Despite spending a lot of time watching Pitch Meetings on Youtube (they’re by Ryan George for Screen Rant – sooo funny!) this was a fairly productive weekend. I managed to actually work a little bit on the story I’m writing for the Make Your Way anthology. I’ve had such a hard time sitting down with it lately so I was very happy to go from 326 words to 687 on Friday night. Unfortunately I hit a bit of a snag in the story, so I need to sit down and actually figure out how to get past that before continuing.
On Saturday, I realized that I still needed to finish editing today’s Sustainably North post. So I did that and scheduled it for earlier today. The post ended up being called “Why I’ll Never Be Plastic Free” and goes through a lot of the plastic I generate just from having Type 1 diabetes. I had a really hard time writing the ending, so this took a lot longer than I thought it would.
Then yesterday, I wrote and scheduled the next two Sustainably North posts. Next week’s is going to be about this month’s article in bUneke Magazine, which is about homemade gifts. From there I decided to write some posts about the wreath and banana bread that I have pictured with that article. So the end of the month talks about the paper flowers. I haven’t written them yet, but I’m also going to write some posts for the first few weeks of December about making the actual paper wreath and making banana bread (I think I’ll share my grandmother’s recipe for that one, too!)
So with Sustainably North taken care of for a little bit, I’m hoping I can turn my attention back to my gamebook short story and hopefully get a lot more done on it!
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! 🙂
Over the last month or so, I’ve had a couple of different people ask me for game writing samples. I directed them to my main website, shaunakosoris.com, so they could see what I had readily available. Unfortunately in both cases, my available samples did not meet their needs (one person requested samples with romantic dialogue, while the other was looking for non-fantasy samples). Currently on my website, I have three samples: two are character biographies that were developed for different games, and the other is made up of actual scenes from a game (mainly dialogue with a bit of branching narrative).
I have written a couple of pieces over the years that I think would have better met what these people were looking for. Unfortunately I am unable to showcase them as samples. So I decided to set to work remedying this. Two nights ago I went looking for writing prompts to use as a starting point. I was specifically looking for more of a real-world idea, but ended up finding a fun romantic dialogue prompt instead. I was going to write the sample in Chat Mapper, with the intention of exporting it as a .rtf (I was really hoping to see what the output would look like with branching dialogue). Unfortunately I don’t currently have access to that capability, so I had to use a different program instead. Last night I played around with TyranoBuilder a bit, thinking I could build it there, but I don’t think there’s a way to export the dialogue (and I wasn’t planning on writing an entire Visual Novel, although that might be something to try in the future). So I ended up writing the first draft of the sample in Word. I had a lot of fun writing it (it’s currently over 900 words!) I’m hoping to get it edited and up on the site over the weekend. 🙂
As promised yesterday, here’s some info on my third RPG Maker game I’m working on: Soccrpg! Soccrpg started when I went for lunch with a couple of friends. One of them complained that there was no soccer game made like an old-school RPG. I have no idea what is out there (the other friend started listing games that combine RPGs with sports), but I started thinking to myself that I could make one. And so Soccrpg was born.
This is literally what I have made so far:
It’s a soccer field with the positions in place. The opposing team chases you when you have the ball and you’re in their zones on the field; your team just stands around and will talk to you if you interact with them.
In some ways, this was a stupid project to start. I don’t really know much about soccer, so I’ve had to research like everything. So bear that in mind when I eventually finish it (my friend really wants me to make it playable for others) – I will probably get things wrong!
So with that caveat, Soccrpg has also been a great learning experience because this is my first time heavily changing things in the database. Because this isn’t remotely a traditional fantasy RPG, I’ve had to redefine terms and rename things. For example, I decided that the only weapon will be “cleats;” currently the database lists all the default weaponry as a type of cleat.
Happy New Year everyone! It’s that time of year again – time to look at the goals I set for myself last year and set new goals for this year. Last year, my goals were:
- Read 40 novels. Success! I read forty novels, a bunch of graphic novels, and a bunch of comics! 2017 was a great year for reading!
- Write four polished short stories. Yeeeah….partial success I guess? I did write one. But that was it. I did start on a second one, but I discovered that Imezza isn’t in as good shape as I thought; I got a bit bogged down in worldbuilding, and the story ended up really blah as a result.
- Work on Tears of the King. This was nice and vague. I worked on it a bit this year (it’s no where near being finished). So partial success? I don’t know if I built another third, but I did make some progress.
I apparently also set a fourth goal, which I managed to forget about (it was to spend an hour a week on writing). 😦
2017 saw me start two new RPG Maker Games (oops): Memories and a second one I haven’t actually talked about on here yet (oops, I’ll have to remedy that). It also saw me working on a freelance project which I’m still unable to talk about, which was very exciting. It also saw me slowly and unexpectedly move away from my second job. So for 2018, I’m going to work on freelancing a little more than I have.
So with that in mind, here are the goals I’m going to set for 2018:
- Read 25 novels. Well, novel-length books. I know that the 40 novels from last year was my only really successful goal, but I need to back that off. I found that 40 novels was a lot of pressure while I’m trying to accomplish other things. I also found myself shying away from any books longer than around 300 pages, so making this goal less should help me tackle some of the longer books I’ve had for years and have ignored.
- Write two polished short stories. I wrote one, so this year I will aim for two.
- Finish a bloody RPG! Like I said, I currently have THREE RPG Maker games on the go. So this year, I want to get SOMETHING finished! lol I also have to not start another RPG Maker game until I get something finished!
A couple of final notes for the upcoming year:
- next weekend I’m going to be participating in my first ever game jam! I’m really excited for it! I’ll have to blog more about it. 🙂
- I am not going to make a goal for “so much time writing” this year. Instead, I’ve currently got one guaranteed afternoon off from work, so I’m going to try to use that time for working on things, be they writing or researching (although it’s also a time I use for other things like vet appointments, because I know it’s a time I don’t work). Depending on how the year goes, this can change, so I’ll have to be flexible with it.
So that’s it. Hopefully 2018 will be a good and creative year, giving me the flexibility to work on different things (and actually get some stuff finished!)
So what about you? Have you set any goals for the upcoming year? 🙂
Over the last week, I have created a few new maps for Tears of the King! I’m pretty excited for them – I think they’re the first new maps in a year and a half.
First, here’s a brand new city (the Imperial City):
This map is loosely based off of the Kingdom of Pandora city in Secret of Mana in that it is built on a couple of islands. Plus there will be a castle you can go into (you can see the base of the towers) in the top right of this map, again like the Kingdom of Pandora. That similarity was due to the way I laid everything out (and because I didn’t want the castle to be physically in this map). The castle isn’t built yet, and neither are the insides of the houses.
The Imperial City should be the final city in the game.
Also here’s a dock, complete with a ship! (I had to buy extra tiles to make the ship happen).
You reach the ship through either of the two paths in the right side of the Imperial City.
So what’s next? I have some more maps to build (the castle, the insides of the city houses, and an island where the ship will eventually take you). But I also need to go back over my notes and actually replay the game that I have made so far; it’s been so long that I only vaguely remember what still needs to happen.
There’s still a bunch of work that needs to be done, but I’m rather excited to see that the end (of map building anyway) is in sight! 🙂
I should have written this post a few weeks ago, but I had to put Memories aside for a bit. I’ve thought about it long and hard, but I still don’t know how the game is supposed to end. So on the advice of my brother, I’m putting it aside to work on some other things for a bit. Hopefully with a bit of distance I’ll be able to figure out where the story is supposed to go.
I honestly feel a bit like a failure. I was really hoping to have the game done by now. But that’s not how it’s going, so time to focus on something else!
Life is pretty busy right now (when is it not?) but over the weekend I pulled out a short story I’ve been wanting to edit for quite awhile. The story was written as part of my NaNoWriMo blob. I originally wrote the story for a friend after his dog passed away, but I never felt right giving it to him (and let’s be honest: it was a super rough first draft that was crap – I wouldn’t want anyone to see it until it’s rewritten and edited). I came up with some editing ideas for the story last March, but never got around to implementing them until today. Even if the story doesn’t stay the way it currently is, I’ve added 300 words (it was originally about 600 words and is now over 900), and it is shaping up a bit (it’s definitely stronger than it was!)
I had a pretty fun couple of hours working on it. First I brought a notebook outside with me (it was a beautiful day!) and started writing. But after a page and a bit, I ended up grabbing my laptop and bringing that outside because I needed to be able to move some things around and expand on other things a bit. I took a break to go for a walk, then worked on it a bit more. I’m thinking tomorrow I’m going to print it out so I can do another editing pass on it (I prefer to edit on paper, at least for the first while – it’s satisfying to mark things I need to change up with pen!)