Week 5: In the end, we have a story
Time has come to announce which of the four ideas I shared with you (The Campsite, The Lighthouse, The Desert and The Train) will inspire the story for this Point-and-Click Adventure Game. Before though, let’s see what week #5 has brought.
As expected, these days I’ve been fully submerged into the Interactive Storytelling program. Due to the pandemic, classes are conducted online -a pity considering the campus is placed at the unique scenario of Visby, one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Scandinavia and a Unesco World Heritage. However, and in terms of logistics, I have to say it’s been a lucky twist as Visby is located in the island of Gotland, 4 hours away (both by train and ferry) from Stockholm -it can also be reached by plane though, but I always try to avoid them if there are other alternatives. Therefore, classes are held on the same screen that I’m typing these words, but I can’t complain.
So, as planned for the sprint, I started working on the game’s plot simultaneously with the course assignments. Yet, this week hasn’t been as productive as I expected. The reason: a creative block.
I already had the overall idea in my mind (the chosen option), but for some reason it didn’t want to start up. After trying and trying during a couple of days, I began to doubt about the story and consider the option to go back to the previous step and choose one of the other three ideas. But this is equivalent to running away at the first setback -and this would had just delayed things. Fortunately, I have a set of tools to overcome these tiny crises of creativity -coming from my experience as music composer.
The first and most important thing to understand is that a creative block is just this, a blocker that must be unlocked. The way that works best for me is to simply do a temporary “switch-off”. I stop for a while and do something else. Anything that doesn’t require extra mental effort and makes me feel good (I went out to clean the leaf garden, for example) while being confident that inspiration will come sooner or later. I don’t get stressed. I just need to think outside the box for a while.
To open my mind a bit more and get some inspiration, I also watched this documentary. I don’t know how many times I’ve read about it… a lot! but I always learn something new (whether it’s a true fact or not). After this little break -and with a fresher mind- I came up with a different approach: start writing the story from the end.
For those not familiar with writing stories, it might sound like an advanced technique used by experienced writers but it’s actually the other way around. It requires a lot of expertise to write a story from the beginning. For an unexperienced writer like me, starting by the end should be the norm. Have you ever tried to explain something that you don’t know how it ends (e.g. trying to improvise an excuse)? It feels like walking backwards. In real life, we normally know what we want to say, then we make a story out of it. We do storytelling either to describe our visit at the nearby supermarket or while presenting the results of our latest research work.
I already knew this technique -that’s why it came to mind- but I just wasn’t aware of how important it is. I had the text blurb of The Campsite in front of me for hours, being unable to develop the story beyond the initial words. After this exercise, everything began to flow naturally.
Now I know how the story ends, but this is something you’ll have to discover by yourself.
📋 This week: I already decided about the main characters, but I just don’t know how they are. This is something I’ll be working on during this sprint. I also need to keep working on the world map of the game but it will be pretty small. This is why I’ve finally decided to go for The Campsite story and not for any of the other scenarios, despite it wasn’t the favourite option. In any case, I think it provides a lot of scope for a short adventure, and I’ll do my best to get the most of it!