Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

Questions, skill improvement, and respectful critique involving game writing.
Message
Author
greenace
Regular
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:34 pm
Contact:

Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

#1 Post by greenace » Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:16 am

Hey all. I'm an amateur writer who is new to the Visual Novel medium. I'm currently trying to write my own VN project for the first time and I have a question.

Should I go about writing a VN as I would a novel? Or should I write it like a screenplay? With choices of course!

How do you guys go about writing a VN?

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you! ^^

User avatar
SundownKid
Lemma-Class Veteran
Posts: 2299
Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:50 pm
Completed: Icebound, Selenon Rising Ep. 1-2
Projects: Selenon Rising Ep. 3-4
Organization: Fastermind Games
Deviantart: sundownkid
Location: NYC
Contact:

Re: Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

#2 Post by SundownKid » Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:37 am

It's not very much like either medium, it's more like the love child of a novel and a screenplay.

Like a screenplay, the dialog is separate, but it also has exposition like a novel.

soldoutactivist
Newbie
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Dec 11, 2011 3:07 pm

[deleted]

#3 Post by soldoutactivist » Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:59 am

[deleted]
Last edited by soldoutactivist on Sun Jun 14, 2020 7:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Parataxis
Regular
Posts: 119
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2015 5:11 pm
Projects: Shadow City, Scribbles!
Tumblr: asktheprismguard
Contact:

Re: Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

#4 Post by Parataxis » Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:54 am

Interestingly, I seem to have settled on a weird shorthand that is like half screenplay and half Ren'py code. It's not anything that I could like, have run straight out of the box, but it keeps me thinking about how I want things to appear on the screen. Here's the first scene with Nina (My Main Character) and her friend Charlotte.
BG: Foggy city, Music: Nerves Effect: Fog?

%Nina appears on Screen

N "Now… where are you?"

N “Come on, can’t you smell me…?”

‘*howl/growl*’

N “There we go, just a bit closer…”

% 3 Sins Appear on Screen

S “growl/Bark”

%Nina is surprised

N "Oh—uh, there are a lot of you aren’t there? "

“What should I do?”

Opt1: Shoot the Nearest Sin (shoot)
Opt2: Try to line up a better shot (lineup)
Opt3: Retreat (run)
(Opt4: Wait)

(Shoot)

N “Say Cheese!”

%Shooting sound

Ch "Hyahh!"

%Charlotte Enters with Attack sound effect

N "Charlotte?!"

%Yelp sound, 3 Sins Change to One

Ch “Hey Nina, Nice Party.”

% Other Sin backs up then whips off screen

Ch "Yeah, that's right! You better run!"

%Reorient Nina facing Charlotte

Ch "Tsk. Nina, Nina—1 for three? With aim that bad, it's a good thing I'm around to bail you out."

N "Ha-ha. Pretty cheeky for the person who blocked my shot."

N "..."
extend "Seriously, I was this close to zapping your ass."

Ch "But you didn't, see? Reflexes! You should trust your training, young grasshopper. You make your Sensei proud."

N "Now I'm considering shooting you on principle."

Ch "Come on, where's your team spirit?"

N "I thought you had it.”

Ch “Pft.”

N “Just warn me next time, okay?"

Ch "How 'bout I shout 'Timber' real loud?"

N “Haha, or ‘Fore!’”

->Continue
As you can see the dialog is all in the format for Ren'py, but I indicate blocking and choices in a way that isn't code ready. However they're notated as comments to just give a clear idea of what I want to program there. (I am right now in a part of my game with little to no narration, but later on I will adopt the RenPy notation of quotes with no character designator.)

So I guess my advice is to find what works for you and stick too it, but know that you will have a better time if you write with the final presentation in mind.

User avatar
YonYonYon
Veteran
Posts: 371
Joined: Sun Jul 11, 2010 9:25 am
Projects: Nightflower(Frozen), Reach the Starlight(WIP)
Contact:

Re: Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

#5 Post by YonYonYon » Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:11 pm

Mine is a love child of screenplay and novel, I guess.
Luna: Okay. Alright. Now I’d like to get my XW50 engine and go back to my car, please.

Yuran: Wait, wait! Might this be sudden, I know. But take me with you.

Luna: And invite some weird ass mafia people too? No thanks!

Yuran: They won’t pester us anymore!

[If lie success] Yuran: Besides, they won’t know who you are until the race you will finish. Then too late it will be.

[If tell the truth] Yuran: Though foolish it was to tell them who you are
Narration looks like this:
Melburn: Yes. I’m able to finish this in time. Don’t worry.

[If trusting] That wasn’t what I asked at all! His actions, his voice, his attitude - everything unnerved me even more than usual.

The room suddenly became colder as uneasiness crept into my soul, the echoes of the past still whispering in my mind. I folded my arms to prevent them from shaking.

Luna: I'm… I'm really sorry. I went overboard and screamed a lot.
ImageImage

User avatar
RotGtIE
Veteran
Posts: 321
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 11:33 am
Contact:

Re: Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

#6 Post by RotGtIE » Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:35 pm

Both. Wrote it in novel form first, and am in the process of getting the script edited and converting it into screenplay directions for the project's programmer. I would recommend this process and will certainly be doing it that way with my next project.

Nelico
Newbie
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2016 10:53 am
Contact:

Re: Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

#7 Post by Nelico » Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:56 pm

I'd probably start in novel form, then put in some screenplay and then... let the programmer do his job while I stand behind him and be like 'Ha ha ha' ...or better not :lol:
But I'd probably make distinctions between dialoges, narration and the parts where the programming stuff happens.
Not that I have any experience other than playing Visual Novels :)

DCH
Newbie
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2015 4:55 pm
Contact:

Re: Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

#8 Post by DCH » Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:13 pm

I think they are best written similarly to a screenplay with notes indicating asset usage (BGs/CG/Sprite) and any other notes concerning what should appear on the screen. Prose description is often a lot of wasted output unless you are writing in NVL format. I think writing it like a novel just adds more work for less value. I think you should get Ren'Py and write out a short story in it first so you can see how it works-- if you learn to write with that program it will sort of help you stay organized for future projects. Just write something very short like a single scene so you can see what it looks like.

Cakey
Regular
Posts: 75
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:39 pm
Deviantart: Ilsaaaaa
Contact:

Re: Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

#9 Post by Cakey » Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:17 pm

Because I hate how screenplay looks and it is pain in the ... to edit it so it is nice to read, I am writing it as novel. Since it is my first VN I don't really know if it is the best way to do so but i am trying. Plus I always try to make as much dialogs as I can, avoid silence, long descriptions and other stuf that you don't want to put in your VN.


PS: It sometimes looks like just random notes about world so I can connect it very well with visual part. We will see how it works when I end my project :D

greenace
Regular
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:34 pm
Contact:

Re: Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

#10 Post by greenace » Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:57 am

Parataxis wrote:Interestingly, I seem to have settled on a weird shorthand that is like half screenplay and half Ren'py code. It's not anything that I could like, have run straight out of the box, but it keeps me thinking about how I want things to appear on the screen. Here's the first scene with Nina (My Main Character) and her friend Charlotte.
BG: Foggy city, Music: Nerves Effect: Fog?

%Nina appears on Screen

N "Now… where are you?"

N “Come on, can’t you smell me…?”

‘*howl/growl*’

N “There we go, just a bit closer…”

% 3 Sins Appear on Screen

S “growl/Bark”

%Nina is surprised

N "Oh—uh, there are a lot of you aren’t there? "

“What should I do?”

Opt1: Shoot the Nearest Sin (shoot)
Opt2: Try to line up a better shot (lineup)
Opt3: Retreat (run)
(Opt4: Wait)

(Shoot)

N “Say Cheese!”

%Shooting sound

Ch "Hyahh!"

%Charlotte Enters with Attack sound effect

N "Charlotte?!"

%Yelp sound, 3 Sins Change to One

Ch “Hey Nina, Nice Party.”

% Other Sin backs up then whips off screen

Ch "Yeah, that's right! You better run!"

%Reorient Nina facing Charlotte

Ch "Tsk. Nina, Nina—1 for three? With aim that bad, it's a good thing I'm around to bail you out."

N "Ha-ha. Pretty cheeky for the person who blocked my shot."

N "..."
extend "Seriously, I was this close to zapping your ass."

Ch "But you didn't, see? Reflexes! You should trust your training, young grasshopper. You make your Sensei proud."

N "Now I'm considering shooting you on principle."

Ch "Come on, where's your team spirit?"

N "I thought you had it.”

Ch “Pft.”

N “Just warn me next time, okay?"

Ch "How 'bout I shout 'Timber' real loud?"

N “Haha, or ‘Fore!’”

->Continue
As you can see the dialog is all in the format for Ren'py, but I indicate blocking and choices in a way that isn't code ready. However they're notated as comments to just give a clear idea of what I want to program there. (I am right now in a part of my game with little to no narration, but later on I will adopt the RenPy notation of quotes with no character designator.)

So I guess my advice is to find what works for you and stick too it, but know that you will have a better time if you write with the final presentation in mind.
I like the sound of this method a lot. I'll have to try it and see if it works for me.
Thanks for the advice!~ ^w^

greenace
Regular
Posts: 25
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 12:34 pm
Contact:

Re: Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

#11 Post by greenace » Thu Jan 14, 2016 1:59 am

Thanks to everyone who responded!
You all seem to have your own unique ways of getting the job done. That just goes to show that there is no "right" way to writing anything haha.
I shall have to try some of the methods you guys suggested and see if they work for me. :3

Thanks a bunch and good luck with your projects!~ ^w^

User avatar
OokamiKasumi
Eileen-Class Veteran
Posts: 1778
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2010 3:53 am
Completed: 14 games released -- and Counting.
Organization: DarkErotica Games
Deviantart: OokamiKasumi
Location: NC, USA
Contact:

Re: Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

#12 Post by OokamiKasumi » Thu Jan 14, 2016 9:06 pm

greenace wrote:Should I go about writing a VN as I would a novel? Or should I write it like a screenplay? With choices of course!
I'm a published novelist, and I write my Visual Novels with a free Mind-Mapping program; FreePlane. Play writing, screenwriting, or ordinary fiction writing simply cannot accommodate flags, point systems, menu options, or multiple endings as easily and comprehensively as mind-mapping.
Little Red Goes to Grannys.jpg
This is an example of a simple game.

With a simple mind-map program you can virtually test-run your game before you even open Renpy, or commit both time and money toward art and character assets.
Ookami Kasumi ~ Purveyor of fine Smut.
Most recent Games Completed: For ALL my completed games visit: DarkErotica Games

"No amount of great animation will save a bad story." -- John Lasseter of Pixar

User avatar
sjgriffiths
Regular
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Aug 31, 2013 9:48 am
Projects: Acquittal: Induction
Organization: Procella Games
Github: sjgriffiths
itch: procellagames
Location: Coventry, UK
Contact:

Re: Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

#13 Post by sjgriffiths » Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:10 pm

I'd say it heavily depends on the style of VN. For extremely nonlinear plots, it becomes more and more effective to employ diagrammatic methods and thus various software solutions, but for linear storylines - or, at least, linear subsections of a branching plot - my writing is generally that of a screenplay. Also, whilst I do use scriptwriting software when I'm writing play manuscripts, for VNs I'm much more likely to simply use Word just to define my own custom formatting for the needs of the project at hand. That's totally opinion-based, obviously, and I guess others might prefer the rigidity of scriptwriting solutions in these situations.

User avatar
Lodratio
Regular
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2016 7:22 pm
Projects: S P H I N X
Contact:

Re: Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

#14 Post by Lodratio » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:03 pm

DCH wrote:IProse description is often a lot of wasted output unless you are writing in NVL format.
Yeah, the standard dialogue text box makes readers expect a play-like structure, and there's a good reason for that. The fact that each bit of text disappears when you progress creates a sense of immediacy, and it makes a dialogue feel like it's taking place in front of your eyes, rather than it being something recorded that you're reading about after the fact. It really doesn't have enough room to allow a writer to create a rhythm in their prose though. Formatting is actually pretty important for that kind of text. A NVL format is much better suited for introspection and narration, but it lacks some of that immediacy. I really like VNs that try to be a hybrid between a play and a novel, and I think the medium is at its strongest there.

User avatar
xelestial
Regular
Posts: 41
Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:59 am
Completed: Mystic Destinies: Serendipity of Aeons, To the Edge of the Sky
Projects: Mystic Destinies: Echoes
Organization: Aeon Dream Studios
Location: United States
Contact:

Re: Do you write a VN like a novel or a screenplay?

#15 Post by xelestial » Thu Mar 03, 2016 11:38 am

We write ours like a screenplay. We've come up with our own ways to indicate things, but largely we use parentheticals for expressions and any other directions. Multiple choice selections are written in a consistent format using "text" formatting.
Image
Mystic Destinies: Serendipity of Aeons, an urban fantasy otome visual novel.
Website| Twitter| Facebook| Patreon

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users