text adventure

Welcome to WRITER’S QUEST!  
You are in a writer’s room. Exits are north and east.  The door leading north has “This Way to Fame, Fortune, and Free Beer!” painted over it.
There is a chair here.  


You have a Hazy Idea for a story.
You have a Muse.
You have an Inner Editor.

>go n

You can’t go that way.


I don’t know how to what.

>look chair

It’s just a chair. It doesn’t look very comfy.

>look muse

Your Muse waves at you.

>look editor

The Inner Editor glares at you and mutters.
Your Muse is trying to say something.

>listen muse

You can’t hear over the Inner Editor talking.  (It has some things to say about the implausibility of your Hazy Idea.)

> gag inner editor

You gag the little anthropomorphic personification. It glares at you and sulks.

>listen muse

Your Muse says, “Great! I can see where you’re going with this, only it needs something else here, and I have the perfect idea!”
It continues to talk at you.
Your Hazy Idea is getting clearer.
There is a chair here.

>go e

You are in a library. A bookshelf is against the south wall. 
There is a table against the north wall. Exits are west.
Your Hazy Idea is getting clearer.

>look table

There is a map on the table.
There is a flashlight on the table.

>take map

>take flashlight

You take the road map and flashlight. Congratulations! Now you can find your own ass.


I don’t know how to jerkwad.

>look shelf

It is full of books.  You are likely to get distracted.
Do you wish to do research? Y/N


You read your way through several books. Your Muse makes margin notes and, you suspect, writes some of the notes just before you get to them.
Your Hazy Idea is now a Clear Idea for a story.


Your Clear Idea is now a Complete Outline.


Any more and it’ll start to hurt.

>go w

There is a chair here.


You have: a Complete Outline, a Muse, an Inner Editor, a Map, a Flashlight, and Your Ass.


There is a chair here. 

>put ass in chair

You sit down in the chair, ready to write.


Your Complete Outline becomes a Partial Manuscript!
You have gone up a level!


Your manuscript looks healthier.




Your manuscript looks almost finished!

>write, dammit

You have a Finished Manuscript!  A beam of light shines from above, a chorus of ethereal voices sing your acclaim, and the door to the north opens!

>go n

You take the manuscript and head north.
You are in a bright, sunny room. There is a table with snacks. Exits are N and S.
There is a Critique Group here. 

>go n

The Critique Group is blocking your way.

>eat snacks

The Critique Group stops you. “No snacks unless we get a manuscript.”

>give manuscript to group

The Critique Group examines your manuscript, then bursts into mass cacophony. Yelling about “flat characters” and “implausible setting,” the group tears your manuscript to pieces and leaves nothing but a Harsh But Insightful Critique in its place. “It’s got promise,” they say as they wander off. “But it really needs work.”
You take 99 points of ego damage!
Your manuscript is in shreds!
Continue? Y/N
Continue? Y/N
Continue? Y/N


You have leveled up!


You have received a harsh but insightful critique! You have chosen to continue! You have leveled up!

>ok whatever

Thought you’d feel that way.

>eat snacks

They’re tasty, but strangely unfulfilling.

>look crit

It’s got a lot of good points. In fact, it seems to catch all the stuff you were worried about when you wrote it. Some of it sounds like your Inner Editor.
As you read the crit, the door to the north swings open.

>go n

You go north.
You are in a small, cramped room. Dim light filters through cracks in the ceiling. 
There is a Revision here. It snarls and grins at you, sharpening its claws.


It doesn’t seem to be attacking you.


The Revision stays put.

>clean house

Your house gets marginally cleaner.
The Revision gets bigger.


You post to the Internet about your plight. 
The Revision gets bigger.

>wax furniture

The Revision gets bigger.

>wax cat

The Revision gets bigger. And uglier.

>write long involved joke about the writing process in the format of an infocom text adventure

Let’s not be silly now.

>attack revision

You attack the Revision! It immediately looks smaller — not nearly so bad as you thought.  It’s still pretty bad, though.
The Revision defends with Your Beautiful Deathless Prose. Your attack slides off and does no damage.

>attack revision again

But you spent so much time on that manuscript!  You can’t possibly change it!
Your Inner Editor is trying to say something.
Your Muse is trying to say something.

>listen muse

Your Muse shrugs. “Heck if I know,” it says. “I kinda liked how that turned out.  But I have a new and better idea. Want it?”
Take idea Y/N?


You have a Hazy Idea for a story. Begin game from start Y/N?


Your Muse shrugs and goes back to knitting and juggling at the same time.  Muses are weird that way. 
Your Inner Editor is trying to say something.

>listen editor

You gagged it, remember?

>take off gag

Your Inner Editor glares at you.  “It took you this long?  Let me handle this.”

>attack prose with editor

Your Inner Editor rolls its eyes at your atrocious grammar, but it attacks.  
The Revision defends with Your Beautiful Deathless Prose.  It fails!  
The Revision takes damage!
The Revision defends with Plot Convolutions and Unnecessary But Beloved Characters.


We don’t know.  You’re the one that put them into the story to begin with.

>attack revision with crit

You attack the revision with the insights from your critique.  It’s effective, but the Revision is still healthy.
Your Muse gives you a handful of Rice Krispies, a history of Antarctic exploration, two balls of yarn, and a teacup.

>use that shit

You make the Rice Krispies, the history, and the yarn into a Plot Patch. You put the teacup in your bag. It adheres to the Hazy Idea.

>attack revision with patch

The patch bypasses the Plot Convolutions and severs them from the story.  The Unnecessary But Beloved Characters wither away.  Your Muse puts a few of them in your inventory, and they curl up in the teacup.
The Revision defends with Last-Minute Problems and Fear of Failure!

>revise dammit

The Revision cowers and falls to pieces.  The wall behind the Revision crumbles, and you stand blinking in the light of day, with a completed story in your hand. 

Congratulations! You’re a writer! Would you like to play our sequel, PUBLICATION QUEST?


Yes, that’s the usual response at this point.

54 Responses to “text adventure”

  1. April 1, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    OMG, that’s hysterical, and absolutely on the mark.

    BTW, in my spare time, I’ve managed to get to chapter 7 of Spiral Hunt. What I really want to do is take a day or two off from work so that I can finish the book. It’s totally awesome so far. (I can’t imagine how mind-blowingly wonderful it would be if I had time to read it in larger than 5 page chunks.)

  2. 2 coraline
    April 1, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    that was AWESOME.

  3. 3 Matt
    April 1, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    I loved it! Text adventure writing for the win!

    (If only it were possible to showcase the “you die” endings in the writing process text adventure.)

  4. 4 kmont
    April 1, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    That is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.

    Would you like the author to continue w/Publication Quest? Y/N?


  5. 5 Lindsay
    April 1, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    That. Was the best thing. EVER.

  6. 7 Leroy Glinchy
    April 1, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I loved it, this is really great.

  7. April 1, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I endorse this product and/or service.

  8. 9 Tim Pratt
    April 1, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    My last manuscript got eaten by a grue.

  9. April 1, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Ahahaha, that was great! FTW!

  10. April 1, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Brilliant! Can’t wait for PUBLICATION QUEST!

  11. April 1, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    ::wets self Lol-ing::

    I often feel that I missed a crucial geek formative experience by not playing the old Zork games, etc. But fortunately I have people like you to bring me up to speed. Hilariously. And yes, please do begin PublicationQuest!

  12. April 2, 2009 at 12:06 am

    I got viscous material all over my MS.

    Oh, and for the publication quest, be sure to pack your shillelagh.

  13. 15 Ames
    April 2, 2009 at 12:37 am

    I love it!

  14. April 2, 2009 at 12:45 am

    Oh that is so painfully familiar.

  15. April 2, 2009 at 1:03 am

    OMG! That is so awesome!

  16. 19 Josh
    April 2, 2009 at 1:35 am

    Did I not tell you you are awesome?!

  17. 20 rachelaaron
    April 2, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Wooooow awesome

  18. 21 afairywonder
    April 2, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    That was Interesting!

  19. 22 Mom
    April 2, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Sounds remarkably like writing a thesis. Now all I have to do is finish the last revision, print it out for committee, paint the hall, clean house, renew my driver’s license, put in two hours of consulting work, shop and prepare food for guests arriving tonight, all in the next 14 hours.

  20. 23 mlronald
    April 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Kmont and Phil, Publication Quest is, sadly, not nearly as fun even though the end sequence is more rewarding. There’s a lot of “send out story/you have a rejection!/send out story” repetition. It’s best if played at the same time as a new round of Writer’s Quest.

    Tim, obviously if your manuscript is dark, it is likely to be eaten by a grue.

    Nora, I was terrible at the old Zork games. Still am. But the language does stick in my brain, for whatever reason.

    Mom, I think Thesis Quest has several more wandering monsters than Writer’s Quest. Plus the boss fight at the end is pretty rough.

    And thanks, all! I had a lot of fun writing this, and I’m glad you liked it too.

  21. 24 Vashtan
    April 2, 2009 at 8:20 pm


  22. April 3, 2009 at 12:11 am

    LOL. So clever and very true!

  23. April 5, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    That is hilarious. It makes me want to play Zork. And have a snack.

  24. April 8, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Publication Quest ho!!!

  25. April 10, 2009 at 7:02 pm

    This is FABULOUS, lol!

  26. April 13, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I feel a sudden urge to find that gift that my aunt gave me that i don’t know what it is. Or to put on my battle shorts.

  27. April 13, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    this be awesome. though there should also be an option for slamming head against wall during revision. : )

  28. 32 bonniers
    April 16, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Brilliant! Thank you!

  29. April 23, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    You are made of win. Thanks for that.

  30. April 25, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    That is hilarious! Thank you 🙂

  31. May 2, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    Hilarious indeed. I’ll link to it when I write today’s blog entry.

  32. June 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I think it’s little bit funny, but maybe useful for any other people.
    Thanks by the way.

  33. June 23, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Great article. Keep on sharing 🙂

  34. August 4, 2009 at 12:52 am

    nice! i’m gonna make my own journal

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