The First Day Retrospective

Reflection on The First Day and my experience writing it.

Last week I released The First Day, my first piece of fiction that I have shared publicly. It is also my first work of interactive fiction (a.k.a. choose your own adventure story). Both had me feeling excited and nervous. Since releasing it, I feel proud about The First Day and happy with how it turned out.

The First Day got its start after I finished NaNoWriMo 2016. My first post-NaNoWriMo project was a short film script titled Driftwood. It was a nice change of pace from writing a novel, and I enjoyed learning about how film scripts are structured. I fully intend to produce the short film in 2017. Once I finished the first draft of Driftwood, I started writing The First Day.

It originally started out as a short story about a woman and her dog escaping the outbreak of a virus in San Francisco. As I began writing it, the thought to adapt it into a piece of interactive fiction with Twine popped in my head. I downloaded Twine and got started.

I really enjoyed building the story with Twine. It’s friendly to get started with and surprisingly powerful. I feel like I have only scratched the surface of what can be done with it. I found that the visual interface made plotting out the story easier. I’d imagine that I’ll do another project with Twine in the future, but I’m not exactly sure what yet.

My initial plan for The First Day was to have the story be much longer—about 10x longer. However, as I wrote it, I realized that I wanted to keep the story short so that it could be read through in one sitting. As I wrote the scenes, they were all taking place during one day in the story, so I decided to keep the story contained to that day.

With the short stories and NaNoWriMo novel I wrote, they need to be revised and edited thoroughly before I can release them. For the Driftwood short film, I need to actually produce it. All three of those projects are at least six months away from being finished. I really wanted to complete a project and release it before the end of 2016. I’m glad I was able to accomplish that with The First Day.

Some stats:

  • The First Day contains 3,407 words and 50 passages.
  • I spent just over 10 hours writing it and 5 hours editing it.
  • I finished the story over the course of 3 weeks.

With each writing project I have worked on so far, the feeling that writing is what I want to be doing keeps getting stronger. Since finishing The First Day, I have started to explore telling a story set in an original fantasy universe. It seems like it could be as big as a series or just a short story. I’m not entirely sure yet. I’ll keep writing it and see where it goes.

Thank you very much to those who supported me and read The First Day. It means a lot to me.

Author: Brett Chalupa

day: software developer, night: comic artist & writer

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