Saturday, 4 February 2012

Nearing the end

My currently most advanced writing project is a collaboration.  It's the first collaborative writing project I've ever worked on and has been a blast.  It's also the first "game book" or "gamebook" that I've ever written.

Now there is a chance that you kind reader do not know what a gamebook is!

Simply put, it is not a traditional novel but rather a game in the form of a novel. The story is split into  numbered entries, usually a paragraph or two long each. You start reading at the beginning and after a page or two are presented with a story based choice. As an example, you might be informed that if you want the protagonist to take the left hand fork you should turn to entry109 or if you want the protagonist to to take the right, turn to entry 205. Almost every entry ends with a similar choice, thereby giving the reader the chance to guide the narrative.

There have been a number of game books over the years and some very famous brands, the two best known being "Choose your own adventure" and "Fighting Fantasy". Our book follows in the footsteps of the latter in that it is a fantasy adventure style game that actually calls upon the reader to roll a die now and then in certain situations.

The collaborative nature of writing the book has been fun.  We started by devising an overall plot then split the actual task of writing so that we had 2 sections each to write.

I found this style of writing rather different from usual.  For a start, each entry had been plotted out before the actual writing began, it was like have an outline detailed right down to the individual page level. It made the physical writing extremely easy.  Each night as I sat down to compose an entry or two, I didn't have to consider plot, it was already detailed. All I had to do was effectively fill in the blanks.

I had in the region of two hundred entries to write, most of those I wrote at the rate of two or three per evening and then up to as many as ten on Saturdays and Sundays.  It gave me a very simple writing experience.  No planning or plotting each time I sat down to write, no need to reread the last chapter as the story was kept fresh in my mind as I was writing every day. Just writing a couple of entries meant I would only spend at most half an hour at the keyboard before getting on with something else.

I'm currently preparing a P.O.D. version of the finished book to go on sale at LuLu, with luck that might be finished this weekend.  After that my esteemed partner-in-this-crime will be preparing other digital formats which we'll put online as they are completed.

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