The Porthecrawl Witness - a WIP (Chap 4 of Demo added - 3/19)

romance
nonbinary-inclusive
gender-choice

#102

@Caleb

I had seriously considered having a fixed surname for that very reason. I guess…I just to maximize customization where I could? I’m going to add a choice of seven surnames that I think ‘fit’ with the other family names, but keep the option to include one of your choosing.

Oh man, the lisp idea…that would be fun. I’m not sure how I’d swing it but I do like the idea of unique dialogue options outside of just being slightly more awkward vs charming vs abrupt, you know? If I could do it in a way that relies less on variables, it actually wouldn’t be any more work than what I’m already doing.


#103

I am personally rather a fan of this compromise. Considering the British Colonial roots of Porthecrawl I think it would be nice to have some offered options. I personally went for Carpenter which I think works decently, but I can easily change that if I like one of the list names as I often do.


#104

@Blackbird

That’s a good point about including the ‘inciting incident.’ That may actually be the way to go with this particular story, sort of a hook beyond the romantic aspect.


#105

I have this great list of gender neutral names I found awhile back over at tumblr, here, that you might find worth a look!


#106

@happenstance2me

Thanks! That’s helpful! I’ve mostly been googling away but that just brings up the same couple of lists each time.


#107

(taps microphone)

Greetings! You wanted it. You asked for it. You got it.

Fix (or keep) Sasha’s name!

See the initial post for this thread for the poll. The vote will close Sunday, February 17th at noon. The listed names were selected either because I’d originally considered them, liked them, or thought they were sufficiently different from the other ROs.


#108

I can’t read after chapter one.
I click on next chapter and it only load

But i love your story


#109

Alright, should be fixed now! There was a problem with the update. All three chapters should be available! Thanks for letting me know :grin:


#110

well I voted for sasha…cose…I dont mind her name lol for some reason , I though it was Staci that was going to be changed :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: dun dun dunnnnnn…plot twist! :rofl:


#111

@E_RedMark

Yeah…I think because ‘Sasha’ had already been changed once in the writing process, I decided to change his/hers again.

Quinn is the name that is apparently winning, which surprises me.


#112

why? can Quinn be used for a female ? The only Quinn I know…was a dude :sweat_smile:


#113

Maaaaybe I spoke too soon. Sasha and Quinn seem to be pretty neck and neck. We’ll see!

I don’t know - I have a more masculine unisex name so maybe my opinions are a little skewed in that department


#114

First off, I want to echo what’s been previously said about this setting being really intriguing (always loved me some Innsmouth) and how it’s more nice & unique that we’re not playing the stranger to the insular town with secrets. Normally the protagonist would be part of the Soon-to-be-renamed?-Sasha/Staci/Talbot crew, but instead we’re actually one of the elite townees hiding secrets that a normal protoganist would be hounding/flirting/interacting with. (In which case, my MC would totally be up for taking the role of the enigmatic potential love interest in this scenario that plays along with the group, dropping cryptic hints and being all ~mysterious~.)

Also, I wonder if anyone has ever tried communicating across the wards by using signs? It’d be pretty hard to do with the random sightings throughout town, but it seems feasible to pull off during the big meet-ups where people keep reappearing in the same area for an extended length of time? Tongue-in-cheek imagining the MC attending the meeting with a “Do you recognize this guy? [insert-description-of-Asher]” sign.

That said, in contrast to the people who were playing a town-sympathetic MC determined to hide all the secrets, my playthroughs of a non-traditional (non-flirty) MC who was disapproving of the Cleave/wards and all the secrets kept hitting a wall once the ROs have been properly introduced.

In Chapter 3, there are so many options that amount to worrying over keeping the town secrets or being negative regarding the potential of the ROs investigating things, that the only one way to avoid those options is to pretty much start randomly flirting with people. In general, I wish there was a way for the MC to be more internally amused/intrigued/positive towards the thought of the outsiders investigating. (Not that they’d just go blabbing all the secrets, but that they would be internally approving of the outsiders as they were internally disapproving of what Porthecrawl is doing)

For example, say the MC has taken the previous (summarized) choices of…

  • small town life is not for me/planning on leaving
  • does not like keeping the wards secret from the other townees who deserve to know the truth
  • angry at what the ancestors forced on Old Porthecrawl
  • condemning your people is not a cure (or let fate take its course)
  • not sure about keeping secret from partner

…thus establishing that this particular MC would not be the type to naturally be going “oh noes! i must protect the secrets that I never approved of!”. And then the final choice of Chapter 3 is…

  • your eyes find Staci’s pale gray ones and you feel excited at the prospect.
  • your eyes find Talbot’s dark blue ones and you feel excited at the prospect.
  • your eyes find Sasha’s bright green ones and you feel excited at the prospect.
  • you frown, unsure whether or not these men will prove to be new friends or a problem for Little Porthecrawl.

Basically ogle one of the ROs or show disapproval about the outsiders potentially investigating the secrets.

There’s no way to show approval to the group as a whole (singling out one person here comes across as rather romantic with the blushing & everything) or to find the prospect of them being a “problem” to the Porthecrawl secrets as a positive (or at least a more general “well, this could be fun!” reaction).

If the MC has to be all about protecting the town’s secrets & such, I think it needs to be made clearer earlier on as you don’t really have to play that way at all until Chapter 3.

A few more examples that popped out to me under the cut (so as not to take up so much room on the thread)

Summary

While getting introduced to Staci…

  • Accept his hand. “Sasha?”
  • Don’t shake his hand. Something’s not right.

Any way the MC could have an option to be internally suspicious/catching on that Staci has a secret motive/“something’s not right”, but still be outwardly genial? For easy coding this option could just point to the normal accept option.

And then the group’s “nefarious” ghost-hunting purposes have been revealed!

  • “Why didn’t you just say so?” [Ignores the danger an investigation represents]
  • “Folklore?” In Little Porthecrawl? That can’t be good. [Acknowledges the danger, negative reaction]
  • No harm in that. Porthecrawl and Easthallow have plenty of legends that don’t involve wards and time warps. “Neat topic. Our articles go back years.” [Positive reaction, brushes off the danger an investigation represents]
  • You’re not encouraging this – time to go. [Acknowledges the danger, negative reaction]
  • So they need a favor. You knew he was being too friendly. “So that’s why you came over. We do keep records.” [Ignores the investigation entirely to focus on the motive]
  • So they need a favor. Not going to lie - it stings a little knowing that’s why they were so interested. [Ignores the investigation entirely to focus on the motive]

So the positive and neutral reactions to the group are basically ignoring or brushing off the dangers a folklore investigation might prove to the town’s secrets.

Any way the MC could acknowledge the danger of the investigation, but still be positive about it? Basically a [“Folklore?” In Little Porthecrawl? Oh this could be amusing!] type reaction. A more neutral “yep, there’s the expected hidden motive for approaching you” option without getting upset/accusatory over it would be nice too.

And absolutely nothing to do with town secrets, but during Staci’s introduction to the MC…

  • “I’m sorry, what?”
  • “You…lost a fight with a sleeve dispenser?”
  • Caught off guard, you blush. “Uh, sure. Here you are…”
  • “Here, take mine.” You grin in a way that’s a little more than friendly.
  • Whoa, you completely missed that. Poster models for the Lumberjack Singles dating app shouldn’t go around jumping people this early in the morning and expect to get answers.

Could we get a non-flirty option for handing the sleeve over? The non-flirty reactions seem a bit ditsy (for a writer not catching the fighting the dispensor metaphor) or rude. Also that last option is just hilarious. :+1:

And here are a few random typos that I noticed…

Summary

You take the coffee on your way out [of] the car and, with a final glance at the square behind you, shoulder your way through the red door of the Witness.

It’s an exciting time a year, meant to bring together the old bloodlines and those families who came after the Cleave. [an exciting time of year]

She looks every part a mayor’s wife, with not a hair is out of place and not a wrinkle in her satin blouse. [with not a hair out of place] or [not a hair is out of place] (Both “with” and “is” in that part of the sentence are conflicting. Since the next sentence starts “With dark hair”, I’d suggest dropping “with” and keeping the “is”)

you could run draw attention in your column to any issues he would rather avoid during his campaign [draw attention in your column] or [run your column drawing attention]

you hope it’s large enough [You hope it’s large enough - missing capitalization]

In conclusion, great game so far and it looks like I may be changing my vote from Dael (I like it the most since its spelling is the most unique, if we were discussing ROs on the CoG forums and this name came up, no one would be mistaking them for someone else) to Quinn (whose currently in the lead), since I also messed up Sasha/Staci while writing this.


#115

@Unregistered

Thanks for the thorough feedback and apologies for the delayed response; I’ve been away. I adjusted the spelling and grammar corrections you found, so thank you!

I understand your points about the lack of balanced responses in regards to playing as a character who is, up to a point, skeptical of the town’s insistence on secrets and traditions. I’ll go back and have a look in these early chapters so that I can better tailor a response or two in each meaningful interaction with the ROs/friends.

I think your points are particularly important given that I don’t want to force people to play a certain way - whether it’s in regards to the secrets or pursuing a romance. Ideally, even though it’s primarily a romance, I’d like to offer as fulfilling a playthrough for those who don’t pursue romantic options, but would like to still be sympathetic to outsiders.

Thanks again - especially for the specifics. That’s wildly helpful as I go back and have a look.


#116

After years of lurking I made an account here specifically to tell you that I love love love your work! Your writing style is so clear and I get a really powerful visual of everything you describe :open_mouth: Seeing your own ancestors around town on a different time plane is so cool?? :heartbeat::heartbeat:

I love the feeling of such a dreary place hiding a secret, and I love being a part of it! I love the crooked staircase and the crappy coffee and how Frances wanted to speak to us so badly, and how Faye is her own person beyond a cardboard cutout who only exists to shoehorn an RO mention at us! :two_hearts:

And I love the ROs! I love my aunt! I love the mayor’s wife! I love that the protagonist comes with preset history instead of being completely blank :heartpulse::heartpulse::heartpulse:

I have checked the WIP page multiple times a day since you first posted on here and am excited to see what else you have coming! :sparkling_heart::sparkling_heart:


#117

This is wonderfully written and a really interesting concept. Intrigued by the RO’s though none have hooked me just yet; Quinn is probably closest (I’m a tiny bit gutted that Asher is always a dude since I’m a sucker for a hot lady villain it must be said).

Excited to see where it goes, definitely keeping tabs on this one. :slight_smile:


#118

Oh gosh :hugs: make my morning, why don’t you…

The best compliment I can get about these chapters is to hear that the setting and side characters have really delivered and feel alive.

I hope to get the fourth chapter up soon-ish. It’s quite the chunk of writing, longer than the others anyway, and will provide some more interactions to indulge in! I’ve started sitting benchmarks for myself in regards to finishing scenes and chapters, and I think - tentatively, probably - what I’ll do is post the first 5 or 6 chapters here. The goal is to have it ‘finished’ by June/July, though that probably won’t include edits, much less testing. The feedback from everyone here has certainly made the process a lot smoother!

This is such an exciting platform to be a part of - I’ve got ideas running all over the place! Things that I just haven’t been able to do in other places. There are certain unfilled niches, so I’d love to hear what readers want to see.

Thanks so much for the kind comment (and for making an account to just to tell me)! :relaxed:


#119

Thanks! I think the ROs may take some time to grow on some people - the certainly have their peculiarities…

I’m glad you enjoyed the demo so far. Thanks for keeping an eye out!


#120

This is great! It’s a super interesting premise and I’m very into defining a character’s relationship to a community. I can’t wait to see where it goes!


#121

This is random haha but I wanna say that (still love it ((I’ve been practicing drawing faces with the ROs hahaha))) but lady lumberjacks are lumberjanes for f!staci! :evergreen_tree::evergreen_tree: tho being a lady among a bunch of lumberjack pinups is a power move and a half I support her :muscle:t2::kissing_heart::muscle:t2: