DFWRIMO Day 2: Decide What To Write
So you've agreed to write an interactive fiction story over the next 29 days! Congrats.
There's a great deal you'll be able to do with your completed story like show off your gamebook to friends, submit to contests and distribute through the Decision Fiction platform to iOS, Android and various messengers! So let's get started!
Our journey to a completed narrative starts with a critical aspect of the writing process: deciding what to write. Though it seems unimportant, don't count out this step of pre-writing. We'll decide Genre, Style, and even a tentative Title. We are fervent believers in these elements driving the entire creation process so let's look each closer.
GENRE: Choosing the right genre will help with the longevity and salability of your project. For instance, many recording artists will create albums or singles around holidays with Christmas and Halloween being two of the most popular. One of the notable things about holiday music is it gets played every year, becoming one with the holiday mythos. If you can create a gamebook that fits into a holiday-friendly category, expect replays each year. This isn't the only one way to choose a genre, but it happens to remain an effective one.
As an example please note Rocky Horror Picture Show, Michael Jackson's Thriller and The Nightmare Before Christmas. These three hits are successful examples of art, in various genres and media, that are part of a holiday-friendly category. Note also that a holiday is one of many happenings that can spark your decision to write for a specific genre. However, all stories center around an event and it doesn't have to be a holiday. Once you've decided which event is at your story center, decide a unique viewpoint on that incident and use this to work out your genre.
STYLE: Holiday or event-centric ideas can blossom by deciding on your story style. Interactive fiction allows for a variety of stylistic games including text-only CYOA type games, dungeon crawlers and large sprawling games with music and gifs, to name but a few. For our purposes, and to achieve our goal of 20,000 words in 30 days, we are going to write a straightforward CYOA style of game with the focus on words, structure, and stickiness. We won't add in too many gifs or memes, but we may add in a few. We'll write in first person; we want to the reader to feel in control of the story.
TITLE: When we structure gamebooks, we like considering titles this early. The title of your story is important because it allows the user to perceive exactly what they are expecting to find inside your mind and gamebook. Since we aren't putting up this game on a free service, but are going to attempt to monetize it through one of the many interactive fiction competitions, or in the Decision Fiction platform, it's critical to think about your title achieving App Store Optimization and containing keywords. Your title should be shorter than seven words, and try not to make it too complex. A recognizable title appeals to more readers even during a half-focused scroll down an Instagram feed.
See my point?
Your goal is to make someone stop and look at your story title and think..."Wait...what?" We're working on this with you in real time, so we have homework.