Questions (mainly about writing)

I’ve got a rough idea for a story/game/thing I’d like to try putting together with choicescript, but first I need to ask a few questions.

I should mention before I begin that I’m not a writer at all, and my use of punctuation isn’t all that good.

  1. When a character is speaking, I tend to type their name and then add a colon after it before any of their dialogue. I suppose you could call it part of my writing style from not using punctuation correctly.
    Example – Edward: “This works for me. Does it work for you?”
    Would this be considered an acceptable approach to character interaction?

  2. As already mentioned (and probably noticed by some), my punctuation could do with some improvement. Sometimes I do try to improve it, but honestly it doesn’t quite work out (or maybe it’s a memory problem). Anyway, is it acceptable for me to stick to the basics while trying to do the best I can overall?

  3. I’m wondering about something related to the license. Upon starting My First ChoiceScript Game I noticed the first page was for the license. Is it necessary for it to be there, or can it be erased?
    I would like to avoid any potential problems relating to the license, which is why I’m asking this question.

If I go ahead with this, I plan to try and keep things mostly simple, so I don’t accidently confuse people for no reason. Well, there’s that and the fact this will be the second attempt I’ve ever made at writing a story within the timeframe of about a decade now.

  1. It is fine and totally understandable (even though it is more like a script). But it really messes with the fluency. If it is a breakable habit then you should try to stop doing that, but if you wish to keep it, it won’t really do much harm in a choice game.

  2. For me personally i don’t mind punctuation as long as it does mess with the understanding or does’t totally flop the fluency.

  3. I am not sure about an official game but if you are posting it on the forums it can be erased. Well at least i haven’t seen it on any game I’ve played or put it on any game i’ve created.

There really isn’t anyway at getting better at writing than practice, so just write with the skill you’ve got and eventually you’d become an awesome author.

Is there a reason that you’ve chosen to write that way? Is there a reason that you don’t want to work on improving your writing?

Why can’t you phrase it as the following instead.

“This works for me. Does it work for you?” Edward asks.
“This works for me,” Edward says. “Does it work for you?”

The only way you’ll get better at writing is through practice.

That said if your current method works best for writing then just do it that way. You can always go back and edit in the ‘saids’ later.

  1. Yes, stick to the basics, there’s no need to get fancy. I actually find myself googling grammar and punctuation if I’m not certain about something. Also, this is something that editors are good for helping out with if you can persuade someone to assist you there.

  2. I think you can just erase the license for now. I usually do. When it comes to actually publishing there’ll likely need to be some attribution to choice of games but wait until you’ve actually finished writing first.

Good luck with your story.

With regards to character speech: I used to script-write more than story-write which caused that to happen, years ago. I actually like your suggested ways of phrasing it better to be honest, I’m going to make sure I maintain that once I start with dialogue.

Editors usually have lots of work to do, finding one to assist me with punctuation probably won’t happen for a while but I’ll keep the idea in mind for the right time though.

Thanks for your answers @Eternalfire and @FairyGodfeather, this has proven to be quite helpful so far.

Regarding your dialogue dilemma…you can just make every dialogue tag " CharacterName said (or asked)" for now, and go back later and punch them up a bit if you want. For example:

“Do you like me?” Scarlett asked.
“I hate you,” Ashley said.
“I hate you too,” Scarlett said.

It’s been my experience that most people don’t even notice dialogue tags and you could write a whole story like that and most people would never be the wiser. But if you want, after the bones of your story are down, you could go back and revise it:

“Do you like me?” Scarlett asked hopefully.
“I hate you,” Ashley growled.
“I hate you too,” Scarlett cried.

I find the script-style distracting and it pulls me out of the story. Just my opinion.

  1. I’ve seen one of the Hosted Games’ top authors, @Nocturnal_Stillness, use this approach in his latest WiP and I must say I really like it. It is easier to keep track on who says what.

Maybe I’ll consider two versions for this, one with the method suggested twice and the original method I was planning to use. It will give readers/players the option to choose the one they prefer.

Thanks for the replies @LadyCass and @Mayday.

I’ll just go on the record as saying I don’t like dialogue tags and I think you can work around them in many cases.

I frequently write something like…

X strolls over to you, rubbing his chin as if deep in thought. He exhales slowly and sticks his hands in his pockets. “Okay, MC, I’m outta ideas. What do you think?”


There are as many ways of writing as there are writers. Some writers use no dialog tags, others use almost exclusively ‘he said, she said’ style simple tags, others go the whole ‘he exclaimed she professed’. There are guidelines and rules that say completely opposite things, and when it comes to punctuation, things can get heated.

But if we want to get to the heart of it, creative writing has two goals:

1: To make the reader understand what is being said.
2: To pull the reader into the story.

The script writing style is really good at number one, but it can have issues with number two (less if you are used to reading scripts, because you stop seeing them).

That being said, anything can be used well, but everything will not be liked by everyone. I am sure that awesome things can be done with script writing (I write comics, so I am so used to reading them I hardly see them) but I would suggest trying to do something more traditional at first.

The best way of learning to write is writing after all. It’s going to feel clunky and odd at first, but it’s only by getting thousands of words on paper or screen that you can start getting a feel for how you want to write.

The second best way of learning is to pick a book (or game or comic) that you like reading, and write down a paragraph from it. Actually copying the physical text makes you aware of exactly what the author really is writing, Most of the time we just absorb words from the page without really thinking about what they are (unless they trip us up, which is what turns some people into grammar fiends), but actually copying text breaks that barrier and suddenly you can see the nuts and bolts of the language.

As for punctuation, don’t worry about it for now. Just write. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just focus on having fun. Break all the bloody rules if you have to, this is your thing, so have fun with it! Grammar and punctuation checks is literally the LAST thing that goes into book editing, I don’t even have a spellchecker on my writing program of choice just so I won’t be caught in grammar correcting hell. Because that way you never finish, you just keep going back and polish instead of pushing forwards.

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Regarding the dialogues:

I think it may be a cultural thing, but in Chinese, it’s considered acceptable or even the norm to put the name in front and the dialogue itself at the back.

I find that reading in this way allows me to give each character a clear imagined voice; sometimes, when I read in English, I come across a line that I expected A to say, but only until the very end do I relize that, no, it wasn’t A who was saying it, it’s B. So then I have to go back to the beginning and reread it in B’s voice.

I think HornHeadFan’s got it best; that way, it doesn’t sound like a script, but it also gives a clear picture of who’s speaking.

I agree that dialogue tags are best to be avoided. Gu Long, for example, worked around them by holding long dialogues with only 2 characters going back and forth, leaving no room for confusion. At other times, the characters themselves are so well-established that the reader has no difficulty in telling who had said what; this is something that’s easy to envision but hard to accomplish.

So I’d advise trying to fit your dialogues between two characters unless you absolutely need more.

Thanks for the replies. I’ll be sure to keep all your advice in mind once I’ve got the story/game idea in a useable state.

I’m still thinking two versions would be best, so readers/players who like the tags can read that version and those who don’t can read the other.

I don’t think you need to do that. I understand the wish to please everyone - that’s one of my huge problems with coding, trying to do it all so no one is disappointed - but two whole sets of dialogue are, in my opinion, unnecessary. I’d avoid the script-style writing and stick to more organic dialogue, but that’s just me.

I guess I’ll see how it works once I get to it. If it seems odd when I read it I’ll probably scrap the tags version.

Thanks for the reply @Sashira.

Go with whichever one you feel flows better when you start to write. I agree that two versions will be unnecessary, and really tedious as well.

Personally I think you should wean away from script style and write something more traditional (because it flows much better imo) but on the other hand, maybe you should do something you’re more comfortable with if this is your first time with choicescript. Good luck. (: