All-Purpose Writing Thread!


Thanks for the kind words!


And some more good news… My story Houseproud is one of the winners of the “Intelligence in Fiction” contest of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. Under the terms of the contest I’ll be putting it up on my website for free access.


Cool! Nice job.


I’m trying out a new genre that is pretty hot right now. I have no issues writing to market, but this is the kind of book I have always wanted to write, and I didn’t even know it. Sales are really heating up for LitRPGs.

So what is it? My book asks a simple question: What happens when a couple of numbskulls end up transported into a real life MMORPG? They’ll need to gain XP and level up to survive, and every minute is going to hurt.


Happily judging your book by its cover, this looks great.


Sounds like fun, @Crusis! Hope it’s not pay to win :)

By the way, for you folks with both writing and game industry experience (really only one is necessary, but they prefer both). Choice of Games is still looking for game writers. They pay pretty well – $10K+ for a game. However, from all I hear it’s a lot of work. I haven’t queried them myself, but some other people I know either have written games or are in the process.


So I submitted a Novella to Kindle Singles January this year and never heard back from them. I decided to send a follow up email four or so months later to ask the status of the submission, and have received no reply for that email either.

I have looked online and can’t find any similar experiences at all. The consensus seems to be that while they reject very frequently they will definitely get back to you and most of the time in a timely manner. I guess my submission was so hated that they made an exception for me haha!


Thanks! I found the artist on Kboards and he did it for (IIRC) $500. I think it was a steal because he also provided the source file for photoshop. The cover was actually completed back in May. The book will be out in a few weeks, provided my beta readers don’t find any serious errors.


I can’t help but add humor to my books and I’ve taken a few fun stabs at MMOs. But this - oh man… I need to figure out how to work a joke in related to “day to win.”


I like the red and blue orbs at the bottom. Nice touch.

So is LitRPG stories about players getting sucked into games?


Just found out I’m going to be listed as co-author on an academic paper our company is presenting in November. The other two authors are the company founder (PhD, Stanford) and one of our machine learning experts (PhD, Oxford).

So yeah, now I know how Ringo felt all those years. :D


Ha, grats.


Exactly. The two characters are stuck in an MMO (think WoW) for real and have to level up, distribute skill points, and gain XP through the entire book.


These novels are actually crossover horror novels if the MMO is based on Diablo 2 design principles.

“Rob added his five Skill Points to the Flame Dart spell at the bottom of the Fire Elemental Attacks tree. Rob didn’t know it yet, but he had just decided his fate, because that choice was highly sub-optimal for late-game raid immunities and would leave him two Skill Points short for Flame Nova at level 64.”


So what about the VR thing where you are in a VR world, sort of Ready Player One. Could that be considered LitRPG as well? Most of it takes place in the MMO.


Very similar. A lot of the LitRPG writers credit Clines for inspiration although Neal Stephenson did it quite well in Snowcrash. If you type “litrpg” into Amazon you’ll get about a zillion hits.

My guys are stuck in a fantasy world. There is a mystery as to how they got there, and there are clues throughout the book as to why. I love the genre but I can’t help but do my own spin by making fun of common tropes and throwing in a lot of humor.


So the standard fare is you are stuck in your favorite MMO? I read something else here that was both odd and interesting:

Survival Quest is a terrible novel. Unlikable characters, casual sexism, and a plot completely bent to the main character’s progression — far beyond the usual flex I allow in any Frodo-inspired fantasy novel. But it also includes stuff like this:

“Damage taken. Hit Points reduced by 5: 11 (weapon damage + strength) - 6 (armor). Total: 35 of 40.”

And this:

“Buff gained: Strength +1, Energy loss reduced by 50%. Duration - 12 hours.”

How could I not love it? I blazed through the first novel, dedicating every free moment to listening. Then I bought the sequel: The Kartoss Gambit. And then I was out of monthly Audible credits, so I went and got AlterWorld by D.Rus on Kindle Unlimited.

So kind of weird, but I can see the appeal if you have played MMOs and like stat grinding.


Right. I came up with a world and very loosely based it on old (HARD) Everquest. But my characters are constantly rolling stats. They have a HUD and it provides feedback in the game. I tend to like to tell character based stories and gloss over some of the mechanics. They still level up, but imagine you are in a brand new MMO, and you don’t even have a tutorial to explain how stuff works.

This is honestly the most fun I’ve had writing a new book in a few years.


So the approach you can take is interesting. You might have several characters group together and you can toss around terms like “tank” and “DPS” and “heals” without explanation or you can describe them. How do you view the audience for this kind of book? MMO fans or standard fantasy fans?

So you actually do describe the stat increases in the book? It’s not, “Jason felt stronger now” but “Jason’s strength stat jumped 8 points” – something like that?


Typo - my characters are not constantly rolling stats.

Stat increases are a little more nebulous in the book because the characters don’t level up quickly. By the third part of the book they are still level 4 and still a bit clueless. I’ve made real life skills tied to actual experience, but added on skill points and level advancement. The fun part is that the main character plays the game in real life during every waking hour (with VR gear). He has an ego and he’s really out of shape. So when he ends up in the real version of the world, at first he’s elated. He will be running the world in no time because he’s been playing it since he was a kid. The problem is that he is stuck in an old version of the game that was removed because players complained that it was too hard.

I handle items in the game a bit differently than other books in the genre. Each has the stats engraved on them. Picking up a level 5 sword if you’re level 2 results in total fail.

I do use terms like support class, tanks, and the like.

This is my 18th book and I have a certain writing style. I hope to introduce it to my readers and pick up a bunch of new ones along the way, providing the LitRPG crowd isn’t too harsh with my take. They can be some finicky bastards ;)