Visual novels and Psychedelica

While I’m taking a break from my second novel, I’m learning how to make a visual novel with Ren’Py.

Why a visual novel? I’m experimenting with branching narrative. I’m a software dev. I used to compose music, and am curious about doing it again. And of course I write!

Why Ren’Py? Some of my favorite VNs are made in Ren’Py. To be fair, I could use Twine since I’m starting with almost no graphics. Maybe I should do that for story drafts.

But as research, I’m playing lots of visual novels on the Vita. I’ve been focusing on otome games: these are generally targeted at women and have pretty dudes in them that are sometimes dateable. The genre is often SFF, too, which makes it entirely my catnip.

Beautiful rainbows!

I started with the Psychedelica games: Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly and Psychedelica of the Ashen Hawk. Black Butterfly is now available on Steam as well as Vita.

There’s a wolf AND a hawk!

Black Butterfly reviews:

Ashen Hawk reviews:

I enjoyed both of these games so much- I look forward to replaying them sometime soon. They’ve got angst and some bittersweet endings. If you want a more hopeful game, I guess I’d go with Black Butterfly.

Adventures in NaNo

I’ve been revising and editing for long enough that I’d forgotten what putting words to keyboard/screen without having it all sketched out feels like. Granted, I still have a rough outline for what goes into the scene, but now I have the freedom to play with more generative plot hooks.

The key is finding that balance between freedom and having something to write about. If I don’t have enough guidance for myself, I run into choice paralysis and can’t write anything. But some good things do come to me spontaneously while I’m drafting, and I don’t want to miss out on too many of those. I would bet that the balance is different for every writer.

So far in drafting, I’ve unearthed some interesting character details and an important motivation for the antagonistic forces. Maybe the month will bring me more storystuff to fill in the plot holes. But for right now I’m plowing ahead with what I already outlined.

Anyway, if you’re doing NaNoWriMo, best of luck to you! Whether you’ve written a hundred or a hundred thousand words by the end, you’ll have something you wrote. You’ll have created something.

 

NaNo, giveaways, and Japan

My trip to Japan filled my creative well. I read less than I’d aspired to, but I managed to soak in many new and unfamiliar experiences, especially in Sapporo . That’s what I require in order to create.

I’m happy to announce that I’m giving print books away via Whiskey With my Book. If you somehow read this blog and don’t read that, then I recommend rectifying the situation.

I’m also trying NaNoWriMo this year. I last participated three years ago, and got a chunk of my first manuscript done then. Since I want to work on something new, this is a good opportunity to grind out a good bout of words, get some momentum going. I’d love to get to 20k this month, but I guess I could shoot for the full word count.

In preparation, I’m making a skeleton outline and preliminary beat sheet. I have the beginning and the end of the story worked out: but how do they get from point A to point B? I hope I find out soon!

GrubStreet Writers

I took a writing class at GrubStreet a few weeks ago. It was on some worldbuilding techniques. I hadn’t taken classes there before, so I was happy to find this class useful, informative, and fun. I loved seeing what ten different people did with the same prompts!

Inspired by that, I decided to try to get things ready for PitchWars this year. That means polishing my first chapter further, writing a query letter, and writing a synopsis…in less than three weeks. I think I can do it? At the very least it will be good practice. The community seems to involve a lot of Twitter. I’m not much for twitter. I would prefer to talk to humans. I’d love to find a writing group. I could find one there, but…again, I like talking to people in person. Especially about craft.

Also, I just realized I need a way to avoid killing the puppy in my next book. I write for myself, but if I ever want anyone else to read it, I can’t kill off the puppy. People have trouble with that even in horror. Maybe I’ll write a draft just for my own amusement in which I am awful.

Back to writing again!

I am back to revising after the contracting that got out of control. I had to set a new goal- to finish this draft by early October. Namely, before I go to Japan for vacation.¬†Due to all that kerfuffle, I’m not sure I want to go to ReaderCon. I’m almost finished with Act II. It’s the longest, and I’ve gotten faster at revision and editing. So I’m currently optimistic about meeting my self-imposed deadlines.

I want to work on a short story based in the world of a LARP that some friends run. It’s a different cyberpunk. I’m super lucky to be able to collaborate in different visions of the future with others. Writing can be a pretty solitary experience, and I’m an extravert- I need to spend time with other people.

And, to share in my luck, I’m going to give away a bunch of SFR paperback books! I’m going to lay down a bunch of GDPR-speak in them. Basically, I get your name and address and then don’t use it except to send you books. I’m looking forward to it!