Checkmate [BL] [Sci-Fi] [Psychological Thriller]

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Sir Katherine
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Checkmate [BL] [Sci-Fi] [Psychological Thriller]

#1 Post by Sir Katherine » Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:07 am

Hi, all. I'm new to this community, so if I do anything wrong in this post, please tell me.
I've been reading visual novels for a while, and I recently decided to create my own. (Ahem, when I say create, I mean write and program. I can barely draw a stick figure.) It just now dawned on me that I'm not sure there's much of an audience for the kind of VN I'm making. So I decided to ask you guys if it sounds interesting. Or, if yaoi/BL/BxB (uh huh--it's that sort of game) isn't your cup of tea, could you imagine people being interested in it?

Summary of Game Type:
Checkmate will be a long VN. Please don't say I'm being too ambitious for my first try. I know it's a lot of work, but I'm pretty dedicated. I finish what I start.
Its genre is sort of hard to pin down. There's some sci-fi, though nothing hardcore. There's lots of romance, but not in an otome way. There's drama, but again, no otome. And there's some dark stuff going on, so...horror/psychological thriller?
It will also be an 18+ VN. BL-style. But nothing too...um...weird. Think the good endings of Dramatical Murder (not including Mink).

Summary of Progress:
I've got the basic story idea and the main characters down, and I'm about three thousand words into the common route.

Setting:
Checkmate is set in the next millennium of America. It is not a happy place. It is not a good place. In fact, it's pretty much a dystopia. The rich thrive until they are assassinated or drink themselves to death, while the poor "street rats" sleep in the alleyways and the sewers. Our protagonist, Sean, one of said street rats, wakes up one day in an arena, surrounded by fifteen other boys and girls. An announcer tells them all that they are the lucky participants in a not-so-new game for the upper-class: chess. Human chess. Each of them has a "piece" to play, be it pawn or knight or king. In Sean's case, it's king. Which seems all well and good until the announcer says that the goal of the game is to kill the king of the opposing team. As the survival game progresses, Sean begins to realize that the game masters' selection of players may not be as random as it initially seemed.

Characters:
Sean: The protagonist! Sean is a bit, shall we say, "morally gray." He's lived his whole life on the streets, which doesn't make for a particularly wholesome environment. He's an orphan, but he has a vague memory of two people crooning his name. His main focus is survival, and his only goal is to get out of the horrible place in which he grew up. To that end, he will do almost anything.

Devin: Devin is Sean's best and only friend. They've been together (but not together-together) for eight years. Devin is generally cheerful, but hiding behind that smiling exterior is a will as solid as Sean's. He will kill, he has killed, for his and Sean's survival. But will that change when he finds himself on the team opposing Sean's?

Milo: Milo may be a pawn in Sean's army (literally), but he doesn't plan on just bowing down and following orders. And he's got the intelligence to back up the spunk. What's more, he seems to have played the real game of chess, even though he's only a street rat. He's shrewd and cunning and perhaps a bit too willing to make sacrifices.

Griffith: Griffith, Sean's "queen," looks to be about the only decent human being in the whole world. He has strong morals and is loyal. He's also shy and socially awkward. But if he's truly as pure as he seems, how did he end up in this group of killers?

Robyn: Robyn is the opposing team's king. I shall say no more at this moment.

So that's pretty much it for now. I'd love to know if it sounds at all interesting to anyone.

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Re: Checkmate [BL] [Sci-Fi] [Psychological Thriller]

#2 Post by Mad Harlequin » Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:57 am

I would play/read this. The idea of a literal, live-or-die chess game is hardly new, but I'm sure you'll put your own spin on the concept. Will we find out how American government dissolved? (Obviously a human chess game would be highly illegal.)

How is each player's role "on the board" determined? Which piece is Devin, for that matter? Is he a knight? That's my best guess---he's Sean's best friend.

More than anything, I'm quite interested in seeing how the characters interact. I'm probably most focused on Griffith at the moment . . . how would someone so comparatively noble end up in this group? I'm betting he has lots of secrets, which is great.
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Re: Checkmate [BL] [Sci-Fi] [Psychological Thriller]

#3 Post by blankd » Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:00 am

It sounds like it has the potential to be interesting but it's still very early. Disclaimer: I can be picky/a nit-picker

The stuff that comes to my mind:
-What is the purpose of the chesspiece ranking system, if there is no real distinction you may only need King/Queen and Pawns. If there is a distinction you may want to include it in the character bios.

-For the most part I'm more interested in the game instead of the characters when it comes to these battle royales since much like zombie apocalypse stories there are only so many stones left unturned (the recent popularity of the Hunger Games doesn't help either).

This isn't to say your story will be bad by any means but IMO I'm more interested in the game setup than the players (that could be a personal bias).

-How will your romance play out? Since this is indicated to be a large team death-game instead of a 2-man team the romance seems like it may play out a little odd. Or are you planning on making a King-Knight setup? There is nothing wrong with it but the Chess motif may end up underused- but again that's just me probably being picky.

Keep at it and hope to hear more about it!

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Re: Checkmate [BL] [Sci-Fi] [Psychological Thriller]

#4 Post by Sir Katherine » Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:42 am

Thanks for the replies, you guys! That was way quicker than I thought it would be.
Mad Harlequin wrote:I would play/read this. The idea of a literal, live-or-die chess game is hardly new, but I'm sure you'll put your own spin on the concept. Will we find out how American government dissolved? (Obviously a human chess game would be highly illegal.)

How is each player's role "on the board" determined? Which piece is Devin, for that matter? Is he a knight? That's my best guess---he's Sean's best friend.

More than anything, I'm quite interested in seeing how the characters interact. I'm probably most focused on Griffith at the moment . . . how would someone so comparatively noble end up in this group? I'm betting he has lots of secrets, which is great.
Yeah, the chess setup is mainly that--a setup. It's going to be important, obviously, but the interaction between the characters is my main focus. I know the concept is a bit overused, but I do plan on putting a spin on it.

I honestly haven't thought about how the world ended up this way, besides the general "conflict-->war-->desolation of society-->re-birthed nation that is bad." I was focusing mostly on the characters. But I probably should come up with a reason why the world is how it is, shouldn't I?

The players' roles "on the board" are supposedly randomly assigned to the players. Emphasis on the supposedly. Devin is actually on the other team. That is, the team trying to kill Sean. And I don't think I'll say what his piece is now, because I don't want to spoil anything.

And yeah. Griffith might possibly maybe perchance have, like, one or two secrets. But no more. Honest.
blankd wrote:It sounds like it has the potential to be interesting but it's still very early. Disclaimer: I can be picky/a nit-picker

The stuff that comes to my mind:
-What is the purpose of the chesspiece ranking system, if there is no real distinction you may only need King/Queen and Pawns. If there is a distinction you may want to include it in the character bios.

-For the most part I'm more interested in the game instead of the characters when it comes to these battle royales since much like zombie apocalypse stories there are only so many stones left unturned (the recent popularity of the Hunger Games doesn't help either).

This isn't to say your story will be bad by any means but IMO I'm more interested in the game setup than the players (that could be a personal bias).

-How will your romance play out? Since this is indicated to be a large team death-game instead of a 2-man team the romance seems like it may play out a little odd. Or are you planning on making a King-Knight setup? There is nothing wrong with it but the Chess motif may end up underused- but again that's just me probably being picky.

Keep at it and hope to hear more about it!
The ranking system does indeed have a purpose. Each piece besides the pawns has been injected (or something of that nature) with a serum that, so long as they stay in the arena, gives them a power unique to their piece. That's where the sci-fi element comes in. I'll give an example: bishops can heal their teammates.

Hmm, as I said, I'm more interested in the characters. The game is mostly just a setting to me. Which isn't to say it doesn't play a role. It's just not my main focus. I'm hoping that the characters of the game will be "the stone left unturned," the thing that makes the game unique. I hope you'll still consider playing when I finish.

As for the romance, there will come a time when Sean is separated from the group with one of the romance options, based on the choices made in-game.

Again, thanks for your replies, guys. You're awesome.

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Re: Checkmate [BL] [Sci-Fi] [Psychological Thriller]

#5 Post by blankd » Mon Apr 28, 2014 2:13 am

Sir Katherine wrote:The ranking system does indeed have a purpose. Each piece besides the pawns has been injected (or something of that nature) with a serum that, so long as they stay in the arena, gives them a power unique to their piece. That's where the sci-fi element comes in. I'll give an example: bishops can heal their teammates.

Hmm, as I said, I'm more interested in the characters. The game is mostly just a setting to me. Which isn't to say it doesn't play a role. It's just not my main focus. I'm hoping that the characters of the game will be "the stone left unturned," the thing that makes the game unique. I hope you'll still consider playing when I finish.

As for the romance, there will come a time when Sean is separated from the group with one of the romance options, based on the choices made in-game.
Sounds more like magic at that point but if your focus is on characters that is fine.

What I mean regarding the characters is that at this time they seem like a fairly stock roster, since it's a dystopia a "morally grey" hero (sometimes an antihero) is almost always the default. And the cast built around them are usually more philosophical representatives than characters (eg: Kill or be killed, power corrupts, the ends justify the means, etc.).

Again, this is NOT bad, but it is common.

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Re: Checkmate [BL] [Sci-Fi] [Psychological Thriller]

#6 Post by Mad Harlequin » Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:09 am

Sir Katherine wrote:I honestly haven't thought about how the world ended up this way, besides the general "conflict-->war-->desolation of society-->re-birthed nation that is bad." I was focusing mostly on the characters. But I probably should come up with a reason why the world is how it is, shouldn't I?
Yeah, you ought to, even if it's only addressed in passing.
Devin is actually on the other team. That is, the team trying to kill Sean. And I don't think I'll say what his piece is now, because I don't want to spoil anything.
Oh, fffffffffffffff. Of course he's on the other team! This always happens when I post in a half-awake state. I say something stupidly obvious and make an ass of myself. :lol:
And yeah. Griffith might possibly maybe perchance have, like, one or two secrets. But no more. Honest.
I'm going to say you're lying. Heheh. I fully expect someone like Griffith, who seems like a saint in a rotten world, to have some hidden motivations and past (mis?)deeds.
The ranking system does indeed have a purpose. Each piece besides the pawns has been injected (or something of that nature) with a serum that, so long as they stay in the arena, gives them a power unique to their piece. That's where the sci-fi element comes in. I'll give an example: bishops can heal their teammates.
Cool! Would the serum also act as a tracking device of sorts since each piece's power only works within the arena? If so, is Milo planning to exploit this? Please say yes.

Oh, one more thing . . . since this is BL, I'm going to go ahead and assume that Robyn is male (or identifies as male). But the spelling "Robyn" is something I've only ever seen on females, my cousin included. Is there perhaps a character-specific reason for this? I'm suddenly imagining Robyn as someone who struggles with his gender identity and wants to be considered female, so his name has become Robyn. I'm probably thinking of things that have no bearing on the actual character, but my imagination is having fun!
I'm an aspiring writer and voice talent with a passion for literature and an unhealthy attachment to video games. I am also a seasoned typo-sniper. Inquiries are encouraged. Friendly chats are welcome.
"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."
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Re: Checkmate [BL] [Sci-Fi] [Psychological Thriller]

#7 Post by Sir Katherine » Mon Apr 28, 2014 1:30 pm

blankd wrote:Sounds more like magic at that point but if your focus is on characters that is fine.

What I mean regarding the characters is that at this time they seem like a fairly stock roster, since it's a dystopia a "morally grey" hero (sometimes an antihero) is almost always the default. And the cast built around them are usually more philosophical representatives than characters (eg: Kill or be killed, power corrupts, the ends justify the means, etc.).

Again, this is NOT bad, but it is common.
I'm thinking of ways to make it seem less like magic. I'm not a very scientific person, and fantasy is actually my main genre, but I am thinking.

All right. I haven't read many dystopian visual novels besides Togainu no Chi. I don't know if you've read that one, but if so, is Akira what you mean by a "morally grey" hero? Because Sean is a much darker shade of grey than Akira. As in, he's fine with selling his body to make a few bucks and with killing people. But if that is what you mean by "morally grey," could you give me a few pointers on how to make my cast less stock-like? I don't know if that's asking too much; feel free to ignore that request.
Mad Harlequin wrote: Yeah, you ought to, even if it's only addressed in passing.

Oh, fffffffffffffff. Of course he's on the other team! This always happens when I post in a half-awake state. I say something stupidly obvious and make an ass of myself. :lol:

I'm going to say you're lying. Heheh. I fully expect someone like Griffith, who seems like a saint in a rotten world, to have some hidden motivations and past (mis?)deeds.

Cool! Would the serum also act as a tracking device of sorts since each piece's power only works within the arena? If so, is Milo planning to exploit this? Please say yes.

Oh, one more thing . . . since this is BL, I'm going to go ahead and assume that Robyn is male (or identifies as male). But the spelling "Robyn" is something I've only ever seen on females, my cousin included. Is there perhaps a character-specific reason for this? I'm suddenly imagining Robyn as someone who struggles with his gender identity and wants to be considered female, so his name has become Robyn. I'm probably thinking of things that have no bearing on the actual character, but my imagination is having fun!
Yeah. I usually build my worlds really carefully, but that's because I write fantasy most of the time. On this one, I thought, since it wasn't fantasy, I didn't have to. But you're right; I really should know.

Ha ha! I know that feeling.

What? Me? Lying? Nooooooooooo.

I never thought about Milo exploiting that, but I really like the idea. Mind if I steal it?

Oh man, I'd love to see Robyn's reaction to your theory of him struggling with his gender identity. No, I just spelled it Robyn because I like that spelling better. But, based on what you said, I think I'll change it to "Robin" because he was named by his very (very) masculine father, who would not want anyone to mistake him for a girl.

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Re: Checkmate [BL] [Sci-Fi] [Psychological Thriller]

#8 Post by Mad Harlequin » Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:53 pm

Sir Katherine wrote:Yeah. I usually build my worlds really carefully, but that's because I write fantasy most of the time. On this one, I thought, since it wasn't fantasy, I didn't have to. But you're right; I really should know.
World building is important no matter what the genre. There are some questions you may want to leave unanswered for the time being, but that's up to you.
What? Me? Lying? Nooooooooooo.
Liar. Haha.
I never thought about Milo exploiting that, but I really like the idea. Mind if I steal it?
Go ahead. Though I won't consider it stealing, since I give you full permission to use this particular product of my brain. :)

I assumed he might do something like that because he's a pawn, but has a lot of brains and seems to have fewer scruples than the rest of the cast thus far.
Oh man, I'd love to see Robyn's reaction to your theory of him struggling with his gender identity. No, I just spelled it Robyn because I like that spelling better. But, based on what you said, I think I'll change it to "Robin" because he was named by his very (very) masculine father, who would not want anyone to mistake him for a girl.
Oops! Sorry, Robyn Robin. But yeah, that makes sense. I'm glad I was able to be of service.
I'm an aspiring writer and voice talent with a passion for literature and an unhealthy attachment to video games. I am also a seasoned typo-sniper. Inquiries are encouraged. Friendly chats are welcome.
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Re: Checkmate [BL] [Sci-Fi] [Psychological Thriller]

#9 Post by Sir Katherine » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:37 pm

Mad Harlequin wrote:World building is important no matter what the genre. There are some questions you may want to leave unanswered for the time being, but that's up to you.

Liar. Haha.

Go ahead. Though I won't consider it stealing, since I give you full permission to use this particular product of my brain. :)

I assumed he might do something like that because he's a pawn, but has a lot of brains and seems to have fewer scruples than the rest of the cast thus far.

Oops! Sorry, Robyn Robin. But yeah, that makes sense. I'm glad I was able to be of service.
Thank you so much for telling me to figure out the origins of the world. I did, and it changed the plot completely. I am currently rewriting almost the entire summary, and I think it's going to be much better. And I've also figured out an awesome way for Milo to use the tracking device.

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Re: Checkmate [BL] [Sci-Fi] [Psychological Thriller]

#10 Post by Mad Harlequin » Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:42 pm

Oh, don't worry about it! I just asked the same kind of question your readers/players will ask. :)

Best wishes!
I'm an aspiring writer and voice talent with a passion for literature and an unhealthy attachment to video games. I am also a seasoned typo-sniper. Inquiries are encouraged. Friendly chats are welcome.
"Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other."
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