Good evening everyone, I’m very pleased to have officially joined the forum. A little bit about myself, I have been reading and playing COG ever since Choice of Broadsides, all those years ago. Now I am a bit older but I’ve never lost my love of COG and Interactive Fiction in general. I pretty much buy almost every game as soon as it is uploaded to the website, and I love how rich the library has become over time. Slammed is one of my favourites, as is Choice of the Deathless (so good I bought all of Gladstone’s books online afterwards), and Pendragon looks like becoming an instant classic.
Despite having free-lanced and dabbled and blogged, I have never actually been a published writer and I feel that it is time to change that. I’ve always wanted to be a published writer and I would love to start off by writing a COG. I have an idea for a game, and I would appreciate it very much if you could give me your honest opinion on whether you like it or think it’s a non-starter.
While other writers have found success with magic, fantasy, and sci-fi, I would like to write a story a bit more grounded in reality. As my interests lie in history and politics, particularly of the United States and Westminster, I thought I’d put it to good use. The main character begins as a fresh-faced young man or woman whose life-long dream is to be elected President of their country. You begin as a lowly intern working in a back-office, and climb the greasy pole to become the most powerful person in all the land. There are several paths to victory, as you can ally with one party or another, or forge a third way as an independent candidate. You can go the sinister route and seize power in a coup, a last resort for the desperate. There are many paths to defeat as well. Be caught in a scandal, alienate your supporters by agreeing to do your donor’s bidding, or ignore them but run out of money.
I would like to keep things relatively simple, stats-wise, as I am very new to writing choice-based IF and I don’t want to be too ambitious too soon. Perhaps a few basic stats like charisma, diplomacy, religiosity, experience, organisational skills, speaking skills. A list of your allies. How much money you have. And also a bar that tracks your energy level versus your burnout (and with a high risk of an emotional outburst if your burnout levels are high).
Possible stumbling blocks I can foresee; I am not 100% confident of my ability to write from the female perspective (I am male), and less so for a transgender or asexual character or similar. I’m not sure if it is a requirement to include these diverse viewpoints, although I would try my best to write from more than one POV. To be honest, I would like to avoid controversy in this area as much as I can and write a good story without offending anyone. Any advice you can give me about this will be greatly appreciated.
Due to the quarrels that often flare-up because of real world politics, I will be setting the story in a fictional country, but clearly modelled on a US Presidential-style campaign. You can be conservative or liberal (or a moderate) but you won’t be a Conservative or a Liberal, if you follow me. However I won’t shy away from tough real world issues, and you have to take a principled stand sooner or later.
I enjoy romance in my COGs, some of my favourites are Ashleigh Wakefield in Choice of the Deathless, Evelyn Ecstasy from Slammed and Alison Faulkner from Psy High. There will be several opportunities to begin a romance, from a childhood friend who’s known you since high school, a foreign government official, or even (gasp) someone from the opposing party. Outside of COG, I enjoyed the romance storylines for Morrigan of DA and Miranda Lawson of ME. I believe that the romance storylines should enrich the story and give readers a reason to replay the game.
I’m a huge fan of political series like the West Wing, the Thick of It, Yes Minister, House of Cards (both versions), Ambassadors, the Kennedys, and Parks and Rec, so if you like such shows I hope to weave those influences into my story.
That’s it for now, and again, I would be very grateful for any comment or bit of advice you can give me. With hard work and a bit of luck I hope to write something that I can be proud to put my name to and show to my friends and family.