January 2024's Writer Support Thread

We stan random spiderman theories here. Good job.

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Goddamn, mate. That’s impressive work.

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Thanks! :smiley:

And yes–minigames! There are some of them in this thread.

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The minigames are going to be part of your game?

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@spoano best of luck with Extreme Ball!

@Jacic that’s really fun to return to something creative after being away a long time. I have at least two different embroidery pieces that I’d love to complete when I pull myself together to actually do it.

@leiatalon amazing to hear about the TMP update! If you end up writing for the romance jam, do put a link here! And @MoonlightBomber congratulations on the GGJ entry!

I think my method is pretty much what @Eiwynn said in her post. I do end up shuffling things around a bit once I’m drafting, as sometimes something will seem like a good idea at the coding stage but not turn out to flow so well once the actual words are in there.

Oh my gosh, this is really lovely of you to say - thank you so much :heart: Excuse me, who was cutting onions in here??

This is a really good idea - it means that the style choices can be more easily grasped by players and don’t add friction to understanding (unless added friction is the point, in which case go wild!)

@Leinco I hope you’re better soon, I well know the out-of-hours 111 experience and I’m thinking of you and hoping that you got somewhere useful.

@will that’s incredible! You’re in the home stretch!

Here is a small bit of the original outline for Creme de la Creme. There is some entertainingly out of date stuff in there (did you know Karson’s first name was originally Luca/Lucia? and that the Gallatin teachers were gender-selectable? and that Mr Griffith was known to be a widower? I sure didn’t remember any of that. Also, I only figured out the reason for Blaise’s enmity once I was writing the chapter itself) but I wrote this plus similar stuff for the rest of the chapters before starting the project.

Here it is - contains spoilers, some of which are out of date

Chapter One: Arrival at Gallatin

Arrival at Gallatin College by train, during an autumn thunderstorm. You meet Freddie and Gonzalez, your fellow newcomers, on the train, but when you arrive, the carriage to the school is delayed. Whether you walk into the storm or encourage your new friends to wait, Karson eventually arrives to take you to Gallatin. Meet the teachers and your dorm-mates, clash with Blaise Marechal, a bully who wants to put you in your place, and figure out where you fit into this sparkling world. How do you take down Blaise and oust them from the college? Do you prioritise friendliness or studiousness? Which teachers and students will you befriend?

Chapter Two: Crème de la Crème

Despite your talents, Renaldt bluntly informs you of a gap in your learning (based on your lowest Primary Stat). You must be tutored by one of your peers. Not only does the school require its students’ skills to be at their height, but also the annual Crème de la Crème Competition is starting – and Gallatin has not won for four years. Do you try to make friends with your tutor, use the tutor for boosting your grades, or use it as an excuse to slack off? When Freddie and Delacroix clash over the existence of the supernatural via an alleged crying statue in the teachers’ lounge, who do you support and how do you prove your case? When a dinner is laid on at Archambault Academy, will you scout out students for potential spouses, or focus on the competition? How will you influence the prize staff are to decide on?

Chapter Three: Finding Your Place

On a charitable trip bringing luxury food to the local gold-mining town – a mine owned by Renaldt – you spot a familiar face. Blaise Marechal, who was ousted in Chapter One – but what could they be doing here? Investigation, if pursued, yields tight-lipped Prefects and the creeping sense that something odd is going on.

But college life does not allow much time for introspection. You cannot thrive (some say you cannot survive) at Gallatin without finding a niche, and that’s where the cliques come in. Some official, some decidedly not, each group has its aims and desires, and each requires the PC to prove themselves. If the PC fails to join a Clique once, the PC loses credibility with that Clique and must try to join another which will always be successful.

Chapter Four: The Winter Ball

Snowfall comes, and with it the end of term. If your Grades, Popularity or Virtue have become too low, a stat-responsive event is triggered here based on the lowest stat. But the Winter Ball is on its way, and with it the chance to shine. Who will you seduce at the ball: a peer, an Archambault student, or will you keep your eyes open for a marriage of convenience? When Karson is bullied by an Archambault teacher, will you step in? After school finishes, what do you do in your holidays: go home, stay with a friend, or remain at school to focus on your studies? Do you investigate the Blaise Marechal’s whereabouts?

It’s worth noting that I wrote all that for CoG to look at, and when I’m doing my own planning it’s a lot less nicely written. The below are more representative:

the start of my planning notes for the Royal Affairs epilogue - more spoilers

Informal but relatively nonchaotic:

planning notes for Chapter 1 of Noblesse Oblige - you guessed it, spoilers

More chaotic but more detailed and generally more useful for me when I got into the writing of things. I was figuring out how the stats worked in practice and was keen to keep wordcount concise so planned in more detail.

@Stewart_Baker That’s really fantastic - congratulations! And @izzily I hope the last bit goes really well!

@LiliArch your line made me giggle!

After that monstrously long post, I am gearing up for tomorrow when I really want to try to finish drafting Honor Bound Chapter 8… it is really hefty and has been complicated to plan, but I’m nearly there and I’m past most of the complex bits now. But I did have write down a few comments saying things like TODO: reference [this thing] from Chapter 5 so once the draft is done it’s going to need a bit of poking at. Fingers crossed for next week!

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More detail keeps me on track, too! James and my chapter outlines for Bread Must Rise were short, but for my current project they’re about a page per chapter with lots of “if this, then that” kind of stuff to help me remember branches.

I was interested to see estimated wordcounts in some of those shared handwritten outlines. That’s something I do in prose fiction all the time (also to keep myself paying attention to wordcount) and over time I find you can get pretty accurate with them!

Have you have success with sticking to them in a choicescript setting, @HarrisPS? I often find I think I know how long part of a scene will be, but then being surprised by how many (many, many) more words it takes in the end. (Often because I think up a way to add more detail or character interaction.)

ETA: Kind of related, I was looking at the outline for my second chapter and… it’s already got inaccuracies in it now, after only a single chapter. :joy: That doesn’t surprise me much, though. Even though I write detailed outlines, I also tend to revisit them throughout the writing process to tweak and update things based on ideas I had while writing.

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lol. lmao.

The epilogue wordcount was an estimate for the code skeleton which… I went higher than the “6250 max” that I hubristically set down for myself. While writing Honor Bound I’ve been recording my wordcounts and code-skeleton counts and it seems to range between the chapter wordcount being 4-6 times the size of the code. Once I’ve drafted the whole thing I’m going to do some number-crunching to try to get a sense of my own verboseness so I can judge it more accurately next time around.

I’ve found it gets really longer really quickly when doing things where there’s a lot of finicky branching. (Just things like having a simple chat can balloon when factoring what they may have chatted about previously, if it’s relevant!) For that epilogue, there are really big chunks of the file that are devoted to only a few sets of choices to be seen on a given playthrough. I planned for the epilogue to be about 25000 words and it ended up about 50000, mostly because of scenes branching so many ways depending on the companion you have with you, plus a bunch of very branchy references about what the PC got up to in the previous year. I aspirationally intended to streamline Honor Bound a bunch when I was first outlining, but it’s ended up really huge.

That said, I was pretty good at being concise with Noblesse Oblige - the first full draft was about 100,000 words which was what I intended, and the beta and revisions added about 40,000 words (which was needed - it would have been a bit too fast without that). I remember being quite strict with myself with how long to do each chapter and seem to have misplaced that ability in the last year :sweat_smile:

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Thank you for showing this! This is a really good example of what COG is looking for for ‘outlines’, which can be useful for those of us who are considering querying them after we have something to our name.

XD Your handwriting is so cute! That said, this is much less formal, indeed. Pretty similar to my own outlines. O.O I like it.
An example of my own outlining:

Outline example 1

Chapter 1: A Humble Beginning

Ideas:

Introduce PC as a palace maid facing abuse and hardships.
hardships: Isolation (MC doesn’t know anyone, and

Provide backstory of PC’s transmigration into the palace. (abusive family sold them into it.)

Set up the initial encounters with Qin Bolin, Zhu Wenqian, and Xue Lianlian.

Chapter 2: Rising from the Shadows

Describe MC’s journey of self-improvement and scheming.
Highlight MC’s rise to become Empress’ handmaid and gaining influence.

(at some point in the series, Zhu Xiurong begins making Hezi popular, the MC can choose to join into this fashion statement (and gain charisma later, or ignore it.)

Explore the budding romance between MC and Qin Bolin.

Chapter 3: Forbidden Love

Introduce Zhu Wenqian as a forbidden love interest due to social constraints.
Develop the emotional connection between MC and Zhu Wenqian.
Present the challenges and obstacles they face in pursuing their love.

Introduce Hao Chengling - accidental meeting in the garden when Hao Chengling needed minute to breath/contemplate. He runs out to see the MC abusing a tree (out of frustration themselves), trying to confront them about it and the MC is like “what’s it to you anyway? It’s just a tree,”

But also, an example of what my planning docs are:


So that’s how I set that up.

Omg, I have been running into this problem too. TAT

What a lovely word.

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Laughing with you. I was thinking chapter 3 would be around 25k, but writing branches for each RO (and an extra branch in case the player just wants to do their own thing) means alone time gets wordy. I should really know better by now. :rofl:

In other news, I feel like the odd one out with my usual profile picture in the gaming world. I’m used to having my purple hat pic in all the places, and haven’t a chance at real anonymity due the way I’ve published, so I don’t mind using my face. But now I’m in forums and discord servers where pretty much no one has their actual picture as an avatar. I’m feeling a lot like the gif where dude says, “Hello, fellow kids.”

So…do I take a page out of Hannah’s book and use the illustration of one of my characters as an avatar, or keep the purple hat?

  • Lissa (left)
  • Rowan (PC - center)
  • Purple Hat
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I’d add another option that says “Do whatever tf you want” but I’m afraid I’d get no constructive feedback if I added that, and it’s what I’ll do anyway, but if you have an opinion on the avatars I’d love to hear it.

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Switch them up! I do, and I’m pretty sure that giving each character “screentime” on the forum can prompt interest in them. :revolving_hearts:

If you want to stick with the purple hat to reinforce your brand, that is totally acceptable too. I just feel it would be a bit more fun to highlight your art assets.

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I love the art for TMP, and Lissa’s even my favorite character, but I vote for keeping the purple hat. It’s so you.

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Draw a purple hat on one of the characters. Best of both worlds.

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Hey so uh… No reason or anything but… WHERE DID YOU GET THAT ART, holy WOW that’s pretty. TAT I’d love to commission that artist if I had any money. Like, damn.

Like, this is deffo the best compromise, imo.

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Adrien Valdes does all the art for Heart’s Choice and quite a bit for CoG as well.

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Facts. The art for Their Majesties’ Pleasure is AMAZING! As is all the art I’ve seen from Adrien Valdes. I love it!

I don’t think I could do the purple hat on the character justice if I tried to draw it (despite going to art school many years ago), though it’s a great idea.

I like @Eiwynn’s idea of switching it up! I think I might just do that.

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bad MSpaint job as proof of concept
image

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Okay wait, maybe you’re onto something there.

Edit: I tried. I failed. I tried again.

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I made a game!

Honestly feels kinda surreal to have a WIP posted on the forums after a decade of being here. I think I’m gonna celebrate tonight lol.

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CELEBRATE! :tada: welcome to the writer’s club! This is an amazing achievement, treat yourself a little bit.

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And a Mech game. HECK YEAH!

Congrats! :tada:

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