Days 9 & 10: Create your characters!
Hey there writers!
Holiday weekend and guess who’s playing catch up? Yup, I am. For the last two days, (9.9.18 and 9.10.18) my focus has been on the characters. What makes a great character, and how do you code them into the system?
Wait. There’s the C word. Don’t freak out. We will need to do some coding moving forward but I promise that it won’t be difficult. Let’s start with the basics… the “$” is what you’ll need to create variables in Twine. Variables allow us to write passagstory elements that are dynamic based on the user’s input. Put that dollar sign in front of a word or connected phrase and you’ve got a variable. To “declare” the variable, you simply say <>. Quick note: We are using TWINE software and Sugarcube game mode. You can change the game mode using the menu at the bottom left and contact us if you have any questions.
Now, setting the variables can get tricky but we will keep it simple. And don’t go running off and declaring variables for the names of all of your characters. Let’s ask if we need each character in DJ Santa to be a variable?
Nope. Rudolph is pretty much a universally agreed upon name for the red nose bugger, so let’s’ keep it that way. We’ll simply write the word Rudolph for him. But what about Mrs. Claus? What if your player is a woman? Or non-binary? Would you still have a Mrs. Claus?
Probably not. More likely, if the player’s $preference is “women” then we can set $clausespouse to “Mrs. Claus”. Each possibility will need to be coded into the story to set your story, and we’ll do so using something called a widget. But we’ll talk more about that soon.
(For more information about variables and the if operators check out HERE.)
Back to our characters. Remember, outside of coding their gender, is making sure they are easily identifiable by their dialog. Dialog is what makes a characters stand out. (Think Yoda vs. Darth Vader) Use dialog and interactions between other characters to drive the reader’s emotional attachment to your characters!
Also utilize the common elements of story (setting, appearance and others) to drive emotional attachment to your characters, but don’t forget choices. The choices that your character has says lots about who they are. Shout out to Ranko Trifolvic for that piece of advice during our Interactive Fiction Writer’s conference. He’s a wonderful writing coach, and I highly recommend him if you want a coach to guide you more in detail with the structuring of your characters and story line specifically as it pertains to writing GameBooks. We will talk more about him and the other resources at your fingertips as the month rolls on.
Back to DJ Santa. We have 5 main characters I want to focus on:
Fangia/Gregoka Fairy (M/F)
Elven or Elvenia Elf (M/F)
I’ve created backstories for them, visual cues for each, and a personality that will help me create a humorous narrative no matter what choice you make. Take a day or so to think about these things as they are vital to writing a story people won’t put down!
Now that we have the characters, lets gather our resources so we can start writing!