"I sat in the deserted parlour, lighted only by the glimmering coal-fire and the moon, striving to picture forth imaginary scenes, which, the next day, might flow out on the brightening page in many-hued description. If the imaginative faculty refused to act at such an hour, it might well be deemed a hopeless case. Moonlight, in a familiar room, falling so white upon the carpet, and showing all its figures so distinctly,—making every object so minutely visible, yet so unlike a morning or noontide visibility,—is a medium the most suitable for a romance-writer to get acquainted with his illusive guests. There is the little domestic scenery of the well-known apartment; the chairs, with each its separate individuality; the centre-table, sustaining a work-basket, a volume or two, and an extinguished lamp; the sofa; the book-case; the picture on the wall;—all these details, so completely seen, are so spiritualized by the unusual light, that they seem to lose their actual substance, and become things of intellect. Nothing is too small or too trifling to undergo this change, and acquire dignity thereby. A child’s shoe; the doll, seated in her little wicker carriage; the hobby-horse;—whatever, in a word, has been used or played with, during the day, is now invested with a quality of strangeness and remoteness, though still almost as vividly present as by daylight. Thus, therefore, the floor of our familiar room has become a neutral territory, somewhere between the real world and fairy-land, where the Actual and the Imaginary may meet, and each imbue itself with the nature of the other. Ghosts might enter here, without affrighting us. It would be too much in keeping with the scene to excite surprise, were we to look about us and discover a form, beloved, but gone hence, now sitting quietly in a streak of this magic moonshine, with an aspect that would make us doubt whether it had returned from afar, or had never once stirred from our fireside. The somewhat dim coal-fire has an essential influence in producing the effect which I would describe. It throws its unobtrusive tinge throughout the room, with a faint ruddiness upon the walls and ceiling, and a reflected gleam from the polish of the furniture. This warmer light mingles itself with the cold spirituality of the moonbeams, and communicates, as it were, a heart and sensibilities of human tenderness to the forms which fancy summons up. It converts them from snow-images into men and women. Glancing at the looking-glass, we behold—deep within its haunted verge—the smouldering glow of the half-extinguished anthracite, the white moonbeams on the floor, and a repetition of all the gleam and shadow of the picture, with one remove farther from the actual, and nearer to the imaginative. Then, at such an hour, and with this scene before him, if a man, sitting all alone, cannot dream strange things, and make them look like truth, he need never try to write romances."
-Nathaniel Hawthorne, from "The Custom-House,"
on 7/30/2016 2:33:22 PM
Perfect! Thank you so much! I have been struggling with this for awhile.
on 7/24/2016 1:24:18 AM
Hello all. I have been around for a little while, but I am working on the presentation for a story I have nearly completed (my first). My goal is to have some kind of neat background for various pages.
I followed the guide for a Creative Title Page on adding a background image, and it worked to some extent. When I set an image as the background it shows up, but it does not size to fit the screen. Instead it retains its original dimensions and the same image just repeats itself like a checkerboard. Is there any way to avoid that by centering the image or making it fit to the window?
This is the exact text I have (except an actual url) typed into the title field for the page I want to edit, including changes to the font, etc:
<font size="5" color="WHITE" face="DIDOT">Chapter One<body background="http://imageurlhere.jpg">
Thank you so much for your help.
on 11/27/2015 10:55:11 AM
Well, in the month or so since I posted asking for recommendations I have devoured the majority of Lovecraft's works (I am still working my way through some of the dream cycle works, but my pace has slowed).
I would say that his work ranges from strange, fascinating, and incredible, to merely strange. Sometimes he captivated me and immersed my in wonderful and terrible worlds, and sometimes he tried to stretch a bit too far and made the stories so fantastical or abstract that they laid flat on the page.
You were also not kidding about the mild (and sometimes not-so-mild, like in The Horror at Red Hook) racism which factors into his work by varying degrees. I understand that he was a writer of his times, striving for a sense of mystery and horror. However, the tone of a lot of his work, especially dealing with other races (even fictional ones) was that things were horrifying simply by virtue of being different.
But that unpleasant factor did not diminish the truly visceral horror or masterful prose and vision of the majority of his work. I admire that he could stray into the highly mystical in one story, then into the highly scientific in another.
Longer: The Mountains of Madness (Long, fantastic, science-fiction and suspenseful goodness), The Shadow Over Innismouth (I appreciated how this one told a more specific narrative, almost an adventure, while still creating an interesting and vivid world).
Shorter: The Thing on the Doorstep, From Beyond.
Also, has anybody read Sweet Ermengarde? H.P. departs fom his box to satirize the popular romances of the day. I honestly thought it was hysterical.
on 10/13/2015 3:07:34 AM
on 10/12/2015 4:43:14 AM
Actually, for the purposes of inspiration-seeking (and because I have always meant to), I am about to delve into the world of Lovecraft. I am generally familiar with the world and mythos of his stories, but I have never actually read any.
Can you recommend a story to start with?
Which are your favorites?
Sidenote: If you are a Spotify user, there seem to be several of his stories available on there as complete audiobooks, which is excellent.
Also, you know, YouTube, evidently.
on 9/7/2015 2:16:36 PM
I apologize, I am not making myself clear. I appreciate you helping even though I am speaking nonsense!
Scenario illustrating what I mean:
On Page1 you meet a man. You can A: punch him or B: not punch him. After doing so you proceed on your adventurous way. Then on Page50 the man re-enters the plot. How he acts will depend on whether or not you punched him. Page 2-49 will be the same regardless of whether or not you punched him.
But will I have to create two identical series of pages 2-49, one for each branch of the decision? Or is there a simpler way or adjust what happens on page 50? Is the solution scripting, as you say? Or is it to add a variable called PUNCHHIM, which will determine page 50 later?
on 9/7/2015 12:53:45 PM
Thanks for reaching out! I understand completely; we, the 'masters' are really subject to the whims of our animals, aren't we? Especially when it comes to cats and keyboards...
Anyway, I imagine a simple stat system where your actions accumulate personality stats (Courage v Cowardice, Kindness v Cruelty, etc.) which will lead to certain decisions being available (or being successful) later in the plot. I would like to have a lot of decisions, but affecting your personality rather than, like, health or inventory.
A (maybe better) example: You meet a stranger and you can either threaten or befriend them. Then they come up again much later, and your interaction will be different depending on your early actions. The progression of the story from Interaction A to Interaction B will be the same no matter what, but Interaction B will be different. Make sense? Is there a way to do that with just one copy of the progression? Or will it necessarily involve copying two nearly identical branches of the story to allow you to make Interaction B different? Because, then, if there are more decisions (and branches) in-between A and B the story will necessarily become convoluted and complex, with an ever-increasing number of branches.
Is Lord of the Rings boring?
on 9/7/2015 12:24:41 PM
"Boring" is pretty subjective. I am sure there are people who think the series is boring. I am sure there are people who think books are boring. There are people who find puzzles boring and there are people who find Facebook boring and there are people that find boxing boring. Nobody can tell you what you might find boring.
What I can tell you:
It is a VAST and extremely detail-oriented series. Tolkien achieved one of the most thorough and exhaustive fantasy universes ever; the books are classics. Does that mean spending quite a bit of time reading details about histories and characters and places and nations and cities and events and cultures (etc. etc.) that have little or no relation to the immediate plot? Yes. Is that boring? For some. For some it is delightful.
My personal experience: no, they were far from boring. You know what I did think was boring? The Silmarillion. It was brutal, and even for a strong (at the time) high school reader, it was difficult to follow.
Recommendation: Read The Hobbit first; it is less demanding. If you find The Hobbit difficult to get through, don't bother reading the trilogy. Watch the movies again instead. They are phenomenal, and you will not have to deal with the struggle trilogy-readers face of constantly telling your weary friends "But they didn't include _____ !"
on 9/7/2015 11:46:26 AM
Let me start by saying that this seems like a really active and supportive community, which is excellent. I have already enjoyed a number of storygames, and I hope my comments have been constructive. I hope to become a contributing member of this thriving site.
I have grand ambitions of several storygames I hope to author. I am focusing on only one project for now, but the execution has turned out to be a challenge. I thought I would be able to simply read the forums and teach myself all the tricks. I was wrong. I admit that it is all a bit overwhelming...
I am struggling to understand how to keep my game from growing exponentially with every new decision until the story is unmanageable. How do I make it so that the different paths can converge on a page, then diverge again? For example, say there are numerous paths and personality-developing decisions which all lead, ultimately, to a certain Battle. The Battle will be the same no matter which path you took to get there, but then after the Battle I want the paths to diverge again and remember the prior decisions. Is there a way to do this without copy/pasting the same Battle page dozens of times? Is the answer a complex stat system with dozens of variables for each decision used to shape which options are available?
Is there a way to use the inventory system without displaying it on the screen? Or should I simply treat the equipment as additional variables?
Any input or guidance would be greatly appreciated. I am quite confident in my skills as a writer, but I am unfamiliar with this medium. I want to utilize it for the best possible results for everybody to enjoy. Thank you all.