Writing with ChoiceScript Panel

Last night  it was my pleasure to host a Google Hangout with Jason Stevan Hill, Zachary Sergi, Nissa Campbell, Jim Dattilo, and Bendi Barrett on using ChoiceScript to write branching narrative for decision point / gamebook-style games.

ChoiceScript is an excellent tool for story and character-driven IF (Interactive Fiction), and as Jason points out, Choice of Games has a track record of making IF commercially successful while allowing a degree of creative freedom game writers rarely experience in the industry.

“Darling”

Darling, you’ll never know what I do for you.  Here I am, reapplying my makeup just because I know you’ll be here soon, and I want to look good for you.  I can’t remember the last time you told me I was pretty, but I know you’d be distressed if you came home and I wasn’t ready.  I spent hours dithering over what to wear before putting my power suit back on, the plum-colored one with the big shoulder pads.  Maybe its just that I want you to know that I’m a professional too, that I work all day and then I have to have everything just-so for you, never knowing just how late you’ll be.  Sometimes you’re away all night, and it breaks my heart.

I slave away over a hot iron or a hot stove, or sometimes a veritable cauldron of fry oil, just for you.  But it’s never good enough.  Your always complaining that the meat’s raw, or that the vegetables are too squishy or that I burned the dessert.  Even when I go to special effort to prepare one of your favorites, you just look at me like I’ve done something wrong, and you won’t tell me what I could have done to make it better.

I’m waiting for you tonight, and I think I have everything just perfect.  The table’s set, the guests have arrived, I’ve even chilled a bottle of champagne.  It’s our anniversary, though I’ve learned better than to think that you’ll remember.  Of course you’re late.  By the time you come crashing in, the Irish Stew that I made with a good Black and Tan has gotten cold, and it doesn’t matter, because you’ve already started a row.  You never did like my friends, but I thought that, since I’ve had some of your police buddies pinned down since mid-afternoon, that it was only fair to have a few of mine over to keep them company.

You kick out my sewing circle and then your attention immediately turns to your friends.  You’re ignoring me completely, and something inside me just snaps.  I flirt a little with the Comissioner, just to get your attention.  It works too well.  I never know when I’ve gone too far with you: one moment I might as well not be here, and the next you strike me full across the face.  I can’t see what I’ve done wrong, but you’re up in my face shouting about my holding your friends hostage.  I was just trying to be a good host.

You hit me again, and I go flying to the floor.  I feel your boot in my ribs and then you’re on top of me, breathing heavy, into it.  I know you like it this way and, to be honest, so do I.  You’re pulling my hair, smearing my makeup, groping me furiously, slapping and smacking me about like a rag doll.  I’ll be your painted doll, I’d be anything for you, darling.

I’m pressed, face down, into the floor.  Your knee is in the small of my back.  I hear the seams pop as you rip at my clothes, exposing me to your baleful sight.  You have me, your every thrust like another blow, as you grunt and swear your way though my body.  I’m all awrack with pleasure and pain, pain and pleasure as you take me in front of your friends, who just watch the show.  I’m outside myself, taking photos of us, composing an album of our lovemaking, each moment lasting forever.

Until it’s over.  With a shuddering breath, you withdraw, leaving me beaten, exhausted, sated.  You take off with your friends, leaving me slumped on the floor.  You’re so hard on me, and sometimes I hate you for it.  But I’ll never leave you, I’ll never stop loving you, you are my everything.  As I get up, as I look for my pajamas and think about the cost of getting my clothes mended, as I put on fresh makeup over bruises, and dab alcohol on my cuts, I think of you.

I think of you, out there in that dark night, and I have to believe that you know I do it all for you, Bats.  All for you, darling.

for SDCC 2014

Autumn Harvest: Hunting Accident

Kaye was in the foyer of the palace’s great hall, on a hunter’s travois, and he was a dirty, bloody mess, his clothes torn and his breath shallow and pained. Though scratched and cut all over, Kaye was in no danger of bleeding to death. It was Kaye’s internal injuries that worried me. Something had crushed or trampled him, leaving two of his ribs fractured, his right shoulder dislocated so violently that several muscle fibers had been torn, and his left leg broken in several places, with a shattered kneecap. The only good fortune was that he hadn’t suffered any head trauma.

I had the doctors clear away the onlookers, then removed my elbow-length gloves and rolled up my sleeves. First, the shoulder. I felt the area again, gently and thoroughly to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. Kaye turned toward me, smirked weakly, and whispered my name, followed by something I couldn’t hear. I bent closer and felt his breath on my ear as he managed to say, “I’ve missed your touch.”

I almost smiled, then I wanted to slap him. This was in no time for games. “This is going to hurt,” I replied simply, and then reset his shoulder. He cried out, and for a moment I thought he’d lost consciousness, but then I noticed his gaze on me, his eyes bright with pain and silent tears.

Becca_travois-web

Art by Becca Schauer.

This is a scene from Autumn Harvest: Maiden, a tale of forbidden love between a witch and the prince of a backwards kingdom. You can listen to or read the complete story free on Big World Network.

If you enjoy Autumn Harvest, please consider becoming a patron.

Autumn Harvest: Delta

“Fisherman, I owe you a boon,” she said, her voice high but melodic, with that strange undulation like the tide. “What would you ask of me?”

The fisherman paused for a long time before answering.

“It is enough to have been of assistance to a great one such as yourself,” he replied. “I require nothing.”

“Surely there must be something you…” the mermaid paused and drew in breath, causing her gills to flare and her chest to heave, “want.”

The fisherman felt a little less old as things stirred in the back of his mind and in his loins, but he replied cautiously, “My joints ache and my wants are simple. A good day’s catch with little strain is all I hope for.”

The mermaid’s eye’s gleamed as she spoke, “Then you shall have it.”

"Please, good fisher, do not leave me here. I grow dry."

Art by Becca Schauer

“Delta” is an erotically-charged fantasy romance story, my take on the “magic fish” fable in an eastern setting inspired by Daoist folklore. You can listen to or read it for free on Big World Network, along with other short stories set in the world of Autumn Harvest and the complete Autumn Harvest: Maiden.

If you enjoy these stories, please consider becoming a patron.

Out-Of-Context Comics Panel: Time for Tea

So, now that I have two lovely children, the younger of which is almost seven weeks old, it’s time to start blogging again.

I don’t want to pull a pull a hyperlink or twist my domain name, so we’re starting easy, with an Out-Of-Context Comics Panel. It’s from Noelle Stevenson’s brilliant Nimona. If you’re not reading Nimona, start now: Stevenson is working on the final chapter of the story.