Over the last week, I found myself really struggling with doubt when it comes to working on the short story for the Make Your Way anthology. Specifically, I’ve been doubting myself and my ability to write this piece.
Deep down I know this doubt is silly. I’ve worked on similar projects in the past, most notably Holdfast. Holdfast is a game book that was developed by Black Chicken Studios. For Holdfast, I worked on two separate story lines. I developed the characters, and had to write out a branching story (rather like a Choose Your Own Adventure story) complete with a couple of RPG choices. And I did it all within a week. This experience is exactly what I need to call on for the Make Your Way anthology.
Perhaps part of the problem is that this specific experience happened five years ago. Yes I have done it, but I haven’t done anything quite like this recently. And in truth, this project is a little more intense than Holdfast was (even though all the work I did for Holdfast happened within one week, which is a very tight turnaround time); where in Holdfast I was just writing the story stuff, this time around I’m designing the RPG system, editing everything, and having to randomize the sections at the end, too. So it’s possible that this stuff is intimidating me a little bit, too.
Another thing that I’m worried about is the story ballooning out of control. Being a choose your own adventure style story, having multiple paths increases the replayability. But it also means the story becomes physically much bigger. While Make Your Way didn’t have any word length specifics, they do remind you that whatever you submit is just one part of a bigger book, not a standalone book on its own. How do I keep the word count down while making sure the piece is fun? Should I sacrifice replayability by making it a super linear story? I don’t really want to, but it might be the only way forward.
While grappling with all of these doubts, I have made a bit of progress. I have the main characters figured out. And I’ve brainstormed a lot of individual story elements (including a possible bad ending!) I think at this point I really just need to sit down, start writing, and see where things go, even with all the doubts. So wish me luck as I do that this week! 🙂