Zake, The Wordsmith

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7/28/2015

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5/22/2018 10:20 PM

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Hello! I am Zake. Welcome to my profile.

Writing is interesting.
Feel free to message me.

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Recent Posts

The Superhero Academy: please help on 5/16/2018 4:49:38 AM

Up to you, really. Also good to hear that this is still progressing along.

I was going to write a bunch of stuff regarding 'telling' plots, but I can't really put it all into words that well, so I'll just say that the finished product can be a lot better than the plot summary, or heck even vice versa. As such I'm not sure how beneficial it would be to give it to us, however I'm sure there are still some things you might get out of it.

Thus, as I said, up to you.


3 storylines in one on 5/6/2018 6:50:30 AM

Obligatory joke opening: Oh so you want people to write fanfiction for your fiction?
Now moving on.

I know that writing for someone else in their setting, I struggle because my writing style will probably not be the same as theirs, so it'll not fit together. Obviously, you mentioned this is what you'd want, so it is good that you recognise that people will probably write differently.

The next issue is that you don't want to write and mess up something. No matter how much you tell me about your world, there is no way you can tell me every detail and how it is in your head. This puts pressure on the writer, which might lead to them ignoring the details to avoid getting them wrong, which can mess with the writing quality. Also if they assume something and it is important, but then they find the assumption is wrong, it can really ruin the ideas they built in their heads.

Being flexible with your world is probably big here, and talking it out with the writer if they do mess up to see what can be done. Obviously this can ruin the intended vision of your project, which you don't want, so it is pretty tough to manage.

Granted, I never really wrote for someone else, so these points might not be as big as I think they are, but I wanted to mention them regardless.

Anyway, I'm fine with more experimental cyoa's as long as you, the writer, are consciously deciding to do things the way you are. Normally a highly linear story would be bad, cause of the sites namesake, but keep in mind that your story STILL has choices. Sure, it might take longer for some to take effect, and that is the risky part. I'd say that it is still fine, just make sure your writing (or the coauthors) pulls the reader in so they keep reading despite the initial part not meeting expectations.

Moving back to coauthors, I haven't looked at the google doc yet, but I'm getting the feeling that you have a pretty thought out idea, which means you are invested. Getting random's to contribute leaves a lot of room for disaster, since you'd ideally want them to be as invested as you are. I'm pretty sure you won't be paying the coauthors, which means you probably won't be getting professional level stuff, and they likely won't act very professional. People will probably prioritise other things over your story, which can make it feel like nothing is getting done.

Anyway, this obviously depends on the coauthor, so I guess you just need to make sure you find the right people. Just, personally, I'd say that even if you find someone who seems perfect, be prepared for them to give up half way through, or something. I might be biased, but I'm pretty sure there are plenty of people who lose motivation or just change priorities.

Finally, I wish you luck, and I do wonder if any people will offer to coauthor, since it is quite the undertaking, but would be pretty fun to even just look on from the sidelines.

TL;DR
Good luck figuring this out, quite the pickle if you ask me. Anyway, I'd say go for it, breaking reader expectations isn't a bad thing, it is just generally harder to do right.

EDIT P.S.
Hey I remember you posting about this (world at least) before, so you're definitely invested! Anyway, I looked through the google doc and you definitely seem to have a solid idea (of the world, and plot given the thread,) which is good.


HELP: Accessing pics and scripts deletes them on 5/4/2018 11:07:54 PM

Try turning off the Rich Text Editor on your profile. I'm pretty sure that should help, as from what I recall the RTE is rather buggy when it comes to interactions with certain features.

You'll lose the simple functionality that it provides with the buttons, but you can still get the same effects with html. It isn't too complicated, and as you are using scripting, I'm sure you'll be able to figure out the necessary basics.


The Superhero Academy: please help on 4/30/2018 11:16:19 PM

PIP
Neat, just a bit redundant for the first PIP page to tell you how many credits you have, since it is always displayed on the bottom of the page. However, I don't think you should change this, since it is convenient to not have to open the PIP every time you want to see your credits total. Also, the way it is now makes it clear that the PIP is what is holding your credits (in a sense).

Also why the font change for 'credits' after the first PIP version? Looking at it, Version 1:
"You unlock your PIP and look at the options.

You have 150 credits currently stored in your PIP."

Version 2:
"You unlock your PIP and look at your options.

You have 150 CREDITS."

Spot the difference. I advise keeping it consistent across the versions, unless you got some reason for not doing so. Version 3 also has different wording as well. (NOTE - Font not changed in this extract, since I'm lazy xd)

Interesting that you chose to use another item when your PIP gets updated. Might be easier to just use link restrictions and 1 variable to track what your PIP knows so far. i.e. PIPSTATE = 1, has hero article. PIPSTATE = 2, link that requires PIPSTATE > 1 unlocks, giving you your schedule.
Worth considering, since I think it might be easier in the long run. You can make a test storygame to mess around with the restrictions and stuff, to make sure you don't accidentally mess up anything.

Actually, thinking about it, I feel obligated to mention that using a unique variable for each link means they can be unlocked in any order, i.e. PAID4INFO = 0, cannot access page, PAID4INFO = 1, can access page. This means that if player DOESN'T pay for info, but gets a future update later, it will be easy to implement. As it is, you will need different combinations of items for each possible update, which will become a huge pain depending on how many optional updates there are. One variable works if it always updates in the same order, but it doesn't look like it will.

Storybooks
Hmm, I don't think you messed up or anything, just wanted to point out that the book and author name are interesting choices (talking about The One's book here). The suggested tone seems to be on the darker side.

I also worry about how you'll handle updating the "Being a superhero" item, since if you do the whole replacing the item thing it would be difficult (I imagine). I guess there is a way to use a variable that, when you use the item, takes you to a page depending on what it's value is. The issue with that is that it won't allow reading older chapters, unless you add those links to the pages as they unlock. Actually that should work, so similar to what I suggested regarding the PIP, with variable restrictions locking off content by making links inaccessible.

Also, when I try using "Shadows in the Dark" item after clicking "Talk to Lydia", it doesn't give it to her. I'm assuming it is going to be given latter, but just want to mention this in case it isn't and the item script just isn't working.

Errors
I can buy infinite foodbars, the link for buying them doesn't detract from my credits total. Infinite HP! Just fix the link, so that it actually detracts from credits (don't forget to ensure it can't be clicked if I don't have enough credits to buy it, unless you are fine w/ debt [negative credits]).

After buying information and both books, I clicked the "Look for something else to do" link, and got taken to "Get your schedule" page. This forces me to take the OLD PIP, which means I now have TWO PIPS, one being "Personal Information Pad" and the other "Your PIP".

Variables/Scripting
Just wondering, did you set these to advanced? I get the feeling you might have done advanced editor but not changed any of the settings, which means scripting is disabled and you lack some functionality (as far as I am aware).

TL;DR
Looking good, I suggest consistency with displayed text for all PIP versions, remember to proofread as you go to fix errors with links and stuff, and good luck with all them items. Also, the text changes I noticed all looked like improvements, so good job with that.


Call-out thread on 4/29/2018 6:11:00 PM

Never fear, more of my time is getting freed up, so as long as I don't waste it watching crap YouTube videos, I should be able to contribute more.

Writing a story would be pretty great, but there are plenty of hurdles I need to get over. Will probably be posting in the Writing Workshop when I get something more substantial written up, since I doubt anyone wants to read two pages that can't stand up on their own.

Anyhow, I thought about trying to read and comment on every storygame on the site, but thinking about the effort that goes into just reading through and finding all the paths, I tend to discourage myself. I did leave one comment following this scheme tho, and it was way too long. Hmm, now I think maybe I should pm authors rather than commenting.

Oh, also, I now wonder if making a 4th pseudo order would count as contributing. I'm sure I can find two people, how hard can it be!

TL;DR
I'll try writing something, someone wise told me it is easy.


The Superhero Academy: please help on 4/29/2018 4:33:27 AM

Hmm, if I were you I'd just go with something like the school wants you writing your work down in a book because: it verifies it is your work (not copy pasted), but even if you are copying the long way you are still committing it to memory better than if you had just gone ctrl+c then ctrl+v.
Also teachers can see your book fill up as you go. Granted, sharing documents and versions is very much possible, so this can't really be a standalone reason, but you add it together with other ones.
My personal favourite since it adds some humour, the academy wants you writing a lot so your handwriting gets good so when you give autographs they aren't shit.

Obviously you can just have: books are used because author wants books to be used.
Possible to avoid acknowledging/mentioning this throughout the story, so that readers don't think about it. Obviously the issue is that if they do think about it, it might mess with their immersion a bit, but I really doubt it'd have a huge effect on the story experience.

Main thing is coming up with a reason for why books and writing are chosen over computers and typing. There can be reasons, but oh boy is typing convenient for a number of reasons (being easier to read and thus mark, also easier to check for plagiarism, duplicates are quicker to make [photocopying is slower than ctrl+c and ctrl+v]).
Anyway, it is the future, you can always go with:
We got so many books we ought to use them for something. More environmentally friendly (tho you are still chopping down trees... or do you make paper in some new way? Idk what is more environmentally friendly irl if I'm being honest).

Ugh, hopefully something gives you an idea. Just don't worry about it too much, not really pivotal to the plot, so feel free to get creative (or be very dull), as it can help develop the tone. Tho it would also be developing the world some more, so I guess it isn't as unimportant as I thought (still not pivotal tho, I assume).

TL;DR
Dw about it too much. Anything can work, or it can just be a thing done as it is "because".

P.S. Heh, wouldn't want you feeling bad. xD


The Superhero Academy: please help on 4/29/2018 2:27:11 AM

Don't need to mention me, concise descriptions are pretty important, I'm just glad it's helpful.

Will also mention that it is pretty heartening to see your responses to the things I mention, as it alleviates a lot of my fears that crop up when people ask for feedback.

The wallet could be an old PIP variant that still has some credits, and then the reader transfers it to theirs. Just offering a suggestion, you would have a much better idea of what makes sense for the setting, after all.

Regarding the shop keep your explanation is very helpful, and does explain why she is charging people like that. Seeing as she'll come up again, leaving that scene as is can be pretty good, since it helps get readers wondering about her. Did for me at least.

If you stay consistent regarding calling the group the Opposition, it should be fine. Heck, the name stands out pretty well, so it might be one of the better ones. Also (I assume) it's obviously a significant thing to be considered the Opposition by people, since it carries some negative connotation (if you ask me), which can definitely do some useful things for establishing the world without wasting words.

Do be wary turning the PIP into a mini encyclopedia, or whatever, since that can become a bit painful to implement. It could be a nice addition, but I just feel it might have some challenges with the implementation. If you don't go overboard with it tho, it should be relatively easy to add in. Just be careful to not force players to go through the PIP constantly to access their inventory or something, think about what the experience of actually using the finished version should be, since you don't want it detracting from the storygame experience. Heck, that goes for most things you do, since you want to have a good finished storygame experience. I'd say items themselves can easily become a hassle (which you usually don't want), and so it is important to think about how they work in the story, to avoid a bad outcome.

Finally, I will mention that a retarded economy can actually make sense. xd
Put in other words, economies don't tend to be perfect, but since the story isn't focused on it, I just want to make sure you don't completely neglect it or forget to think a bit about it. You'd be surprised what a little thought can do in regards to helping flesh some side ideas out, which can then help the main ideas shine more.

Anyway, enough from me, this ended up a lot longer than I intended, but that's not really a bad thing. As such, good luck writing (and thinking about) the story!

TL;DR
Strong responses from you, feels good to see them. Good luck with the writing, definitely seem to be on the right path, just trying to help you avoid some of the small pit falls that tend to be harder to spot.


Mizal, Steve and Ebon threeway on 4/28/2018 10:46:43 AM

I'm going to assume you are all different orders of crusaders, or something, but to be fair, you are the only one who seems to have a legit following at the moment.

I do wonder what sort of tests will take place to determine the best order tho, as right now I feel it'd just involve standing in a shed not doing anything. As such, I will continue to just run circles in a field, for the time being at least.


The Superhero Academy: please help on 4/28/2018 6:42:36 AM

Woo, nice, you kept writing. Will see what I can add. Post Writing Note - I nitpick more this time around, tell me if it is useful or just annoying. xD

Start
The start definitely looks better now. Helps establish things in a more show than tell way. There being more nods at the futuristic setting is also nice. Credits also helps point at a future setting, and is way less jarring than Dome money.

Academy
Bored adult on train gets very little description, so without you explicitly stating later if I am meeting them again, I won't know. Obviously, they might not be important in anyway, just a normal supervisor of the academy or whatever. However, if they are an important character and you wanted to give us a sneak peak, you might want to just give an extra sentence to help give him more of a character to them than just 'bored'.

I will also mention that I wonder how someone ends up with the name Merlin in a future setting. I mean, it is fine, name your characters what you want, and honestly getting good names can be a challenge. It is just that I personally find it weird, since the presidents parents basically named their kid after a character that they really liked. Wonder if the doctor/nurse found it strange when they saw their name application (or whatever is handed over when a baby is born).

Description/Pacing
I feel I should mention that I like the way you are handling descriptions so far. It isn't drawn out but there is still enough to form a picture in my head. I do think my view on this is heavily influenced by it being used at the start of the story, as at this point in time you generally want to have things progressing at a decent rate, to keep readers interested as they learn more so that they can get invested.

However, I do worry that if the descriptions stay at this level the whole time it might lead to the story feeling bland later on, when I end up being more invested and wanting more heavy details. With that said, who knows, I might be worrying for no good reason. Since you have mentioned having a plot in mind, it should turn out well as long as you can execute that well.

Gameplay
So far it mainly seems to be a "here is a page with many choices, pick as many as you want" type thing. Nothing wrong with that, I just do wonder how much of an impact these choices will actually have. You are obviously using variables (probably scripting too?) which makes me worried, as there are many bad ways for this to turn out (and many good ways of course, but I like to worry), such as: a highly linear story, a convoluted story with useless variables, or an extremely branching story that will end up never getting finished. Just don't forget about the bigger picture and you should be fine.

Also, it does look like a bottle neck style CYOA, which I like, so honestly, as long as you spend some time thinking about why you are offering choices and what you plan to do with them it should turn out well. I will mention having choices to grant the illusion of choice isn't necessarily bad either. Oh also, I like that my character stealing was mentioned on the train (using on page variables text thing, I assume,) which is nice. I also stole the wallet this read again as I assumed it wouldn't matter, but would just give me more money, yet that text addition made me think that it could end up mattering after all! Even if it doesn't, still a nice mention.

The Opposition
Is this what the 'bad guys' will be called? Just sounds... odd. Like, is their organisation/group/party called "the Opposition"? Since such a name for a group just wouldn't make sense if they end up truly wining, since then they won't have opposition which means they aren't 'the opposition' to anyone. I don't know, might be overthinking it. Heck, if there is a reason for that name it might even be a good name, but so far it just jolts me a little when I read it. Also, it read fine in the newspaper, but I wasn't reading it as their name then, but rather a description of what they were, in regards to the academy.

Shop
Oh also, asking for 100 credits from twelve year old's to tell them political propaganda seems really weird to me. Like, how did such a deal come about? Did the Opposition walk up to a random shopkeeper in the academy and go:
"Hey you, here, see this piece of paper? Read it aloud to new students in order to implant ideas into their heads. I'll make it worth your while."
"Oh sure, but I'll charge them for it so I make even more money!"
"..."
"What?"
"Genius! Just remember, you don't know me." *end scene*

Great, now I am wondering about the world's economy. Is 1 credit == 1$? Or is it different? Since 100 bucks for a few sentences that seem to be something the source would want given away for free seems odd. I might have misunderstood something, or be thinking about this the wrong way. Also I do wonder if me paying for that information is tracked by a variable, hmm. Anyway... moving on. (Oh also, the credit economy doesn't really matter, it is not the focus of the story, just make sure stuff costs makes sense relative to the costs of other things).

Schedule
I wonder what font you used for this. Granted, it is a schedule given to kids, so it isn't immersion breaking or anything. I just wonder if it is a font that an organisation would use on a schedule for kids irl. This is a bit of a nitpick, but the main thing is for you to consider if it makes sense to you. If you see nothing wrong with it don't change it, I'm no expert but am just questioning it for the sake of questioning it.

While I'm here, I might as well mention... how long are the periods? Like obviously no one expects you to make the perfect education system schedule or anything, but I'm just curious if "common education" is given the same time allocation as "superhero theory" or "breakfast". OK, I do assume that eating takes less time than learning, but lack of time allocation on a schedule is interesting.

Heck, while I am nitpicking I might mention that it is odd that they don't let you upload this stuff on your PIP (good acronym btw). It is the future with handed out schedules which don't tell you when but only where! Anyway, I will say that coming up with time allocation would be pretty tough, as you do need to make it up and leaving it open can be very helpful in regards to writing the scenes. Vagueness is a powerful tool that you can use of in writing way more than in some other media (like movies, where timing is huge). Honestly tho, you probably don't need to worry about this at the moment. Just think about it if you want.

School
Wish my school gave me money when I done well on assignments... obviously this is a good game mechanic, since it lets you give readers credits, but thinking of it from a world perspective, I wonder why you had to pay for the form if they'll give you many times that amount latter (I am assuming at the moment that they will, at least). Also, the government must be loaded to be able to pay people for education regarding superpowers, tho to be fair it is probably covered by the military budget (cough*socialcommentaryignoreme*cough). However, keeping this system in might actually be a good idea, as again, it makes sense game wise, need a way to earn credits after all (and it does help to not have some other crazy way to earn creds instead).

PLOT
Oh also, I'm gonna say some guesses regarding where this is going, so you can see if I made correct assumptions or not as a reader. So... spoilers ahead... maybe.

The Opposition is actually the good guys, Lydia is the daughter of someone important (and is part of the Opposition), my family will not be mentioned ever again except maybe in some hostage situation, Merlin is secretly either really good or really evil. Hmm, what else can I come up with... ugh, there will be two main paths, one where I work for the Academy, the other where I work for the Opposition, unless you are partially crazy and offer a THIRD main path where I make my own faction or something. Anyway, those are my main thoughts.

Oh quick addition, I thought of Lydia as crazy when she said it was all lies, so I went back to the shop (go back button) to buy the information to see if I would think differently if I had heard that, I didn't. Obviously there is a limit to how much tracking you can do regarding stuff, since you want to avoid swamping yourself, but I am mentioning this since it stood out a bit to me.

Items
Adding this before posting, just wanted to say that items appear pretty useless at the moment, but if I am honest I barely tried to use them. I did try giving the book to Lydia when she mentioned using up all her money that she was saving for a book, but I didn't think it'd work due to the last sentence on that page, but I still tried. Hmm... now I think Lydia isn't important as she can't afford a book (tho plenty of ways to explain this away, so won't edit past part).

Conclusion
Definitely on the right path, your reply in this thread and seeing what you have added has increased my hope that this will actually be good. My expectations are now rising, hope they don't end up shattering from a fall. As such, keep writing! Finally, as I will never stop mentioning, remember to proofread at the end (and throughout). With all that, good luck and keep writing!

TL;DR
It has gotten better, I am more confident this will turn out well now as well. So keep writing and proofread at the end to ensure it all connects well.

P.S. Adding more to the descriptions/pacing part, I tend to go overboard in the wrong places when writing descriptions myself, so my worries might be just me comparing your writing to mine, and thinking that you might end up going down the wrong path since it isn't what I do. Can you see the issue with this? Anyway, main thing, remember to proofread at the end to see how it all ends up fitting together. That way you can fix any pacing issues that may arise, by altering the way you give descriptions as necessary.

P.P.S. Hmm... if bitcoin/cryptocurrency becomes huge it will be very weird for people in the future to read this story, they'll wonder what sort of idiot still has a wallet with 150 bucks in it. I am sorta joking here btw, obviously times change and people in the future should be smart enough to notice the publish date, but I just felt like mentioning this after writing the economy part under shop.

P.P.P.S. Hope you get something useful out of this, feels like I might have rambled a bit, but I still stand by my points until they are shot down. Anyway, that is all! Good luck writing.


The Superhero Academy: please help on 4/27/2018 8:19:46 PM

Hmm I will admit I forget about the maturity ratings being a thing, as that would definitely effect what sort of story they'd be going for (I imagine). Definitely worth keeping in mind your general audience as you write.

Anyway good point regarding young characters, guess I just couldn't think of any examples at the time despite there being plenty. As such it is probably more doable than I initially thought. I will just shift my point a bit and say that character development should still not be a sudden jump from a happy kid w/ a normal life to a super hero bad-ass... but I bet there is a way to do that too, so I guess it just needs some explanation for me to be fine with it.