DAY 4: Write A Loose Plot
Day 4 and I'm exhausted. But my pledge to finish this story drives me to get this blog underway at midnight. Just a heads up, we've begun talking to writers of Twine stories that are interested in distribution so if you've signed up at either our Interactive Fiction Writer's Conference or on this website, you will get an email from us shortly.
Now, without further ado, let's work on our plot. I'm not going to get into all the plot devices and theory. I am focused on us creating a loose plot that helps us better understand how the main storyline will look. We will create sub-plots (branches) soon, for now we want a basic overview.
Let me explain my process for this. Open Google Docs and create a numbered list. Each number is a plot point; indent to help keep track of idea clusters within a plot point.
Writing for IF (interactive fiction) is different than other genres of writing because your reader will face end-points and various branches. So, it's okay to let your imagination go wild. Also, don't get tied to any main idea except what you came up with in Day 3. In other words, feel free to go back and edit the loose plot until you feel comfortable with it. I'll put ideas that came on my second or third pass on the plot in parenthesis. Finally, don't write the ending. We'll set aside a day just for endings.
Here's my early plot for DJ Santa! Wait. Before I reveal the plot idea, let me say I went away from the DJ idea completely. Meaning, we aren't going the rival DJ idea. In fact, the only thing that makes him DJ Santa is that him being a DJ creates the inciting incident.
The main story is now about getting gifts out to the world's children a day late and solving that problem or owning up to it. (You decide.) Along the way you'll need some magic and luck to somehow fix the mess you created by DJ'ing an awesome Christmas party on Christmas eve.
Sir's Seven Point IF Plot
Reminder- This is just a quick brainstorm based on how I want the game to be. I'm not following any plot outlines set by the experts. It's INTERACTIVE FICTION, we break all the rules.
Points to remember : Set up variables in the introduction. (Explained at a later time.) Get the story started QUICKLY. Start mid-problem. Reader should think Oh %#$% within 3-5 short passages. Reminder to keep passages short. (Unless you are writing a prologue.)
In DJ Santa we set up that our main character is Santa and he/she/it is a DJ.
(Maybe actually DJing Christmas eve is an unlock epilogue/prequel mini-game we add in if the players win.)
For now, we start with Santa passed out and set the scene.
(Slowly let the user find out the setting, location and main character.)
Introduce other characters and introduce the problem!
In DJ Santa Santa we realize the date in December 26th--- and Santa overslept after a wild EDM party with all the elves and reindeer.
This introduces the problem, is the inciting incident, and sparks the story.
(Toss in lots of questions. And answer some now- others later. You can also hide in tricks here, but let's do that later.)
Set up the Win!
Santa Wins if he can either
Go back in time to give out all the presents (But how? Maybe he has to figure this out)
Or scratch the time machine. He has to man up, get the presents out late and send out a huge apology via Twitter. Lol.
Mrs. Santa is pissed. (Secret sub-plot idea saved for later.)
Fight to the goal ( Rising Action) (Here’s where all the magic happens and your mind can go wild.)
Santa learns that he needs magic dust to turn on the sleigh.
The plot now centers around getting the magic dust, so he sets off in his sleigh (while leaving the sleeping reindeer behind).
It’s hidden in the north pole, so a large portion of the gamebook revolves around the player looking for this magic dust.
Let your imagination run wild here...
Think you made it but… yeah...naw. (Reversal!)
Santa finds out the secrets to the Time machine from the ancient order of Santas, but it requires all the reindeer sweat and magic dust.
He has to journey back to the Santa fortress of solitude, (make that journey perilous!) Worse, when Santa arrives, Rudolph is still to hungover to fly. (That's it...no more reindeer games!)
(On a second thought, Santa gets the magic dust but Rudolph knocks it over. This forces Santa to find another way to make the time machine work. We can use both ideas.)
- In other timeline without time machine...
- Just as he is about to send out a tweet after arguing with Mrs. Santa, enter the reversal. He finds out about the time machine. (Notice I crossed the two timelines. That means that the non-time machine timeline is a dead end/ lead-in to the main storyline.)
Climax or another reversal
After the reversal, the real ending should be close in passage proximity.
Also note, you can extend with another reversal for a double whammie.
If only one reversal, I'd say that you have to use a secret spell from the order of Santas to power the sleigh.
Maybe that spell is the prayers from all the children. (Think Goku's spirit bomb.)
Which means Santa DOES have to tweet out an apology. Nice way to tie the two plots together.
Also can set it up so that if the player chose not to write to Twitter he/she/it can't win. #gotcha
Finish with strong ending
Emotional gift giving madness and cheering.
And there you have it. 1 hour and we have a super loose and dirty plot for a game I'd enjoy playing. We will work on tightening this and working within the confines of a more structured plot outline but for now, this is a good start.
Reminder to keep a note pad of any ideas you have. I'll update tomorrow's blog with ideas from the day. So far, I'm just thinking how I can include Rudolph and the others more intimately and who the main antagonist is there in the North Pole. Maybe it's even a rite of passage and there is no real antagonist. Just thoughts.
Now it's your turn!
How's it going so far? Drop me an email and let me know. I'm interested to see how you are progressing! email@example.com