Monday, August 27, 2012

Murder, Mystery, and Romance

M Doty sat down with Cause of Death writers Winchester and Georgia to talk murder, mystery, and romance. Here's what they had to say.

Writer Fact: There are limits to where you will go to research an episode.

MD: So, you both seem like relatively normal guys. How do you come up with all of the horrifying murderers in Cause of Death? Is it hard writing for them?

W: I like to get really immersed in what I'm writing. When I was writing 'In The Cards', my cubicle walls were covered in tarot cards and books about voodoo. I was definitely the creepy guy in the office for a while. It didn't help that I also had shuriken hanging on the wall, but that's only because I'm a big Naruto fan.

MD: Georgia, I know you started out writing for Surviving High School. Is it weird switching from such a lighthearted product to something so much darker?

G: I actually enjoy the contrast. Switching between the two provides a nice variety. Though in terms of research, it can lead to some very weird situations. Anyone looking through my search history would think I'm a complete psycho. It's mostly the combination that's bad. Where do you bury a body and not get caught? How do you tie a ponytail? What are the effects of drowning on a human body? What type of stores do teen girls shop at?

MD: Speaking of SHS and COD, now that we've announced the Surviving High School novel, there's a lot of talk on the Cause of Death Facebook page that fans want a COD novel. What do you think of that?

G: I would LOVE to have a Cause of Death novel. LOVE. Hopefully fans from both games will help make the Surviving High School novel a hit and we'll get that chance!

W: That would be awesome! I wonder if we would do a novelization of the Maskmaker story, or some new Maltara adventure altogether? ...They probably won't leave that decision up to me though, because I would just write The Spectacular Adventures of Kai Kalaba.

MD: Okay, last question. Blaise and Jeremy. Explain that pairing.

G: I think there's something significant in looking at how opposites attract. You see it in real life all the time. Nice girls date jerks. Straight-laced guys go after free-spirited girls. Sometimes we're secretly looking for that person who will push us beyond what we're comfortable with.

W: I think the BlaiseBird thing is all so refreshingly simple. I think Blaise was fed up with drama and just went for something she wanted, for better or for worse.  Everyone else's love life on CoD is so pained and complex, so it's nice to have a romance that is so unromantic. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Storm

M Doty chatted with Austen, the SHS writer who had the difficult task of writing The Storm Part 1 and The Storm Part 2. Here’s what she had to say about these controversial episodes…

***Warning, this contains spoilers!***

Writer Fact: We chose to show Sara smiling in this image posted on Facebook because the writers knew it would be the last time we'd post her picture.

MD: Most people don’t realize is that the novel was written two years ago, before Sara was a major character. Even I didn’t realize how much fans would end up caring about Sara. As the writer who wrote most of Sara’s episodes, how did you feel writing about a character you knew would meet a tragic end?

A: It was really emotional for me! I personally really liked Sara as a character and identified with many of her struggles. In high school, I was a perfectionist and spent almost all of my time studying or playing tennis on the varsity team. Because I could relate to her struggles, writing for her became really important to me. I wanted to fill her life with experiences and love.

MD: The Storm Part 1 was a really dark episode, particularly the ending.

A: Yes, I really agonized over getting the ending to feel right. I didn’t want it to seem too scary, but in the end I wanted to do the best writing I could for Sara’s final moments. There was a lot of debate on the writing team about whether or not we should keep in the bonus scene. We talked about cutting it off right when the car crashes. But I felt that it was important to know what Sara was thinking about and that she was happy. It was still a really tough episode to write and to work on. I know at least one other writer on the team cried when she played The Storm Part 1.

MD: Is there anything you’d say to the fans who are upset that Sara died?

A: Just that I understand why they’re upset. This is a difficult subject and I know we’re deviating from how Surviving High School usually does things, but this is letting us tell a deeper, richer story. It definitely doesn’t mean that we’re going to be a lot darker or that we won’t still be a game people can play to have fun. We have stories like that coming up. I hope people will understand and keep playing as Surviving High School moves on to the next chapter.