Writing a story like ‘Recently Royal’ for Episode Interactive isn’t as hard as you may think. 90% of what makes a story great is the ground work you put in before you even begin to write.
The image above is what the very beginning of ‘Recently Royal’ looked like. If you can believe it, I originally pictured it as a werewolf story! You’ll see it eventually morphed into something I called a ‘genderbent fairy tale’ tentatively titled ‘The Royal Problem.’
So if I want to write a story like Recently Royal, what should my writing process look like?
Everyone’s writing style is different (and beautiful!). What works for me might not work for you, that being said, I’d love to share with you how I wrote Recently Royal in case it helps you in your own process.
When the first flash of an idea goes off in your brain, write it down straight away.
No matter how silly the idea is, if it’s enough to get you excited– write it down. Sometimes the ideas that start off as silly are actually the triggers we need to inspire a larger, more substantial story idea. If you dismiss it and decline to write it down, you risk forgetting it and end up missing out on a potential opportunity.
Write the story. All of it.
Personally I wrote the beginning and end of ‘Recently Royal’ in dot points before moving on to dot pointing the middle. I made sure I knew what I wanted the surprises and twists to be BEFORE I started writing. It’s okay to have ideas as you go (heck, it’s awesome to let the story keep evolving!) however if you start your story with no idea how it’s going to end, or no idea of what you want to ‘build up to’ for the big reveal, you risk meandering through chapters with no real direction.
Edit and then edit again.
When I wrote Recently Royal (and all of my other stories), I wrote a chapter, played through, and then wrote it again before releasing it. It’s amazing how many ideas you come up with and mistakes you pick up on during your play through as a ‘reader’ that you didn’t pick up on when you had your author eyes on. Taking the time to fully polish your chapters makes a huge difference to your audience’s enjoyment of the story and overall quality of their play-through.
Know your Characters.
For ‘Recently Royal’ (and all my stories) I write extensive backgrounds for the main characters. I want to know what their favourite colours are (Tobias’s is green btw), what their relationship with their parents is like, are they dog or cat people. These may seem like innocuous details which you don’t plan on including in your story, but you’ll be surprised by how knowing these things about your characters brings you closer to them. When you know your characters you are able to ‘get inside their heads’ and write convincing and real dialogue from their point of view.
If all you know about a character is that ‘he’s the evil guy’, then you’re going to have an antagonist who is one-dimensional. Everyone will root against them, and when the heroine triumphs, we’ll all say ‘cool’. If your ‘evil guy’ was abandoned as a child and all he really wants in this world is a family to call his own… these ‘past experiences’ influence their actions and dialogue, subconsciously bringing us closer to the character and inspire real emotion. Proper, real dialogue and personality is the difference between the reader having an emotional connection with your characters (= an amazing story) or not having a connection at all.
Prince ‘Kane’ Windsong
Favourite Colour: Red
Dogs or Cats: Cats
Prince ‘Tobias’ Windsong
Favourite Colour: Green
Dogs or Cats: Dogs
Favourite Colour: Well that’s up to you, isn’t it?
Dogs or Cats: In this story– Dogs 😉
Alright Tuesday, TL;DR – give me the dot points. What elements make up a good Episode story?
Imagination: Don’t throw out an idea you wrote down at 3am just because it didn’t make any sense the next day. If something excites you, it’s worth exploring to see if you can develope it into something real, or to see if it will spark something amazing.
Snappy chapters: Not too long, not too short. You don’t want to drag things on and bore your readers, but you want to give them a solid enough taste to have them dying for more.
Plot with purpose: Know where your story is going, and how it’s getting there.
Characters with Character: Know your characters! Make them all real individuals, allow your readers to fall in love with them.
Fun Tidbit: Check out how I composited these photos to make ‘Kane’ Windsong
Bit of photoshop goes a long way, eh?
That’s all from me for now, thank you for reading this post! As always, if you want to talk about writing a story or are looking for a couple of tips, please don’t hesitate to email me or message me on Instagram / Facebook.