I’m taking my first stab at writing a visual novel this Nanowrimo, with a bit of a rough and tumble “””script””” format. Many air quotes because I’m sacrificing form for function. In the first pass this month I’m going to heavily focus on dialogue over character descriptions and let the artwork be its own mess for 2023 me to sort out. Well, with some exceptions like the lil doodle attached to this post, haha. I have the characters more or less conceptualized and just need to refine their designs. Can you tell who’s who after reading the excerpt?
For context, “you” refers to the reader/player character, a human who has just moved to Bethorn, a relatively placid town that has just been shaken up by the arrival of a werepire that attacked you. Prior to the following scene, you escaped the werepire and hid in a bakery that specializes in desserts with fake blood in them. There, you meet the three leads, vampires who might just help you.
Please keep in mind that this is my very first proper drafting for this concept and it was done quickly on a Freewrite with little to no editing, so it’s going to be a bit rough by nature in places. The use of chevron symbols aka “>” is to indicate that the player can make a choice of what to say/do in those places, so the list at the end with a series of chevrons is to indicate various choices for dialogue.
Here is my profile on Nanowrimo if you’re interested in seeing my word count update day to day.
Paisley looks the most alarmed at the news. Where Zack and Ren reacted with worry and interest, respectively, this vampire turns an even sicklier shade of white and appears ready to collapse.
Paisley: You saw a werepire? But… but those can’t be around anymore… can they?
Ren: So long as there are werewolves and vampires around willing to bestow their powers on humans, it is always a possibility.
He makes it sound grandiose, like a gift instead of a curse.
Zack: Infecting them, you mean.
Ren: I do not. But I suppose that you both would have a different opinion, wouldn’t you? Former humans both. I can smell it on you. Especially you, weakling.
Zack: You really shouldn’t respond so quickly.
Ren: He’s right, though. If not for your features, I wouldn’t mark you as a vampire at all. Tell me, when is the last time you have actually managed to stomach real blood?
Paisley: I eat the blood packs that–
Ren: Not that trash.
Paisley: Well, I come here all the time to–
Ren: Zachary’s delicacies are delicious but no less false. No offense intended, Zachary.
Zack: Some taken.
Paisley: I don’t like drinking human blood from the… source, or whatever it is you want me to admit. There, are you happy?
Ren: I fear making me feel anything but mildly ill is beyond your capabilities.
Paisley clenches his hands into fists, trembling again, albeit with something more than his initial fear.
Paisley: Sorry that not all of us are okay with being monsters. You’re really sickening, you know that?
Ren: Careful, Selig. If you recall, I don’t have much choice in the matter.
Paisley: You always have a choice!
Zack: Can we tone it down a little? We have a guest present, remember.
Ren: Technically I would consider us all your guests, after a fashion, but I see your point and shall indulge you.
Zack: How generous.
Zack turns his attention to you.
Zack: It isn’t safe for you or any of us to go out there. Werepires are famously indiscriminate when it comes to feeding. It’ll take a bite out of any one of us.
Paisley: More than a bite. It’ll eat us alive.
Ren: I doubt it would bother with you given the lack of substance.
Paisley: How do you manage to make not getting murdered sound like a bad thing?
Zack: Nobody’s getting murdered. Let’s all just hunker down and eat something. Honey pie, I’ll get you a pastry without sublood in it. Sound good?
Ren: You must be new around here.
Zack: Sublood is what it sounds like: substitute blood. It’s synthetic. Fake blood, real nutrients.
Ren: So they say.
Paisley: I thought you liked Zack’s baking?
Ren: I do. But I consume his goods in addition to a vampire’s proper diet, not instead of true blood.
Zack: Ren, I’m going to get fed up and kick you out one of these days.
Ren: If you like money and staying in business you won’t.
Zack: Ughhhh. Just tell me what you want to order.
Zack: Paisley, how about you?
Paisley: Oh, um…. I’m sorry, Zack, I just came to see you. I don’t have any–
Zack: It’s on the house. Don’t worry about it, buddy.
Paisley: No, that’s–
Ren: –no way to run a business, Zachary, honestly. I’ll pay for him and the human.
Zack: Oh? How generous.
Ren: Aren’t I?
Zack gives all of you pastries, taking care to give you one that doesn’t have any blood, fake or otherwise, in it.
Zack: Settle in. We’ll have to keep a lookout for that thing in case it comes back to scratch up my door some more. In the meantime, feel free to chat with us, human. We can tell you more about Bethorn and ourselves if you’re interested.
Zack: Back so soon? I’m a pretty great conversationalist, so it’s no wonder you wanted to talk to me first.
>Bye for now.
Zack: Bethorn is a nice place, I’d say. Not too hot, not too cold. It’s pretty sleepy considering all of the monsters that live here, but a lot of them are so mellowed out that they might as well be human. Well. There are some outliers, of course, as you saw tonight…
Zack: Ren is a regular customer here. He claims sublood is inferior to the real thing, but he keeps coming back anyway. Maybe he just likes the sugar. I think that’s a distinct possibility. If not for it, I’m sure he would go on and on about how sickening it is for skilled hunters to be reduced to eating sweet treats to slake our bloodlust. He thinks that vampires need to go back to using humans as a primary food source. It has a lot to do with what his family has made him believe, honestly. Everyone knows it.
Zack: Paisley is my friend I met at a former-human support group. The group dissolved pretty quickly because everyone felt awkward and judgey, but Paisley and I were dumb enough to keep coming back anyway. He’s going to art school and decorates the cupcakes we bake here sometimes for a bit of extra cash. He’s kind of… well, no, he’s really anxious, but he’s a sweet guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’s probably convinced that even blood packs have feelings. Between you and me, he really, really hates being a vampire. But you might’ve gathered that already.
Zack: Some Zack fun facts… I was turned into a vampire around five years ago, right after I started running my business. We just did online orders back then. Owning a store was a dream. But having it be one specifically for vampires… well, that was a bit of a nightmare, at least at first. If not for sublood, I don’t think that my shop would have that much draw in a town with so many vampires. If I were up all night hoping for human customers, I would have a rough time, I think. But who knows, maybe my charms alone could keep us afloat.
>Bye for now.
Zack: See you around, cupcake!