1. marcusl
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    marcusl Member

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    Extra content

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by marcusl, Feb 21, 2010.

    I'm just brainstorming here, so please bear with me.

    I've just finished a video game named Mass Effect 2 (ME2). Like every other RPG, ME2 has a main plot that you play through. In addition, it's also got hours upon hours of extra content. You can explore planets that have nothing to do with the main story, but by doing so, you get to learn more about ME2's history, culture, etc. Time is a powerful device for making the audience care about the universe you've created. By providing all of those optional materials, ME2's developers definitely made me care.

    This made me wonder, could the same by achieved with novels? If only there was a way to provide some sort of optional content. But how? We could have a scene where two characters are just having a general chitchat. That won't work, though. We'll think it's not advancing the plot, and that the scene can be removed. Why can extra scenes be included in games, but not books? Well, we could have appendixes like in The Lord of the Rings. Many writers outline their stories, and when they outline, there are many things that don't make it into the final product. If only there was a way to share that content with readers, that would be neat.

    Please feel free to share your thoughts. Cheers.
     
  2. dropkicker
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    dropkicker Member

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    Wow, I have always thought about it and you simply took the words right out of my mouth. I too am curious as how someone would go about achieving this.
     
  3. Neoaptt
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    Neoaptt Banned

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    Firstly, if you have to create a second story line to make your readers care about the book. You should have put that as the main story line.

    But if you have a successful book and you want to expand on the world around it. You can create other books that expand on different areas of different places.

    Such as star wars. There are billions of books that expand on things from "Like as a storm trooper" to "The Jedi way".

    So in the end it is up to you to make the main story line big enough to catch all of these little elements and to make a good book about of it. Then you can expand in different books what the different aspects of the world that you have created are.
     
  4. Afterburner
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    Afterburner Active Member

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    Like Neoaptt said, you could write companion books for your novels. Or, I've always thought it was cool how collector's editions of games gave you art books or a figurine or something. I think this would be cool to do with books too, but instead of concept art, you could include like a small short story that has nothing to do with the plot of the main novel, or include those little random conversations between characters. It'd be cool to just give the reader something new and different.
     
  5. Neoaptt
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    Neoaptt Banned

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    That's exacly what tolken did. He had a book where there was hundreds of stories he never finished.
     
  6. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Companion Books sound like a great way. I mean if you have created a vast Universe like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, why not write more books and stories that take place within it? Whether its a new adventure for your characters or a whole new set.

    I just love the idea of creating a vast fantasy world and writing all sorts of different stories to go with it.
     
  7. Neoaptt
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    Neoaptt Banned

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    Most of the time companion books aren't that well heard of. But some of them are famous... I can't think of any write now...
     
  8. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    I've played so many games that completely suck you into the story, and I've always yearned to write in a way that has a similar effect. I haven't figured it out, though.

    Here's something interesting I read today.

    <link removed>

    At first, I was like WTF, no way, because I love video/online games that go very in depth into world-creation, story lines, and character development. I think what I crave is that "interactive" experience that video games have. If you can pull your audience in enough, you could achieve it. I realize that wasn't exactly your question, but it's my question, and it's pretty closely related!
     
  9. Neoaptt
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    Neoaptt Banned

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    It's not the interaction at all. Its the story itself. If you have ever played morowind you will know what I mean. You can create what ever you desire. Thus creates the catch. There is no main story line. Or at least, a good one. And you get sidetracked and easily lose focus. Then fall out of the game because it just wasn't interesting anymore.

    But when you play Fallout3. (same company) you find that the story is so good you just can't stop playing it. With every side quest it ties into the reality of the game. Such as the slave traders, its not essential to the main storyline but it adds to the depth of what the world has come to. Creating a good story like this is more essential then the interactive part of it.

    That's why you want to write a good story then write a script for a video game. And not just go right into the video game story. Since when you do that, you make shallow characters and shallow stories.

    But listen to me. I'm just a video game freak.
     
  10. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually, it is. Would you feel entertained watching someone else play through it, without having any say in how to progress? Game immersion is solidly centered of putting the audience in charge of the action. Just see what happens when video games are turned into movies. 99% of them suck bottom. Video games are a totally unique medium with its own premise for immersion and what feels like a great story in a game would rarely translate well to other media because you lose the power of choice in the process.

    Stories for video games consist primarily of world building because it's expected of the player to provide the plot points. If you prefer world building over linear dramatic writing, then perhaps you should consider joining a video game company instead of writing novels. It might be more fun for you.

    Alternatively, you could always create a website to go along with your novel. Your side-fluff doesn't have to be in book format just because Tolkien did it that way -- he was just a pre-web era guy. On a website, your readers could freely browse topics and dive into more detail where they feel like it, and hey -- suddenly you got something that feels almost similar to video game fluff.
     
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  11. Neoaptt
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    Neoaptt Banned

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    Have you ever played "Gabriel Night: The Beast Within". It is a point and click mystery game with barrly any interaction. I found it amazing because of the story and not the interaction. So i kept playing till the very end.

    What i'm saying is that some games would be better of spending more time on the story and less time on the actual interface.
     
  12. Afterburner
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    Afterburner Active Member

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    Yeah, that'd be cool. Let's say there is a company or organization or something in your book. You could always make a website for that company that ties into the novel, and perhaps even give extra little bits of information and backstory. I really think things like this are awesome and add to the fun of a book/game.
     
  13. b.faulkner89
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    b.faulkner89 Member

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    You could always just become one of the writers for Mass Effect 3.

    God I would love to be one of those writers.

    A little off topic, but no one has mentioned FINAL FANTASY. Geez...
    Never have I felt so apart of a story before.
     
  14. Afterburner
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    Afterburner Active Member

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    I think it'd be really cool to include something extra with a novel. Like say you write a spy novel, you could include something like a dossier or file on a character. I just think it'd be cool for the readers to feel like you are bringing your created world to life.
     
  15. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    I agree, websites are the way to go...

    You could either go for the obvious (have a set of articles hosted on your own website giving more insight into your fictional world) or the immersive (like the Primatech Paper website that accompanies the Heroes television show).

    I don't think you'd get a publisher interested in companion books or adding extensive Tolkien-like appendices until you were already successful... of course there are always the spaces for exceptions.
     
  16. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    A personal website would be great for this sort of thing. You could include all sorts of things that never had a chance of making it in the book.
     
  17. Endricte
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    Endricte Member

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    I don't see what would be wrong with short stories. Maybe with secondary characters. Maybe with whole new characters that live within the world you've created. It could also include your main characters in between specific events in the story. Or, even a historical event simply mentioned within the story.

    Such additions would seem to only fuel the imagination of anyone reading a story, and building upon the world you've created.

    Edit: I'm refering to appending them after the story, as secondary material.
     

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