November 2023's Writer Support Thread

here is my excerpt for this month from A Familiar Magic this particular bit of code is from the part where you start to teach the young witch the basics (and allows the reader to learn more about the world).

*label first_lesson

You lead the young witch back to her house although you have no idea how you knew where you were going. Callie throws herself on her bed.

"That was so scary," she whimpers. "I thought the Elder Witch's magic was going to crush me."

"Calm down," you stop her. "It is only us here ${title}. Now we are bound you should feel my power augmenting your own."

Callie frowns but closes her eyes and they snap open. "I'm stronger? I thought the binding was only to make sure you couldn't disobey me?"

You chuckle. "It does do that," you agree before adding. "The other role of the bind is to share a familiar's power with their master."

"So, we should begin our first lesson," you announce sitting at the foot of her bed. Now you just need to figure out where to start.
*temp questions 6
*temp magic false
*temp coven false
*label lessons_learned
*if (questions < 1)
    *goto interrupted
*choice
    *hide_reuse #Tell her about magic in general.
        You explain to your young ward that magic is a gift from the [i]wytchkin[/i]. The sentient source of all magic and the one who gifts witches their mana. You follow up that by revealing that the mana from the wytchkin is naturally negative and that is the reason why witches need familiars to cast magic as it is the familiar who filters the negative energy and turns it into positive mana which is what witches use their spells. 
        *page_break Spells
        Next, you begin to talk about spells; specifically how they can be unleashed spells that require no name and affects anyone the spell comes into contact with or leashed spells that require a name and only affect the named person. You also explain how most witches use a person's given name but this name can be protected by a witch's spell. However, when a witch is bound to their familiar, the wytchkin also whispers a name to them. This new name is their wytchname and this name must be kept secret, kept safe, because if another witch knew of this name any spell they cast targeted to your wytchname would be sure to hit and could never be blocked. 
        *set questions -1
        *set magic true
        *goto lessons_learned
    *if (magic)
        *hide_reuse #Tell her about the different branches of magic.
            You've already explained the basic of magic so you shift conversation to the various branches of magic available to witches. You tell Callie that there are ten different branches of magic which are split into primary branches, that all witches can use, and secondary branches which a witch must choose to dabble in. So every witch can use each of the primary branches and up to two of the secondary ones. In your subconcious you know that there are actually more than ten, if you include the more frowned upon tertiary branches but something stops you from mentioning them.
            *page_break The Primary Branches
            Firstly, you mention the most obvious of the branches, the elemental branch of magic. Every witch is born with an affinity to one of the four primary elements; fire, earth, wind and water. As well as a second element of their choosing. Once the second element is chosen, the other two elements will be forever lost to the witch. Secondly, you mention the barrier branch of magic. Which allowed a witch to cast a wall or barrier that could either reject, stop or absorb incoming spells or attacks. Thirdly, you explain the recovery branch of magic. As a young witch, you know that Callie will end up hurting herself during her training and knowing about the spells that could heal her wounds was practical. The fourth and final of the primary branches is the door branch of magic. This spell allows the witch to travel between two points simply by stepping through a door. It was also used to invite people to places as you simply had to cast the spell with the name of your guest and the moment they stepped through a door they would appear exactly where you wanted them to be.
            *page_break The Secondary Branches Part One
            The secondary branches of magic offered a more specialised range of spells. Starting with the creation branch of magic. These spells revolve around creating an object through mana manipulation and is the branch responsible for creating familiars. Next, you explained about the evocation branch of magic. These were a set of summoning spells that allowed a witch to call upon spirits of the fae for guidance and trickery. The language branch of magic was popular with the witch scholars as it allowed a witch to now only read but write any language as long as you knew the name of it. Callie herself mentioned the location branch of magic and explained that her mom would use that to keep a track of her when she went out. This particular spell allowed a witch to track someone as long as they knew the name of the one they wished to track. So obviously being such a good role model you immediately told her she could use barrier magic to stop her mom from tracking her.
            *page_break Secondary Branches Part Two
            The last two branches you tell Callie are the binding branch of magic which is usually only taught to Elder Witches is the magic used to bind young witches to their familiars, and lastly the hex branch of magic. The hex branch was unusual as it was often thought of as solely having negative affect on their target but the truth was hexes could be beneficial if cast with care. You try and remember the tertiary branches but their names elude you for now.
            *set questions -1
            *goto lessons_learned
    *hide_reuse #Tell her about the Coven itself.
        Covens, you explain, are the names given to each group of witches that live in the same area that is protected by four Elder Witches who create a protective barrier using a combined spell from each Elder Witch. The coven has regular meeting to talk about witchkind and they often are in competition to produce the best and brightest of the next generation of witches. A coven is constantly moving its home throughout their designated area and its witches find their way to the next home through careful use of the door branch of magic. 
        *set questions -1
        *set coven true
        *goto lessons_learned
    *if (coven)
        *hide_reuse #Tell her about the Witch Elders
            It is these four witches who hold the power in the coven and are often the strongest witches in the Coven. It is them who bind young witches to their familiars and them who declare when a witch has gone rogue and who goes after the rogue witch. The Elder Witches are the best each coven has to offer and the title is revered even among other covens. It is because of this that if an Elder Witch went wrong it would be the Elder Witches of the coven who would go after her. 
            *set questions -1
            *goto lessons_learned
    *hide_reuse #Tell her about familiars in general.
        A familiar is a soulless vessel forged into the form of a cat, and in your case a ${cat} cat. The familiar gains live by binding a witch's soul to it. These souls come from witches who have broken one of the seven laws of witchcraft. This act is to allow the rogue witch to redeem herself in the eyes of the coven by teaching the next generation of witches.
        *page_break Bound And Weakened
        As a familiar your magic power is halved and you can only use the element you had a naturally affinity for. It was still possible for you to cast spells and by forming a bond with your young witch you will be able to temporarily regain your human form for short periods of time if your ward is in danger. 
        *set questions -1
        *goto lessons_learned
    *hide_reuse #Tell her about the seven laws of witchcraft.
        You explain the Seven Laws Of Witchcraft;

        1) Thou must never reveal the Witchname of another.
        *line_break
        2) Thou must never divulge the location of a Coven.
        *line_break
        3) Thou must never mess with mess with thy Coven's barrier.
        *line_break
        4) Thou must never raise the dead.
        *line_break
        5) Thou must never harm or kill a familiar.
        *line_break
        6) Thou must never cast a spell on a witch unless in training or a sanctioned fight.
        *line_break
        7) Thou must never kill another witch unless in self-defence.
        *set questions -1
        *goto lessons_learned
7 Likes

Thanks for sharing this! It’s a great example for using *comments too.

Here’s a excerpt of a scene I’m currently editing. That festfate line with all those parentheses is my downfall.

Summary
As the week of the festival finally comes to a close, the starry paths of Heaven disappearing behind growing thunderous clouds, you 
*if (godnomia = "Ilatsal")
	*if (godfestival != "Sarpet")
		*if (toldharja = false)
			*if ((((((((festfate != "changed failed") and (festfate != "gloom failed")) and (festfate != "nightmares failed")) and (festfate != "peace failed")) and (festfate != "strike failed")) and (festfate != "siege failed")) and (festfate != "help failed")) and (festfate != "criminals failed"))
				*if (godtrait = "Good Luck") or (godtrait = "Priest Outfit")
					hear a knock at the door. $!{nameh} went to get water from the well, but when you open the door you instead see it is Sarpedon.

					"I will be brief, as the storm is nearly upon us and it would look strange if I stood here chatting while everyone else is rushing home," says the god. "You may have not told $!{nameh} about our conversation, but you failed to change the festival from honoring $!{godfestival} to honoring me. Do you really think I would let you keep the good fortune I have granted 
					*if (godtrait = "Good Luck")
						*set godtrait "Good Luck Removed"
						you? 
					*if (godtrait = "Priest Outfit")
						*set godtrait "Priest Outfit Removed"
						you, or give you the gift bestowed upon my loyal followers? 
					Be glad I do not curse you for your arrogance, and pray that your folly in supporting $!{godfestival} does not bring your city's ruin."
				*if (godtrait != "Good Luck") and (godtrait != "Priest Outfit")
					realize that the festival is over, but Sarpet has not yet appeared at your doorstep to restore what has been taken. You cannot ask $!{nameh}, as that was one of the requirements, yet you suspect that the God of Dreams has not forgotten that you did not change the festival in their favor and so will never appear.

				*fake_choice
					*if (godtrait = "Good Luck") or (godtrait = "Priest Outfit")
						#"That wasn't what we agreed!" you exclaim angrily as Sarpedon leaves your doorstep. It's not fair that he can change the rules on a whim.
							*set sarpetship %- 5
							"That wasn't what we agreed!" you exclaim angrily as Sarpedon leaves your doorstep. It's not fair that he can change the rules on a whim.
					*if (godtrait != "Good Luck") and (godtrait != "Priest Outfit")
						#It's not fair that he can change the rules on a whim. That wasn't what you had agreed to!
							*set sarpetship %- 5
							It's not fair that he can change the rules on a whim. That wasn't what you had agreed to!
					#You've heard the stories of agreements between the gods and mortals before, so you were expecting your good luck to be taken from you somehow.
						*set sarpetship %- 5
						You've heard the stories of agreements between the gods and mortals before, so you were expecting your good luck to be taken from you somehow.
					#You're not surprised he took your good luck away, but you understand why he did it. It's not like you increased his clout in the city at all.
						*set sarpetship %+ 5
						You're not surprised he took your good luck away, but you understand why he did it. It's not like you increased his clout in the city at all.
					*if (godtrait = "Good Luck") or (godtrait = "Priest Outfit")
						#You watch Sarpedon leave your doorstep in a daze. Why didn't you change the festival to honor the God of Dreams?
							*set sarpetship %+ 5
							You watch Sarpedon leave your doorstep in a daze. Why didn't you change the festival to honor the God of Dreams?
					*if (godtrait != "Good Luck") and (godtrait != "Priest Outfit")
						#You look out the windows toward the thunderous clouds in a daze. Why didn't you change the festival to honor the God of Dreams?
							*set sarpetship %+ 5
							You look out the windows toward the thunderous clouds in a daze. Why didn't you change the festival to honor the God of Dreams?
				*label weekfour16
3 Likes

I don’t think I’ve ever shared an in-progress excerpt here before. First time for everything :slight_smile: This is from a side project of mine:

The trees stretch high and their leaves cast dappled shadows across our path, alleviating some of the heat. The sunlight falls through the cracks between them like liquid gold. I reach out and catch a puddle of it in my hand.

It tastes like lemonade.

10 Likes

I was having a difficult week where it felt as if I wasn’t really hitting my goals and my focus was poor. After a pep talk from my lovely girlfriend yesterday, I rebounded successfully today and comfortable met the word count I was aiming for, surpassing a milestone along the way.

Bit of a random excerpt but it’s where my scroll bar landed:

Summary
    *if (guts > 50) #"Musclehead? Really?"
    He smirks. "What else do you call someone who spends all ${mc_his} free time lifting weights?"
    
    "Fit."
    
    "Exactly, musclehead."
    
    "Keep this up and I'm using these muscles to break you in half."
    
    *if ((dated_grant) or (pastcrush = 4))
        Grant pauses for a moment. "Hot." 
    
        @{dated_grant You groan. "Of course you'd say that."|Your cheeks immediately heat up. Why did he have to say that?}
        
        @{dated_grant He shrugs, then smirks. "My ${mc_boyfriend} can literally bench press me. Sorry, $!{mc_name}, but that's objectively hot."|He hesitates, an unfamiliar look in his eyes. "$!{mc_name}? You alright? That was just a tease you know?"}
        
        @{dated_grant You roll your eyes, but can't help the smile on your face.|No. Nooo. This isn't happening. "I'm fine!" you blurt, hurrying up your pace.}
        
        @{dated_grant Fending off Grant's comments about your strength occupies the|You keep your eyes studiously focused on anywhere except Grant for the| remainder of the walk to your destination.} {@dated_grant |You pretend not to hear any of his bemused questions.}
        
        *goto grantask
    *else
        Grants laughs. "This is how you treat your best friend?"
        
        "Only when he's being obnoxious. So yes, I guess it's how I treat my best friend."
        
        "Ouch! Take it easy on me!"
        
        Tapping your temple, you slowly allow yourself to grin. "Musclehead, remember? No room for nuance in here."
        
        Grant regards you for a moment. "…well played," he says finally.
6 Likes

Oh, are we sharing our code skeletons this month?

I’m actually rather excited to do that, so here’s a skeleton for a scene in the rewind section for my upcoming update.

I could talk for hours about the code, but I’ll put my ramblings under one of the summary thingies.

The code
*comment backstage 
*label backstage
*set tebackstage + 1
*set tebackstage + 1
*if time < 1
    *goto timesup
*if possess_cd = 0
    *goto depossess
[b]You are currently backstage.[/b]

*if alert = 0
    The concert is continuing, business as usual.
*if alert = 1
    Concert Security is on stand-by.
*if alert = 2
    Concert Security is on high alert.
*if alert = 3
    *goto police_arrive

*if time > 1
    [b]The concert will end in ${time} minutes.[/b]
*if time = 1
    [b]The concert will end in 1 minute.[/b]

*comment remember to set times and possess cd
*if tebackstage = 1
    *comment first entry first instance
*else
    *if door_guarded = true
        *comment subsequent instances - door guarded
    *else
        *comment subsequent instances - door unguarded
*choice
    #Try and talk to the production crew.
        *comment persuasion check
    #Approach the man guarding the door.
        *comment text about you approaching him, but he threatens you.
        *fake_choice
            *comment placeholder choices
            #Fight
                *comment chances of victory here enhanced if player chose the dash ability
            #Talk
                *comment persuasion check
            #Leave
    #Phase through the fence.
        *comment only selectable if player chose the phase ability at the beginning of act 2
    #Move to the main concert area.
        *set time - 1
        *goto main
Ramblings about the code.

So, the main mechanic of my WiP is that the mc can rewind time after death, (which people have kept ramming into my head is similar to the anime re:zero, which I should probably have watched by now what with all the comments I keep getting about it), And that necessitates a, to put it bluntly, a butt-ton of temporary variables. Each scene can be visited multiple times with different context. The player might be visiting it for the first time, or they might be visiting it for the 5th time. Each instance the text will vary based on knowledge that the player will have found out in a previous instance. Before writing the actual text, I use comments as placeholders so that I know what each bit will be, and once I’m happy that the code works,(which takes an annoyingly long time with a code as complex as mine. Seriously, a randomtest took about an hour the other day.), I will add in the code. For example, in the code I provided, there is the man watching the door, which can either be there, or not based on your actions in previous areas. I’m gonna stop myself here because to explain it further, It would probably be better if I just up and pasted the entire code in, and at that point I may aswell just tell you to go read my Wip.

4 Likes

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Chapter 24 of Last Dream is finally online!

Thank you, everybody for your constant support. I love you all :heart:

9 Likes

This looks cool. You have various levels of alert that would act as an A.I for the guards---- I am assuming.

Have any of you ever forgotten to change a place saver? I do this all the time. You are reading along for mistakes after posting and then the choice response will say " [something interesting about the ships]" ---- And I’m like, “now that is good writing. This story is ready to publish!”

3 Likes

I have a special word I use to mark that kind of locations, so all I need to do is run a search for it to see if I have forgotten a placeholder.

3 Likes

I’ve actually been pretty productive (surprisingly enough!) My goal is to have Raishall’s final draft finished before the end of the year (and hopefully sooner. Depending on busyness levels and amount of editing required might even be within the next week or two if I’m lucky.) Game is written, I’ve finally got all the bugs out (I hope, one section was as buggy as I feared it would be :upside_down_face:) Currently doing another edit for wording and choices (Enchanter and vision routes are done, just need to do the spirit route now which admittedly is the most complicated of the three). Might need another stat balance too, but we’ll see.

It’s been a weird one to write. I’ve done a bit of an unusual thing for CSG where it is written in different “persons” depending on which of the 3 linked stories you are reading. (First, second and third). It does make a difference to the way each game feels I think. (Whether it works of not is another question, but by this stage I’m just kinda going for it and will see what eventuates.)

Since we’re all sharing excerpts, here’s a little one from my vision route in 3rd person :slight_smile:

Summary

Arum reaches out with his mind, stretching to the edge of the veil and calling out through the void. Heat forgotten, body lost, his soul floats in between worlds facing a rippling doorway. Though the archway strongly resembles the disturbed surface of a pool of water, a barrier that should be little hinderance to the creatures beyond; he knew it to be locked tightly from both sides unless you possessed the key.

Shifting forms move in the inky blackness beyond. Nightmarish shapes contort and twist as if made from the darkest of nightmares. Though out of focus he catches flashes of long grasping fingers and snapping rows of needle sharp teeth. They seek to scare him.

“Why have you come mortal?” a bodiless voice whispers through the barrier with the raspy texture of dry leaves being crunched underfoot. “It is dangerous even for one of your ilk to come to this place.”

“The need that drives him must be great.” Another shade chimes in, endless hunger suffusing its words. “What do you want of us? And more importantly what are you willing to give in return?”

The Raishall considers his words carefully. He must be authoritative. Any hint of weakness now would spell doom. Yet it was also wise to remain polite enough not to earn the ire of creatures known for their vindictiveness and memories that stretch into eternity. Calls appealing to compassion or fairness would be of no use here. It must be need verses reward. Clear and precise without without any room for the spectres to twist his words to their own gain.

9 Likes

My excerpt for this month:

excerpt

Your focus narrows down to your task, to the rhythm of it. There’s something meditative, if you put your mind to it, about the simple work your station allows you. It lets you wander through the corridors of your mind, through memories and thoughts that otherwise would be neglected.

@{(dept_palace = “Clothing Department”) The press-push-draw, press-push-draw of your thread through the fabric is rhythmic and calming. You have already planned out your pattern, and at this point, you’re proficient enough to think on other things while working.|}@{(dept_palace = “Palace Kitchen”) The chop-chop-chop of your knife down onto the table, vegetables shaped into the appropriate chunks or diced cubes or slices with barely a thought, your proficient strikes avoiding your fingers by rote.|}@{(dept_palace = “Tea Store”) Your feet are sure as they pitter-patter back and forth between the storage and the cleaning tubs, ferrying trays of pots seasoned by years of tea. Your steps pull and sting in your legs, but you’re used to the repetitive excercise.|}

Your mind turns to-

So apperantly you can’t put coding in /details like that. Huh. Weird. Good to know.

Anyway, my life has been a goddamn rollercoaster. Made Affiliate on twitch, so that’s nice, but I’ve been SORELY unable to devote time to working on my game. I can’t even figure out a way to sneakily work on it at work, cuz the computers there are all heavily watched, and anyway, I only get 30 minutes for lunch. Which is just barely enough time to eat and use the restroom.

But I think I’m about 10% of the way through the “Bullies dont get attention” path. XD

5 Likes

That is super smart. Instead of being funny or silly, I could just be smart about it. Who would of thought?

I actually didn’t know exactly what you meant until I thought about it for a bit. That is really interesting. I like that quite a lot. Is it the 1st person that is harder? Or just the spirit ability that makes that one harder? Since we are talking about point of view, I have the MC take over other characters sometimes in conversation and action. Those are 3rd person so I guess I do not use 1st person anywhere. Anyways, very cool concept. What a way to challenge your writing chops. I’m not sure I’m a good enough writer to pull that stuff off yet.

Speaking of which: I think I am almost done aligning the tense of my story. I chose present tense as I think that lends well to 2nd person and emersion. I do think that if I wrote a novel I would be inclined to do 3rd person limited. I can understand why that is such a dominant point of view. It lends well to fun story telling. I find it easier to accomplish. What do you all think?

That is cool Niki. I had to look up what that was because I’m a fuddy duddy. I wanted to start my own fishing channel years ago. Bought the go-pros and everything. Before I got my nose out the door, the whole market flooded. I also realized I’m not good at documenting things on camera. Having a pod cast would also be neat, but I find the same thing. Just so many people doing it. What kind of stuff do you want to stream? I talk to a lot of people that follow story writers on pod casts. I thought about this as well. I wish you all the luck. Just like writing, you just have to get that first good thing out there and keep the ball rolling. But its hard to get going. Keep us posted.

3 Likes

Imagine how nice it would be, if past me had actually written down all my notes and thoughts for plot and worldbuilding for my projects, instead of just assuming that I would be able to remember the details forever…

4 Likes

Well, my husband and I play video games. Him Monday, Me wednesday, and both of us together on friday nights. I also record and upload segments of coding that I do, sometimes. Havent had the opportunity to do so recently. He and I started the channel when I was out of work to hopefully attain some income.

3 Likes

“Perfect is the enemy of done.”

I can’t claim credit for it (I first saw it on a Facebook page called “Cult of Done”, at least a decade ago). I still think it’s very solid advice.

It worked quite well for me today, for example.

5 Likes

The stuff I plan to share this month has also too many spoilers at this point to be shareable. So I am going to share a review by Manon on the intfiction forum. This one is for the version submitted to the Bare-Bones Jam.

Maverick Hunter: Scandalous Mission by Noah Si

This is a demo/proof of concept/fan game, mashing up the Mega Man IP and Crème de la Crème by H Powell-Smith.
It had first been submitted to the Bring Out Your Ghost.

Thoughts: I didn’t know what to expect, but it for sure wasn’t this!
The project is definitely a demo (I found a few uncoded variables/statements on a passage), and probably isn’t supposed to be serious? I know it has some references to both the IPs mentioned above, but I don’t have enough prior knowledge to know for sure what is and what isn’t (though I could take some guesses).
The game starts off with a ‘get ready to fight some baddies’ moment. You can pick a sidekick and who you will fight. It’s very serious and important…

… aaaaand the demo ends on a homage to Pick Up the Phone Booth and Die (no matter what you pick). It’s silly, but the whiplash from going to a set story to this made me laugh a lot. I don’t know whether it would actually fit the story planned, but I kinda hope it stays in the game.

Thanks for the good laugh!

If this is the kind of feedback people give, then thank you a lot! Market testing is hard, but at least I took the first step. No more spoilers, I’m afraid.

3 Likes

I don’t think it’s necessarily harder, just different. (And will likely be received differently by readers as 1st person predominates in CSGs.) Although some people disagree, I feel like 1st person is more immediate with little character/reader separation in the storyline (I did this.) 2nd person to me with the “you” make me feel like “my created character did this”. (This is just my feelings on it, I know it’s quite subjective in how different people relate to the different pronouns in CSGs.)

To my knowledge there are no 3rd person published CSGs because it becomes a character guiding game where you choose for the character being played. (The character did this). I had what I think are good reasons to write it this way although I have a feeling we’re in “famous last words” before everything falls apart territory with this one :stuck_out_tongue: . (Start with a MC (1st person), move to an alternate point of view with an inhuman created character (2nd person), see an event from the past with a 3rd point of view character (3rd person.)

I think 3rd person limited can be a great choice for a non-interactive story. You’ve got a solid MC, and can let the story evolve because you’re limited to one point of view instead of being more omniscient by knowing what many of the other characters are up to and thinking. It can work well in IF as well, but I’ve never seen one take off in CS. I think it’s because of the heavy emphasis on customised character creation, and by its nature 3rd person lends itself to preset MCs. In saying that, I do actually like the idea of guiding a character through a game in 3rd person. I think there are some stories that could be told very well in that viewpoint if done right. 2nd person present would be the most common and popular CSG format so is a good choice for a game planned to be written that way.

4 Likes

I think this is really interesting subject though - how different people have completely opposite views on the immersiveness of “I” and “you”.

(I am in the camp of where “I” feels like “the character did this”, like listening to someone else telling a story about themself.)

3 Likes

I have been wanting to try out a third person story with customization. I don’t see anything inherit to third person that stops it from being possible. The plan of this story would be to control a team or family as a whole, but with a player created MC. It would be closer to the reader playing the roll of narrator.

2 Likes

Not at all, they actually turn up in other kinds of IF, just I’ve never seen one done in choicescript because the expectations of what makes a CSG popular tend to be quite specific (but yours could be the exception! You’re right there’s no reason why it can’t be done, and done well.). Here’s a couple of examples I can think of off the top of my head that use a definite third person perspective (and that’s not including all the grey area ones that use a set a MC with a very specific voice to make it fairly clear you’re guiding the MC, but still use second person to describe the actions like Zozzled ) :

Seedship
The Queen’s Menagerie (I’ve seen a few by Chandler Groover use 3rd person.)

3 Likes

I’ve been in a slump this whole year. I think I’ve written maybe 100k words, about a third of what I would have normally written. Hopefully inspiration strikes at some point

16 Likes