Boneeaters: Resetting the project

Now is the time to turn my attention back to Boneeaters. I started this project as a fun exercise to explore how to write good stories. And, no sooner than I wrote up some stuff for Boneeaters, it (not me, the damn story itself) broke every rule I thought I knew and showed me that what I learned so far is perhaps not as much as I thought.

The work I did so far on Boneeaters has led me to another life-long goal project I’ve wanted to do: build an interactive web-based video adventure game. Inspired heavily by games such as Jade Empire and Mass Effect, I really like the concept of revealing a story at the reader’s direction and with choices that change the story itself.

And, further than that, it speaks to a fundamental belief of mine – that choices in life drive the future and any story *could* be completely different. I won’t dive into the philosophical rabbit hole to discuss “determinism” (I mean sure, I’ll peek in, just no diving!) – but I reject that theory of life. I do not think that everything that happens could only happen one way.

So how do I apply that to Boneeaters? I am going to reset the work I’ve done so far and explore it as the project to realize this dream. I am also going to grapple with how to tell a good story, or more accurately, multiple good stories that roll out based on reader input. Can I create an experience where the end makes sense and is totally satisfying and character-justified, but different based on choices?

For now I intend to blog it out as I work on it. Even though it could spoil the “fun” for new readers in the end, I see the process as a lengthy one and so why not show it as it goes. But not as any sort of authoritative exercise in writing or cookbook on how to do this, I’m going to be figuring it out as I go.

The first aspect I feel pretty comfortable about is to work on this project as something different than prior DarkBrain work and shoot for R-rated PG13-rated with no sexual content or nudity. If you read my prior blogs, you would know my current stance on this content but even more than that, I think I learned something else important from DarkBrain work: don’t fight every battle at once.

I don’t want to tackle censorship, the overwhelmingly negative reaction to comics with nudity, or anything related to that topic. I have already done that, hundreds of times over, it’s time for something new.

But I do think that “horror” is on the table. So I will approach this like a good sci-fi/horror movie.

Time to get cooking.

-Andrew Zar