The Let's Play Archive

The Novelist

by ThatPazuzu

Part 1: Writer's Block

Writer’s Block: After a week at the Hou

Each chapter starts like this, with a typewriter writing the title and starting to describe it.
You might notice that we have a particular angle on the room. As much fun as it would be, this isn’t a Very Tall Man Simulator. That game doesn't even exist. No, it’s a Light Being Monster Simulator!

Yup, we’re possessing a ceiling lamp. It’s one of the many perks of being a telepathic light monster. While possessing an object, things look a bit desaturated and we’re invisible to the Kaplan family. If they see us, then they get hella spooked and we might lose the ability to influence them that chapter. But I'm on story mode so that won't be a problem.

If you look out the window you see a dusky ocean view. The weather is actually (mostly) random. Sometimes the game will start at sunset, for example.

This is another important mechanic. We can teleport between light sources. We can’t be seen while hopping between light sources but walking around is necessary to reach most notes so it’s a trade off. We can also make lights flicker to draw the family away from places we want to go on stealth mode.


You might have noticed this note in the chapter intro screen. If you’ve guessed that we need to read it, then you now know how to play the Novelist. It’s a note-collecting story game, similar to Gone Home. Except no one says it's not a real game because you're a light monster and not a woman.

So it seems like Dan's the titular novelist. He's also a pretentious dudeguy who likes to break out his appreciation of Joyce and Dickens in a friendly letter.

In Dan’s study on the second floor, AKA where the magic happens, we can see his typewriter. This game isn’t set in the past as far as I know, it’s just Dan using an old-timey and inconvenient method for his writing. I mean, he has record player and rabbit ear tv downstairs. Dan’s just That Guy.

Anyway, there’s a little blue notebook on his desk. Let’s invade that privacy!

Those are a lot of words about not being able to write any words.

That said, we can see the titular writer’s block here and how his career is falling apart. He seems pretty far behind but maybe a light monster can get him back on track. It also gives so insight on why he's here at all: to simplify his life.

In his bedroom around the corner we can see their baby blue-painted mirror. It’s starting to make sense how he could afford this place. There’s a note on the desk but we’re going through Dan’s storyline right now so we’re going to focus on the purple notebook behind the desk instead

So the notebook contains his ideas for his novel. It’s… kind of terribly generic drama but whatever, it’s his rough draft.

Now we need to find Dan. Sometimes he'll be clacking on the typewriter, other times he'll be watching tv. Here he is staring out the window wistfully. Another perk of being a Nebulous Telepathic Light Monster is that we can just read people's minds on a whim.

Here we see why Dan's really here: to escape the trappings back home and focus on his novel.

Actually, screw just reading minds, let’s invade them! That's right, if we get close enough, we can jump into someone's recent memories.

“Do you think coming here will help?”-Linda
“It has to.”-Dan

In his mind we find the memory of Linda helping Dan set up his office. They don't move and only talk when clicked on. Also, each memory hums loudly to help you find it.

Another hum leads us downstairs to find Memory Dan writing at the dinner table.

As a self-identified emotional sponge, I get this. Anyway, this is the last thing in Dan’s memory and his final note this chapter. Because we’ve collected everything important to Dan this chapter, something will change when we leave his memory.

Now that we have all his memories/notes, Dan reveals that he wants his lost notebook. Now, we’ve found that notebook: it’s one of like 5 things in his bedroom. But Dan will never ever find it without supernatural assistance. And it’s not like he can think of something as brilliant as “Alice sees them as she’s walking” by on his own.

We can choose to find his notebook now and take his solution. However, if we don’t find someone else’s notes/memories we won’t be able to form a compromise. So let’s see what’s up with his wife, Linda. Also, yeah, he changes rooms because it took me a few tries to get all my screenshots.


Notes aren’t organized neatly in this house so in order to get to Linda’s note we need to go back to the living room and inspect the front door.

It seems like we have an artist here.

Even though her name isn’t on the actual paper, “Linda 1 of 3 Clues Found” pops up to let us know that this is indeed her to-do list.

And we find Linda hard at work in her conservatory. Notice the blank canvasses to her right? Those will get filled in as time goes on.

Here’s her painting so fair. It’s… something. Don’t know why she has the rainbow color palette next to her if she is only using grey but who am I to judge the process of a creative mind? Anyway, let's look at the note

Lucky for us, her diary is just out in the open. Like every note.

We are not a backed up toilet and there’s nothing wrong with us, Linda. <> We’re just a telepathic light monster that toys with the minds of all who dare enter our domain, is all.

So, it seems like Linda hasn’t been painting for a while. Nonetheless, she seems to really enjoy it. Unlike Dan who writes for a living and is incredibly frustrated with it at the moment.

Because there aren’t a lot of rooms in this house, we need to go to the bedroom again to find her final note.

There isn’t much new in this note besides that she’s worried about their son, Tommy. It just seems to be general mom-worry though.

Now that we’ve done our snooping it’s time to do some mind probing!

Apparently, Linda has taken a break from painting to stare wistfully out the window. This is a family trait, I suppose.

Woah, it seems like there’s more going on here that just her desire to paint. It looks like we’re going to have to explore her memory to see what’s up.

Huh, all her memories are concentrated on this floor. Let’s see what Floor Linda’s writing first.

Oh. There is definitely more going on here. Their marriage is falling apart and she’s trying to hide it from her son. But they’re giving it another shot. Could the meddling of an omnipotent light being is exactly what this couple needs?

"I promise"-Dan
"Me too"-Linda

So it seems like they are trying to work on things, at least. This memory is really sad, let’s leave and see what Linda wants.

So she wants to have drink and hang out with her husband. That seems reasonable but, then again, the livelihood of the entire household is at risk.


Okay, let’s hope Tommy’s story is less sad. Hey what’s that on the window?

Oh, goddamn it! Well, I guess this is a good time to explain that Tommy doesn’t write notes like the others. He draws crude pictures of his emotions instead, making him a juvenile psychologist’s dream.

It seems like Linda isn’t the only one being neglected by Dan. Let’s see if we can’t find another of his drawings.

Aww, he made a picture in the conservatory, just like mommy.

So it seems like Tommy wants to spend time with his daddy even though he’s been rebuffed. This is actually pretty cute. Let’s see if we can’t find a third note to destroy this smile.

Yup, Tommy’s final note is the one on the bedroom desk. Let’s finally see what it says.

Oh, sorry about the message in the corner. I didn't notice it until it was too late. vv

Aww, it seems like he’s falling behind in school. So, while his parents have all of their own drama, now they need to focus on helping their child learn things too.

Is this what being an adult is like? Can I stay a babyman forever?

Here we see Tommy playing with a different toy in a slightly different location. Let’s jump into those memories and finish this update, yeah?

Ethereal Memory Tommy is still in his room. Even is his mind he isn’t allowed to get more than 20 feet away from his kite, I guess.

Oh. Apparently Tommy feels really badly about his relationship with Dan and it makes him want to cry.

He also drew his father with a snake-oil salesman mustache which kind of owns.

"Are there any other kids?"-Tommy
"We’ll have to find out."-Dan

Tommy somehow managed to escape his room AND make it outside. This is the only time anyone leaves the confines of the house, by the way.

So finally we get to Tommy’s desire: bonding with his father. It’s a simple and worthy goal but how does it compare to providing for your family or saving your marriage? That’s a tough one that I’m relying on the wise minds of Let’s Play goons to decide.

Remember: You’re allowed to vote twice. The character with the most votes get their desire accomplished, the character with the second most gets theirs partially accomplished and the character with the least votes does not achieve their goal that day. Get votin' and discussin', ya goons!