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(Of course, it may be a bit different if I end up creating a VN with choices and branches, but that's for the far-off future)
There are benefits and drawbacks to both methods, so I'd recommend experimenting with both and see what fits your style the best.
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I've tried converting my prose to Ren'Py before, but I didn't really care for the result. Even using NVL mode or a hybrid NVL narrative/ADV dialogue style, I didn't enjoy the exercise at all - I'm the type to obsess over every little detail that gets lost in transition. I've come to the conclusion that with my own writing, whatever format I create something in will almost certainly be the best format to present it in, so now I avoid writing in a "mode" I don't plan to use for the final product.
Conceptually, I definitely think of it more like a screenplay, so if pressed I would be very likely to treat it like a script (not quite a screenplay, but a bit more reader-friendly). Being as it's basically entirely dialogue, with actions implied rather than written out, I guess that's nearly a Shakespearean approach :p
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i also don't plan out my routes in advance/sketch them at all, though that may be because i tend to write much less interactivity than the norm
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For screenplay writing, there is a "Save the Cat" book for screenplays. I recommend it if you need help with plot or structure for writing in that story format.
I do enjoy playing VNs though that have a novel base as well.
If you choose to write prose (novel style), I recommend to write more like a short story versus novel. TOO much description is not good for the VN format. If the player has to make 10 clicks before someone says something, gameplay slows down.
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The text is usually a lot like screenplay since narration and dialogue naturally end up becoming this (with the only difference being that the final audience can SEE the narration instead of it being displayed/played out). Code is of course...kinda logical, but I also invest a lot of time working with # notes whenever I am still missing assets (especially sounds) and during my first write through I regulary have a lot more scripts than in the end when I overwork it and tone it down.
And finally, I enjoy to work with the principle of "Twine" (either in twine itself or with a mindmap) when planning out branching paths. I am a total BITCH for elaborate branching paths, no matter if they lead back to a main story or result in a million different endings. While Mindmaps visualize it well, Twine allows me to test-play it (roughly, I am not making myself the work to make the whole game in twine first).
What I can't relate to is a actual novel. The stories often have a lot in common with novels in that they rarely involve big movements and such (which is what makes theater interesting) and instead are more about dialogue and elaborated narration. But while I have played VNs and feeling like they are a novel, MAKING one feels a lot more like screenplay.
But that is a thing regarding games in general, I once wrote a whole essay about the whole topic of wether games resemble movies or theater more and theater ALWAYS wins in the end, even with very cinematic games. Games just have a lot in common with it, no matter if in written or animated form.
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So I first had the story written in the form of a novel, then I divided it into shorter chapters and turned it into dialogues. So maybe I'm writing it in the form of a screenplay but I guess it's useful for me to have the novel as well. I won't write in the form of a novel because I find that it wouldn't fit the story well but theoretically it's possible to do it as well. Personally I feel more confident in writing dialogues and also I was inspired by works that go by this style.
Both are valid, I think it depends on the writer to decide which best suits the vn. I can't think of Sweet Pool in first person dialogues to say one.
I don't think there is a good way to write for a VN, everyone is going to have their own specific preference when it comes down to it. To me personally, writing it as a script, which is ultimately what my project will display the story as, I find is the most fitting way to write it; it allows me to visualise what the reader will be seeing and reading, giving me the opportunity to create what I want people to see then and there. I would imagine translating novel to visual novel means cutting a lot of detail and changing others as you no longer need many of what you've wrote due to the visual (and auditory) additions.
If anybody is going the screenplay route, I'd actually recommend Amazon's storywriter (which is free to use), I only messed with it myself, and found I'd prefer to stick to my current set-up, but it's quite nifty and automated. I use Google Docs to write at the moment.
Here's snippets of how I write mine (it's an old version, I'm not looking for feedback in regards to writing):
I use the bright red scene titles for including background information too, such as the image and sound. If either of them change for more than a couple of lines, I write it as a new scene, otherwise I write the change underneath the said dialogue, still in red, but smaller. The italics indicate a new dialogue that is descriptive of what's happening rather than characters speaking, and the bold indicates a new dialogue that is an action.
Whatever way you choose to write your story out though, you should remember to flesh your character(s) out, for you personally, so you're able to write for them fluidly. I've written some really short novels for my character in different situations so I'm able to get a feel for them.
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