Thursday, 3 March 2016

AIF Writing Salon?

While reading the comments of one of the other posts, I noticed that someone suggested an AIF Writing Salon event. That sounded like a great idea. I've decided that I would like to run such an event. I'm aiming for the May-July timeframe.

Whereas contests focus on producing winners, the AIF Writing Salon will focus on producing writers. I have a few ideas for how to organize one. I'm interested in hearing other people's ideas first. What sort of event would help get you writing? How many of you are interested in participating in such an event? Obviously, we need writers but we also need people willing to give constructive feedback to the writers. Feedback is one of the main motivators for getting writers to share their work, so an AIF Writing Salon will need people willing to give some feedback for all the writers.


  1. There is usually a mini-comp of some sorts and possibly the SNEEZE will be coming back around, but as of yet I haven't heard anything about them or time frames, so there might not be an issue with conflicts.

    As for what to do to get writers and people who will actually give feedback to the games they played - I'm afraid I don't know of anything short of giving tangible things away to get people interested.

    There almost always seems to be a huge issue with a game that has had tons of work thrust into it only getting a few replies and a couple of requested hints and never being spoken of again until someone years later has a question about it.

    I don't mean that to be fatalistic or any such thing, and trying is obviously much better than not. Keeping posts popping up from time to time, asking the authors to do more 'updates' (in the form of the blog, reddit, or whatever) to possibly keep people interested, even possibly setting up a chatroom that is open for discussion and setting particular times now and then to try and gather people could *possibly* help.

    Anything in hopes of getting people talking, really. Early on asking both writers and players what might be a fun location, character, sex scene, etc.; having a list of things each author has finished for the week to keep them and the readers interested.

    As usual though, leading the horse to the water only accomplishes so much. Thinking up OPTIONAL little 'fun' things may help - like a collaboration of sorts, having authors pick a character someone else comes up with and throwing these various people together to make a story or using a particular setting or idea for a scene. Some people dislike those, as they want to work on their OWN idea, but if someone had a brain fart and needed a push, it could be something fun for them. Maybe even unfinished or poorly implemented ideas could get help by someone - if the author allows - to polish or complete the work.

    It isn't that great of advice, so hopefully someone more used to doing such things can help. As far as I can see you just have to put the idea out there and make sure it is heard (here, reddit, and y! at the least) and do what you can to nurture it. Obviously easier said than done ;)

    1. Some newer writers might be college students, so the timing is designed to overlap summer break while still being early enough that someone could put another event afterwards if they want.

      The mini-comp is probably dead. I am thinking that the AIF Writing Salon will be like the mini-comp but retooled to focus more on writers and fostering new talent.

    2. Why would the mini-comp be dead?? It get's more entries than last year's sneeze comp.

    3. Whether or not the Minicomp happens this year very much depends on someone volunteering to run it.

      So, not dead, but dreaming.

  2. Feedback is good. But I think what would really motivates writers is... programmers.

    A good IF is made of great writing and great programming. Both things are hard to master, and both take a fair amount of time. And they're not complementary, at all, the skills (or if you wish talents) needed to be good at writing and programming are quite different.

    So good writers are rarely good programmers and vice-versa. Have a good writer and a good progammer working on their own and you'll probably end up with 2 abandoned projects. Get them to work together and you might end up with a good game.

    I think that's what would be most benefical, get writers and programmers to work together.

    Then you just need a game designer and a graphic to get a really great game underway :)

    1. I don't agree. AIF is its own thing. In my experience, writing AIF is very different from normal writing and programming AIF is very different from normal programming. To write good AIF, you need experienced AIF writers. They need to know how to work within the limitations of the medium. They don't have to be strong programmers or strong writers. A writer can write a Choose Your Own Adventure AIF in a word processor without needing any programming skill. A programmer can write AIF with minimal descriptions and some pictures from the Internet. What's important is that AIF writers have a certain grit and flexibility and willingness to try new things to learn the craft and to finish a game. The idea that combining programmers with writers will produce good AIF is simply wishful thinking.

      What actually happens in a collaboration is that you have many more chances to fail. If the programmer flakes out, then the project fails. If the writer flakes out, then the project fails. If the two people don't get along, then the project fails. A collaboration involves two real people. As a programmer, I don't like "taking orders" from clueless writers. I'm sure writers don't like it when clueless programmers tell them what to write. As an experienced programmer, I am only interested in collaborating with experienced AIF writers or with erotica writers who have a strong history of good writing. Essentially, people who are able to complete projects only want to collaborate with other people who know how to complete projects. If you want to collaborate with others, you either need to be a great salesperson or you need to complete some projects yourself to demonstrate your skill. If you're able to complete some projects yourself, you probably don't need any collaborators.

    2. I agree to a degree. You want to foster new talents, right? So we're talking mostly about people who are NOT able to complete projects. And of those who actually CAN complete a project how many will pull out a decent game? Most of those (who are already a minority in the pool of possible talents) who complete a project will deliver a bad game, because that's what newbies do most times, they're just not as good as experienced ones. They will get a non-positive reaction (if they get a reaction at all), and be demotivated to do further works. That's, imo, what happened mostly so far.

      The point you make are good, that's why i pointed at the need of a "game designer". Probably "tutor" is a better word tho. Someone who has experience of the medium - both programming and writing - and knows how to get a game done.
      That's what you need to foster talents. Then you can have writers and programmers working together on the same project (i still think that's a good option) or not. But you need someone willing to teach, direct the newbies, on how to get a game done. And possibly well done.
      The principle should be same of students working with teachers for their graduation thesis.

      Back to writers/programmers collaboration, I still think most people can't do both very well and learning one of those (then getting it done) is already a fair amount of work/time. Usually people won't even start a project because they lack one of those 2 skills required. Sure collaboration can be tricky, maybe not many projects will get to the end, but at least you start a process. Those who are interested and want to continue will continue, it will be a natural selection.

      Just food for thoughts.

    3. I think most points have been hit concerning the difficulties of joint work. I will add though that I don't think that is the primary thing keeping AIF authors from completing their projects. After all, there are several mostly non-coding options for 'writers', like Twine and ADRIFT which makes things easier, not to mention the several libraries you can use with other languages. Few games are from the ground up even with good coders.

      And not to step on any toes - I am not great at writing at all myself - but even some of the games that I had the most fun aren't exactly teeming with great prose and stories I would consider a masterpiece. Getting a program with spellcheck and some testers to catch your grammatical errors goes a long way even for those of us without writing skill.

      I think the main issue is simply that it is a hobby (for most, though P is a possibility for some now). People put work in it, realize it is a lot of work, find real life things creeping in, other ideas for other stories they could write, and just overall losing interest.

      In this way I think having a strong community or even a buddy or two who shares the interest (online or off) is a major boon. Getting yourself reinvigorated and interested once again in your work is paramount to finishing. Chatting with a few people and sharing ideas is one idea. Doing a personal blog, even if it doesn't get views/replies, just as a journal-like way of setting yourself on a path and keeping with it is another. Others like to spend some time 'mapping' out the story with character bios, branching paths and main ones, etc. on paper on the computer.

      Depending on how you are as a person the pressure to release once you mentioned the game could be a driving force as well. Though you have to be careful and not get squashed by it, ending in the fun hobby you had becoming something you hate or quitting because of it.

      Anyway, I could be way off base, too, and everyone is different, so whatever works! Release or not, hopefully the act of at least putting pen to paper (or fingers to key as is the case) can bring a lot of joy to a person!

    4. I agree. I can't even count how many times I've started an AIF project, only to realize that my programming is decent while my writing is a bit below average. Potential AIF authors like myself could benefit from a decent writer.

    5. You should post using an account if you want a writer to contact you about working together. If you post anonymously, there's no way for anyone to reach you.

  3. Collaboration is a good idea, but I don't think that it's easy that 2 people decides to do this, maybe only in they do a page together, the most similar thing I see with bbben and Anotherwannabe and phinn, but I don't know exactly how the collaboration is.
    I think that the only collaboration really possible is to have a graphic designer to add pics, like goblinboy did for Anotherwannabe in bad sister.
    And graphic is the last important thing in an aif game, even if can help to elevate it, i don't know how much.
    I would be very curious if Minterlint would be back to give permission to a fan, that created pics for master of the house, to ditribuite those how could change the idea on the qulity of the game for who played it, but probably i won't ever know.
    For having good author we can only hope that there will be others with good combination of abilities that will create for the time sufficient to improve.
    At the end Goblinboy had usccess beacuse aven if not the best in all camps he was good in all.
    Ok this isn't exactly true, we had and we have other stars but if GB has been the Hulk Hogan of the aif world cannot be so reduced.
    For me he was good in graphic and writing, decent in programming (at the end he had experience, but after so much years of inactivity even if he would he would have much problem in programming part) and a master in game design and story.
    I haven't found another author that can put behavior and situations particular and strange but so that if you think well you find justified if not natural (done his premises), besides he succeed in having erotic tension in his games, that it's a good thing for an adult game.
    And he did this in several different game, even in something like "in the darkness" and he used all that thought useful for a game.
    You could have consequences for your actions or doing things terrible and having a good ending and all at the end was acceptable (genocide in tesliss, the young looking agent in meteor...).
    Now I see that in patreon incest (that I think that he is one of that thing that could add something to a game or ruin it if put without reason) is something that attract patrons (but others wouldn't play games in which is present), he putted it in his game only if useful, I think that the brief scene in sd3 was a good adding, meteor would have been a worst game without jenny and if had decide to add it in Tesliss would have been worthless.
    All this for say that I don't know if Goblinboy, for the majority THE aif author, even if present, could tutor new authors, doing and teaching is different and if someone tried to copy him probaly would have bad results.
    Each people is different, each one needs to follow his road, maybe you won't arrive to the peak(not all can be michael jordan), but at least you will achieve your potential (and maybe be a a Kareem abdul-jabbar or a Larry bird).