Ian Livingstone on how to write a Fighting Fantasy book. Full 2019 Fighting Fantasy event report!


you remember fighting fantasy books
don’t you. of course you do oh yes the Warlock of Firetop Mountain
Citadel of chaos the forest of doom deathtrap dungeon and many more besides
now you may be surprised to learn potentially that fighting of fantasy
books are still very much alive and well and as if to prove it there was a London
fighting fantasy convention a few weeks ago fighting fantasy fest 3 in fact now
I went along to this fest and I have a video report for you to enjoy so if
you’d like to find out how fighting fantasy co-creator and author Ian
Livingstone puts a game book together discover what the artist Chris Achilleas
would draw they’ve given free reign and also see what issue one of ytf song for
the events action and please keep on watching hello my feisty little Hedgehog I am
Jason Arnold the author of the last days of Jack sparks the forthcoming October
novel ghoster and some Doctor Who stuff if you haven’t had the pleasure and the
joy of this channel before then you may want to know that this is basically a
retro channel in which I crack on about 80s horror movies VHS 80s horror movies
on VHS retro video games and things like fighting fantasy game books so let me
tell you and more importantly show you what fighting fantasy fest 3 was all
about it’s a real joy in 2019 to walk into a space in which fighting fantasy
is being celebrated so much in so passionately by quite a few people
across various panels and stalls here we see the table of Scholastic which is
fighting fantasies current publisher now I’ll admit that I will always prefer the
original covers of those older books but there’s no denying that these new
designs do look nicely colorful and they’re pretty cool and they will appeal
to younger readers now here’s Ian Livingstone co-creator of fighting
fantasy talking about his new flying fantasy book assassins of a Lancia
that’s one of the really cool things about fighting fantasy the fact that Ian
and his fellow co-creator Steve Jackson are still writing the books well Ian is
steve is halfway through his book that he’s been writing for quite some time
but I’m sure will be worth it when it arrives he is after all the creator of
the sorcery series which I love unreservedly. now here’s Ian talking
about how he creates a game book and puts all together Ssssh! Listen. Well, it’s actually a nightmare process. I could actually take up the whole session talking about it. I start off with 400 numbers, from 1 to 400, and a blank piece of paper that becomes a map/flowchart. So I’ll start with Number 1 that branches out into two choices. So I’ll cross off two numbers on this: say, 117 and 326. and I’ll write an annotation of what happens in those. Obviously, it splits off and becomes long and weird you have to make sure you bring people
back, because there are certain critical points which are called ‘pinch points’, where you want people to have definite information. Unless they find that, they will fail. Of course, you want people to fail… [laughter]… and then you have to go back to put items in an earlier position which you’ll need later on! So, for example, you might need a key for a door and so you have to go back and find somewhere to put that key, so someone can find it. If they go this way, they won’t find it, if they go that way they will find it. and then you have to make sure there’s
no continuous loops and when you finally finished hopefully with an overarching
story which is great and you have to go back and make sure it is balanced in
terms of difficulty, so it’s not too hard or easy. And then you have to balance it in terms of economy. So there’s not too few gold pieces or too many gold pieces, so it’s too simple. And then you have to playtest to make sure that, if you’re meant to choose the optimum route, it’s not too brutal. And then, knowing that everyone cheats… [laughter]… You’ve got to put a few anti-cheat devices in there. We’ve come up with a few over time. For example: “Have you got a key?” And you go, “Of course!” And then: “If so, turn to the number that’s stamped on the key”. Oh. Not so easy. That in a nutshell is what it’s like. It is an
absolute nightmare process, on a piece of flow chart paper the size of this table. Audience member: How long does it take? Ian: It used to take us about two months. Over a year now, but we’re doing other things too. People say, “Do you use twine, or software packages…?” No. It’s still an old school handwritten flowchart.” next up was a panel about the first ever
fighting fantasy book the Warlock of Firetop Mountain here it is being
presented by Jonathan green who was not only the host of this event but is a
fine author in his own right this is the big talk of the day waiting for I’m
thrilled to say that we have not only Steve Jackson and he’ll in extent the
creators of fighting fantasy and the authors of the Warlock Of Firetop Mountain we
also have during this panel it was great to see
some of the planning materials used by Ian and Steve who wrote half of the book
each lasted a little bit of merchandising game besides those
ludicrous mock-up covers the panel also rightly celebrated the work of artist
Russ Nicholson who had a nice anecdote about something a friend – told him
about the reaction to his illustrations at the time and they said that this
there is an illustration in a booth for children which is the worst most
disgusting horrible picture ever printed that’s it we finally got from Tony Lacey a
contract very nice from the fourth day of gender in 1982 again a book called
the magic quest magic quest was eventually going to turn on to be
Warlock of Firetop Mountain but other names that we use one of them was the Sorcerer’s today’s list of delights was almost as
long as this queue to the table where Steve and Ian was signing books
in a moment I’ll bring you that chat with Chris Achilleos and you’ll find
out how much white dwarf number one went for in auction the first dice lots and
lots of dice oh god how I love dice this stall is called all rolled up and as
well as dice it also features dice cups check out this one shaped like some kind
of castle and 3d printed into the bargain but now we have to dash back
into a panel just in time to see Doctor Who target artist Chris in conversation and of course his famous hands one of
the sessions most remarkable moments was when Chris talked about his work on the
cover of a book called titan’ the fighting fantasy world turns out in his
head this dragon is a shape-shifting wizard I grabbed him afterwards to ask a
little bit more about this yeah I thought it’d be obvious because he’s got
earrings on their collection for like 30 odd years
and they just they would never get out unknown that’s fantastic
now I like to put stories in the pictures Chris definitely says it like
it is one of the very funniest moments of the day came when an audience member
asked him what he would have been drawing throughout his career had he had
free rein you saw my YouTube video which I gave my favorite top 10 target of
books and covers and one number one was the three doctors who doesn’t think of
one of your favorites what do you think doctors this was just another cover you
know yeah yeah I mean it’s popular because people talk about it and it’s
got the hands too Jack Kirby hands big deal you know I put it there because I
love Jack Kirby so you see those hands as being like a Jack Kirby thing yeah of
course they’re not mine but I adopted them you know he said tribute to a great
master I met him once in San Diego comic-con oh yeah it was wonderful he
said he knows my work and I said you know my work in on it he said yes of
course have your books and I love your work and I was chuffed because he’s a
master of comic strip art you know like Franzia is a master of fantasy art there
are two masters and tell us about the website there’s a lot
yeah it’s practically not all that I did but a lot of what I did and it’s nicely
laid out easy to look at various things like you know the original artwork and
then book covers of magazines or westerns you know different genres and
he has a shot where you can go in and all the prints almost time to find out
how much white dwarf number one went for an auction but first here are just three
quick chats with other Creators at the event so we’re here from chameleon
comics and our project is a city of thieves graphic novel it’s not the
graphic novel that is the same be the same story as the book but rather it’s a
kind of a bit of a prequel story not a direct precursor so it doesn’t end up
where the book sort of stars but it said a half year half a year before the book
and sort of gives the setting a bit more of a fleshing out so to say vd ends a
sort of blessing of course we’re in the early stages of the project there’s
gonna be a crowdfunding campaign that’s coming probably in October I would say
autumn and then probably the the first big story is gonna be delivered towards
the end of next year so that’s what you would expect it’s a 50 page long story
so it takes about a year for a photographic artist to finish we are
from Canary Islands I’m a lot of Edward T Rikers is my name as brighter we are
adopting the HP Lovecraft work to the choose your own adventure style if you
take the same choices the main characters you will which the regular
and but if you check your own choices you will finish horrible ways maybe they
have the ball read are crazy in a mental institution the seven but the fourth one
was lost in the eye port so it’s a really really fun thank you
I bought for that it looks very scary if you want to scare people with this
one the dreams at the witch house it’s a classic gothic horror history with a
witch that comes from these walls to see you while you are sleeping to lick your
finger your toe fingers it’s really really nice it’s very scary
speaking of witches check out this crazy character my name is Babylon ah yes a
famous Russian words eater of children and cursor of souls today just just five meals ago five a
day every day 5 a day turned out Baba Yaga is a promo which for writer
Oliver McNeill whose story masters tales is a hybrid of role-playing board game
and choose your own adventure book it’s super quick to play yes but it’s got
depth to it as well and it will get people kind of role-playing even if
they’re not role players so if you’ve got family members you trying to
introduce to it all people who don’t normally play play traditional board
games that they don’t like role-playing games this is still accessible for them
right let’s find out how much the auction masters Jackson and Livingstone
flogged white dwarf number one for I’ve got 35 35 35 I’ve got anybody bid
40 yeah four we’ve got 45 anywhere 45 45 15
anybody give me fifty five fifty five sixteen sixteen 65 65 70 75 70 80 85 90 90 90 95 100 pounds okay let’s take
stock of the back room 20 anywhere hundred ninety two hundred seventy going
once going twice going twice 230 pounds that is a really amazing
price at a really amazing event I had a fantastic time I will definitely be back
for the next one I really hope you’ve enjoyed this report
if you’d like to be thanked by name in all future videos on this channel and
check out my patreon where you can choose to support this channel with an
ongoing monthly pledge and receive benefits as a result I’ve really
appreciate it now let me leave you with the cover of my new novel two other
videos you might want to check out and my face which you can click on the
subscribe until next time embrace your obsession

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3 thoughts on “Ian Livingstone on how to write a Fighting Fantasy book. Full 2019 Fighting Fantasy event report!”

  1. Jason Arnopp's Terrifying House Of Obsession says:

    Did you attend Fighting Fantasy Fest 3? If so, what was your favourite moment? Tell us all here. If you didn't attend the event, tell us your all-time favourite Fighting Fantasy book and explain why! If you never played FF, tell me your favourite gamebook or Choose Your Own Adventure-style book! Also, while I have you, if you enjoy this channel and would like to support it, check out my Patreon: Cheers!

  2. says:

    Enjoyed that. 11:57 was rather fine camerawork too.

  3. Gyula Szűcs says:

    Thank you! 🙂

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