Category: Blog

Announcing Sub-Q Jam, a Game Jam and Limited Submission Window from sub-Q Magazine!

October 21st, 2018 by

This month’s game on our website, Anna Anthropy’s “Queers in Love at the End of the World,” gives you only 10 seconds per playthrough to make your choices and see what happens. That unusual design choice is part of what gives the game such a forceful, compelling impact—a sense of urgency and hopelessness and hopefulness […]

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Making Interactive Fiction: The Branch and the Merge

October 11th, 2018 by

Branching stories run naturally into the problem of combinatorial explosion. If you keep writing different variants for each choice the player could make, eventually you end up with too many branches to write or manage. Sam Kabo Ashwell calls this structure the “time cave,” and while it has been used in the past, the amount […]

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Table of Contents – October, 2018

October 2nd, 2018 by

Up here in the northern hemisphere, October heralds the onset of fall—shorter days, longer nights, a crisp coldness to the air that speaks of the coming of winter. One of the reasons I like fall so much is the reaction that gathering dark pulls out of people. There’s a tendency to gather, to light fires, […]

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Author Interview: Caroline Yoachim

September 25th, 2018 by

Hugo and three-time Nebula Award finalist Caroline M. Yoachim is a prolific author of short stories, appearing in Asimov’s, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Clarkesworld, and Lightspeed, among other places. Her debut short story collection, Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World & Other Stories, came out in 2016. Caroline is the author of our […]

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Making Interactive Fiction: Adapting from Other Genres

September 11th, 2018 by

The best kind of interactivity in a story is interactivity that resonates with its themes and characters. One useful approach to thinking about design issues is to adapt models from other genres. Even if the result doesn’t much resemble the starting point, it’s productive to have a guide to direct where you’re going. Emily Short’s […]

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Table of Contents – September, 2018

September 4th, 2018 by

When I was a kid, there was little I liked more than reading—unless maybe it was computer games. So the first time I saw a Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) book in my school’s library, I was excited. It was like the best of both worlds! I got to be in control of the characters, just like […]

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Author Sunyi Dean

Author Interview: Sunyi Dean

August 28th, 2018 by

Sunyi Dean is a writer of speculative fiction, currently living in the UK. Some of her other stories can be found lurking suspiciously in the pages of FFO, Andromeda Spaceways, and Aurealis. Sunyi is the author of our August game, John Kills Jenny. This interview was conducted via e-mail in August of 2018. sub-Q Magazine: What […]

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Making Interactive Fiction: Scenes

August 21st, 2018 by

Whether we outline first, or just start writing, any prose story longer than a short vignette will break down into distinct scenes. In interactive narrative, this works a little differently: IF and games sometimes make it hard to cut from one story beat to another; stories aren’t necessarily one continuous line of events where we […]

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August 2018 – Table of Contents

August 7th, 2018 by

The innate nature of humanity is a topic that’s as old as thought. In Warring States China, for example, Mengzi held that human nature—while innately good—was corruptible by society, while Xunzi argued that society was the only thing which taught good behaviour in the first place. (Xunzi, ever the optimist, also thought that people had […]

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Writing Interactive Fiction in 5000 Words (or Fewer!)

July 31st, 2018 by

One of the things we often hear submitters to sub-Q mention is how challenging it is to write a piece of interactive fiction that fits within our 5000-word limit. And that makes sense. With the possibility for word-bloat that IF’s branching narratives and variables introduce, telling a story in such a small space can be a challenge. […]

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Author Interview: dcsross

July 24th, 2018 by

dcsross grew up on the west coast of Canada. His poetry has been published in Matrix Magazine and The Scarlet Leaf Review. He is 31 years old. Learn more at his website http://www.dcsross.com. His twitter and instagram are @dcsross. This interview was conducted via e-mail in July of 2018 by Stewart C Baker. sub-Q Magazine: […]

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Making Interactive Fiction: Narrative Design for Writers (Part 2)

July 10th, 2018 by

This is part two of a two-part series about narrative design aimed at traditional-media writers and IF authors. In part one, I walked through a series of questions that help clarify a narrative design. Now, I’m going to talk about how one puts all of this together. The output of narrative design as a process […]

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July 2018 – Table of Contents

July 3rd, 2018 by

Our July game, the Hidden King by dcsross, presents us with a picture of madness, as the unnamed narrator struggles to navigate the shifting realities of a schizoaffective disorder. Also, there may be werewolves. Here’s our schedule for July: July 10th – Bruno Dias brings us part two of a primer in narrative design for writers.  […]

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Author Guest Post, “IF in pop culture and back again” by Andrew Plotkin

June 26th, 2018 by

I just noticed an amusing synchrony. In the late 1970s, when Crowther and then Woods were writing the first parser game, a New Wave SF writer named George R. R. Martin was writing short stories about far-future humanity among the Thousand Worlds. I, very young, was a fan of both. (Nightflyers, 1980, is still a […]

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Making Interactive Fiction: Narrative Design for Writers (part 1)

June 12th, 2018 by

This is part one of a two-part series about narrative design aimed at traditional-media writers and IF authors. First things first: What is narrative design? The real answer is that the role of “narrative designer” is relatively new in the games industry and has something of a fluid or even vague meaning. Different teams will […]

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June 2018 – Table of Contents

June 5th, 2018 by

As an author and avid reader of prose fiction as well as the interactive kind, I often wonder what it is about the two media that makes them so engrossing. For me, at least, one of the key elements of interactive fiction is how it involves the reader in the tale it’s telling. The best […]

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