Hi there! I’ve been reading interactive fiction for a while and writing even longer, so I thought I would try my hand at writing one of my own. This is my first time coding Choicescript, and I typically don’t write in this genre, so I would love to hear some feedback.
Your life is complicated. You’ve recently lost your job, you have parents who may or may not hate you for reasons you’re not clear on, and your brother refuses to leave you alone no matter how you feel about it. But things could be worse. And, oh, do they get worse when you learn you have a special ability that’s not all it’s cracked up to be. What’s more is, the wrong people find out about it. Now you have to figure out how to get them before they get you.
You play as a 25-year-old trying to get control of your extremely average but slowly spiraling life. You are a member of the Erickson family.
The Not-So Spoiler-Free Premise
Because I’m not great with synopses, especially spoiler-free ones. So here’s the spoiler-ridden one.
You are a normal person trying to go about their normal life with normal problems. Then you learn that, when you die, you have the nasty habit of coming back to life. The problem is, in a city with a mysterious group looking to study people like you, being unable to die isn’t going to help you much. Luckily, it seems like you aren’t the only one with powers. Your new friends might be just what you need to keep yourself and each other safe.
For those who like a sense of mystery, information about major characters gets updated on the stats page only as you learn it throughout the story. For those who want to know a little bit about what they’re getting into ahead of time, here are your major players.
Appearance: Sun is about 6"1’ with a lithe build and light-beige skin. He has short black hair and brown eyes.
About: Love him or hate him, Sun is your overbearing older brother. He works as a therapist, specifically in grief counseling, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to apply his trade to his family. He constantly attempts to mediate the horrible relationship you have with your parents, not to much success. He always maintains an optimistic air, but there’s something sad and unspoken hiding just beneath the surface.
The parents are undergoing some changes at the moment, so their info will be added later.
Appearance: Alex is 6’2" with an average build and tawny-beige skin. They have long dark hair which they usually keep up in a high bun. They have brown eyes and a light dusting of brown freckles on their nose.
About: Your one-and-only best friend (and maybe long-time crush). Alex is outgoing, outspoken, and confident. They somehow always manage to be supportive of you while keeping their nose out of your business. But Alex has a nasty side and is sometimes deserving of the title “Little Shit.” Still, there’s no one you would rather have as your bestie. Not that they would give you much choice.
Gender: Trans-man / Genderqueer
Appearance: Ansel is 6’5". He is slim for his height and has white skin and golden-blond long hair that he frequently keeps tied up in a ponytail. He has heterochromia with one eye being brown and the other being blue. He is often seen wearing slim rectangular glasses, but no one can ever figure out if they are sunglasses or over-active transition lenses.
About: The very odd and somewhat eccentric owner of a small cafe called UNDER-COVER where you end up looking for a prospective job. Ansel has a flair for the dramatic, especially in how he talks, but he can be weirdly straight to the point when he wants to be. He has a slightly playful air about him, sometimes even in serious situations, that makes it impossible to guess his motives. It’ll be up to you whether or not to trust what he says.
Sexuality: Bisexual demiromantic
Appearance: “Stuck somewhere between a scene-kid and a hip-hop artist.” Teagan is 5’8" with a slightly athletic build. His hair is short and bleached with a few green strands here and there. His eyes are green.
About: A young man who frequents the cafe, UNDER-COVER. Teagan is known for having a pretty bad attitude to strangers. He prefers direct conversation and plain honesty to sarcasm or harsh criticism and typically responds very poorly to the latter. Not easy to get close to, this one, but once he’s close enough to consider someone a friend, he would do pretty much anything for them.
Sexuality: Questioning. She’s never been in a relationship, so she’s not sure. (For the purposes of gameplay, consider her pansexual)
Appearance: Cherry is 5’3" and chubby with pink skin that’s covered in red freckles. Her hair is short, ginger-red, and frizzy. Her eyes are green.
About: A shy young woman who works at the cafe, UNDER-COVER. Cherry is quiet and soft-spoken. Being around a lot of people, especially strangers, makes her uncomfortable, which makes her quiet and slow-paced job a good fit for her. Despite how timid she seems, Cherry is empathetic to a surprising degree. She has a really good sense of how people feel, even if she doesn’t always know what to say about it. She hates her name but goes by it anyway.
Sexuality: Bisexual, but she’s only ever been with men
Appearance: Lucia is 5’10" and athletic with dark brown skin. Her hair is dark brown, coiled, and long. She often keeps it in braided updos. Her eyes are dark brown.
About: Lucia is the newest employee at the cafe UNDER-COVER. She’s cheerful, open-minded, and outgoing. She’s always looking to try new things and rarely spends a minute of the day idle. Her optimistic and outgoing attitude can sometimes get her in trouble with her more timid friends, whom she pushes to interact with people more than she should. Not easily daunted, Lucia is a good person to have at your side when the going gets tough.
Sexuality: Asexual panromantic
Appearance: Rene is 5’7" and skinny with dark brown skin. His natural hair color is black, though he often cycles through artificial colors. He typically keeps his hair styled in a twist mohawk. He wears oval-shaped glasses and has dark brown eyes.
About: One of the most understanding people you could ever meet. Rene is so kind and patient it should be illegal. He works several days a week leading group painting classes and teaches art classes to kids some weekends. He’s also quite a techie and spends a lot of time on the computer when he’s not working on his art. He’s a lot quicker than he lets on and is fluent in at least three languages. He might be too kind-hearted for his own good, but that doesn’t mean he’s a pushover.
Personality and Skills
You will have a run of the following opposed personality traits:
- Cautious / Daring
- Timid / Confident
- Skeptical / Trusting
- Taciturn / Open
- Sincere / Sarcastic
- Melancholy / Cheerful
Your personality might sometimes inform the way you react to certain (non-choice) situations and influence the way the other characters see you. It will also influence how well you are able to learn certain passive skills.
The following skills are passive skills that can influence certain paths of the story. These skills are currently intended to be hidden from the player.
In addition, there will be active skills that the player can cultivate throughout the course of the story. These skills have not been implemented yet. This section will be updated once they have.
Play the demo: [DEMO]
The current demo covers halfway through Chapter 4.
Average Playthrough Wordcount: 15k
Total Wordcount (including code): 32k
I only just recently expanded on the options for non-binary/trans options for the MC. I’m fairly certain I got most of them, but there may be a few places within the text that are not consistent with a trans/nb MC. If you find any of these situations, please report them to me and I will fix them ASAP.
It recently occurred to me that, of the personality options I have, there are not many opportunities to increase the Cheerful personality stat. (This probably says something unfortunate about me personally.) If you are feeling like your MC isn’t allowed to be Cheerful enough, that’s because you’re right! I need to go back and revamp some choices to give Cheerful a seat at the table. Rest assured, I am very aware that this is a problem.
I’m normally a fantasy-genre writer, and Ninelives definitely falls more within the scope of sci-fi/supernatural fiction. Whenever I write fiction taking place in the real world, I have a tendency to fall back on Postmodernism a lot. I don’t consider this a bad thing, but an unintended side-effect of me writing this way is that I struggle with detailed descriptions unless they are absolutely imperative to the atmosphere or understanding of a scene. So pay special attention to that. If you feel like there are some things lacking in description or like certain descriptions are forced or out of place, please do not hesitate to tell me. This is a special area of concern I have, and I’m always looking to improve it.
Please feel free to share any feedback, questions, bug reports, etc. on this topic. If you have other questions (especially the fun kind) or want to hear me generally blab about my progress, I also have a tumblr. (Note that I just recently made this tumblr for the purposes of writing IFs, so it’s pretty bare-bones right now.)