March 2023's Writer's Support Thread

Welcome all to the support thread for March 2023!


:spiral_calendar: :


:birthday: Happy Birthday to March babies.

Thank you, everyone who continues to participate in these threads – it helps others when you do participate, sometimes more than you think.

If anyone has specific questions or concerns I may help with, please let me know.


This month, I am highlighting a few developmental blogs of the past that feature Choice of Games design philosophy and best practices.

The first selection is from Becky Slitt and is titled: How to Write Intentional Choices

The next three are by Jason Stevan Hill and are titled: A Taxonomy of Choices

Lastly, I have a set of polls I am interested in seeing the results of:

Do you have the background of being a DM or GM?
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

If yes above: How many years of experience do you have?
  • 0 -1 years of experience
  • 2 - 5 years of experience
  • 6 - 10 years of experience
  • More than 10 years of experience

0 voters

My March goal is completing the rewrites of chapter 7(a), 7(b) and chapter 7(c).

My stretch goal for March will be Chapter 8, which is a new insert into the common route.

My stretch-stretch goal will be to also complete Chapter 9 of the common route rewrite.


The single-most effective piece of advice offered to me that has helped me the most with this is:

Concentrate on what the characters in the scene are doing … protagonist (MC) and npcs both.

This has become so important to me, that I devote an entire editing pass to this. (after 1st draft completion)


I didn’t end up posting this in the February thread, but I have a couple of “book club” recommendations that I watched and read last month.

First the GDC talk Kindness Coins by Michelle Clough which is a half-hour talk discussing building romantic chemistry in interactive narrative.

And second, Passion and Play also by Michelle Clough, which is a very easy to digest book about designing fun, inclusive romance and sexuality in games. Several chapters are more relevant to 3D games though are still interesting across the board, and many are extremely applicable to interactive fiction. I found it really interesting and helpful, and will be bringing lessons learned forward into future projects.

A chunk of work is being reviewed currently, as is my latest outline draft for a new project. While I wait to hear back I’m going to read some more design books, do a bit more character development work related to the outline, and hopefully play some more of my large CoG backlog. I can’t stress enough how useful (as well as enjoyable!) it is to play completed games - you get a really good big picture view of game structure. I find it really helpful too for figuring out what I like, what doesn’t work for me so much, and how I might have implemented the same thing.

On a sidenote, I’m proud that King of the Castle, the multiplayer narrative game I worked on, will be out tomorrow. It was great being on the team and I hope people enjoy it!

AND on March 30 Royal Affairs should be coming out after three years of development! I’m so looking forward to it being out in the world!


I am finally getting back to working on the last bits of Turncoat Chronicle (after a difficult month of family and health problems). Once again, I hope to finish my current round of beta testing fixes, launch the last round of private testing, and release the game for public testing, some time before the end of March.

Today I got off to a good start as I coined (for my own amusement, in the comments) the word “intromidation” to describe the epilogue scene which I am currently writing. It’s really helped me set the tone for the scene.


At the moment, I feel reasonably positive; the last week was pretty hellish - a cat in heat yowling and rubbing herself on the computer didn’t exactly provide a good writing environment, and the combination of a stressed cat and a positively exhausted owner wasn’t great for writing overall. Now I feel more motivated, and it feels as if I’m getting forward at least somewhat. I hope to be able to update my WIP this weekend, so I’m keeping a positive attitude.


I have spring break week after next, so my goal is to finish chapter one of WIP #2 and upload a demo by the end of that week.

Now that I’m leaning into the drama more, I think I’m going to structure it more like a show with an overall plot opposed to a novel or a movie. Each chapter will take place over a day or two, there will be some event (big or small), plenty of character interaction, and some bits of plot throughout. Then we’ll do a little time jump with the next chapter. I just think the fun and fancy vibes will work better this way


Re the roleplaying question, I tend to play rather than run the games. That said I’ve run a few short term campaigns (that mostly faded out) and one shots, one long term Monsterhearts campaign, and co-ran a couple of long term Vampire the Requiem LARPs. I think there are some useful skill overlaps with making IF.

What made you think of asking, @Eiwynn?


Generally, I feel I work best in boundaries. I can write a story, but I don’t think I’ll be a good DM - I tend to be slow and fairly meandering, more interested in roleplay and lore in comparison to building and would probably dedicate more time to social events.

This would not be good, since balance is important in everything, so I mainly play - DM or author write the boundaries and I create in them since I work best in limitations.

It’s much harder to do when you’re writing your own setting, however. Must set up your own boundaries. And actually write. But hey, skeleton is trudging along. I have… bare minimum for the second character now.


I started noticing that many good practices and implementation of mechanics and systems are executed by those with a GM/DM background. So this is something I’m thinking is worth exploring a bit more.

Your point about playing the game is valid; I think that too would be something to explore… if playing tabletop games would be as effective in building skills as running them as a game master?

I agree, and it is something not really explored elsewhere (that I am aware of).

Thank you for helping start this discussion

. :revolving_hearts:


Yes! I’ve run long-running campaigns of Shadowrun (no surprise there!) and Call of Cthulhu, and interacted with various other systems as a player.


As a follow-up thought: Having a tabletop gaming experience allows easier feedback loops to be established for both sides.

The authors can explain better their intent and purpose and the reader can put their feedback in terms an author can use practically and without too much effort.


I’ve DM’d a lot of DnD, and play DnD, Call of Cthulhu, Lot5R, WHFRP, and… both 40k RPGs, IIRC.


I think experience with TTRPGs helps with feeling more open-minded about diverging plot paths rather than writing a more narrow/linear story (not that the latter is necessarily a problem, but ChoiceScript IF tends to be more branched). I’d also suggest that with the right group and game, it can build confidence.


I wouldn’t say i was a Dungeon Master, more of a Dungeon loner.

I used to play TTRPG’s by myself as a kid, and anyone i coerced into playing with me often died of boredom. I am still evading the police to this day. I mostly stopped it in my teenage years, but the experience of what to do has stuck with me.

On that note, i should post my April goals.

Main Goal:

Work on Act 1 of my second WIP, that I decided on with the help of the intrest check thread, The Onryô of Osaka.

Side Quest:

Continue writing the optional scenes for WIP 1.

I have just now realised it is in fact March.


This is important to highlight. The ability to take feedback without taking it too personal, and giving concrete useable feedback, is fostered in a cohesive and long-running group. So, I believe the confidence gained is on both sides, once again.


Hey everyone!

I was pointed here by Leinco, and love the thread/replies!

I figured I’d split things into a piece of writing advice I’d do on the monthly, coupled with some updates on what my goals are for the month.


Something I’ve found is that planning software is often key, especially in interactive mediums such as this. Two that I’ve found have been paramount in my success has been Causality and Articy: Draft.

I’ve used Causality to plan and scope out actual physical narrative and what’s written. This ranges from dialogue to detail descriptions, environment detailing, etc. It’s been a great tool, but does come with the caveat of being on a subscription cost.

When I need to detail characters, plotlines, etc, I tend to use Articy: Draft. It’s allowed for the mapping of my narrative branches, reminders and setups for who characters are, why they are the way they are, and how they got that way. It has plenty of detailed fields to enter information, even those that you may not ever need to convey to the player/reader.

Without appropriate planning, I’ve (personally) found that things can get quite out of whack pretty easily. Scope expansions (too much content/features), lack of a cohesive narrative, characters that are too close to one-another, and the list goes on and on with how I’ve fell on my face. While this may not hold true for everyone, it’d be a fantastic idea to look into how varying products on the market can assist you, and whether or not they’re worth the cost for you.


As for this month, I’ve got quite a bit of ambitious plans lined up. First up is the planned release of the Character Creator Demo for A Realm Divided on the the 12th (fingers crossed).

If that goes well, my goals are pretty simple. Get to work on immediately beginning development for the first race implementation’s starting area.

I’ll work on posting updates, communicating and engaging with the community, and generally trying to keep a smooth pipeline going. With a bit of hope, 2-3 hours of writing a day sounds about right.

I hope you all have a fantastic month!


And here we are in March, heh.

To more directly answer the poll questions, I have some amount of experience as a DM (mostly Pathfinder), but what I most commonly do is actually share DM duties with my partner, running prewritten adventures where we’re also both the players. I’m not sure if this says something about my writing (other than that I do so much of it I don’t really feel like writing ttrpg adventures on top of it and will gladly use/modify published material instead), but there it is.

March’s Goals:

  • I’m going to try for 2k a day in Asphodel, which should help me knock out most of the rest of the chapter (fingers crossed)
  • I’m definitely going to finish the Empire-aligned branch of Diaspora’s current chapter. Speaking it into existence.

Good luck to everyone else this month, too!


I have DMed a couple of oneshots (Call of Cthulhu, DND5e) but have only attempted (unsuccessfully) once to run a longer form campaign.


I’m assuming GM/DM is in reference to tabletop games! What prompted these polls?


I started noticing that many good practices and implementation of mechanics and systems are executed by those with a GM/DM background. So this is something I’m thinking is worth exploring a bit more.

And a follow-up thought as well: Having a tabletop gaming experience allows easier feedback loops to be established for both sides.

The authors can explain better their intent and purpose, and the reader can put their feedback in terms an author can use practically and without too much effort.