Saturday, June 12, 2010

Random Shots: The Skeleton Of A Plot

  • I like to think of myself as a writer. It's my standard answer to my "What do you want to do when you grow up?" Of course, I should just admit that I am grown up and that if I want to be a writer, I really should try to write. That's part of the reason why I maintain this blog, especially my Unexplored Worlds and Microfiction posts.

  • That's also why I occasionally dive into a larger project like writing a gamebook. I was initially inspired to try actually finishing one after finding out about the Windhammer Prize. A one-hundred section book sounds reasonable to me. If anything, I'm more worried about running out of room instead of running out of ideas.

  • If you've never written a gamebook yourself, you might find this article by Steve Jackson to be a good starting place. (That's this Steve Jackson, not this Steve Jackson.) Of course, there are a bunch of gamebook creator tools to help you do the same thing. But I still hand-code the HTML in my blog posts, so I'm not going to shirk from hand-numbering and organizing a few sections.

  • So far, I've developed the rule system (another iteration on a ruleset I've been tinkering with for years). I have the main plot and individual encounters outlined. Now I'm at the stage where I'm building the skeleton of each section within the encounters. They are simple one line descriptions of what has to happen in the second, skill test required, what decisions the player can make, and what sections they lead to. I actually think this is the hardest part because this is where I make the book fun or not. All the writing that comes after is just adding context and making the game more presentable.

  • I don't have that much farther to go, though. The last encounter should just about write itself. I'm saving it for last, though, because I need to focus on the hard bits first. Anyway, progress is being made. I will keep you all up to date.

© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.


  1. Thanks for the Arborell link. Saw you're Twitter comments about writing, hope things have picked up a bit. ;)

    Email me if you want a beta reader.

  2. @ Blue Kae - Absolutely! I'll need a lot of eyes on this thing, so you are first on the list.

  3. Color me intrigued. I don't have the spare time to be a thorough beta reader (e.g., I won't go through every branch from each intersection), but I can likely give you good feedback on some parts.

  4. @ Yeebo - That's cool. Any help is good help!

  5. Sounds ambitious Anjin, good lucky buddy!

    Let me know if you need help with it in any capacity! I would offer to be a beta reader, but it seems you already have a few of those, and I don't have any respectable grasp of rule systems to provide helpful criticism.

  6. @ Bronte - Not a problem. Just reading and enjoying yourself are all I'm looking for. And when you get done, if you do have any thoughts, let me know!