Managing multiple story lines

Accendor

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For my current project I have multiple storylines which resolve parallel and each influence each other (so e.g. the player needs to finish story line A before he can continue storyline B where he finds information that he can use in storyline B and then continue storyline C again etc.)


This is of course very complex and a lot to track and care about. I am currently using Microsoft Visiual for it and it is working "ok", but not great.


So my question is: Did you ever do a project with multiple storylines at ones? Do you perhaps even have a better tool for managing them?
 

Andar

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yes, but it's not a free tool: articy:draft


Your best option if you're interested is probably to wait for a steam sale with it - once a year or so it is available with a discount of 50-60%. (which means it will cost about 40-50$ with that discount, base price is 99€ iirc


http://store.steampowered.com/app/230780/


A trial is available on their main website, which also offers it on a subscription base for a monthly fee.


http://www.nevigo.com/en/articydraft/overview/
 

wolfpak692

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@Andar thanks for that info... I will definitely look at it as I to need something to help with my story organization
 

Rog

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I have a solution that may help.  Collecting "Beta Readers" is a new trend. Well known authors have a collection of trusted proof-readers who share a document on Google Docs, or some other software where they can leave notes, ask questions, and point out plotholes. Collecting a bunch of them will definately help! I'd be glad to be the first to volunteer!


To build a solid story with lots of moving parts you need some strong founding principles in engaging and creating the story. The main rule that you need to keep in mind is an old theater rule called "The Gun on the Wall."


The rule is that if someone on stage shoots a gun in the third act, there needs to be a gun on the wall in the first act. If you put a gun on the wall in the first act, it has to be shot in the third act.


When writing one of these GRR Martin level plots just keep note that every time you make some kind of plot point, there HAS to be a delivery on the promise, otherwise your story fails.


Hope this helps!
 

Dr. Delibird

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I use one of 3 programs, Photoshop, Illustrator or Paint Tool Sai for keeping track of my multi-layered multi-directional story lines but that is because I am a graphic and flow chart nut :3. I don't really need to write down a lot to keep track really, just enough so that I know which specific document I need to refer to. It works for me but I am 99.3% sure there are better ways.


My current inspiration story-wise actually comes from a series known for lacking on the story side and that is call of duty (please don't bust out the torches and stuff just yet).


Black Ops II had 2 main story lines that where seperated from each other but still connected. I cry every time during the very end of the Panama mission and I think that is because the game does a good job of getting you invested enough into the mind-screwy aspect that war does to the human mind to the point where when you find out who it was you just killed, you want burst into tears but also punch the baddy characters right in the everything. 


Just like any writing technique, if it is done write people will love it, if it is done wrong then well prepare for a witch hunt where you are the witch :p  
 

Kes

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We have two separate questions here, which actually belong in different forums.  


What program to use?  -  That is best discussed in the forum Useful Development Tools.  In fact you may well find that the answers are already there as I'm fairly sure this has been asked a couple of times before.


Your second question simply asks if people have used multiple story lines in their own project.  To which the answer would be yes or no.  Could you clarify exactly what your mechanics discussion point is, so that Members can give answers which focus on that, because otherwise people have to guess and may guess wrong.


There are a number of threads both here and in General Discussion about choices, branching story lines etc., which may contain helpful information and ideas for you.
 

Rog

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You really don't need some expensive tool to manage a story. Pen and paper are just as good as anything else.
 

Andar

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@Rog not if the story becomes too large - if you have several dozen pages written full of hints, how do you check if everything has been correctly connected?


Just searching through several hundred pages of data written on paper will take up so much time that I gladly pay for a tool that allows me to automate and visualise everything.


That won't be needed for simple stories, but if you design an entire world and have more than a dozen stories in it, then pen and paper is not a good solution.
 

Rog

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GRR Martin is probably the most famous example of these Multiple Storyline type stories and he uses an MS DOS word processor to do his writing. You check to see that everything is connected by processing it through proof-reading. If you want to spend 100 dollars on a computer program for a solution that could be done with a free word doc then don't let me stop you but to say you NEED it I reject completely.
 

_Shadow_

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For my current project I have multiple storylines which resolve parallel and each influence each other (so e.g. the player needs to finish story line A before he can continue storyline B where he finds information that he can use in storyline B and then continue storyline C again etc.)


This is of course very complex and a lot to track and care about. I am currently using Microsoft Visiual for it and it is working "ok", but not great.


So my question is: Did you ever do a project with multiple storylines at ones? Do you perhaps even have a better tool for managing them?



I am actually on a project with my best friend. I do it in parallel with something else.


You know, multiple storylines, or many decisions that will determine different narratives, all of that end up being very complex.


I ended up using TWO tools to keep track.


First was Scrivener that is a novel writing software and I sum up everything I want for a character on the fly.


Scrivener is for my convenience here really. You can do that with any word proccesor. Libre Office Writer is a good one for free.


Second was a visualization of what is going on, according to decisions and storylines. I use Twine. http://twinery.org/


Twine does two things.

  • It combines parts of stories easily.
  • It can manipulate variables.

So using boolean and integers I can make the story go the way it should.


Using Libre Office Calc (or Ms Excel if you like) you can make tables with values that determine where the narrative goes.


That is my approach. It is complex, you must be focused and not stop the development to make it happen, I suggest you write down a main general skeleton, build the skeleton, then add (build) the narrative upon that skeleton so you will not lose track and no mistakes will happen. :) ;)
 

Kes

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As this thread has definitely become a discussion about which programs offer the best tools for the job...


I need to ask the OP if this is what you want, or is this derailing the topic?
 
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Accendor

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GRR Martin is probably the most famous example of these Multiple Storyline type stories and he uses an MS DOS word processor to do his writing. You check to see that everything is connected by processing it through proof-reading. If you want to spend 100 dollars on a computer program for a solution that could be done with a free word doc then don't let me stop you but to say you NEED it I reject completely.



Thats probably the reason he can't finish that damn book :D

Second was a visualization of what is going on, according to decisions and storylines. I use Twine. http://twinery.org/



Thanks for all the feedback in this thread. Most of the posts where very helpful, but first of all I am going to try out twinery. This is basically exactly what I did in Visio, but it looks waaaay better. I'll give it a try and if that does not work I'll go with articy:draft. I'll give more feedback after a few weeks in case other people are interested in the results.
 

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