Narrative Design and Writing

 

Here I have collected some of my written works – and works that contain my writing – but beware, this part of the site is under construction and may contain dragons.

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In narratives I particularly enjoy stories that tackle the absurd. Watching characters struggle with accepting the inevitable heat death of life as we know it, make futile attempts to control their life and perhaps find solace in others seems to be recurring themes in my stories. As a part of the Fairy Trade Coffee speculative fiction duo with Sandra Waller, I have written fiction, an audio drama spec script, comics, and hope to release some interactive fictions and games soon.

My writing languages are English and Swedish, but I do decent work in Finnish too. Some of my writing explores explicit themes, but most is suitable for all ages. I have a special affinity for stories set during revolutions, and the genres urban fantasy and steampunk.

Writing for games

I have been writing for games for a few years now, and it is the most fun you can have with the lights on. My main tools of the trade are Ink Engine (by the amazing folks over at Inkle Studios) and Twine (You can try it out on twinery.org – it’s free and very easy to learn), but the process of writing for games usually also involves confusing spreadsheets, sprawling JSON files and indecipherable notes on paper as well. With experience of working with multiple scripting languages and game engines, I am fast to learn new tools.

I would very much like to work with narrative direction and design for games in the future, and I’m always up for new challenges!

 

Writing samples

Interactive writing samples:

You can try or download my games on itch.io:

  • i didn’t make a game for this jam – an interactive non-fiction. Depending on choices, 2 – 10 minutes long. The story is in-browser and free, made in Twine: [ i didn’t make a game for this jam]

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  • Grumpy Librarian – A kafkaesque visual novel game with hand-drawn character illustrations, my first solodev project (I also wrote a long forum post about the development process which you can read here). Playtime is approximately 20 minutes, download for free for PC or Mac, or play-in-browser (note: load times may be a little slow). Grumpy Librarian was made using Ren’Py:

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Non-interactive fiction samples:

I hope to have a few more projects and traditionally formatted game writing samples out soon when the projects I’ve been involved with release. Until then, please contact me at classheikki [at] gmail.com for more samples of my game writing.

My ideal project would be to work on a magical RPG, a quirky dating sim, a story-driven mobile game, or perhaps a children’s book with bright and beautiful illustrations – things that make us enjoy life just a little bit more and create lasting emotional impressions.

 

Academic Writing

Publications:

  • Annakaisa Kultima, Christina Lassheikki, and Solip Park. 2020. Designing Games as Playable Concepts: Five Design Values for Tiny Embedded Educational Games. To be included in the DiGRA 2020 proceedings. (available on request on ResearchGate)
  • Annakaisa Kultima, Christina Lassheikki, and Solip Park. 2020. Playable (research) concepts workshop: translating your topics into tiny games. In Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Academic Mindtrek (AcademicMindtrek ’20). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 165–167. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3377290.3377321
  • Christina Lassheikki, Iina Nokelainen, Yuanqi Shan, Maximus Kaos, Martti Raevaara, Heikka Valja, and Perttu Hämäläinen. 2018. Fair and Encouraging – Developing an Automatic Assessment System in Aalto Drawing. In Proceedings of the 2018 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play Companion Extended Abstracts (CHI PLAY ’18 Extended Abstracts). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 337–344. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3270316.3270318

 

Comics

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Sequential art is, to me, the wonderful marriage of narrative and art, and one I wish to master one day.

You can now buy some of my comics on Gumroad – [Fairy Trade Coffee on Gumroad]!

As part of Fairy Trade Coffee, I have tabled at Zinefest Helsinki 2019 and 2018. My comics bibliography includes:

  • The Shortcut, 2018
  • Playing Running Away, 2016
  • Ecce Homo, 2017
  • Webcomic: Jump, Jump! – discontinued – 2014 – 2016 [here]
  • Webcomic: His Royal Master’s Loyal Scavengers –  discontinued – 2009 – 2012 [link]

NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month

igelkottsEvery year in November writers from around the world gather on the internet to usher each other into the magnificent abandon of writing a 50 000 word novel in thirty days. I joined the project in 2008 – at the age of 16 – and wrote a novel heavily inspired by Neil Gaiman and other favourite writers of that time. The experience was exhilarating, just the right amount of stressful, and very much driven by caffeine-fuelled determination. On the first of December I printed the first draft and promptly found a typo on the first page.

I  have so far taken part in NaNoWriMo nine times – in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. The only year I did not finish 50 000 words was 2016, when I decided to work on a comic instead since my story idea was not good enough.

The genres of my novels are a fairly good cross section of modern fantasy and science fiction genres. The novel of 2008, titled Samtal, could be described as magical realism with a mythological time travel twist. My 2009 novel again is a steampunk murder mystery, titled Memento Mori. In 2010 I wrote down the story that made me want to be a writer, a high fantasy story of world-saving adventure and magic. It, perhaps not too surprisingly, turned out to not be a very inventive or very good read.

In 2011, fresh out of high school, I wrote my first novel in English. The Distance Between Stars is, strictly speaking, perhaps not a novel, but a collection of short stories that intertwine in strange ways. It is mostly set in a not-too-distant future of space exploration and colonisation. It deals with themes of loneliness and human hubris, and that big question of and then what happened? 

2012 I decided to try my hand at writing for children. Berättelser om Kärnan is a planetary romance about friendship and growing up, connecting children around their shared experiences of abandonment. You can read a sample here. My 2013 novel The Astronomer’s Apprentice, also in English, again, connects people across time around a strange observatory. In 2014 I chose to write a young adult time travel romance set in Helsinki, called Räls.

My 2015 NaNoWriMo project, Espresso Comfort, was one of short stories, 50 of them. You can find them all online here – in Swedish – [Espresso Comfort].

You can connect with me on NaNoWriMo.org [here].