Looks mostly at the "interactive fiction" side of things, but the ideas could be applied to any style of choose your own adventure story.
A writing space is the one thing a writer cannot do without even if all other items on their “to get” list are impossible. What makes it so important? Well, the simple fact that it really is a section of space that can be designed to bring you into a state of mind that can allow you to jot down everything you feel and see, while at the same time being completely invisible to you once you get going. So, let’s get personal; I’m always saying how I hate writers who do not engage with their readers. I mean, what is the point of pouring your heart out onto these pages if you’re not even going to let the people who read these words into your life just a tiny bit. So while I explain, I’ll be letting you into my writing world. Let’s begin; every writing space needs a few things:
Point of Focus
My writing space is my home office on the second story of my home, and everything in it is strategically placed to surround one of my two windows. When I sit at my desk, which looks out towards the front of my home, I have the perfect view of an old arched door that is attached to an old coral brick home that sits behind the house that’s directly across the street from ours. Why do I love this view and this door? Because it calls to me; I can only see the last sliver of this home and the door itself is barely visible, covered by a small tree in the backyard.
I am usually a history writer in some form or shape, and this home is a gorgeous colonial one, with the style and wonder attributed to that era, barely changed since then. When I look at this door, with its eloquently shaped arch design atop, I am always drawn to it expecting to see someone in old dress form walk out of it. But no one ever does, its almost completely abandoned, which makes it void of distraction and makes me wonder enough about its hidden mysteriousness to drive me into this timeframe in my mind. Once I lock onto it, I’m lost in the pages of what I am writing.
If I look to the right of that view, past the house directly in front of mine, I see rolling mountains with houses and lights pristinely visible in the night. If i focus on this, it takes me to a whole new genre. Whatever it is, every riding space should have a point of focus; whether that point is used to remind you of why you are writing or to just spin you into a different dimension, is up to the writer.
Design According to your Genre
Most writers, not all, usually stick to a specific genre and sub-genres when they write. Its only fair that you surround yourself with design that represents that style. Personally, my writing space includes a wrought iron lamp with a scalloped bowl design up top and a beautifully sculpted pedestal base; colored in a deep bronze, this lamp is venetian/florentine and its right in front on my face, which amplifies my mind’s mistaken though process that tells it I’m in another time. Behind me I have a bookshelf full of history books adorned by a draping vine plant and cork boards, rather than dry erase boards, to keep that wine feel alive. Everything from the throw over my reading chair to the decorative boxes on my desk that hold my papers, are chosen to fit this theme.
Ambiance & Solitude
Just because you bought the furniture does not mean you’ve brought the space alive. I do so by purchasing ambient-specific items. My lamp, described above, has a low-wattage, glow emission. I purchase imported candles, my favorite being Pecksniff’s Brand, and I make it as comfortable as possible. I invest in a music subscription (Google Play) and I sit and pick a suggested playlist offered depending on what day and time it is. I usually choose the Stargazers category and continue to “Into the Cosmos with Neil deGrass Tyson”; this is my favorite writing playlist, full of dreamy classical music with lively tones, and the scenes in my books just come alive to them.
Finally, I rarely choose a space that has no windows. I must see the weather, snow, rain, trees, and I enjoy being up high, so I usually love second story spaces.