope to get chapter four of The Advisor completed this month. I didn’t get anything done last month because my computer deleted about 4,000 words and the backups didn’t work like they were supposed to :smiling_face_with_tear: I’m trying to reframe it as a chance to write something even better this month, though!

Good luck to everyone!

8 Likes

Ughhh–…

I’m very glad I released my demo so early into the month, but the first thing I wanted to do after I released it was completely rehaul the stats screen.

This shit sucks, no matter how you swing it. I am pretty good with the programming/coding/scripting side of things, but it just takes so long–! I guess I should just be happy I will be future proofed, since a lot of this stuff will make it much easier for me in the long run but man this isn’t the fun part lol.

I’ve been fixing the stats screen for the past day or so, and I feel like there is still so much I have to swap around with it. But I also am worried about squirreling away too much behind a series of choices (I’d imagine that would get annoying for readers, trying to follow the ‘three tap’ rule from Apple’s design team.)

Efforts put here are probably one of the more generally unsung things regarding IF-- You never have to worry about a stats screen with a traditional novel!

Response to @poison_mara :
Thanks for the support :blush: I am working on the stats screen because I didn’t feel like writing. I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy the process of fixing it, but I figure if I do this now, I can relax and focus on other things! Honestly, the only thing making me nervous is the invasive thoughts I brought up last month about feeling deceptive, like I’m fooling people and going to dissappoint them. Hearing the positivity though has made me very excited >:0

Edit: Holy shit it is so much cleaner now-- Instead of like 6 different options I’m down to three. I’m excited to see what people think of the layout, though I doubt I’ll get many comments about it lol.

7 Likes

Shhh, Relax. You are doing great. Don’t forget to check out that you are having fun with the whole process or you will end up like me.

Learn from my mistakes and take your time, be proud of your development even if you are in the less glamorous part of creating a game.

I know that is difficult to see it with perspective from the writer’s place. But believe me, you are doing really well.

8 Likes

A writer is never deceptive when is trying to streamline the project. You are only deceptive when you marketing the game for something is not or if you tutorialize a mechanic like would do X and then it doesn’t do that.

For the rest is fair game. Sometimes you have to lie about plot elements to keep the story going and reach a certain plot reveal. If not the mistery books wouldn’t exist.

5 Likes

I think the stats screen is one of the hardest things to get right, and one that you’ll be coming back to a lot. In many cases, a stats screen can make or break a game. You could have an amazing story, but if the stats screen is utter rubbish, then it may turn people off.

4 Likes

I am currently playing with *redirect_scene and learning just how shoddy it is.

Apparently, once you use it once, the game believes it is ‘outside of the stat screen’ so if you use a *goto_scene function in order to return to the stat screen, you can’t use *redirect_scene again because it borks it lol.

No idea how or what the variable would be to flip the ‘stats screen on’ back to true but gorsh am I upsetti since I effectively wasted my time trying to make an auto refresh.

Honestly? I am quite happy with the stats screen, just annoyed about this quirk that I can’t work around regarding CS (in order for the stats screen to save updates, it must have the game move forwards).

5 Likes

Yes. This known bug is one that the Choice Script team has been working on, but I do not think they have found a solution to it yet.

Have you tried creating a “empty” scene to direct the game to go to, and then redirect it back? Using a “goto scene” to advance the story in this way may be a work around.

As an aside, this very bug is why those who use the rand command will do so pages in advance of the actual need. By scripting the rand commands early, you avoid readers “gaming” the rand command to get the better outcomes.

7 Likes

Not @Phenrex but before the thread was resolved, I tried to find workarounds and couldn’t find any. I tried putting the on/off toggle in choicescript_stats and in a separate scene file, adding *page_break so the game can move forward. I also tried *redirect_scene instead of *goto_scene. I even made another scene file in case the bug was only in startup.txt.

However, it looks like as long as you are on the stats menu, any “Next” button you press will not cause a refresh. In other words, that button will only work if you are “in-game”.

If anyone wants to look I can show you the files to reproduce the bug.

Redirect_scene only works in choicescript_stats. It will not work in any other scene. It’s not meant to be a perfect substitute for the “Return to the game” button at the top because it will not automatically return to where the reader was before accessing the stats screen.

Edit: I was confused by what you meant but I think I understand now. Did you mean using redirect_scene to return to the stats screen? That won’t work. Again, it only works in stats mode.

When I used it for testing, it was only to 1. redirect to a “blank” scene for the purpose of reaching a page_break, and 2. redirect to a setting page where I could toggle the variable. In both cases I used goto_scene to return to stats. The variable did print correctly in the stats screen until I went back to the game.

4 Likes

Isn’t redirect_scene meant for returning to game from stats screen though? Why would you use it inside the stats screen?

2 Likes

Either a bug erased one of my file, or I did it without even realize/remember it.
At least there wasn’t a lot written inside, so not much work is lost… and It wouldn’t be too much effort to write it again

4 Likes