So a while back in this post, I started talking about a slow-burn project I was thinking of. (Because of course, the best time for new ideas to spring up is between November 1-7.) I still poked at it a little during November but not a ton, and now that December is here and I am not swimming in NaNo stoofs, I can take my time to start working on this project.
…you know, and my other manuscripts. DETAILS.
For the longest time, I’ve played a type of game and never really knew it was a genre in and of itself. The otome game–literally translated to “maiden game” in Japanese–is a game usually targeted at young women, and is often revolving around getting the main character romantically involved with one of several men to choose from. Most recently, the phone game Mystic Messenger has been a popular newcomer, and a fairly innovative one, using its existence as a phone app as a part of the game, in addition to being able to add “phone calls” and “texts” from the characters able to be pursued. (I particularly like MysMe for the fact that there is another woman who you can take that path of, though whether or not it is romantic is left ambiguous; unsurprising, given the pieces of Japanese culture I know.)
I’ve always had fun with these, even though the English translations are not always fantastic, and the plot lines can be fairly shallow. (Not always! But sometimes.) The one originally English-language one I know, Seduce Me and its sequel both created by Michaela Laws, has a level of character depth and storytelling I can only hope to emulate in portions. They’re very nicely done.
But I’ve always said that in order to write one of these, all you really need to be good at is writing characters…and writing dialogue. Two things I’ve always been told I’m good at. I did my undergrad thesis on character development, and every writing teacher I’ve had (basically) has told me that dialogue is my strong suit.
So I figured why not? I’d try writing my own game.
The setting was the hardest part for me, and it’s one that I’m really still working on as I go. Taking a look around the Interwebs, it looked fairly torn between people liking games they could relate into their real lives, and people who said that if they wanted a real life simulator, they’d just go do it themselves. But the high levels of sword and sorcery that some of the games get I just don’t have the knowledge for, and while samurai/ninjas appear to be very popular, I know nothing about them. I didn’t really want to play too strongly with magic, but I wanted something to be just a shade otherwordly. So I came up with the concept of Art. I’m still building on it, and I don’t want to reveal too many secrets right off the bat, but it’s a fun project.
I’ve always loved the old Choose Your Own Adventure style stories, and that’s essentially what this is. I don’t know how I’m going to write it, in the long form. There are something like 8 paths to be chosen, and I’m hoping to not require the player to choose one, and rather simply find themselves on one based on their actions. (I’ve seen games do this either way, and I like them both for different reasons. I’m not sure what I’ll choose yet. Right now I just need to get the basic introductions done.)
I’ve also invested in a product to help me make it, because I’ve found that I’m more likely to work hard toward something if I’ve already invested money in it. (Not always the case, but that’s how I’ve gotten myself through 3 5k races now.) It’s called TyranoBuilder, I do believe, and it was recommended to me by a fellow writer and aficionado of otome-style games. For something like $15, I think it’s a worthy investment just because it does say that it caters to people who aren’t savvy with HTML and the like. While I did take a few classes on HTML, it was many many years ago now, and I don’t remember a ton. For example, the platform that Seduce Me was built on, Ren’py, is free and from the looks of it, decently user-friendly. If TyranoBuilder doesn’t work out for whatever reason, I’m more than willing to try poking at that. I’ve got plenty of options and all the time I want to mess around with whatever I want to do. It’s kinda nice, not having a deadline hover over me. A bit of a novel concept, after the madhouse of November, but I like it.
And of course, as I think I mentioned somewhere, I do have a manuscript that’s just waiting on the final touches so that I can send it off into the world and cry as my baby gets torn apart by readers everywhere. (Maybe someone will like him. Some of my classmates like him. *sob*) I think it’s that fear that’s keeping me from working on it. I love my book and I think it’s good, but I’m so sure that no one else is going to like it, or feel like it’s a good story, and I’m just going to put my heart and soul out there and everyone’s going to step on it. Or worse yet, ignore it. I know that self-publishing–and indeed, any publishing nowadays really–is 95% on the author to get the word out. And I will do everything in my power to do just that. But it’s still pretty scary.
In any event, I’ve got more than enough to be working on, and I’m always on the edge looking for more. Got to keep myself busy. Because that’s how I’m going to get myself back onto any kind of normal target.
And I hope you all have fun as I go.
(Any suggestions? Concerns? Ideas for the game? Lemme know! I’m always happy to hear.)