My portfolio, which contains this document, my resume, and writing samples, can be found here.
I started writing as a hobby when I was very young, then progressed into forum roleplay when I was 13. Although I was dismal at first, some very supportive friends and staff helped me grow by leaps and bounds. At 16, I became a freelance ghostwriter on eBooks; however, being uncredited, underpaid, and often under hostile or unfair working conditions made it difficult to continue. When I lamented my situation to an artist friend of mine, she recommended I branch into visual novels.
Today, I mostly work in the VN / games industry. I’ve used a variety of pseudonyms throughout my career, but today I’m credited as Tristan “Cipher” Hallihan - a combination of my usual pseudonym and my real name. In the past I’ve gone by Cipher or CipherSeraph (no relation to certain fanfiction writers).
In addition, this may seem cliche or pretentious of me, but my philosophy isn’t just to improve a work; I like to help the writers working on it grow too, just like my friends and peers did for me! Quality is important to me, but I see writing and editing as a form of self-improvement too; if we stop growing as artists, our industry starts to stagnate.
Because of this belief, I give a balance of positive and negative feedback, the reasons behind my corrections (when asked), and examples that show how to improve / play to one’s strengths (when I can).
Overall, though, I’m not the foremost authority on anything! There are still times where I learn new things. I also understand that I’m not perfect on my end.
- Has been writing professionally since December of 2015.
- Credited as Tristan “Cipher” Hallihan.
- Has been credited as Cipher or CipherSeraph in the past.
- Aims to improve both the work and the writers making it, so always looks for extra things to do!
As far as content is concerned, I only have three limitations: I do not do vore (one character eating another in a sexual context), guro (erotic gore; I don’t mind gore, but sexualizing it is difficult), and scat.
For the most part, I feel that my own tastes shouldn’t have an effect on the kinds of things I can write - hence my general lack of limitations. Aside from general NSFW (sexual, 18+) content, I don’t have any problems with violence, gore, cursing, dark themes, or drug / alcohol use or abuse.
However, I will openly admit I’m not very experienced with Boys’ Love (Otome), Yaoi (boy-on-boy), or more “hardcore” sexual fetishes. I’m eager to learn, though!
- Turnaround time may vary, but aims to finish things within 14 days.
- Only three limitations: vore, scat, and guro.
- Some inexperience with certain topics.
- Outlining and discussion (if needed; I prefer having an outline to work from, however)
- Research on relevant topics (if needed)
- Script writing (in Ren'Py format).
- Free editing (to my own work only).
- Responding to or asking questions as needed.
- Checking the script for plot holes, tone, pacing, and consistency (Ren'Py format is preferred for efficiency but not required).
- Improving spelling, grammar, punctuation, word choice, and sentence structure.
- Trimming and rewriting dialogue to make it more natural.
- Giving feedback (positive and negative critique) on the script, with examples.
- Responding to or asking questions as needed.
Also, note: Ren’Py is rudimentary; it includes dialogue tags, text features (bolds, italics, underlines), basic labels / choices, and comments - but there may be errors in it.
Due to issues with various clients throughout my career, including one that “ghosted” me (and wasted a significant amount of my time in the process) and one that slandered me, I’ve started asking that my clients give me a small amount up-front.
Please note, however, that both the full amount and the up-front, partial amount are highly negotiable! The last thing I want is to isolate smaller developers when they may need the help!
Additionally, projects that are pro bono (free) or below my standard rate will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Freebies are non-commercial projects (free to the public) under 10k words ONLY - no exceptions; if you stand to make money or if it's a lot of work, I would like to be paid.
Finally, revenue share, royalties, and trades are not a substitute for normal compensation. As bonuses, they work well, though!
- Standard rate is 2 cents per word USD, rounded to the nearest $5.
- Pay is through Paypal only.
- Prefers partial up-front payment.
- However, all pay [rates and partial up-front pay] are highly negotiable.
- Free projects and projects less than the standard rate are acceptable, but will be treated case-by-case (freebies must be less than 10k words, released for free).
- Revenue share, royalties, and trades are not a substitute for normal pay.
Discord [preferred method for VNs & games]: Cipher#5605