DAY 5: Subplots  &  Side Quests

DAY 5: Subplots & Side Quests

Day 5.  It's 3 am here in LA and I'm ready to conceptualize but this session will be short.  Let's recap.

I'm writing DJ Santa. Santa oversleeps Christmas day and must find magic dust to turn his sleigh into a time machine. That won't be easy and he'll need all of his skills to fulfill his side job, present delivery guy. 

It's a funny concept, based around a holiday, that I think will get plenty of replays all holiday season each year. #longevity.

Now, our next task in writing is fleshing out some of the subplots and side quests in our game. Let's import our plot line and just fill in more plot details. This should be a fun and easy exercise.  New notes in italics with dots instead of numbers. And once again, let your imagination run wild.

  1. Introduction- 
    1. In DJ Santa we set up that our main character is Santa and he/she/it is a DJ.

    • How did he become a DJ? This should make for an interesting exchange. Not sure when we can add in this. Could also deal with the theme of the project which is doing what you have to do to do what you love. AKA sacrifice? 

    1. (Maybe actually DJing Christmas eve is an unlock epilogue/prequel mini-game we add in if the players win.)

    2. For now, we start with Santa passed out and set the scene. 

      • When we wake maybe one thing is deciding if you should investigate why/if you were poisoned or if it was just too much partying. Notice that I'm looking at places where the story could branch and yet still provide more information to the plot. This will allow for epic replay value.

    3. (Slowly let the user find out the setting, location and main character.)

  2. Introduce other characters and introduce the problem!

    1. 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 is the main plot point, but let's focus on the characters we want to be part of the subplot. Rudolph, and Mrs. Claus. I'd also put in that the children sad and confused (and maybe even the dumbfounded parents) are a supporting character. 

      • If the children are part of the supporting story, we can some how have Santa check in on the status of the children often.

      • In fact, let's up the stakes--- the more children loose faith the weaker he becomes. Now we have a high stake ticking time bomb for Santa. This will allow us to drive the story well via this subplot.

    2. This introduces the problem, is the inciting incident, and sparks the story.

    3. (Toss in lots of questions. And answer some now- others later. You can also hide in tricks here, but let's do that later.)

      1. Let's add in one question to each character

        • How did Mrs. Claus take him missing out. Angry wife or supportive? Maybe she has the book necessary to explain what needs to be done. Their relationship then becomes a subplot (and supportive of our theme).

        • What is Rudolph's part in all this? Could he be saboteur as revenge for being treated like crap? This would make for an interesting twist! 

  3. Set up the Win! 

    1. Santa Wins if he can either

      1. Go back in time to give out all the presents (But how? Maybe he has to figure this out)

        • Makes sense that Mrs. Claus would bring this to him. We can fill in the universe here with information on the Ancient Order of Santas and the many magical powers the current Santa hold.

        • I'd even go back to our stakes and say that if the presents are not delivered and the children loose faith, Santa looses all powers! 

      2. Or scratch the time machine. He has to man up, get the presents out late and send out a huge apology via Twitter. Lol.

        • We decided later to keep the time machine, but I'm leaving this on here so we can see how the idea evolved. I think it's important that we give Santa a way to check his social media often. So he needs a cell phone. Apple or Android? Fun decision that could affect the outcome somehow. LOL!

      3. Mrs. Santa is pissed. (Secret sub-plot idea saved for later.)

        • Scratching this idea. We will make her supportive. 

  4. Fight to the goal ( Rising Action) (Here’s where all the magic happens and your mind can go wild.)

    1. Santa learns that he needs magic dust to turn on the sleigh.

      • Confirmed.

    2. The plot now centers around getting the magic dust, so he sets off in his sleigh (while leaving the sleeping reindeer behind).

      • This is the main plot, but we should add in some challenges for Santa. He's already on a deadline and has to travel far. This is the hero's journey. The easiest way to do this is that he is loosing magical power by the minute. (Think Frodo in Lord of the Rings.)

      • Side Plot--- Maybe Santa can do certain things to temporarily regain his magic powers back. For that he will need a sidekick he meets along the way. Let's make his sidekick either a fairy or an elf.

      • Fairy is the choice because they have a more magical feel than an elf (that already work for Santa). Santa meets the fairy that will lead him to her store of magic dust if he can complete 3 challenges to prove his heart and love of the world's children is true.

      • I'd tie all this back to the AOS as written in some book with really old dust ridden pages.

    3. It’s hidden in the north pole, so a large portion of the gamebook revolves around the player looking for this magic dust.

      1. More specifically now, the three challenges. What are they?

        • Santa must get a super rare berry from the top of a glacier that can only be accessed through a super small hole. (This tests his ability to shrink and go into chimneys.)

        • That means all challenges need to fit closely with the powers Santa already has. And are loosing quickly. 

        • Questions abound... 

          1. Does it matter the order he does the challenges?

          2. Do they increase in difficulty?

          3. Who is watching if he succeeds or not? 

        • Challenge two... Uh, Santa must recover a rare lump of "Perfect Coal". What is perfect coal and how does it work? We'll get to that later but do you think Santa carries around a ton of coal? I think not.

        • Challenge three! Santa must race the fairy to prove he has control of the sleigh. And has to do so without the reindeer!

    4. Let your imagination run wild here...

      • As done above.

      • Let's say Santa wins! Yeah! 

  5. Think you made it but… yeah...naw.  (Reversal!)

    1. 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.

      • DOH!

        • How can santa get back? Does he have help from Mrs. Clause? How does he prepare for this? How weak is he at this point?

    2. 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 more reindeer games!) 

      • Note the next statement.

    3. (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.)

      • When Rudolph knocks over and wastes the magic dust, that is a vital moment in the story. How does Santa react? Is Rudolph sabotaging him? Sure looks like it.  The plot thickens!

    4. In other timeline without time machine...
      1. 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.)
  6. Climax or another reversal

    1. After the reversal, the real ending should be close in passage proximity. 

    2. Also note, you can extend with another reversal for a double whammie. 

    3. If only one reversal, I'd say that you have to use a secret spell from the order of Santas to power the sleigh.

      • This is key. Santa learns humility and trust. He learns to communicate and to love. 

      • I'd also tie in the subplot here--- Someone drugged them all. It wasn't because Santa is an awesome DJ, someone set it up! Was it Rudolph? Or the elves? Or Mrs. Claus? I'll leave this ending as a surprise. Or maybe have multiple endings.

    4. Maybe that spell is the prayers from all the children. (Think Goku's spirit bomb.)

    5. Which means Santa DOES have to tweet out an apology. Nice way to tie the two plots together.

    6. Also can set it up so that if the player chose not to write to Twitter he/she/it can't win. #gotcha

  7. Finish with strong ending

    1. Emotional gift giving madness and cheering.

      • We also find out who set it all up.


Great job. This format may be a bit confusing but I want you to see my thoughts as the appear in my mind. I'll clean up the outline as we get into Nodes and The Ending so you can follow closely.

Great job writer, we believe in you!


DAY 6: Now onto NODES

DAY 6: Now onto NODES

DAY 4: Write A Loose Plot

DAY 4: Write A Loose Plot