Those of you who know me on Facebook or Twitter might know from my recent updates that I've just accepted a new commission to write a mystery game for a former customer. This is always fun and always exciting, but I thought it might be interesting to demonstrate the different thought process for writing a custom game as opposed to a writing project that completely your own.
Setting: When it's your project you get to pick. For a custom game, a great many times this is given to you. I've been given mine; the 1920s. I've already written a 1920s game, so this one has to be different. It is. I've placed this one on a train; and no, it's not the Orient Express. The picture accompanying this post is the 'cover' for the game.
Characters: Here's where those of you who believe 'less is more' will have a slight heart attack. I get told how many people are playing and whether they're male or female. It's usually a fairly large number. This time it's 16 (although 3 of them are very, very small parts). That's 13 characters, all of whom have to contribute equally, all of whom have to be suspects.
Plot: Even with a custom game, the actual plot is up to me. I write the body being 'discovered' at the beginning. I give a thorough description of the 'crime scene' and give instructions for any actual 'pieces of evidence'. Right now I know who the victim was and why they died. I haven't figured out who's done it, but I've got a pretty good idea.
With any mystery, you have to decide how tricky it will be to solve. I've written some games that are just fun and some that are quite difficult. All of them are solvable (of course) but some solutions are easier to find than others. This one (by request) is tricky. Trust me, this type is fun to write.
Deadline: Just like a book, I've got a deadline. Difference? These deadlines come quick. I accepted this commission last week, it's due the beginning of March.
This commission will be filling my next few weeks. Will I meet the deadline? With room to spare.
I can hear the train whistle now. All aboard!!