The Parenting Game

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photo credit: peasap via photopin cc

Today finds you, a harried and hopeful author, on babysitting duty at your sister’s cozy house. A 15 month old toddler could be a handful for some, but you have nothing to worry about. After all, you are a master of creative dilemmas and hectic deadlines.

Cozy Living Room
The smallish living room contains a fuzzy rug, a set of couches and a bookshelf filled with colorful, rhyming books. There is a hallway to the east and a kitchen to the south.
There is a diapered toddler here.
A dog is here, circling your legs expectantly.

>INV
You are carrying:
a proof copy

>LOOK AT PROOF COPY
Your only copy awaits nap time for final editing.

>LOOK AT TODDLER
Sweet. Innocent. He coos at your attention.

>SOUTH
The dog tags along behind you as you depart.

Kitchen
You are nearly blinded upon entering the room. The all white floor, walls, counters, and appliances are awash in glorious daylight from large windows over the sink.
There is a note on the counter.
A towel is draped over the oven handle.
A dog is here, circling your legs expectantly.

>READ NOTE
(Taken)
“If you fail to find the coming events humorous, Joelle Wisler offers a brief child rearing tutorial: HOW TO TRAIN YOUR KIDS SO THAT YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO LIVE WITH THEM
You don’t have your smartphone, so you discard the note.
The dog voraciously eats the note and lies down, satiated.

>GET TOWEL
Taken.
You hear crying from the living room.

>NORTH
Cozy Living Room
There is a diapered toddler here, crying.

>GET TODDLER
You trip on a lump in the rug and crash headlong into the corner of the bookcase, knocking yourself unconscious.
*** You have lost ***

(Quit, Restore, Go Back?) >GO BACK
Done.

Cozy Living Room
There is a diapered toddler here, crying.

>EXAMINE RUG
You spot an unusual lump beneath the rug. You lift the edge and retrieve a rubber tow truck. The dog enters the room and consumes the tow truck as if starving.

>GET TODDLER
No, he might wrinkle your proof copy.

>PUT PROOF COPY IN BOOKSHELF
Done.

>GET TODDLER
Taken. He winces at ceiling lights and screams wildly. The dog rushes into the room, all barking and slobber, and smashes through the front door, never to return. You don’t know how you’ll explain this one to your sister.
*** You have lost ***

(Quit, Restore, Go Back?) >GO BACK
Done.

>TURN OFF LIGHTS
The toddler falls silent. There is an awful sound and an unpleasant smell.

>TURN ON LIGHTS
Cozy Living Room
An undiapered toddler is here, giggling.
There is a small poopy here on the rug.

>GET POOPY
You are interrupted by an awful sound and an unpleasant smell.
(Which poopy, the small one or the orange one?)

>LOOK
Cozy Living Room
The smallish living room contains a fuzzy rug, a set of couches and a bookshelf filled with colorful, rhyming books. There is a hallway to the east and a kitchen to the south.
An undiapered toddler is here, giggling.
There is a small poopy here on the rug.
An orange poopy lies nearby.

>GET SMALL POOPY
You are interrupted by an awful sound and an unpleasant smell.
Your path is blocked by a wide, runny poopy.
The toddler wobbles out of the room and to the south.

>LOOK AT ALL POOPIES.
small poopy: You see nothing special.
orange poopy: You detect carrots.
wide, runny poopy: Something is not right here.

>PUT TOWEL ON RUNNY POOPY.
You are no longer cornered by the wide, runny poopy.

>SOUTH
Kitchen
An icky trail on the floor heads north back to the living room.
An undiapered toddler is here, giggling.

>GET TODDLER
You yank the child into the air, holding him at arms length. Best head for the bathroom.

>NORTH
You slip on the icky trail and hear a sharp *SNAP!* as the tendons in your ankle cease to agree with each other. You drop the toddler protectively onto your chest as you fall. Your shirt is likely ruined.

>CRAWL NORTH
Cozy Living Room
An undiapered toddler is here.
There is a small poopy here on the rug.
An orange poopy lies nearby.
A soiled towel is covering a wide, runny poopy.
A dog is here, growling at the bookcase.
The dog is carrying:
an unused diaper (attached)

>GET PROOF COPY FROM BOOKCASE
You protectively reach for your precious novel and the priceless edits within. You accidentally knock the diaper loose from the dog, further angering it. The dog tugs the proof copy from your grip and consumes it with gusto. The child claps and squeals with joy as you hear the sounds of a car returning home out in front of the house.
*** You survived! ***

You conclude your babysitting experience disappointed, frustrated, and severely injured. You also left the house in 235% worse shape than you found it. This gives you a score of 52 and a rank of ROOKIE PARENT (8 months exp.)

WOULD YOU LIKE TO TRY AGAIN?

>HELL NO

Thanks for playing! Comments left below from similarly experienced parents and/or authors may appear in future installments.

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Adventure (with Character)

To bring out the best of your fictional characters, you’ve got to get your hands dirty…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Dark and Secret Chamber
You are standing in a vaulted cavern full of stalactites and creepy shadows. The room is lit only by the dazzling glow of a door-shaped portal set into the north wall. The words “FAME AND FORTUNE” are etched into the rock over the portal. There are passages leaving to the east and west.
There is a publisher here.
Your main character is standing nearby, looking bold.

>LOOK AT MAIN CHARACTER
Your main character flashes back a smile, every inch of him beaming of male nobility.

>ENTER PORTAL
The publisher steps up and blocks your path.

>LOOK AT PUBLISHER
His eyes are bright and wicked, but his worn brown suit speaks of hard times.

>INV
You are carrying:
A well-polished manuscript

>GIVE MANUSCRIPT TO PUBLISHER
The publisher sniffs the script with haughty disdain. He glances at the grand visage of your main character and shakes his head.

>ASK PUBLISHER ABOUT MAIN CHARACTER
“Too perfect,” he says.

>MAKE MAIN CHARACTER LESS PERFECT
I don’t know how to do that.

>MAIN CHARACTER, SUCK MORE
Your main character looks back at you confused.

>WEST

The Cliffside
You are standing on an open ledge at the end of a long, dark tunnel to the east. The brilliant sunshine sparkles on the white rocks in the middle of a river far below. A metal railing keeps visitors from plunging to certain death.
There is a woman here, standing against the railing.

>LOOK AT WOMAN
She has a beautiful and kind face. Something is written on her shirt.

>READ SHIRT
“Main Character’s Super Mom!”

>WOMAN, MAKE YOUR SON LESS PERFECT
The woman offers an impish grin and sweetly shakes her head no.

>EAST

A Dark and Secret Chamber

>EAST

The Real World
You are standing on a street corner in a burned out ghetto. There are no people in sight although the smells distinctly hint that some were here just moments ago. Debris and burned vehicles block all streets into the city. There is a rough and jagged tunnel boring into the ground to the west.
There is a sturdy baseball bat lying here.
There is a bottle of hooch on the ground.

>GET ALL
sturdy baseball bat: taken
bottle of hooch: taken

>WEST

A Dark and Secret Chamber

>GIVE HOOCH TO MAIN CHARACTER
Your main character takes the bottle of hooch with a hearty thank you.

>LOOK

A Dark and Secret Chamber
You are standing in a vaulted cavern full of stalactites and creepy shadows. The room is lit only by the dazzling glow of a door-shaped portal set into the north wall. The words “FAME AND FORTUNE” are etched into the rock over the portal. There are passages leaving to the east and west.
There is a publisher here.
Your main character is standing nearby, looking grumpy.

>GIVE MANUSCRIPT TO PUBLISHER
The publisher sniffs the script with slight disdain. He glances at your main character and shakes his head.

>ASK PUBLISHER ABOUT MAIN CHARACTER
“Still too nice,” he says.

>WEST

The Cliffside

>KILL WOMAN
(with the sturdy baseball bat)
You strike your main character’s mother with the bat, knocking her over the railing. Her screams fade as she plummets, washed away by the churning sounds of the rapids below.
Something falls to the ground.

>LOOK

The Cliffside
You are standing on an open ledge at the end of a long, dark tunnel to the east. The brilliant sunshine sparkles on the blood spattered rocks in the middle of the river far below. A metal railing keeps visitors from plunging to certain death.
There is a wedding ring on the ground.

>GET RING
Taken.

>EAST

A Dark and Secret Chamber

>LOOK

A Dark and Secret Chamber
You are standing in a vaulted cavern full of stalactites and creepy shadows. The room is lit only by the dazzling glow of a door-shaped portal set into the north wall. The words “FAME AND FORTUNE” are etched into the rock over the portal. There are passages leaving to the east and west.
There is a publisher here.
Your main character is standing nearby, looking forlorn and disturbed.

>ASK PUBLISHER ABOUT MAIN CHARACTER
He frowns. “Close… but missing the badassery.”

>KILL PUBLISHER
(with the sturdy baseball bat)
You shouldn’t do that. His fate is already likely doomed.

>GIVE BAT TO MAIN CHARACTER
Your main character scowls and accepts the sturdy baseball bat.
Your main character slumps his shoulders, too distraught to move.

>GIVE RING TO MAIN CHARACTER
The man’s eyes flare with recognition and unbridled fury. You can only flinch as your main character smashes you over the head with the sturdy baseball bat.

*** You have died ***

The publisher retrieves the well-polished manuscript from your belongings and ushers your main character through the portal to inevitable fame and fortune. A small slip of paper drops from his pocket as he flees. Reflected in your now sightless pupils are words that mayhaps a later soul will find of value:

“For more specific and thought provoking tips on being true to your precious characters, head over to the blog PROCRASTINATING WRITER for 5 quick self-checks to run past your creations!”

http://procrastinatingwriter.com/2013/11/13/5-quick-and-dirty-tips-to-creating-better-characters/

>QUIT
Have a nice day!

C:\WRITING\YAC>run

zorkbannerbarYou Are Carrying:
Copyright (c) 2014 Cordell Falk. All rights reserved.
Revision 1 / Serial Number 69,105

Dining Room Table
You are seated at a round table in a smallish kitchen nook. The wooden table top is etched with the scars and ghosts of one published novel and a dozen abandoned attempts. The kitchen proper is to the south.
There is a laptop(closed), an adult beverage, and a menacing dread of 2014 here.

>LOOK AT MENACING DREAD
The menacing dread of 2014 is of a standard variety. With luck it should be smaller and gentler in three months.

>SAY HELLO
(To meancing dread)
“Hello sailor!”

>SOUTH
You’ll have to stand up to do that.

>STAND UP
As you start to rise, the menacing dread of 2014 glowers at you and makes a low grumbling sound. You remain seated.

>INV
You are carrying:
nothing

>GET BEVERAGE
Taken. You notice something written on the side.

>READ BEVERAGE
“WARNING: Fizzy Pizzy drinks can be fatal if comsumed near or inside of menacing dread.”

>OPEN LAPTOP
Before your hands even brush the laptop, the menacing dread of 2014 thwacks you on the side of the head.

>G
As your fingers near the lid, the menacing dread of 2014 bellows gibberish in your ear, distracting you.

>G
As you move for the laptop, the menacing dread of 2014 softly sings a sad ballad and you collapse, weeping.

>KILL FEAR
With what?

>WITH HANDS
As with most mental fabrications, the menacing dread of 2014 slips through your clutching grasp.

>KILL FEAR WITH BEVERAGE
The menacing dread of 2014 gleefully devours the adult beverage. It appears to have weakened slightly.

>OPEN LAPTOP
The laptop whirs out of sleep mode. A hodgepodge of fiction in various states of not-quite-perfect fills the screen. A bright yellow TO DO BOX in the corner has one entry.

>READ TO DO BOX
TO DO BOX: “Have more fun and write more stuff.”

>SAY GOODBYE
(To menacing dread)
The meancing dread of 2014 looks back expectedly at you.

>CLOSE FICTION WINDOWS
Most of an empty workspace is now visible on the laptop screen.

>CLOSE TO DO BOX
The workspace is clear and ready for greatness. The menacing dread of 2014 shuffles uncomfortably nearby.

>START BLOG
You type the first letters and the menacing dread of 2014 disintegrates in a swirling cloud of blurry pixels and monochrome ansi graphics.

>LOOK

Dining Room Table
You are seated at a round table in a smallish kitchen nook. The wooden table top is etched with the scars and ghosts of one published novel and a dozen abandoned attempts. The kitchen proper is to the south.
There is a laptop(open) here.
An oppressive guilt of 2013 wanders into the room. It notes your fresh blog and then shuffles back out of the room with a sheepish apology.

>SAVE
Game Saved.