July 2023's Writer's Support Thread

Happy birthday! (saw the little cake emoji next to your name haha)

And nice, I bet that chapter looks a whole lot cleaner now :smile:

As for me, I’m still slowly working my way through my goal of completing Chapter 1. I’ve yet to start on my goal of creating a title banner and chapter headings, or writing my intro post… but I’ll get there.

Short excerpt for the 15th:

An introductory passage of my first chapter that I rewrote a few days ago

There is no time for breakfast.

Throwing on the layers of wrapped shirts, sashed trousers, and loose robes that make up the easy-fitting attire expected of imperial students, you splash a bowl of water on your face and rinse your mouth before shoving the homework scrolls you didn’t have time to finish into your linen satchel. Leather boots pulled on and the door to your room locked, you descend the stairs of your residential building with rapid heartbeats keeping awake a dizzy head.

Morning sunlight follows your sprinting form across the palace grounds.

Servants scrub stone flooring with soaped washcloths and carry buckets of dirty fabrics to the laundry. Messengers push past you to deliver formal mandates to courtiers engaged in loud disputes. Guards steady their hands on sword and spear as they escort visiting officials from the provinces. Foreign diplomats, noticeable from their lack of a crisp-white scarf fastened around the collar, banter with high-ranking Kopirtansh ministers, their accented phrases of excitement floating into your ear as you rush past.

Pillared halls encircled by billowing sheets of translucent curtains and tiered towers walled by intricately latticed windows blur together into a rich palette of heavy mahogany, deep jade, shimmering amber, marbled ivory, and inked ebony.

Your eyes flicker across the tiled roofs, geometric domes, lofty spires, and open terraces of the palace skyline ahead.

You are outrageously late.

9 Likes

I’ve noticed that every excerpt posted here is wonderfully written. I cant wait to read all of your works ngl :pray:

5 Likes

Halfway report time!

Operation Relax:

  • Going well, just got to hang in until my holiday.

About 75% complete with the first part of Act 2: Operation Angelseek. Looking to be done by the 22nd. As for the cover image, well, let’s just say I’ve ended up with a bunch of useless train drawings that I realisitically would not be able to use anywhere, so yeah.

As for my excerpt, this is a flashback that occurs at the beginning of Act 2, provided the player is on the Ex-Yakuza route.

A normal monorail ride.

Seven years ago, northern Osaka.

A screech of metal grinding against metal fills your ears as the monorail pulls into the station. Next to you, ${ryoji/ryuko}'s breathing increased at an alarming rate as the doors slowly began to open. Upon seeing two Yakuza members standing in front of them, one with very noticeable blood stains on ${rhis} face, the passengers quickly vacate the carriage. 

You and ${ryoji/ryuko} board the monorail, and take a seat in the empty carriage. As the monorail begins to move, ${ryoji/ryuko} takes out a tissue, and begins wiping the blood off of ${rhis} face. "Why, the hell," $!{rhe} begins inbetween breaths, "Are we taking, the monorail?"

Your eyes scan up and down the carriage, before replying, "Sometimes it seems like Busujima-sama is out to get us."

Face now clean from blood, ${ryoji/ryuko} lets out a sigh. "Yeah, one of these days Busujima-sama's ego is going to get the whole family put behind bars."

Shaking ${rhis} head, ${ryoji/ryuko} turns to look at you. "You okay though? We roughed that guy up pretty badly."

Your minds goes back to the alleyway. It was a routine collection job, a guy who had borrowed money from the family, and refused to pay it back. He had it coming, or so you keep telling yourself. ${ryoji/ryuko}, well, let's just say some of it got on ${rhis} face.
*fake_choice
    #You had no issue with it, the guy had it coming.
        "I'm fine. Bastard deserved it anyway." You say flatly.
        
        ${ryoji/ryuko} stares at you blankly for a few seconds, before returning ${rhis} gaze back to the floor. 
        
        "Suit yourself." $!{rhe} scoffs, before ${rhe} takes out a cigarette, lighting it, and raising it to ${rhis} mouth. Smoke fills the carriage as the monorail continues on, oblivious to the tension within itself.
        
    #You knew what you were getting into when you joined the Yakuza, but still, ${ryoji/ryuko} didn't have to go that far.
        "I knew what the job was going to entail, but still…" You turn your head to look ${ryoji/ryuko} in the eyes.
        
        "I'm sure you didn't need to beat him half to death."
        
        ${ryoji/ryuko} is silent for a moment, the gears in ${rhis} head clearly whirring as ${rhe} figures out how to respond.
        
        "He had it coming, his problem, not ours." $!{rhe} scoffs, before ${rhe} takes out a cigarette, lighting it, and raising it to ${rhis} mouth. Smoke fills the carriage as the monorail continues on, oblivious to the tension within itself.
        
    #It was a simple collection job, no violence was needed. Not that that sentiment helps now, after the fact.
        You are silent for a moment, as you mull over how to word this.
        
        "It was just a collection job, there was no need to beat the guy half to death. Hell, you didn't even need to touch him in the first place."
        
        ${ryoji/ryuko} lets out a large sigh. "Didn't take you for being squeamish ${pcgname}. The guy was refusing to give us what he owed, of course I beat the shit of him."
        
        You open your mouth to refute what ${rhe} said, but you quickly close it. No point arguing here. ${ryoji/ryuko} shakes ${rhis} head before ${rhe} takes out a cigarette, lighting it, and raising it to ${rhis} mouth. Smoke fills the carriage as the monorail continues on, oblivious to the tension within itself.
        
You stare out of the window, watching the scenery go by, your mind lost in thought. It was no secret among the members of the Busujima family that Kaito Busujima was overly egotistical, and with Shakunetsu getting ever older, and more likely to die with each passing year, his pride only increased.

A year or two back, when Kaito and Toshiko had their little row over succession, there was a group of kobun who decided that they would rather have Toshiko as the kumicho. When Toshiko caved, Kaito collected their fingers like they were going out of fashion. You still remember the almost comical view of the queue outside of Kaito's office, the looks on their faces resigned as they awaited their turn to perform the yubitsume.

And with Shakunetsu increasingly giving his responsibilities to the lieutenants as his health gets worse, a clear trend emerged. While under Shakunetsu's leadership, the family generally kept to "less-violent" activities, Kaito, and Tsukasa in particular, were now pushing more extremes. You and ${ryoji/ryuko}'s recent excursion is a perfect example.

"The next stop is, Kadoma-shi."

${ryoji/ryuko} pats your arm, shaking you from your thoughts. "This is us, I'm going to give Hanabusa-sama a piece of my mind when we see her."

"Still unsure why Hanabusa-sama requested we hand the money to her directly, we could've easily just taken it down to Kamiyama bank." You voice your thoughts, mainly to keep ${ryoji/ryuko} calm, as it is clear as day ${rhe} fully intends on giving Akari a piece of ${rhis} mind.
*choice
    #Tell ${ryoji/ryuko} you'll do the talking. You don't want to end up losing a finger today.
        As the monorail pulls into the station, and begins to slow down, you hold out a hand. "Hand me the money ${ryoji/ryuko}."
        
        ${ryoji/ryuko} sends you a sharp glare, "What? Why?" $!{rhe} asks.
        
        "Because I know what you're like. You've got that look in your eyes where you're about to go do something stupid, and end up losing another chunk of finger."
        
        At your accusation, ${ryoji/ryuko} rubs the end of the little finger on ${rhis} left hand. $!{rhe} had already lost two segments, and was not keen to lose another. With a puff, ${rhe} reaches into ${rhis} suit pocket, and takes out the envelope with the money inside. You hold out your hand, and ${rhe} slams it down. "Here, fucking take it then."
        *page_break
        The monorail comes to a stop, and the doors slowly grind open. Standing there on the platform, wearing an elegant, yet revealing, sapphire blue dress, was Akari Hanabusa.
        
        As other passengers filed off of the monorail, they gave Akari a wide berth. The Busujima family wasn't exactly well-known by the general public, but Akari most certainly was. You and ${ryoji/ryuko} walk towards her, as you desperately fought to keep the lump in your throat down.
        
        *if gender = 1
            *if rin_gender = 1
                Akari's smile grows wide as the two of you come to a stop in front of her. "Hey there boys, you got a parcel for me?" She asks in a sultry tone.

        *if gender = 2
            *if rin_gender = 2
                Akari's smile grows wide as the two of you come to a stop in front of her. "Hey ladies, you got a parcel for me?" She asks in a sultry tone.

        *if gender = 1
            *if rin_gender = 2
                Akari's smile grows wide as the two of you come to a stop in front of her. "Hey there you two, you got a parcel for me?" She asks in a sultry tone.

        *if gender = 2
            *if rin_gender = 1
                Akari's smile grows wide as the two of you come to a stop in front of her. "Hey there you two, you got a parcel for me?" She asks in a sultry tone.

        You glance at ${ryoji/ryuko}, and after ensuring that ${rhe} isn't going to try anything, you turn back to Akari, and take out the envelope.
        
        Akari holds out her hand in front of her, as if she were a manager awaiting to receive a subordinate's resignation letter. You slowly place the envelope into her hand, wary of her eyes on you. It almost felt like you were in the den of a predator, and she was waiting to pounce.
        
        You move to turn around, having completed your adjective, but something tugs on your hand, preventing you from moving. Akari has grabbed hold of your hand, not letting go. You chance a glance at her face, and her eyes are looking directly into yours, bearing into your soul. Her bright, blonde hair was almost blinding as it reflected the overhead lights in the monorail station.
        
        She slowly curls her lip, and gives it a bite.
        *page_break
        Before you even realise what happened, she spins you around, and pulls you towards her, wrapping her arms around you, and squeezing you tight.
        
        To any onlookers, it would look like a questionable hug in public, but in actuality, this was one of Akari's most common torture methods.
        
        You breathing is quickly cut off as you attempt to struggle, but to no avail. Akari tuts, making shushing noises, as if she were attempting to lull a baby to sleep. "Shush. Just relax, ${pcfname}-${honorific}."
        
        Watching the display, ${ryoji/ryuko} clenches ${rhis} fist. "What do you want from us Hanabusa-sama? You wouldn't do this without a reason."
        
        Akari looks away from you, and glances towards ${ryoji/ryuko}. "You sure about that, Sasaki-${rhonorific}? Maybe I just want to *squeeze* this little cutie here, and take ${him/her} back to my place, and *play*." She says, the grip tightening on you. You try to sputter, but all you can do at this point is submit as your vision starts to go black.
        
        ${ryoji/ryuko} doesn't respond, not wanting to entertain Akari. 
        
        Akari giggles at ${ryoji/ryuko}'s silence. "*Hehe*, you were always a smart one Sasaki-${rhonorific}."
        
        You sputter and cough as you are suddenly released from Akari's embrace. You collapse to the floor, desperately filling your lungs with oxygen once more. Akari ignores you, and struts over to stand in front of ${ryoji/ryuko}. Being much taller than most people, she looks down towards ${rhim}.
        
        "In truth, I don't really want anything. But you…" She stops speaking to poke ${ryoji/ryuko} on the nose, "Clearly have a problem with me. You disembarked the monorail looking like you had a knife stuck in your throat, so I just want you to come out and say it. What is your problem with me Sasaki-${rhonorific}?"
        
        ${ryoji/ryuko} visibly gulps. From the floor, and having now regained your ability to breathe, you look over and see ${ryoji/ryuko} get the familiar look in ${rhis} eye.
        
        The one where a finger segment is about to be lost.
        
        The memory suddenly collapses amidst swirls of colour.
        *page_break
        *goto awaken

[Just to note, the final choice has several variations, I just didn’t want to make this excerpt too long.]

Keep it up everybody! I know you are all working so hard. :slight_smile:

6 Likes

I was doing really well at the start of this week, until I got sick. :frowning: So it’s been going slower than I wanted, but progress is progress. I’ll just make up for it next week.

my excerpt this month is one version of a conversation that has 12 different versions which has been my focus this week. I wanted to be done by Thursday, but its been taking longer than anticipated. (Why do I do this to myself?)

Summary
        I hesitate, unsure what to do. On the one hand, I hate to see them fight, but on the other, if I intervene they will know I've been eavesdropping instead of eating. I also won't get any more information, but if I stay they could catch me. Leaving would keep me from getting caught, but it would also stop me from overhearing anything else just like intervening. I bite my lip and scrunch my nose while I think.

		I frown when a light gigle interupts my thoughts. I move my head up just in time to see Samira elbow Oren with on her her hands covering her mouth. The hand she used to elbow him points at me, and Oren follows it to me then snorts. I narrow my eyes at them and put my hands on my hips which they seem to find even more funny, so I stamp my foot. 

		"What's so funny?"

		"It wasn't funny so much as cute," Oren corrects. "And that was you trying to process everything you overheard."

		"I wasn't processing," I disagree. "I was trying to decide if I should keep listening or leave."

		"I see," Oren tells, stroking his chin. "So now that we've caught you, what are you thinking?"

		"Why aren't you eating with the others?" Samira asks before I get the chance to answer. 

		"I'm tired of being left out," I complain. "I want to talk too!"

		Samira sighs. "We're not leaving you out. There are just somethings that you are too little for us to talk about with you."

		"I'm not little," I whine.

		"She's not saying you are Leech. Just that you're not old enough for this particular conversation."

		I look at him and pout. "But it's about me!"

		"I know," he breathes. "But that doesn't change anything."

		"Fine," I spit out.

		Samira shakes her head. "Are you sure we should take her with us this afternoon?"

		I lift my head up in excitement hearing Samira's question. I turn to Oren and give him a smile, hoping to sway him into letting me go with him. He looks back at him, blinking once before tilting his head to the floor. He drags his head over his hair. 

		"Do you think we have a choice?" he finally asks. "If we want her to help identify the necklace, we should probably bring it."

		"I would say so," Samira agrees.

		"And seeing as we can't get it off her. She has to come."

		"So I get to go?" I ask, jumping up and calping my hands. 

		"Yes, you get to come," Oren tells me.
		*goto visit_madam
7 Likes

I hope you feel better soon. Take care of your health.

5 Likes

Here is my snippet.

Summary

Darkness reigns in the dorms or at least the others did not stop crying and shrinking when night came.

they are like sunflowers in the garden. You shake your head in silence the smell of urine in the old clay potties. I hate their stinky smell.

“Augh. There are bedbugs all over the cotton cots. I don’t want to be here, we mutants don’t sleep”

You sigh; the last time you mentioned it you took a good spanking from Mrs Emma’s whip.

The other children, the humans, their eyes go out like oil lamps throughout the house.

You sit on your cot while, you scratch the bed bug bites with your two central hands.

My red eyes glow like embers in a fireplace. Maybe I am made of steam engines like the mechanical horses of the iron princess in the class stories.

You wonder until your keen sight how Sab’s cot shakes and hisses like a kitty.

You bury your hairy face between your only black burlap sheet. If Sab knows you are awake, she will hit and pinch you, like she always does. You frown until the perspective.
*choice
#"! will spy on her! I won’t let her hit me anymore.

Your gaze becomes a watery swamp, struggling to keep quiet as you follow every one of her erratic movements taking things hidden from between the corners.

Her malevolent chuckle rings in your sensitive ears like the flying metal owls that patrol the corridors of the hospice at midnight.

“Where is Sab going?”

Her bare feet rattle the crumbling hardwood like rusty wheels scratching your ears. But there is something else wrong.

No, it can’t be. You focus your eyes on the furtive gleam in her tiny filthy hands of your dear bully, there is a small crescent-shaped dagger.

You stand still on the threshold biting the hairy fist of your third hand. Should I follow her?

Your doubt only last until you hear Sab’s gibbering whispers from the other corner,“If I kill any of the weaker children by pretending ${name} did it, they’ll have to burn that bloody mutant spider. They will have to kill ${him} at last.”

4 Likes

I found a short but really helpful video on how to write slow burn romances, if anyone needs a little help with that

5 Likes

`“Now, let’s start the trial,” Erwin’s voice rang out, followed by the sound of two bangs. The sound of his gavel. His azure eyes peered down at a young man on his knees. He had shaggy brown hair and an unkempt stubble just beginning to grow on his face. “State your name for the record,” Erwin ordered.

"Jean Kirstein, your honor." The man replied. His eyes were trained on the floor. The floor was made cold, white marble. Coldness that was easier to handle than Erwin's stare.

"Jean Kirstein." Erwin clicked his tongue as if mocking the defendant. "You are charged with the crime of high way robbery. How do you plead.

Jean stiffed s he watched the judge. He seemed bored... how could he treat this trial so casually? "It's true, your honor. I am guilty."

Erwin let out a small chuckle and he raised his gavel. "Well then, I--"

"Wait!" Jean cried. "Don't I get a chance to explain?"

Erwin gripped his gavel tighter. "This better be amusing, Kirstein." His eyes narrowed.

A chill ran down Jean's spine and his lip trembled. "My family is starving your honor. I used the money I stole to buy food."

"You should have bought your freedom, Boy." Erwin mocked. Then, he slammed his gavel. "I declare the defendant guilty. He'll be hanged at dawn."

Jean's eyes widened. "What?" He struggled as two police officers grabbed his arms. "No, p-please! I'll do anything!"

"Do you know what they say about money?"

Jean gulped, shaking his head.

Erwin smirked triumphantly. "Money, my dear boy, is one hell of a lawyer. 

"Just give me a week!" Jean begged. "I'll work for what I owe! I swear!" Is voice got more desperate and he kicked his legs as the cops dragged him off.

Erwin's brows knitted together as his lips curled up in a malicious grin. "If you can't pay with with money, them you will pay with your life." His head back and let out a maniacal laugh which rang throughout the court room.
3 Likes

My usual snippet, which now has a variable check to determine which one has the highest affection level so far.

Snippet from Chapter 17

After some more introductions (and we all don’t mind doing it consecutively for people we meet for the first time), we learn that Neroko’s neighbor is named Jeshurun Gomez.
The pet dog he holds quickly rushes towards the bowl of water and drinks from it until he’s satisfied.

Jeshurun then introduces the doggie, as he caresses him.
“His name’s Cowardice the Courageous Dog, and he actually shares the bowl with the other dogs and cats of this immediate neighborhood.”
Hershey, being the curious cat, asks him, “It’s inevitable that you’ll be asked this, but why the name, nya?”
“I get asked that a lot, to be honest. If his face didn’t give it away, he looks like the kind of dog who will run away from cats and much meaner dogs. But he actually has balls of steel, and he actually repelled some nasty-looking dogs and even monsters with just his stares.”
Whoa! It’s all the more reason to not get on his bad side, alright.

And then, Cowardice himself scans our faces, as if he’s detecting which one of us he likes the most.
He then makes some blinks, which makes Jeshurun remark…
“Oh, he’s making some cat-kiss blinks at you. Even dogs do this, you know. And based on those blinks he makes…”

[Compare the four affection variables.]

[If variable [JoverlynAffection] has the most points so far]
“…he likes you the most, Joverlyn!”
The chatterbox blushes a little, but regains her composure a split-second later.
“Well, you don’t mind me petting him a little, right?”
“Yes, I’m giving you clearance to do so.”
After Jeshurun gives her the pink dog, Joverlyn gently strokes Cowardice’s back, and it’s clear that he’s getting more relaxed.
[Proceed]

[If variable [NerokoAffection] has the most points so far]
“…he likes you the most, my longtime neighbor!”
Neroko is clearly excited that she gets to touch Cowardice again after a while.
The pink dog willingly gets near Neroko, and she strokes his chin with her dainty fingers.
Hershey gets into the action mere seconds later, and that makes Cowardice more relaxed than ever.
[Proceed]

[If variable [ReycardAffection] has the most points so far]
“…he likes you the most, Reycard!”
The swordsman just nods, and then takes out a still-good meat stick from his satchel, which Cowardice quickly bites on and eats with no hesitation.
After he’s through eating, the pink dog lies on the ground, feeling more relaxed than ever.
[Proceed]

[If variable [NikoAffection] has the most points so far]
“…he likes you the most, Niko!”
The elf emanates a smile; and as they are given the dog, they lean their face close to him, and their aqua eyes meet with his.
It’s clear that Cowardice is getting enraptured by Niko’s loving look.
And the next thing we know…
Niko rubs their nose against Cowardice’s, and he’s getting more relaxed as a result.
[Proceed]

Jeshurun smiles at this touching development, and then speaks up.
“And before I forget, I’ve heard from your parents a few minutes ago that you’re here for the Skyborne Pebble Gems, right?”
Neroko happily replies, “Of course! Arf!”
“You do know that I have a collection of uncommon and rare varieties of these. And the common ones I have… practically everyone else here in Sardentha has these, and thus neither they nor I have no use for them. I’ll give away a jar of these as a favor to you and your friends, OK? Please wait.”

Three minutes later, and Jeshurun returns with a jar that contains at least 50 of the Pebble Gems we want, which is more than what the request requires! Nice!
“I wish you all nothing but success in alchemy in everything else, OK?”

Once we all say farewell to Jeshurun and Cowardice, we all then eat lunch — which should be called a feast — spending some essential bonding time with Neroko’s family before spending some more essential bonding time, but with Innania and Gurada instead.

4 Likes

I’m pushing aggressively for my little ten minute writing slots these past few days. Managed to snag maybe half a dozen so far, just by taking time that would normally be wasted - waiting for food to cook, waiting for builds to run at work, that sort of thing.

It’s working surprisingly well, I can usually get somewhere between 100 and 200 words in each slot. Not the best but progress is progress, and it feels a lot better already.

As for an excerpt, I’m 4 hours late by my time but I’ll sneak one in anyway. I’m working on having different knowledge sets for the two possible backgrounds (upper or lower class), which means in this scene an MC from the lower class has some knowledge that a minor aristocrat doesn’t.

Excerpt

*hide_reuse #“There must be more information on this thief. What are they known for?”
“It depends on who you ask,” Watkins chimes in, ticking a few options off on ${watkinsHis} fingers as ${watkinsHe} talks, “she’s well known for stealing from the aristocracy, rare items and the like that find their way to the black market. If you ask those aristocrats, she’s a thief that deserves a short trial and swift execution, but if you ask the lower classes you’ll get an entirely different answer.
*if (aristo)
"
*goto s0002l23
*else
No offence.”

The last part is an almost reflexive jab at your own ‘lower class’ origins, though you get the impression ${watkinsHe} doesn’t really mean anything by it.

“No, according to them, Chalice is somewhat of a folk hero, showing the aristocracy they’re not untouchable, that sort of thing.”

*if not (aristo)
“Now you mention it, the name does sound vaguely familiar,” you say, digging up a scrap of an old memory. It was thrown around a bit when you were a child, stories of their thefts being passed around and probably growing with each retelling. “But those sketches can’t be accurate. I heard a few stories when I was a child, and that doesn’t look like someone old enough to be stealing nearly twenty years ago.”

“Could be an accomplice?” Cantrell says thoughtfully, pulling one of the sketches towards ${cantrellHim}self.

“Or a title,” Beck adds quietly, “I’ve heard the same stories. Maybe more than once person has been ‘Chalice’?”

*goto s0002l23
*goto s0002l23
*label s0002l23
“Regardless of their origins or status, they’re a criminal allegedly in possession of documents considered critical to the security of the Kingdom. I expect them to be dealt with appropriately, folk hero or no.” $!{croftTitle} Croft’s voice remains hard, ${croftHis} gaze stern as ${croftHe} locks eyes with each of you in sequence.

6 Likes

Agree with Rinnegato. Some sections just seem like a breeze to write and before you know it you’ve got a few thousand words. Others are a pain and difficult to decide how to write/fiddly with stats/need a heap of editing or checking. I find having a word count per week a bit demoralising. If you’ve written what you can in the hour you’ve allowed yourself, then that can be enough.

7 Likes

Amazing post! Tahnks for making it!

July’s goals:

  1. Finish editing second chapter.
  2. Decide on how many love interests will be in the story.
  3. Organize stat screen.
5 Likes

Whoa, since when was this a thing? It’s just what I need now that I’m attempting to write something in earnest.

My goal for the end of July: finish a single chapter. Very ambitious, I know.

I am mostly getting stuck with making the choices. Specifically, making interesting ones that flow from one to another and doesn’t feel like, “So I put a testing choice for a sneaky stat here. That means I need to put a testing choice for charismatic stat here…” When I set out to write with choices, my brain gets stuck in making it like a menu rather than a story.

So far, the only way for me to combat this would be to write the story out first, then the branches, and then the choices; I remember that it’s not recommended from two different Choice of Games blog posts (Four Ways to Write a Vignette and Writing Interactive Fiction in Six Step) and several forum members disdaining a “canon path.”

I feel like I’m missing something here, but I’m not sure what. Maybe, I should start with the branches instead? Stick to what I know and write it fully out in the first place? I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

Thanks for reading my rambling. :stuck_out_tongue:

11 Likes

First, welcome to the Writer’s Support Thread. We are glad to have you along for the ride this summer :revolving_hearts:

As you write, look for parts that you, as a reader, would enjoy a choice and customization.

For example, if you are writing dialogue, you as a reader may wish to respond to what is being said in different ways. When writing traditional fiction, you’d pick the optimal, or “best” choice, but now that you are writing interactive fiction, you can present several options that the reader can go with.

As you write, you’ll find these natural choice and customization points become easier to identify and then write into your narrative.

As with all writing skills, practice by writing is sometimes the only way to improve, because many of us learn with hands-on experience.

9 Likes

Well, I have some advice, but I’m a total noob so take it with a pinch of salt.

To me, there are three types of choices. And any of them can change stats

The first is for “flavor text,” meaning the story doesn’t actually change, it just gets personalized. If the character is at a party, you can let the player choose between outfits. It doesn’t actually matter what the character wears, but players like that kind of stuff.

The second is a “short branch.” The choice does change the game, but only for a while. The game will be affected by the choice for anywhere from one scene to a chapter. If the character is investigating someone, the choice will determine how or where they investigate. The end result will be the same, the suspect has an alibi and isn’t the killer. But different players got there differently.

The final and hardest is the “long branch.” This choice will affect the game for multiple chapters, the whole game, or even the whole series. This can be anything from the romance route to who your suspect is. It can change flavor text, add new scenes, or even change the ending. I don’t personally plan on using too many of these in my WIP, just a couple really important ones. But other authors do use them more vigorously.

As for which choices to give and when, I’m going to have to agree with @Eiwynn here. There will be natural points for them, and that’s a great place to start (at least for the first two types of choices I mentioned). Worst case scenario, you can add more later.

First, I recommend writing out the basic story in an outline. It doesn’t need to be super detailed, bullet points will work fine. Write an outline of what will happen, regardless of what choices the player makes. Like my mystery, I need the player to find out certain things or they’ll never solve the case. Then you can think about the branching and figure out the basics for those. Then you can start writing.

What “order”should you write? It’s up to you. When I get to a choice, I write one version of the scene and then move on to the next scene. Then at the end of the chapter I go back and write the next version. Like I’m playing through the game, and I have a different type of character each time. Another option is to write every version of a scene before moving on to the next one. I tried that, but it wasn’t as stimulating

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I’m closing out this week with a total of 20,745 words. :heartpulse: Maybe I could have done better, but I’m just really happy with that and wanted to share.

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So I gave myself a break from writing today, and instead spent most of the day browsing Unsplash (for free images/textures) and working in Krita to create a title banner. And I’m actually pretty happy with how it turned out!

I’m also, like, actually so proud of myself for figuring out this design I have, because it’s such a perfect reference/homage to the setting that the world in my WIP is inspired by, and I literally just thought of it today!! (For anyone curious, the large circle with a square hole in the middle takes after the shape of a common type of coin used during ancient/medieval silk road times, originating from china!)

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I decided to keep working on my WIP after watching 13 hours of fantasy creative writing lectures by Brandon Sanderson. I never have read his work; but, he is a very good teacher. I really have to pick anything free so I found his videos on Youtube. I realized I was committing a lot of new fantasy writer mistakes. Along with the Dunning-Kruger effect, I had a story that did require a lot of rewriting. Now I am more unsure than ever about the playability and readability of my WIP. I added a lot more dialogue and choices. I added immediate action and plot movement. Slow beginnings are out. I took out a character and placed them later in the story. it is now just you and your friend for a bit. I restricted information dumping (this is hard for me). I was really screwing that part up. I am using shorter sentences and less adverbs. I think to someone who has been in the writing community, this is an obvious thing to do. Or perhaps someone who reads a lot of newer books. To me…I really like long sentences; but, I do realize they take more energy to read. This starts to wear out the reader (you all were trying to tell me this). I needed to place myself in the readers shoes more. I even pulled out some favorite books of mine and found they too use short sentences and only have a few characters in the beginning. I even found the major plot points in the first 3 pages or so. Back to Dunning-Kruger…I just didn’t know enough to know enough. And now I just know nothing…that doesn’t feel great either. I also removed 95 percent of the whimsical titles on each page. As it turned out, they were like episode titles. They were distracting. Anyhow, just about every drop of advice, no matter how harsh or disappointing to hear, was fairly accurate. I’m trying to finish-up chapter 2 right now and have hit a wall. I’m constantly worried about whether there are enough meaningful choices. I put in more forked scenes that reveal different parts of the plot. I started to manage the cultural language a bit. It is fair to assume they are not ignorant people if you subscribe to any form of ancient lost civilization theory. But, I am taking out words that don’t fit culturally and putting in phrases that are new and match things they would likely say. I know this all seems elementary to most of you. I am still behind you all. To think I could start-up a writing career in a year or two is silly and naïve. Now I feel burnt out an stuck and sucky. I do have an exciting first chapter that I feel hits all the marks. But, carrying through all those changes to the end will take a lot of careful work. I still feel like maybe I should have just focused on writing an epic novel. I did help a friend get her short story published and she made 80 dollars! I was excited for her. It is so much easier to edit someone else’s work. Anyhow, I have blabbed-on too long. I don’t know if I will make it folks, but I wish you all the very best. This writer sits in quiet pensivity.

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I hope it goes well. Good luck!

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Heya Drew –

I’m glad that you decided to work at your passion.

My personal philosophy is that I am learning every day to write better.

Not only is this true for writing, but for editing as well.

Every one of us has strengths and weaknesses. As you continue to write, you’ll refine your strengths and shore up your weaknesses.

Learning from tutorials, master-classes, and other resources out there is a significant way to improve. Also, remember that you are a unique writer who will find himself as a writer; don’t try to be a full-blown imitator of another because you are what will make your writing the best it can be.

The Writer Support Thread will be here each month, and every 15th of the month, I and others with me, post excerpts to help us get used to having our writing out in the public. You are welcome to use the thread in ways you feel will help.

Writing interactive fiction is different than writing traditional fiction… that is true. Putting yourself in the shoes of the reader, I feel, is one of the most important skills you can develop for all writing, not just interactive fiction writing.

Thanks for checking in; many of us will be looking forward to hearing how your writing efforts progress.

. :revolving_hearts:

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