Hi, I’m writing a school-based story game and decided to take a short break from all the clicking and typing. So here I am to ask: what is your idea of an interesting philosophy class? In my school, philosophy classes are usually debate sessions. But perhaps there are people around here who’ve taken philo classes in more novel ways.
I see that deleting the "School-Based" category hasn't done much.
Actually in the philosophy part I intended to make the young vamps learn about literary theories through Derrida or Saussuer. Or perhaps argue a bit about Freud’s uncanny and it’s relation to trauma. I’m interested in trauma studies you see, thus the rape scene at the beginning and depression throbes throughout. I feel that though the vampire series I’ve read in my adolescence were as liberating as a drug for me, those vampire schools did not feel real. I’ve fantasised about a real vamp school where you choose real subjects and take real exams.
Is there a rule about not submitting school-based storygames? I did not see it when I signed up over a year ago. I even recall a school-based contest that year. It would be a pity if you had prohibited school-based. I’m sure there must be a growing fan-base for this particular genre, given that it offers some kind of escapism for the stresses of real life school. You know, a school that is realistic and nevertheless extraordinary at the same time.
Uhh... I'm afraid not since "School Based" was by far the least used of the categorys, hence why they decided to... You know... Delete it.
I mean, obviously you can write a school based game, you're just going to need to find another category to publish it in.
I see… Well I placed it under fantasy/grimdark/socially important and a bunch of others. Still, it’s a relief that I can still do a school-based one, since I’m halfway through and it would be such a disappointment to have to let it go. But I’ll probably move to other genres such as Historical fiction in future. Thanks for clarifying.
What had Faye shocked and affixed to the spot was the spectacle taking place at one of the tables in the centre of the room. You saw the only person not in uniform, a petite girl with long wavy hair, climbing onto the table and proceeding to girate to the music that was blasting out of a boom box being held by one of the youths crowding around her. And the reason she was not wearing her uniform seemed to be that she had meant to take them off. She was now scantily dressed in lacy white lingerie, and every pair of eyes in the room was either staring openly or trying very hard to avoid looking in that direction. Suddenly, Faye broke out of her stunned state and beelined for that very table, pushing chairs and people out of the way. After hesitating for half a second, you rushed to stay close behind her. The both of you finally managed to push through the audience surrounding the half-dressd girl.
“Nan! What are you doing! Come down for Nyx sake!” Faye called to the girl in a loud stage whisper. But her voice was inevitably drowned by the loud music and the hoots of the people standing around. Faye proceeded to wave her hands in front of the hopelessly immersed Nan.
“Faye my darling!” Nan finally spotted her, and euphorically yelled down. “Where have you been! You just ran out of class we thought something terrible happened to you my poor Faye!” She did not stop her sensuous movements while Faye continued to motion for her friend to get off the table. Her face was turning red as some people were noticing her, their eyes clearly stating that from then on, she would be known as the stripper’s friend.
“What?” Nan frowned at her friend’s frantic gestures, puzzlement written across her face . Faye could no longer hold it in anymore. She finally hollered in a voice that must have reached even the admin building.
“Get off and get dressed! What do you think you are doing? Nan!”
“Don’t stop her Faye! You know how hard good entertainment comes by around here!” The boy adjusting the boom box cajoled gleefully, and that got rocketous laughter from some of the fledglings. Nan gave him a cold look. She lept nimbly off the table and merrily threw her arms around Faye.
“where are your clothes?” Faye asked urgently.
“Oh they’ll turn up soon enough.” She gave Faye a reassuring wink, which seemed not to reassure Faye even a little, as elucidated by her deepening frown. Nan raised her voice again. “Oi! Back to your chomping! Show’s over!” At that, those standing nearby scattered obediently and wandered off. Nan steered Faye into a seat at the table that she was just dancing upon.
“Nan, this is Cassie. Cassie, this is Nancy, also a second former like me.” Faye took the opportunity to introduce you.
“Ooh! A baby fledgling!” . You winced at Nancy’s shrill voice as she hugged you tight and then pushed you into the seat next to Faye. “Worry not little puddle one, Mistress Nan will show you the ropes.”
“Anthis here is Kenneth, he’s our computer nerd cum expert on I’m-not-sure-what. He can go on about it for hours.” Faye motioned to a male fledgling who had just fallen into the seat on Faye’s other side. He had a dark, healthy complexion and bland, comfortable-looking features. He gave you a somber nod which you returned.
“And this here”—added Nancy, as she turned and dragged from another table boom box guy—“is Jock, the male party animal of our anti-party, well-timetabled St. Teresa’s fledgling population. I’m the female party animal.”
“Hi! You must be new. Which dorm are you staying in? You can stay in mine—” Jock started but did not get to finish as he was dragged back to his seat by a furious-looking girl. Nancy let them be and sat down next to you.
“That was his girlfriend, thinks she owns him or something.” She said dryly, and none too soft. You glanced back at Jock’s table and regretted immediately, for your eyes met with a pair of bitter, cold ones. Jock’s girlfriend threw Nan’s back a baleful look. It was fleeting, but you could swear you saw fear in those almond-shaped eyes.
“Ken Dearie, would you care to deliver three weary but nonetheless still elegantly beautiful ladies their lunches?” Nan said sweetly to Kenneth, pronouncing the last words as ‘loonches’. Kenneth nodded solemnly and left the table.
I'm sure whatever you're doing is working. My philosophy class was basically watching movies. Not too bad.
Wait... Why are there two of you? O.O
I mean I can probably answer that since it's fairly obvious. Power fantasy for the edgelord male teen crowd.
Basically vampires stay young forever, stay up all night, sleep all day and have powers that allow them to seduce objects of their desire with just a look and can break their enemies in two with minimal effort. I mean that's pretty great in the scheme of things, especially when you're a selfish teenager that has to deal with the mundane troubles of getting beat up by the football team and laughed at by the cheerleaders.
Now for the teens who are also emo faggots, they also get to identify with being an "outsider" and how nobody understands them.
For the girls I wouldn't count out edgelady desires either but if they're a bit on the sappier side of vampire love, they're probably just fantasizing about having a hawt boyfriend that does everything for them with ease. (And turning them into one because y'know it's important for couples to share everything with each other)
Oh I didn't even know someone was writing a vampire story, I just saw you asking about why teenagers were retarded over them.
In defense of vampires, they actually are pretty cool if you go by the Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, Countess Bathory kind of lore and write off the sparkly ones.
Thanks for your reply :)
No, I should be thanking you. For the laughs :D
In retrospect, feel free to skip to the last section, lol.
An interesting philosophy class should probably include...philosophy, but taught in an engaging way (whatever that means) while also including interaction/participation from the class. You've got many people in the room, but only having the teacher speak would be wasteful.
In story terms, that'd be: character interaction and development where the exposition is mostly philosophy ideas, and then tying those ideas into the characters.
With a storygame, choices can offer the reader options that they can use to better learn the material, but writing this way would be difficult (the only way they'll be learning by is through reading as well). Everything is prewritten and cannot be in any way shaped for the individual (but you could just have a broad number of variations, but how you'd figure this out is a bit beyond me). Not all schools are equal anyway...
A better option might be having the material exhaustively explained in so far as it is relevant for the story, without any 'learning' choices (or perhaps minimal learning choices instead). Then again, plenty of philosophy things have relevant texts, and I don't know how readers would feel about having to read a book to read a storygame. On the bright side, surely some of the books are public domain, so you could just include them in your work, lol.
Debate sessions are neat, but I do think they can fall flat. The need to think fast and know what you're talking about are both removed when debating in a storygame, where there is no time pressure and all the options are visible. Tight writing can help keep this engaging despite this. 'Wrong' options can also add back some need to know what you're talking about. Tying debates to the bigger narrative could also help.
How in depth you go with 'teaching' is worth thinking about. You said you wanted real subjects and real exams, but that is a LOT of work. Schools are ran by multiple people, but you'll be writing this yourself, and I'm not sure you've got the qualifications (which isn't a major issue in the sense you need to be a teacher to write about a school, but rather that you might not know things that'd be important regarding creating exams and subject curriculum, but you do have access to the internet!).
If you're motivated, I wouldn't worry about this. However, not having your scope be too big is instrumental in helping finish things. Stopping scope creep is worthwhile regardless, and so thinking about your scope thoroughly could be beneficial. A story that spirals out of control can suffer greatly in its quality, which is bad enough without even considering that they might just never get finished because of it.
What timespan are you covering? A year of classes? Half a year? One class till exam? School takes a long time to get through, aha.
Keeping it focussed on Philosophy seems like a good option to me. The characters still take Math, English, etc, but you skip over these elements, or just have short sections (?). Lots of options in how you handle this.
Philosophy itself can also be a bit inaccessible, so picking a good starting point is important. What actually is philosophy? How are arguments constructed? etc. You might want to jump straight to Derrida or Saussuer, but if you do, consider if there is any groundwork that some readers may not be familiar with that'd be beneficial to include.
This ties in with scope.
Looking at the ideas but also their shortcomings is important for philosophy, but with a story you can do this in some more interesting ways. Having characters show where certain theories fail, due to their circumstances or actions, and the like. (Also the opposite, where they affirm theories). Readers choices can do this as well.
The examples you provide can be more emotionally charged than pure hypotheticals that'd you'd get outside of a story (readers will get more invested in your characters than some random 'person A' they make up for a counter example).
Anyway, you're already half-way through, so no idea why I'm talking about this as if you haven't started (or written only a little).
Being half-way through, I'd say just keep going. Revisions can be made at the end to fix up any weaker areas (even if revision aren't everyone's favourite thing...but they are powerful!).
My main advice would be to think of how you can have your endings tie in with the philosophy themes, as that can help them feel more impactful while also tying everything together (assuming this works for your story, of course).
P.S. I almost included a section regarding storygame structure (variables or no, and how that could impact delivery of this type of storygame). That would've been extra useless at this stage.
Edit P.P.S. Oh, here's Gower's article on dialogue punctuation. Something to look over before your next proofreading. Let us know if it makes sense!
Edit 2 P.P.P.S. At a quick skim/glance, it seems you're not using variables, but the way you've structured stuff seems to really scream for there to be variables. Oh, you made a thread asking a question about this, never mind.
The best philosophy class is the one you drop at the start of the semester so you have one extra hour to have breakfast before your other actually useful classes start
More time to hang out with your sister
I'm going to lower my rating for your story
Thanks very much for your earnest suggestions.
I did intend to cover a span of one semester. Now I’ve realized one semester cannot be covered in sufficient detail within a story game, so sometimes weeks or months would pass by in a few sentences and other times a day would stretch over a few pages. That can’t be help. If I do justice to realistic portrayal of time ,, this story would stretch into a novel. I do want to get it out before I start to get sick of writing the same story for months.
As for the exams part, I am aware I’m not qualified to write exam questions. That’ll probably only happen in ten years’ time. Might not even happen for all I know. What I am looking for is that players are immersed in the school experience. Which is to say, when you play the game, you could almost believe that in an alternate universe, such a school does exist. And what kind of school doesn’t have exams? So the content isn’t important. It’ll probably be one quiz taking one or two question from each subject. For language and logic, I will probably put in real life exam questions I’ve seen back in school. For the elective questions such as Philosophy, I’ll probably ask something related to the lore. Of course, to make sure players are not repulsed by the difficulty (though it likely won’t be difficult at all), I intend to put in a page called the student’s class notes or something.
Yes, after some thought I’ve also come to the same conclusion that philosophical concepts may be inaccessible to players. Therefore, I’ve decided to be more faithful to the entertainment factor that insisting on exploring deep abstract ideas. I’ll make each character as vivid and memorable as possible in hopes that players would see that different kinds of people think differently and thus make varid choices to the same problem. The story overall still examines how trauma victims and perpetuators think and behave. But the exploration is weaved in loosely through dialogue, character development, consequences of players’ choices etc. Lessons would likewise aim to create dramatic effect, with some links to the general theme of the story where appropriate.
Thank you as well for recommending Gower’s article. I actually learnt something because of it. I had to check which writing style my country uses since we inherited both UK and US legacies. Turns out we uses UK spelling and grammar except for punctuation which we follow the US tradition of using double inverted commas. I’ve also just realized that for many years I had been making the mistake of ending my dialogue with a period when my attribution comes after the quote. I’ll have to make adjustments to my story after I’ve completed posting all pages or I’ll break my momentum. One minor point that confuses me in Gower’s article is the way he keeps mentioning “original sentence”. Aren’t all dialogues in narrative fiction original? Unless he also includes academic writing in his analysis where you sometimes quote other scholars, in which case the quote would not be original. Anyway, that’s just a small point. I can generally understand his explanation.