Let's write a short adventure story together!
Aloha! We're alive, just busy making the game :) The base of it is coming along, so we might share the actual screenshots, animations, and maybe even gameplay within a month or so! I'm done with writing for four frog categories now (for demo purposes only, of course), and wanted to share a fun game/tip for game writers and those struggling with writer's block.
So, several days ago, I came across these Fairy Tale Dice at Flying Tiger and instantly thought of how useful they could be for writing dialogue. You see, frogs are very expressive, and you can talk to them daily and get a new snippet of their worldview, which means a lot of short-form writing. In fact, I try to fit the whole interaction in 2-3 concise sentences. Given I aim at 10 such texts for 12 categories of frogs for the demo... That's 120 different texts just for the Talk interaction! Where do I get the inspiration from?
Sure, archetypes help. Also, the fact that texts can be grotesque or absurd because of the whimsical setting is a big advantage as well. Still, we want our players to be entertained, and so do Adventurers. These are very talkative frogs, who just love sharing their adventure tales and constantly seek recognition. Let's write a story for them to tell using the fairy tale dice!
The first thing that pops into my mind is the damsel in distress trope. Now let's spice it up a bit. Depending on what you want to achieve you can read the dice literally or in a more abstract way. If we take the literal route, then it looks like our adventurer 1) sailed; 2) found, or ate an apple, 3) then saw the falling star, 4) a dragon, 5) someone was defeated (probably not the adventurer), and 6) the princess was happy about it. The abstract approach depends on the level of obscurity you want to achieve. As Frogs & Mushies is far from a philosophical work of art (though, quite existential at times), here's what I came up with: 1) our adventurer followed a stream of life that led to 2) material rewards, albeit rather modest; but when he finally got 3) the guidance of the lucky star and 4) the monster of self-doubt was 5) defeated, 6) love came into his life.
Currently, I'm not happy with either of these options. Both are flawed: the first one is too boring, and the second one is too poetic (and pretentious). We want a healthy mix of both. From the literal approach, I'll take sailing and a dragon (who will be defeated). The abstract approach introduces the falling star as a sign of guidance. I'm keeping it. The apple and the princess will be incorporated into this emerging plot. One more take (pre-final):
Adventurer sails to find the apples of eternal youth, and gets lost in a storm. Following the stars, he comes across a dragon and defeats it. The princess comes out and says that it was her pet. Oh well.
Okay, we're almost there! Let's add character + write in 1st person:
On my journey to find the golden apples, the stars led me to a dragon, whom I fought fiercely. Alas, its owner, a princess, wasn't impressed. That's why I'm against exotic pets!
Did I leave out some of the initial details, such as sailing? Yes! Does the story still hold up? Well, it's not for me to judge, but I sure think so! Is there a somewhat surprising plot twist? I can only hope! And I'd love to see your take on the same chain of events and comments on the methodology. I come up with things I use in my work through trial and error, so any input is much appreciated :) Have fun, and keep telling stories!