This week is committed to the completion of Fires Across the Plains first complete draft. I have to admit that this project was not underestimated so much as my plot was underestimated. It's typical of me to overshoot my expectations and find myself adapting to the complexity (if anything, it's very inspirational and gives me a real swift kick in the butt to get going) and, in its own way, has made me more confident for another one. Down the road, after getting some other major projects out of the way (Reloaded and Optional Core).
As I've written about before, learning the best approach to handle the chaos that is a gamebook required some early research and has since been adjusted. There have been some hiccups along the way and corrections have been made, which is predominantly why this draft has taken a couple extra weeks to complete. As promised, I thought I'd take some time to go over that very process.
Stating the inevitable here, but writing a gamebook carries one major distinction to writing a regular game or short story: the chronology is out of whack. Keeping it organized is the key to not screwing it up and organization is still a significant aspect of this work I'm struggling with. (Just this past weekend, I lost my playtest character for Fraser Ronald's Centurion RPG and had to start over, despite the fact that I'm playing from home at the same desk using Skype and the character sheet shouldn't be anywhere else but my desk.) For many, the entire plot is laid out in great detail using post-it notes and flowcharts, leaving the bulk of the writing centring on filling in the details and descriptions. As previously discussed in the above link, it's a process I have difficulty with because it feels stifling. When I write, I love to experience the story unfolding as I write it. In a way, it's how I verify the errors in my plot before making a second pass to fill in any gaps, beef up the details, and flesh it into something real. I needed a way to accomplish both the organization and freedom without sacrificing either.