Writing process?

Newbie writer here looking for advice/guidance on the issue of the process of writing for CS games.

When you create your story, do you write it down in some form of writing software first to flesh out the world, characters, and overall story? Or do you go right to using CS in the beginning?

I thought at first it was a good idea to just create the short story and make notes where paths could diverge, then code it all as choice script. But I don’t know if that’s the most efficient method.

2nd question: Do you already have or know your entire story/characters/world, etc when you begin writing? Or does it develop as you write?


First story was writing in Google Docs and then porting it over to CSIDE to be coded. Second and third (and the fourth, currently in progress) were written straight in CSIDE, with code in from the beginning. I’m sure plenty of people have both approaches.


Hello Jeremy_L; nice topic and question.
For myself, and I don’t recommend it, I usually just dive right in. I’ll start adding comments in the startup file and start declaring vars and then launch into the prologue or chapter 1 while the energy is strong. Sometimes I’ll story board a few pages in a notebook, but usually I end up not really using those much anyways. This is all once I officially start - until I have time to do that, I usually will email myself my story idea, so it doesn’t get lost forever, as sadly that is what will happen if i don’t have some record somewhere or haven’t started on it.

2nd question: Do you already have or know your entire story/characters/world, etc when you begin writing? Or does it develop as you write? - Definetly not everything, but usually I’ll have a strong premise that will point me in the direction of what sort of voice, tone, and main characters I want as well as a half fleshed out setting that will gradually get filled in as I proceed on. Then it will generate organically as I go on, which works well, except I need to be very careful not to create inconsistencies, which goes back to not recommending my process.

As a corollary point, I should mention that I usually try to read as much as possible that is similar to the project I am working on and usually some non-fiction books so there is some level of accuracy. My number one tip for all writers regardless of everything else is to read. By reading similiar works my voice and tone should hopefully feel more authentic and I will likely get flashes of inspiration on how to improve the plots and characters I have in mind.

Update: Upon rereading your question I wanted to add that I usually use notepad++ though lately I have been giving CSIDE a try. CSIDE is better at catching spelling errors and has plenty of good tools built in, but notepad++ has life saving search and replace functions that are priceless. Also, notepad++ displays its text automatically larger and CSIDE displays smaller, which for those of us with old eye syndrome, can be a serious point of consideration when choosing the best software to use.

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I have two methods: 1) I decide on an opening, then open a text editor (or pick pencil and paper) and start writing, or 2) I start writing (or just imagining, this can take place fully inside my head also) random snippets and then figure out how they fit together (or don’t fit together, that can happen too).

That is my first draft, in which I decide on the plot; it is roughly an equivalent of a single playthrough of the game. At this point, I may put in some notes as to where choices may happen, or where page breaks are supposed to go, but I do not write code. I may also make a huge amount of supplementary material for myself, or at least random notes for stuff I need to remember, like spreadsheets.

When the first draft is completed, I plan the branching. Then I start writing the actual game with code and branches and the like.

That works for me, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone whose brain doesn’t work that way.

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We disagree on this.

I would suggest that when you read other works that are similar to your project, you run the danger of mimicking others’ works too closely. As stated in the Inspiration vs Plagiarism Discussion thread:

@Jeremy_L – The priority of a project, especially your first project, should be to complete the first draft of your copy.

Spitballing the ideas and concepts is done by discussing them with a few trusted friends and colleagues who help me solidify everything into a coherent vision.

I would not worry about efficiency for your first project. Use what works for you, because the first project is about completing it, which is the hardest thing to do in writing IF, especially for new writers.

I tend to outline first the big picture, then adjust and adapt as I write and work with the details as they emerge as I write.


This is the biggest takeaway. Always remember that perfection is the enemy of good enough. Stories are like pancakes. For most people the first couple aren’t going to look perfect. They can still be tasty though.


My first effort was written entirely in Notepad+ and I hated it. The code wouldn’t work (took me a long time to figure out ChoiceScript and did not even know about quick test for the longest time) and it was a laborious process that was against how I usually write. It was just… horrible.

This time around I’m writing in Word, leaving myself notes and marks for where I want choices (although I mainly use *fake_choice) and adding code as I remember it. I write entire scenes, then add the code (each path is usually left with gaps) and then run it through a program to remove smart quotes etc. the last thing is stats, as I hate them, and getting them balanced is a core that I reserve for proofing.

Then 2nd and 3rd proof in Notepad+, run tests to check the code works, and send it in.


I used to try and write out the scenes and code at the same time but that got overwhelming for me pretty quickly.

Nowadays, I’m using the put placeholder texts first and leave myself notes way.
I read about that method in an autors post somewhere and have seen someone mention it on the forum as well.
(Not sure, maybe H. Powell-Smith?)

It helps me keep a kind of forward momentum and get things done.
At least more done than doing nothing.

Recently writing hasn’t been going well and I concentrate more on stats (and the stats screen) and variables because that’s what is more enjoyable for me right now.

This got really long

I’ve learned a lot just by trying things out.
Even if it’s slow going, I’ve made some progress.

Edit: I realized that was a bit more on the coding and less about the ideas behind the story so.

I start out with a vague idea of setting or genre but most often there qre some characters I really want to write about and that’s how I start stories.

I pick archetypes I like, mix character traits a bit, and try to come up with backstories that interest me.
I have so many notes on these characters and how they tick for later use that no one else might ever see. :sweat_smile:

With settings, I pick something I’m missing in media or want more of or that is vaguely inspired by something I liked once.
So, it starts out vague and gets more concrete once I think about scenarios or just little snippets I want to write.

I try to do only barebones outlines because otherwise I get bored and never write the whole story because I feel like I know everything already.
That’s why I no onger write until I get to an ending but it unfortunately means I don’t have an ending so far.
A double edged sword if I lose interest. :weary:


When i first started writing i already had an idea just in my head, but the first thing i did bring to paper was a character sheet. I made detailed notes abt who i wanted my cast to be with miscellainious little tidbits etc. That way i could always go back and have a solid grasp on them! Another thing i did was talk about my story. Alot. That made me flesh out plot points, in world lore etc! And then i started to just write in CS. I dont know if tjis will help you in any way but i just wanted to share how i experienced writing so far! I hope you can find your own way from a the lovely feedback and wish you lots of luck🥰


For me, it is really just getting the idea in my head and spitballing it around. And then going and writing it out as I go in CSIDE and going with the flow, adjusting the idea as I write till I have a finished draft of that portion. That’s mostly been how it is for all I’ve written. A general outline is usually present for the larger plot beats or routine, such as when we reach an action section or a conversation section.

I myself however never write a single thing down, I never really have, but I wouldn’t really recommend that to anyone. My brain is a web of ideas that’s hard to decipher and I probably could be more efficient and clear if I did write down ideas when they popped in. But I am too deep in my brain to revert to writing.