Apparently, I think I’m capable of writing 60,000 words under a deadline, so here’s my progress thread.
I’ve been working on a worldbuilding project for a couple of months, and had been planning on using it as a setting for a potential novel or story on here. This competition seemed like the perfect opportunity to give it a try, so I’ve found an event that seemed like a good setting for a cyoa story.
Update #1 on plot synopsis, genre, theme, setting, and main characters
Title: Dark Crusade
Theme: The grim reality of war as compared to glorified stories of it
Setting: The Domian Empire (a nation within my worldbuilding project)
As suggested in the title, Dark Crusade begins with the start of a crusade. Large swathes of territory have been lost in the northern parts of the Domian Empire to a monstrous force from beyond the Barrier Mountains. In response to this, the Holy Council has called for a crusade to retake the north.
The main character is Finn Hopfer, a young farm hand. Having been born and raised on his parent’s farm, he is fairly bored of his lot, and spends most of his time dreaming of adventure. Opportunity for adventure suddenly appears when a group of soldiers arrive at the nearby village and announce their intention to recruit young men to fight in the crusade.
Other characters involved in this story will depend on what choices you make. I have two main story paths planned so far, and you would serve under a different captain in each of them. These two are:
Sir Paul Rosenbluth, a typical medieval knight who believes strongly in the values of honour and chivalry. Born the third son to a minor noble lord, he was raised to fight as a soldier, and received his knighthood after serving under Duke Otto of Kerintha in the “War of the Damned”.
Captain Franz Friesinger. Born the bastard son of King Charles IV of Gusria, Franz was raised to be a soldier under his father. Although he is resentful that his younger brother will become king whilst he will likely amount to nothing more than a soldier, his cynical and practical nature makes him appreciate the fact that his father chose to raise him rather than to “dispose” of an inconvenient child.
There’ll be several other characters that Finn will interact with along the way, but these are the only two that I have even so much as a name for so far.
This is the largest writing project I’ve worked on, so hopefully three months should be enough time for me to complete it in.
Due to the setting of it being a medieval fantasy war, it will be difficult to get many female characters in major roles, but I've got at least one or two planned so far.
And yeah, I'm aware that simple farm boy becomes hero is a fairly common cliche, but hopefully I can avoid falling too hard into that trap.
To what extent are you aiming to emphasize realism or fantasy? Is there a real world equivalent time period and place we could compare the setting to?
I was originally going to respond to this by saying that I'm a fan of "low" fantasy and so I would be aiming for that. But then I decided to quickly google the actual definitions of High and Low fantasy, and after half an hour of getting distracted by reddit threads I've decided there is no consensus on what those terms actually mean.
To actually answer your question, I will be aiming to emphasise realism. Although the world its set in has its fantastical elements, such as a nation ruled by an undead witch queen, or tribes of elves that worship a comatose dragon, there won't be all that much interaction with these in the plot of this particular story.
I'd say the 1400s is probably the most equivalent real world time period, when Europe was just on the verge of the renaissance. The nation that the majority of the story is set in is based upon the Holy Roman Empire
Update #2 on story progress and any issues in the writing process
I start working at my first full time job on Monday, so I’m thinking that deciding to join a competition to write 60,000 words at the same time might not have been my smartest move. But I’m committed now, so I’ll still give it my best shot.
Progress hasn’t been as good as I would have liked, due to preparing for the new job, an impromptu camping trip and large amounts of general laziness and procrastination.
Word count is currently 3673 (although there’s another couple of thousand words just in the outlining and planning of the story). Page count is at 3 (or 8 in word). I’d originally planned to be at about 10k words at this point, so I’m running ever so slightly behind.
Hopefully the world of full time employment won’t suck out my will to live and I’ll be able to step up my game a bit in time for the next update.
Sounds like an interesting story. I hope you can keep up the good work, 10k isn't too bad of a word count right now.
How is your story progress going any way?
Thanks for the words of encouragement. Progress has been pretty slow, this is the first time I've even logged into the site in a week. But I'm hoping to step it up a gear and crack on with writing. What I have written I've quite enjoyed, which helps.
Sunday, July 15: Update #3 on story progress and what you like most about your story so far
So, progress hasn’t been great. Strangely enough, going from being a lazy student who is rarely awake before 11 am to doing a full time 9-5 hasn’t been an easy transition.
My writing has taken a bit of a hit, and I’ve written a depressingly small amount since the last update.
Although what I have written I do quite like, and I’m enjoying the way the story seems to be going so far. It’s definitely going to be more story than game, and looks like it’s going to be quite linear. I’d originally planned to have a few different paths in the game that look like they might have to be cut out due to time constraints, so I’m currently in the process of deciding what’s in and what’s cut/ held back to be added after the contest.
Although saying that, I was planning on doing that this evening but ended up spending an hour researching medieval understanding of ptsd, so distractions and procrastination are as prevalent as ever.
For now I remain optimistic that I get used to my new schedule and stop collapsing as soon as I get home from work. Hopefully I should still have time to make 60k without it feeling too rushed.
You might want to consider training yourself to wake up a couple hours early and writing a bit. I personally found that used to help me get in a decent word count before I fucked up my sleep schedule. Also generally a good habit to have any way but I digress...
After looking into it a bit, I can see why you would be hard pressed to find info about medieval ptsd. So far from what I can see mainly, is that most knights who wrote about war and whatnot did not tend to psychoanalyze themselves. That and they would just write about events and things they saw, or give other knights advice of what to do in situations. I could imagine the stress of lots of fighting and the shitty conditions would have an affect on them though.
Also, I'll tell you what a few people have told me: Make the side branches somewhat shorter (as they probably divert from the main branch any way and don't need to be epics in themselves). Sometimes shorter and sweeter is better than dragged out and beat to death, my own advice which I'm not taking for my story &(
As I mentioned above, I will be interested to see where your story goes and how it will play out. Perhaps posting a little excerpt will help keep you motivated; it seems to work for me and a few others so I'll suggest it here as well.
That sounds like some solid advice, but if I'm capable of getting up that early is yet to be seen.
Making the side branches shorter is probably the way I'm going to go. If I really want to I can come back and flesh them out into full paths at my own pace once the contest is over.
Thanks for all the advice though! Having someone take an interest and encourage me definitely helps.
I feel your pain. Been doing the full-time thing for almost two years now (finished school two years ago) and it took a few months to get used to the new schedule! Been reading some Epictetus lately and came across a cool quote that definitely applies:
"Your progress is made or destroyed by a single day and a single action"
Good to hear that you like what you've written so far. Keep it up man!