Do any of you ever have a story idea that you think is good enough, that it can possibly make you the next George R.R. Martin or something? Like is it ever hard to publish a story-game instead? Do you guys sit on ideas that you can possibly write a franchise of books for, or do you write and post your stories on here without thinking about that?
Basically, do you guys ever write a story-game, and then think: 'Hmmm. I probably could have published that and got rich!"
I mean, the chances might be low. And there are some stories on Amazon with like 5 reviews that a person probably spent months or a year working on, but the possibility to be the next JK Rowling is there. Even if it might be like 2% or something.
Oh yeah, I get that big time. That's probably the main reason why I haven't finished Price of Freedom yet. I am in a pretty shitty state financially and feel like I really want to take a shot at getting something traditionally published so that I can make some money off of it.
Do I think I could be the next J.K.Rowling or George R.R. Martin? No, because the vast majority of their success is based on factors that were completely out of their control. Specifically, that Warner Brothers and HBO picked up the titles and made incredibly successful Movies/TV shows based around them. Don't get me wrong, they were both extremely successful before this happened, but I imagine that success was likely in the lower millions rather than in the hundreds of millions. There are plenty of books I've read that are more than worthy of a film franchise or tv series that have never been picked up. Likewise, there are some incredible books that have had film/tv adaptations made of them where the adaptations were completely shit and did nothing to draw positive attention to the books.
That said, do I think it's possible that I could write a book decent enough that it could sell a good few thousand copies? Yes, I'd like to think so. Of course the quality of the writing doesn't always translate into number of copies sold, but I'd say it's at least a possibility... Or it could be a possibility if I ever got around to actually writing stuff.
One thing I've found in the last few years is that I find it a lot easier to write Interactive Fiction than I do to write a straight up novel. And I think the main reason is to do with choices. In Interactive Fiction, you have choices all the way through the game. If the reader makes a decision and they don't like the results of that decision, they can go back and make a different one. Because of this, I don't feel like every path I write has to be completely perfect. The players can play through different paths and decide which one they like best. With traditional novels, you can't fall back on that reassurance. If you write something in the story and the reader doesn't like it, you're screwed.
For instance, in my game The Lawless Ones that I made over on Dashingdon, the players all had 6 different backstories that they could choose for the protagonist (kind of like in Dragon Age Origins). If they didn't like one of those backstories, no problem, they had five others to choose from, chances are they'd find at least one that they liked. With the story that I'm writing right now, I'm absolutely terrified of getting the protagonist's character and backstory wrong. I'm worried that readers will dislike the protagonist if I make the wrong choice. I can't count the amount of times that I've changed my mind about what my protagonist's backstory should be, and it's made it really difficult to make any progress on my story, since the protagonist's backstory directly effects his character throughout the rest of the story, which would effect the dialogue and the choices he makes, ect, ect... So the chances of me ever becoming a successful writer are close to nothing, not so much because I don't have the talent, or how difficult it is to get published, but because I spend all my time rewriting the prologue and never actually make it past chapter three.
In regards to you though... I see no reason why you can't do both! Write and publish an amazing story game, then if you still think, "this story idea is amazing, I could make money from this" then write a novel based on the story game. Granted, you would probably have to unpublish the story game if you got a book deal, but by then, all the hardcore CYS fans would have read it anyway, so you'd get the best of both worlds. ^_^
Oh yeah, NaNoWriMo... I totally did that... So much writing... ^_^
Thanks Morgan! I do really like the story I'm working on right now so I'm going to try hard to stick at it. ^_^
I can tell you've thought about this a lot.
Maybe I'm under a mistaken impression that after writing any sort of CYOA with 'choices' even if its something that's effectively linear, would make writing an actual linear story very easy.
But maybe it's something like writing a bunch of things on a page, and then finding yourself writing three choices going in separate directions at the very bottom of the page for some reason.
But, yes, I'm going to write something with the thoughts of mass appeal. If I get famous and rich, you will know. I'm going to eat tons of food to get the girth of a George R.R Martin, and then I'll be ready.
Just make sure to include lots of rape and torture and incest and you'll be set. ^_^
Hard question. To be honest, I think that most ideas that work well with a story game format won't be that effective when you translate it into a linear novel. It's a completely different medium. Eternal wouldn't be Eternal if it was a book. Hell, it would be a nightmare to even choose what to take from what path if one wants to make a linear adaptation out of it.
Well, with works like the featured story game of the romance corner Demonologists, I could see such transition work better. Mainly because the story is so linear and devoid of "gameplay" that it would honestly work better as a novella. You could then argue that the concept wasn't working that well as a story game and yeah, you may be right on that part.
For me, deciding what kind of branching structure I want comes first, the idea comes second. Like, "one story please" is playing around with the idea of having flashbacks influence the ending while in story only a few hours at most had passed. With 'It's a boy", well... I knew it was downright unpublishable. (I've once really considered making a censored version or change some details into more palatable ones such as having the offspring making scenes be more like the alien movie, but eventually decided against it.) I'm actually still a bit shocked that it was not immediately removed and that many people sorta liked it.
As for monetizing
I Honestly don't think I'm good enough to write something people would want to buy. Like drawing, writing is just a hobby of mine. Ever since I've got access to the internet, I've been reading lots of webnovels and webcomics and I still do admire these authors (eleven year old me didn't have money to buy many books and the local library was very small) So I think it's also a nice idea to have things I write online for free. Then again, most of it is just self indulgence. I rather want someone else to take my ideas and write the cool story I had in mind so that I don't have to the shitty work while enjoying the end product. Since that's impossible, outlining it for myself would do.
the story idea
Story idea from my pile of outlines that would work the best in linear fashion: I always thought these fantasy adventurer guild systems were very sketchy if they were to exist in real life. So here it is:
Stereotypical dungeon in stereotypical fantasy world emerges, a traditional 19th century style company town forms around it. In exchange for housing and repayment of previous made debts, the company heirs employees, ahum, "adventurers" to delve deep into the dungeon and extract treasure from it. Deaths, injuries, attempted strikes, withholding pay and piling debts ensue, in short, it's a shitty job.The protagonist, a guy who had to pay off his dead gambler dad's debts, becomes an adventurer and forms a party with even more desperate people. Slowly they clear more and more floors, hoping that at the deepest part of the dungeon they will encounter a treasure that will let them finally quit.
If this idea had been executed before, please let me know. I actually want to read a story based on such a concept, but I couldn't find any so far that hit this particular angle.
The same situation, but replaced with teenagers from our world being transported (or isekai'd for the weebs) to this one and having to do that, you have a new series of books popular with tweens. You have to let me manage you however, and you can't read the contract that you'll have to sign.
I'm already salivating at the thought of all of the dollars that will be raining down on us like endless waves.
I think the big hope is getting your book adapted into some kind of adaptation of any sort that becomes popular. It feels like every book's getting an adaptation because there's so many streaming platforms that need shows to compete with one another.
Well if some PMs I've gotten are any indication, I imagine I probably could have made money off of something I've written. Technically I already have, given that I got 75 dollars for winning a contest here and sold some stuff back in high school. Though again I just write for my own enjoyment, I never thought a large crowd was going to gather around looking over my shoulder at what I was writing, but that's cool too.
I think I'd struggle a bit with just writing a linear style story anymore. I'm too used to branching everything, which is funny since I tend to write my stories as if they were a novella and then just add the branches where they seem like they best fit. I like playing "what if" a bit too much for a proper story.
I don't think I'd think I'd be the next George since I tend to like to finish stuff at least within a couple years. I might be like JK though with the wokies trying to cancel me lol.
In any case, if you're having the serious thought of an idea that you want to try to publish, go for it. I believe in you.
(Obviously if you publish through CoG, you'll be disowned)
I think I'm still banned for another 200 years on CoG.
So any future potential career over there is looking very gray and stormy.
To be fair though, the way that your stories are written, I don't think you'd have to write something linear to get published. You could go for more of the old Choose Your Own Adventure style books, but for adults... Hell, you wouldn't even have to write anything new. I'd sure as hell pay to have a copy of Eternal on my bookshelf. ^_^
Almost without exception, I have this thought every single time I come up with a story idea, even if it's only a sentence or two long in conception. It has a 0% rate of panning out so far, so I'm obviously well aware that this thought has no basis in reality, but it happens anyway, so I've just learned not to pay any attention to it, and to focus on the writing.
Weirdly, pretty much the ONLY time I can think of this thought process not happening is with the games I've published on this site. I don't mean I realized they weren't as good as I thought as I began doing the writing, I mean even in their conception I knew they were going to be small, mediocre projects that would be good, but not great. It's certainly not a coincidence at all that these less ambitious projects are the ones I've actually been able to finish.
The only one of my works I could potentially see people paying money for is Secrets of the Crag, and that would have to be about twenty times longer and have some kind of overarching plot to it. Doable, but probably not worth my time until I learn some more advanced computer coding.
If I wanted to write a story that I thought would make money, it would be an elementary/middle-school trilogy that, as a major part of the world-building, sorted people into categories that were relevant to a special skill set of theirs. This is the trend I've noticed most in the really big series (harry potter, percy jackson, hunger games, warrior cats, etc.) I have no intention of actually doing this because it would be dumb.
Probably the best thing I have going for me is that I'm pretty good with hard deadlines, even for creative work.
I empathize with Mizal regarding the difficulty of having arcs in CYOAs. It's doable, and there are ways to take advantage of the format to go even deeper (as works like Eternal show), but it's a lot of juggling you need to do.
As for other people on this site, I think if EndMaster did (or had someone else do) a thorough sentence structure edit of Eternal, it could be published for a considerable amount of money. The publishing industry doesn't like the branching format, but frankly Eternal is probably good enough to sneak through anyway.
Speaking of Crag...
That's first on my list of story-games I must read.
After today. My stomach's full and I feel like one of those inflated characters that people draw fetish art of in degenerate art circles.