What should a WIP actually have?

So I just finished the first chapter of a little project I’ve been working on. It’s a sci-fi thing where you play as an android from Saturn 1207 years in the future and try to keep humans (plus a werewolf and a half-bird lady) from hunting you down Blade Runner style. Said chapter is around 29k words long discounting code and I also have 20k words of the second chapter written down. I am thinking of posting a WIP on dashington sometime in the future, but I’m not sure what I should actually have before doing that. As in…

  • How many words should the story have from the start? 29k words doesn’t feel like much, but what about 50k or 60k? Do people even pay attention to word counts as much as I do?
  • Do I need to get some art first? I could get some free-use picture of Saturn as a placeholder, but I don’t think I should be making or commissioning actual art in such an early stage of the project.
  • Should I post on tumblr? I know it’s good for publicity and all, but I also know people get really pissed when someone advertises a project that may not ever get finished.
  • Should I even use dashington? That’s what everyone seems to be doing, but weren’t there some issues with the site recently?
  • Also concerning finished games, can I use a pen name of sorts? My real name isn’t some secret, but it’s basically unpronounceable for English speakers and frankly kinda lame, so I’m using a rough translation whenever a nickname won’t suffice.

I don’t imagine there are any actual rules about that sort of thing, but I want to know what the… decorum is like. I’ve seen some WIP topics on this forum and they’re all these complex posts about stories that are already over 100k words long, but maybe I’m just seeing the most popular and old threads? There have to be smaller WIPs out there… right?


Choice of the dragon I think has less words than your chapter and it’s a whole game. (Current min word count for HG games I think is 30k so you’re fine.) Basically you need something that will give people interested in your game a taste of what it is about. So an opening chapter is good.

Yes people pay attention to word counts, but mostly in finished games/anticipated game length statements.

Personally strongly recommend against commisioning artwork this early. If you decide to change your game (edits, restyle etc which can happen) or not to continue it, that’s a fair bit of money gone if you get a good artist. If you can make it yourself, knock yourself out. (I sometimes make art to get into the mood of what I want to write.)

Tumblr’s a controversial one. Most people will probably say you need it to increase the chances of being popular, but it’s also a time sink so can hinder your writing speed.

Dashingdons is the only great hosting option at the moment. Unfortunately it is no longer being supported. I would use it while it is still up personally.

You’ll need to give COG your real name but you can write under what ever you like :slight_smile:

Most WIPs start small and get larger with time. It’s highly unusual for an unfinished WIP to be posted for the first time at 100K+ words.


There are a lot of WIPs out there even shorter than yours. The ones that get the most attention are the longer one that have attracted a following, but if you go looking you’ll see a lot of WIPs out there, especially new ones, with just a few thousand words.

It’s probably sensible not to go commissioning art this early in the project. A free-use picture is fine for now. If you get to the point where you’re looking seriously at publication, then you can commission some art if you like.

Whether you should post on Tumblr probably depends on what sort of fan engagement you’re looking at, but you definitely should post on DashingDon, which is the best hosting site we have for the foreseeable future. The issue is that it’s sort of not being maintained at the moment, but at this point it’s still working just fine. I tested a game on DashingDon just last week, no issues.

You can definitely use a pen name. Many authors do. You’d have to sign a contract under your real name, but you can publish under any name you like.


Just adding to the general consensus, but you have written well over enough to post a WIP. Choice has published games with lower word counts.

I would hold on art.

I use dashingdon, and while there are significant concerns about future availability, there is no harm in using them, and they’ve been great for me so far.

Just to offer something not asked, I would recommend adding a blurb about your intended tone, or user experience. What are your goals with the story? Things like that make it easier to provide useful feedback.

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What shoud a WIP actually have? Good question!

The word count for the demo is not as important as the quality of the demo. The demo has to make sure that your readers know what your story is about (without giving too much of the plot away). The numbers itself should be sufficient.

Art is optional. Do it only if it enchances your work in some way.

The use of Tumblr is a mixed bag. You would want to increase your fan base- but this is a double-edged sword, as you could increase readership and thus feedback gained, but you also could get bogged down into accepting the demands of everybody at once…

Dashingdon is probably the best site to host these stuff, at least for now.

You can, of course, use a pen name, but when it is published, you will have to use your real name.

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Only to give to CoG for payment and tax purposes. “Joel Havenstone” is my pen name, and it’s the one on the published game.


Uh… thank you I guess?

Hearing we can use pen names for published works is… a relief. My preference is not for my real full name to be floating amok for anyone with a passing thought and a google search to find. I prefer having a rather strict delineation between my presence online and my real life self.


I’m happy for mine to be a little fuzzy (any forum regular will have the evidence to find my real name) but yeah, I don’t want it to turn up on anyone’s trivial Googling.

Just wanted to be sure @Omeg didn’t take away the wrong idea about pseudonyms.