Category: Blog

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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“The Space Under the Window” and the Promise of Interactive Poetry

May 29th, 2018 by

Released in 1997, Andrew Plotkin’s “The Space Under the Window” (“Space”) was a groundbreaking, unclassifiable work of interactive fiction, the impact of which is still felt today. Many consider it a work of “poetic” IF, or poetry outright, but what does that mean? Is poetry a quality of language, interaction, or both? The work itself […]

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Bruno Dias

Making Interactive Fiction: Using Generative Prose

May 8th, 2018 by

Generative prose is the technique of dynamically generating text from smaller chunks of writing. This can look like the adaptive, variable prose functionality in Inform; like using Twinecery to add procedural text to a Twine story; or like Ink’s text-variation capabilities. Given a deep enough body of text to pull from, generative systems can spit […]

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May 2018 – Table of Contents

May 1st, 2018 by

Here at sub-Q, we’re no stranger to authors using technologies in novel ways. We’re also pretty good at trouble-shooting when things go wrong in a submission, or when one doesn’t play nice with a particular web browser. Still, with wearables, embedded RFIDs, and self-driving cars in the news these past few years, it’s sometimes hard for us […]

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Author Guest Post: Hannah Powell-Smith

April 24th, 2018 by

Hannah Powell-Smith‘s interactive work focuses on fraught relationships, unreliability, and unknowable entities. As well as publishing interactive short stories in sub-Q, and self-publishing at hannahps.itch.io, she is developing a dark fantasy game with Choice of Games about a mob necromancer. She lives in the UK with her wife and son. In this post, she talks […]

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Bruno Dias

Making Interactive Fiction: Going beyond “test your stuff.”

April 10th, 2018 by

The most-often given advice to new IF writers, and writers in general, is “get feedback.” Okay, so you’ve taken your story from a concept to a draft. You’re ready to show it to folks; maybe you’re even pretty proud of what you’ve put together. You take it to beta readers… and then they give you […]

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April 2018 – Table of Contents

April 3rd, 2018 by

Perhaps it’s just my upbringing in England and current residence in Oregon, but I’ve always associated Spring with rain. Another thing that’s associated with Spring in some folklore traditions are certain types of fairy. In pre-Roman Spain, for instance, the Cantabrian people believed that on the night of the Spring Equinox, small female fairies called […]

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Jac Colvin

Author Interview: Jac Colvin

March 27th, 2018 by

Jac Colvin is the author of our March game, “Lost Ones,” which will be published on March 15th. Jac enjoys writing interactive fiction in the fantasy genre, and currently has two gamebooks published by Hosted Games with hopefully a few more on the way. Abysm’s Veil is set in the same universe as Lost Ones […]

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Bruno Dias

Making Interactive Fiction: Branching Choices

March 13th, 2018 by

From Twine to visual novels to AAA RPGs, branching choices are the basic building block of many interactive narratives. This month, I wanted to zoom in and talk about writing choices themselves, about handling branching points. It’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing choice as a tool for player expression. That relates to […]

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