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Literary Ambitions (Guide)

From Fallen London Wiki

Abstract: draft, rewrite, publish - the art of writing and making money.

Literary Ambitions[edit source]

This is a storylet in The Singing Mandrake. It's only listed here for completion's sake, and to avoid confusion.

This storylet shows different options (based on the Airs of London) to write something for a commission, but has nothing to do with writing Short Stories, which is what the rest of this guide is about.

The Writer's Desk[edit source]

The Writer's Desk generates a Short Story, which so far has (nearly) no other purpose than to improve the author's budget. The task of creating Manuscript Pages with a Potential to become a Short Story is based on Fox.png Persuasive. The final outcome (and thus the author's income) is based on the quality of the created manuscript.

Begin a Work[edit source]

You Begin a Work and Write a Short Story. You now have Papers4.png 1 x Manuscript Page with a Potential of 20.

Note: Throughout the process of creating a Short Story you can pause or step back and forth between the different stages without any penalty. But now that you are Working on... a Short Story you should not simultaneously try Shaping a Masterpiece for the Empress otherwise Something is wrong!


Work on your story![edit source]

In fact you can move on to improve the script's Potential at Rework and Finish! when you have Papers4.png 3 x Manuscript Pages, but to finish your Short Story you will need at least 10 of them.

You start with 20 Potential, which represents the script's quality and ability to become a certain Short Story. The higher your Potential the better the chance to make it a more valuable Short Story. If you let this drop to 0 your script will become a useless Wreckage!, and you have to Consign it to the flames.

With 20 Potential (and the reluctance to spend expensive items), you should have about 30-45 pages before you advance, for the editing process will consume pages until Potential hits 60. You may want to try Laudanum! in the beginning to push Potential - or burn your script if it goes awfully wrong. The use of Laudanum! later on is either not advisable or desperate.

The Writer's Desk: work on your story!
Option AP Success Failure Note
pages potential pages potential
Write. 5 +5 -1 occasionally +1 Fox.png 10 
Write rapidly. 4 +5 -1 occasionally +1 Fox.png 40 
Write frantically 4 +6 -1 occasionally +1 -2 Fox.png 100 
Write frenziedly 3 +6 -2 occasionally +1 -2 Fox.png 150 
Use Typewriter 4 +5 +1 -1 Fox.png 50 
Typewriter.png Ornate Typewriter
Use Laudanum!
(50% Luck)
3 +3 +10
(up to 100)
+1 -10 Bottleclear.png Laudanum
Sidebarwounds.png + 1 CP Wounds
Use Honey!
(60% Luck)
3 +2 +2
(up to 160)
+1 -2 Honey.png -50 x Honey


Rework![edit source]

At an early stage of the reworking process you can either use your raw material or some specific items to increase Potential. Higher quality Short Stories require more valuable items (or a daring use of Laudanum!. Except for Touching Love Story, Favour in High Places and Trade Secret all items worth 2.50 echoes or more will also give 1-2 points of menace - even on a success.

The Writer's Desk: rework!
Option Item Cost Gain[1] Limit[2]
Quillsmall.png A Cautious Edit Papers4.png 1 x Manuscript Page 1 (4) 25 (45)
Knife2small.png A Daring Edit Papers4.png 1 x Manuscript Page 2 60
Heartsmall.png Incorporate romance Heart.png Romantic Notion 0.10 2 60
Gossipsmall.png Spice it with gossip Conversation.png Scrap of Incendiary Gossip 0.50 2 60
Jigsawsmall.png Use your Case Notes Writer.png Compilation of Case-Notes 2
Scaryeyesmall.png Add a touch of darkness Scaryeye.png Tale of Terror!! 0.50 2 70
Papers3small.png Compromising Document 2 Papers3.png Compromising Document 0.50 2 70
Wakesmall.png Include something exotic Wake.png Memory of Distant Shores 0.50 2 80
Blackjacksmall.png Incorporate life-lessons Fist.png 5  Hard-Earned Lesson 3 80
Waves3small.png Add a dash of zee-adventure! Waves3.png Zee-Ztory 0.50 2 90
Implicationsmall.png Weave in esoteric elements Implication.png Extraordinary Implication 2.50 5 100
Adorationsmall.png Add a dash of heartbreak Adoration.png Touching Love Story 2.50 5 110
Masksatinsmall.png Not an entirely fictional character... Mask.png An Identity Uncovered! 2.50 5 110
Baldmansmall.png Ask your most exalted contacts for inside information Baldman.png Favour in High Places 12.50 12 140
Newgatesmall.png Publish... and be damned. Newgate.png Blackmail Material 12.50 12 150
Papers4small.png A rare lesson Papers4.png Trade Secret 60 25
  1. Rare occasions in brackets.
  2. This is not only the potential cap, but also the difficulty level for this Persuasive challenge, which means a 60% success rate if it equals your quality.

You may go Back to writing... or finally Finish your Short Story.


Finish a Short Story[edit source]

Go back, if your story is Not quite ready yet... or finish it off if you have at least 10 pages with 16 Potential. Publishing is a potential challenge, consumes all created pages and might add some Making Waves. Failing degrades your story two tiers. Echoes sale price is in brackets - although not higher math, for your convenience the last column shows the value loss on a failure.

The Writer's Desk: finish a Short Story
up to
Potentially Success Failure Loss
16 Papers4.png 62  acceptable Story.png (2) Storyunloved.png (1) 1
32 Papers4.png 62  competent Storycompetent.png (10) Storyunloved.png (1) 9
50 Papers4.png Heart.png Conversation.png Writer.png 62 
Scaryeye.png Papers3.png 72 
compelling Storycompelling.png (30) Storycompetent.png (10) 20
70 Wake.png 81 
5xFist.png 83 
thrilling Storythrilling.png (50) Storycompetent.png (10) 40
80 Waves3.png 92  exceptional Storyexceptional.png (60) Storycompelling.png (30) 30
90 Implication.png 105  extraordinary Storyextraordinary.png(70) Storythrilling.png (50) 20
100 Adoration.png Mask.png 115 
Baldman.png 152  Newgate.png 162 
masterful Storymasterful.png (80) Storyexceptional.png (60) 20
150 Papers4.png celebrated Storycelebrated.png (130) Storyextraordinary.png (70) 60
200 classic Storyclassic.png (180) Storymasterful.png (80) 100

Final notes:

  • Once you’ve completed your Short Story, you’re ready to start again and write another!
  • A Compelling Short Story has a real bad ratio on action points for what it's worth in the end, if you don't push your Potential with some Laudanum.
  • A failure on A Thrilling Short Story is a real pain, so it seems advisable to rather aim for An Exceptional Short Story.
  • The optimal way to earn the most echoes and Making Waves per action with modified Persuasive 183+ is to grind Touching Love Stories in Polythreme, use Laudanum! and scrap it if it fails, then use either Write frantically or Write frenziedly if you have high enough Persuasive, then use your love stories to increase Potential to 110. Not counting the zee trips since the impact of those approaches zero as the amount of time spent overzee increases, this gives 1.73 echoes and 0.746 Making Waves per action.
  • A Celebrated Short Story is already expensive, risky and hard to achieve, but, if there's no serious need, to aim for a classic is quite insane - it requires a minimum of 2 Trade Secrets, which take 8 weeks to gather and sell for 120 echoes directly or can be converted to 250 echoes of items, whereas the Short Story goes away for 180. Of course, some Londoners are insane.
  • Advance from Journalist to Author
    • This needs an Storyexceptional.png Exceptional Short Story to advance from tier 2 to tier 3.
    • And as the card claims: "Being an Author […] pays better than Journalism" - well, at least every tier 3 profession does pay better than its tier 2 variant and this does NOT mean that Short Story authoring or anything else is being paid better to journalists.