I came up with a short story to give this character a personality, and to explain his behavior. I had no intention of writing any sort of substantial work. I set down what is now the first three chapters of the book, and posted it to my website. I expected to be more or less ignored, since the internet is lousy with fan-fiction (which is in itself mostly lousy) and I had little hope that my story would attract anyone. To my surprise, I got quite a bit of email and encouragement from both friends and strangers, which was enough to keep me going and interested to the end of chapter seven. At that point I had met my initial goal of translating the two-minute movie into prose.
While I was happy with how the short story had developed, I found the ending very unsatisfying. For anyone who wasn't familiar with the game, it wouldn't make sense to stop the story there at all. It was, of course, the beginning of the game. At the same time, I was getting quite a bit of email from fans who assumed I was going to keep going and translate the whole thing. At that point I wondered if I was capable of writing a book. I decided to find out.
The rest of the book was written and released a chapter at a time over the course of a year. There was a forum on this site where readers would leave comments and bug me to hurry up on the next chapter. Because it was released as a serial, I fell into a lot of habits common to serial storytelling. Notably, I had a number of cliffhanger endings. Partly this was done because it was fun to have the character in a seemingly impossible situation and to see the various posts from readers as they speculated how he might escape. I was also anxious that the long delays between chapters might cause people to lose interest and stop reading, and I wanted to make sure they came back. In the end, I don't think I needed to worry, since readership grew during the project and wasn't noticeably affected by the type of ending I'd used in the most recent chapter.
In turning the events of the actual game itself into prose, I found that I needed to take quite a bit of liberty with the story to make things interesting. In fact, it would be a stretch to say this story is based on the game. More accurately, this story is based on the same premise as the game. This earned me a bit of ire from fans of the original work, although I'm confident the book is better for it. Computer games are exciting to play, but would be hopelessly dull if converted directly into a narrative. This is particularly true for older games: