Just to warn everyone, this is going to be the last #WriteMonday. I was thinking about it, and since I generally work on things on Monday (and so never really have a consistent time when I post on Mondays), I’m going to move the weekly update to Tuesdays instead. That way I can do all my writing without trying to remember to post on here simultaneously! 🙂
Fitting in with this change, I also decided to move the monthly Tuesday Book Talk to Thursdays. So starting this month, that will now be happening on the last Thursday of the month instead of the last Tuesday.
This last week has been full of brainstorming and worldbuilding and plotting, all for the Make Your Way Story I’m working on. As I mentioned before, the story is going to be set in City of the Dead. After finally finishing bingeing through the Pitch Meetings on Youtube (they’re by Ryan George for Screen Rant), I started thinking a lot more about this story. I don’t know why, but I was having a really hard time working on it, so I forced myself to go over things and see what the matter was.
My thoughts led me off in some unexpected directions: the original story I envisioned had a man looking for his betrothed, but I wasn’t really clear on how he realized she was missing. Thinking through that, I thought it made the most sense that they separated because of an argument and he realized she was missing when he went back to apologize to her. But the more I thought about their argument, the less sense the story made as I had originally envisioned it.
What made more sense within the story was to have the lady looking for her betrothed instead. That meant I had to change some aspects of the characters I had originally envisioned, too. At its most basic, she was originally going to be a revenant, but now he would be instead (revenants are the soul that remains when a zombie is made – I talk a little bit about it in this post from 2015, and wrote a short story dealing with revenants and zombies for Apocalypse Madness). Making that change led to some unexpected worldbuilding problems within City of the Dead that I had to work through (specifically whether the world’s magic is capable of affecting a revenant). That question took an unexpectedly long time to answer (about two days!) But that was okay, because now that I have answered it, I feel a lot more confident about this new version of the story. And now that most of the worldbuilding is out of the way, I’ve been able to start re-plotting the story. That has (of course) kicked up a few more worldbuilding things I need to think about, which will hopefully take a bit less time than the last one did. But no matter how long it takes, once I’ve figured all of this out I think both the story and the setting will be much stronger!
Once I’m finished with working through the plot and the few worldbuilding kinks, I’ll get back to actually writing the story. Unfortunately the changes I’ve made mean that most of what I had already written will be scrapped. But that’s okay, these things happen (remember when I was working on that story for the Dark Crystal Author Quest? I wrote 5+ drafts of that story, many of which involved huge structural edits like this!) The main thing is that no matter how many drafts this takes, I end up writing the strongest story I can! 🙂
So this weekend I managed to actually work a bit on the story I started for the Make Your Way anthology. I had a really hard time sitting down with it for some reason, but last night I finally started thinking through the characters a little bit. I guess the problem was that I knew I needed to do some worldbuilding in order to properly think through my characters. But once I started I ended up on a roll!
One oversight that I made with City of the Dead was that I failed to come up with naming conventions for the world. I’ve got rough naming conventions for pretty much all the other worlds I’ve come up with because I want to make sure characters from different settings don’t have too similar-sounding names. So last night I sat down and thought through that; from there I moved on to thinking about the individual characters a little more. Thinking through everything also made me realize that lands and titles in City of the Dead move through matrilinear lines. This is a little thing, but it is pretty obvious because City of the Dead is ruled primarily by the Queen (she has a King, but he is in charge of security and military matters while she is the one who does the actual ruling).
I came up with my character motivations as well. I think I’ve figured out how they think (and why things unfold the way they do). Last night I was thinking they were an aristocratic family, but after sleeping on it I’m thinking they are not. While I liked the idea of them being aristocrats (especially because it explains where the family’s father is), I’d then have to figure out either why they don’t have servants or why the servants saw and heard nothing. Plus having servants in the picture may pose a problem for keeping the character count down (which I want to do because this is going to be a short story). If they aren’t an aristocratic family, and so don’t have servants, all of these problems become nonexistent.
Most of the work I did was yesterday, but I did find names for the characters today. I’m planning on doing some more work on things tomorrow afternoon, too. After that I’ll probably have to turn my attention back to Sustainably North and getting a blog post ready for next week. Thinking of Sustainably North, today I talked about drinking straws, if you’re interested in reading it. 🙂
I hope everyone has a good and productive week. 🙂
One of my goals for the year was to write four polished short stories. To work towards that goal, I signed myself up for Duotrope a few months ago (I subscribed to them years ago, but ended up unsubscribed because they stopped accepting Paypal). My goal this time was to keep an eye out for markets that sounded interesting (and hopefully ACTUALLY submit something somewhere). I found a few markets that seemed to fit the bill at the beginning of the month. Well, the month is almost over, and yesterday I realized I had done no short story writing at all! So I took another look at the markets I was planning to write for, chose one, and wrote about 100 words of a story yesterday. They were crappy words, but they were words all the same.
Today I sat down and thought a bit more about the story (specifically the characters, but also the setting – this is not set in one of the worlds I built). Once that was done, I set to work revising the bit I had already written. Draft 2 is now over 700 words long, with things (obviously) fleshed out a lot better in this draft. I doubt it’s going to get much longer, so I’ll be editing and revising it over the next few days before hopefully submitting it by the end of the week. Wish me luck! 🙂
Ugh, it’s been almost a month and I feel like I haven’t done anything. That’s not true (I’ve been doing a lot of reading, which has been great), but I haven’t done any writing or work on Memories. So that ended up one of my big plans for this long weekend – make some sort of progress on Memories. (I was tempted to sit down and write a short story or something, but decided in the end that I really need to finish this game first).
So I made a paper prototype of most of the game so far, and started trying to think things through a bit.
This has been great. I made little tokens out of paper with the characters, whether or not they have a heart, and what their job title is. I also made paper tokens of the keys you’ll need, and the memory triggers. This way I can move everything around super easily, which has allowed me to change my mind as to who will be in what room (and who will have the keys you need). Thanks to this, I’ve actually managed to properly think through some of the problems I’ve been having for the last few weeks regarding the second and third memories, which means I can get back to building the game! 🙂
I wasn’t prototyping the narrative, but sitting down and making this prototype reminded me of a GDC talk I attended about paper prototyping for your narrative design project. I know my friends and I were disappointed with the talk itself (he spent too much time on terms we were all familiar with; it was just starting to get into the good stuff when he ran out of time and had to hurry through the stuff we were more interested in), but if you’re interested in it, I found the talk on Youtube.
Oh yeah, I’m also renaming the wizard. For some reason, I didn’t realize his name started with an “E” when I named him. One of the families has an “E” as the first letter of their names, and I didn’t want it to be confusing. So he’s now going to be Godric. I think that’s appropriate – it means “power of god” plus “”power, rule.” Definitely appropriate for this wizard! 😉
I have created and named the NPCs you will encounter in Memories. Here they are:
I don’t know for sure at this time that these will be all of the characters in the game (plus Briana). But these are the ones I think I’ll be needing. I decided on the design of most of them over the last week, but I didn’t name everyone until last night (with the exception of Bella and Briana); it was rapidly becoming very tough to write dialogue without names.
I always try to give my characters unique names so there’s no confusion as to who is who. I tried to choose names with an Irish or English origin, in the hopes that the names will sound similar (and tie the characters together geographically). But in this case I also decided to give people from the same families names that start with the same letter. I think the names are, for the most part, different enough; I just hope that this won’t confuse anyone who plays the game!
Ten of these characters were created with RPG Maker VX Ace’s built in Character Generator. The other five were chosen from the characters that come with the software. You may actually recognize Wulfric from Tears of the King; I chose the same model for the Tears woodcutter (seen in the video in my Jan 2 2016 post).
When I last posted, I talked about how I have only a rough idea of the plot and characters for Memories. Over the last week and a half, I have done a bit of work on some of the main characters, who I had determined were a set of twins. At that time I didn’t have a clue what they even looked like. But I played around with the Character Generator in RPG Maker VX Ace, and came up with some designs I was happy with.
So first, here is Briana:
Briana is the real main character twin; she’s the one that the player will get to control. As a character she is very hard working and focussed. Briana’s name means “strong” in Irish. She’s in many ways the opposite of her twin sister, Bella:
Bella is going to be a very important NPC character for the game. At this point I don’t think she’ll be player controlled at all, but that may change as I build the game more. Bella is much more vain and more of a dreamer than Briana. Bella is often associated with the French word bell, which means beautiful (think Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast). According to sheknows.com, in other languages, it has other meanings, but often has “beautiful” as part of the meaning (ie Spanish “beautiful; devoted to God;” Latin “beautiful, loving, lovable, graceful;”). As an American name it means “intelligent,” and the Hebrew name means “devoted to god.”
As twins, it was important to me that they look very similar, but they had to be a bit different as well. An easy way to differentiate them is with their hair – they both have different hair styles. Their mouths have the same shape, but Bella has a small beauty mark on her chin that Briana is missing. Bella also has thinner eyebrows than Briana.
These are the only two characters I’ve made so far. But they’ve been a great start because I’ve already been able to start putting together some events for the game!
I spent a bit more time working on Memories tonight. As I said in my last post, I need to work on the characters and plot and pretty much everything else in the game other than the maps. I have a very rough idea of a plot for this game already, but it needs to be fleshed out. And for that I need a better idea of the characters.
I don’t have names or even more than a rough idea of what the characters might look like. What I do have right now is the fact that the main (or at least most important) characters right now are a set of twin sisters and a wizard. One of the sisters is the protagonist/player character. She/you will be saving the other sister from the wizard. Oh I also know that I want to give this game a sort of fairy tale feel. I’m not sure how exactly I’ll be pulling that off yet, but I’m pretty sure the game is going to involve heart magic. Think Once Upon a Time, like this scene from the first season:
Tonight didn’t involve a whole lot of writing (and neither did last night, when I discovered that heart story I linked to in my last post). But there was a fair bit of brainstorming and researching random things online, like heart symbolism, fairy tale witches, and the like. In the middle of all of this, I managed to come up with a bit of the backstory that leads to the beginning of the game, so that’s good. Hopefully I’ll be able to get more fleshed out soon!