Meg Eden is a creative writing teacher, poet, and novelist. Oh, and she's written 13 novels! A huge fan of gaming, Eden's interest in how writing craft informs good game design has driven her to create an incredible YA novel based around the format of a text adventure game. We chatted with Eden about Post High School Reality Quest and how to balance a prolific creative career with everyday life,
Eden has written an unbelievable amount of books, but as a child she didn't enjoy reading at all. "I've always loved telling stories. I used to focus on doing this through drawing and music composition. I hated books growing up; my mom literally had to pay me to read. But over time, I fell in love with books--I think it just took me a while to find the ones I connected with--and found it much easier to tell my stories through words than music or art. I became very serious about writing starting around eighth grade after a history teacher encouraged me that my writing was good," Eden explained to us.
The concept of her latest book from California Coldblood Books is an exciting one: a novel in the format of a classic text based adventure game. For this story, Eden's inspiration didn't come from the games themselves but from the people around her. "One day a friend was like, 'Hey, you should write a novel in the form of a text adventure game.' I honestly didn’t think much of the idea but tried it one day for fun. Once I started, I got hooked!" Eden enthused.
Though originally unsure of the new format, Eden eventually found her footing and the story really started to take shape. Eden explained, "When I started playing with the text adventure idea, I tried it on this old draft and everything came together really fast. Since I already knew the characters from the older draft, plugging them into the text adventure framework was easy and really gave their narrative structure. The text adventure format helped induce a plot, as it created a conflict between Buffy and the Text Parser. It ended up making perfect sense: examining a group of friends in video game culture through the lens of a literal game."
Eden is a fan of gaming, but ironically the games she grew up with weren't the ones that inspired her newest story. "Classic adventure games weren’t the games I grew up on, but the mechanics of them are really interesting to me and part of what inspired PHSRQ. Like point and click adventure games, they give you so many options. You can really do some interesting, clever things in those, and I wanted Buffy to be able to have some unique inputs when 'playing' her life," Eden enthusiastically stated.
As for our readers who might want to recreate Eden's prolific output, well she has some great tips. She said, "The best advice I can give is to read, write, submit, and persist! Don’t be afraid of mistakes, and don’t be afraid to own what you’ve done. Your voice matters."
Will you be picking up Post High School Reality Quest? Excited to see the world of text based gaming make the transition to the literary world? Let us know in the comments!
Images: Meg Eden, California Coldblood Books