Zake, The Wordsmith

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11/21/2017 6:04 AM

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Esteemed Architect



Hello! I am Zake. Welcome to my profile.

Writing is fun.
Feel free to message me.

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Recent Posts

First Game on 11/20/2017 8:20:48 PM

Minimum Site Standards for Storygames

"We're not expecting perfection."

Just make sure your stuff meets this and don't worry about people's comments. Usually comments that point out mistakes and what not (criticism) is supposed to help the writer improve. With that said there is always room to improve, or at least that is what I think, and as such if you don't want to try and improve because you feel you are good enough/happy with yourself, then you don't need to worry about it.

Don't misinterpret comments left by people trying to be helpful as insults. Most people won't go around trying to be mean for no good reason. There are some who's writing tends to come of that way, but they are probably going for the 'tough love' approach (although thinking about it there is a whole number of reasons it might appear this way).

Obviously if you can't be bothered and just hate the idea of people criticising your work, and you can't find the power to not care, it can suck. Don't let it demotivate you. Pretty sure that even if you ignore criticism and just write you will end up improving, although it might be at a slower pace.

Do note that this site has a... rather open approach to handling what people can and can't say. You can say almost anything, even more depending on context (from what I gather). As such it might feel a bit different to sites that control what is deemed appropriate more heavily.
You can always try looking for a site that doesn't allow criticism and what not if that is more your cup of tea (or one that lets you disable comments, or just doesn't have them).

Then again I might have completely misunderstood this post and all I wrote here is irrelevant. If so, whoops.

People are given the power to comment, usually readers who leave comments have good intentions, there is always room to improve, try not to worry about it if you don't want to, and there might be a better site for you out there.

Pretty sure super long storygames by people who aren't 'famous' tend to get very few comments. If you want to avoid comments write something super long, then publish just before a bunch of contest enteries come out. This will push your storygame into the void where few people will read it, and fewer still will comment (oh and don't enter the contest).

For the Order! on 11/4/2017 1:40:41 AM

My ploy has been uncovered.

On that note, I think the best way to rack up commendations is by getting featured comments. However if a person is clever enough, writing heaps of articles (10 commendations for each one if I recall correctly), would also work, possibly better.

It is also worth mentioning that if a person doesn't take forever to write storygames, pumping them out could also work. This is because how many commendations you get varies, yet it is also precisely for this reason that it is hard to say that storygames are the best way to rack up commendations (with certainty at least).
Someone should pump out a bunch of good storygames to help me figure this out...

Hopefully no one in the other orders gets any commendations for a few years, then Architects will be on top!
Also it seems the best way to rack up commendations depends on the person... huh.

My idea on 11/4/2017 12:51:26 AM

Oh neat, much better than what you had earlier, congrats on continuing to write.
Oh boy, lots of characters getting introduced here. (EDIT - Actually maybe it isn't that many.) Starting right away at an important moment too, I approve. Will try to split this up and not ramble too much.

Seems the father/mother didn't get names, which isn't necessarily bad as they die right away, just know their deaths aren't super impactful because:
1. They are nameless.
2. It is hard to invest in characters you've only known for one page.

With that said I feel that by default someones parents dying is a pretty shit thing to happen, so the characters get (at least some) sympathy points.

Moving on, Tristan and Sara seem to be pretty standard main characters so far, which is fine seeing as character development takes time and there is only so much you can get across right away. However, I'll say that it is nice that you manage to still show some character traits in the opening (Tristan caring for his sister, for example). I can't really fault Sara for wanting to scream after seeing a parent die, but (unless this got changed around in some way) I thought their parents were some pretty top notch rebels, I would think they might have thought their kids some more control for high tension situations.

However, with that said, it isn't clear how old Tristan and Sara are, come to think of it they start pretty young (right?), also their parents might not be the badass warriors I was expecting, but instead they could be more political leaders for the rebellion instead. Or they might have wanted their kids to not worry about that whole side of life (for now or forever).
As you can see this is more just something to consider while you continue writing, don't necessarily have to change anything for this page.

Giovanni has an interesting name. I like how you suggest that there is a history between him and the father (and probs mother too), it might have been done in a pretty non subtle way but honestly I don't think that is a issue, it is nice to have solid exposition in the opening, but more on that later.
I do wonder if the history between them will ever be explained, considering the parents are now dead. It will be interesting to see where you take Giovanni's character, as he appears to be a major bad guy for the story at the moment. Marcus was mentioned, but hey he isn't here doing the killing.
I'll say you have lots of room to go with Giovanni, and also it is good to have a clear antagonist for the start.

Squad Five might not count as a character, but I will say that I am now wondering about the other squads, their purpose and what not. Will be interesting to see how you handle it later down the track, since at the moment all I got was that Squad Five are probably pretty good at killing (and kind of a big deal).

A peephole in a bunker? I feel that it wouldn't be that hard to spot (but I guess the bad guys might have assumed it was empty if the lights were off or something). I mean there are ways to explain it, but I just find it weird that a bunker has a small hole in it. Might be because I am imagining it is like smack bang in the middle of a wall, but it could easily be off to the side near the floor or something. Ugh I am thinking too much about this, just know that when I read it initially I found it a little weird.

I understand that the home isn't a major location and the characters will likely not be coming back, but I feel a little more description of where the action is taking place would be nice. This might just be me, so for now I'll just say to make sure you don't neglect describing locations, obviously you don't want to ruin the pacing (which is why the lack of describing the scenery here makes some sense), but if the location is important or the characters will spend a lot of time at it, make sure you help the reader imagine it the way you are imagining it.

Looks good to me, good to see the descriptions of the character's tone helping pretty much solidify how they are saying things. For example '“Where have you been?!” Sara asked with urgency.' is good since yeah, I can assume she is saying it with urgency, but it could be other things as well, such as with anger.
I'll close this section here since dialogue is one of the things I struggle with, but I can safely say that I feel you done a decent job with it. (With that said, maybe it could be better [there is always room to improve right?] but as it I can't point out what you should change.)

I already know too much about the setting to not be a bit biased in regards to this section, but I feel you handled exposition well. You didn't bombard me with paragraphs upon paragraphs of info dumps, but I still feel like I know more about the world and characters. So good job, it will be interesting to see how you continue to handle this aspect of writing fiction.

Also the formatting looks good to me, more clear when characters are thinking or speaking as well. Good work on that. I would like to mention, this is a sci-fi setting, so regarding this: 'Weakened by Giovanni’s blows he was easily deposed of.' Was Giovanni punching the guy (or using some other non gun weapon)? Because if yes, why? Something that can be explained later, but I'm just curious about it and feel it is worth keeping in mind as you write. (With that said, it might never be directly explained, really depends a lot on how you want to handle it and whether or not the story really needs it explained).

Also, I will say that if he was using a gun or something, you might want to replace blows with wounds or something. I feel bullets don't really classify as blows in this context, but I might be wrong.

Oh one more thing regarding dialogue, the fathers exchange with Giovanni doesn't seem to flow that well, mainly because the father goes from 'spat' to 'gently' pretty quickly. My advice regarding this is splitting the second part where the father talks into more sentences, that way the tone shift won't feel as forced. I'd go with something like:

“Marcus will fall, Giovanni, if you kill me the rebels will track you down, and they will kill you.” Tristan’s father spat.

Giovanni laughed, “You think you know everything old friend, but do you know that if I don’t kill you Marcus will kill me?”

“Run away to the rebellion then. They will take you in and protect you. I can escort you there myself, if you don’t feel safe going alone.” He said gently.

Hmm... having tried to rewrite that, I think the father spitting isn't a very good descriptor since the sentence is long. Try spitting that sentence out yourself! Doesn't necessarily need to be changed, since he could always be spitting the last part only.
Anyway, what I wrote isn't perfect, but note how there are more breaks in the last part. This sorta suggest to the reader that the tone is changing. It slows the pace down a bit which (hopefully) makes it feel more natural that the father is now trying to help Giovanni out.
I imagine there are many ways to go about showing that, I'm just going on about that part since I feel it was the weakest point of what you wrote.

I encourage you to try rewriting that exchange, think about the important parts you are trying to convey through it and try to get it across in a different way. Of course that's just my opinion, reread it yourself and see if you think that part could use changing.

With all that said, I understand that some of the things I talked about might not be very clear, or that there might be more specific things you want an opinion on, in which case just ask, then I'll try to clear it up (or offer my thoughts more specifically).

Massive improvement, comparing it to what you posted before. The formatting goes a long way too btw. I liked the way you handled dialogue, but I suggest looking more closely as the exchange between Giovanni and the father.
Also keep writing!

Like an idiot I forget Tristan was talking about 'being a man now' so I guess they aren't that young, in which case my bad. Hopefully you still get something out of that part of the character section.
As I probably mentioned before, this is what I think, it is up to you to find useful things among it that'll help with your story. Some things I complain about might not matter because of [insert reason], what does matter is that you (the writer) know the reason, and if necessary, share this reason with readers at some point. ie. Why is Marcus being evil and not super nice? Because being super nice won't work! (Not a great example, but I hope you understand what I mean).

For the Order! on 11/3/2017 10:05:09 PM

'265 Commendations for Architects
181 Commendations for Marauders
913 Commendations for Sages
275 Commendations for Wardens'
- About Us page

Four orders, unique 'titles' for the higher ups (title names are dependant on the order). Basically you get a random order and you can collect commendations as a group, but as you can see Sages are so far ahead it hardly matters.

I agree about it being very cool, maybe someone else has more information they would like to share, but hopefully this gives you some idea.

Sorta four accounts that collect commendations from their members rather than xp. So no real purpose, but pretty neat. You get put in a random order.

Pretty sure it has something to do with how usernames are displayed on the forums as well, but don't remember the details.

A REAL Motivation thread on 10/24/2017 1:47:02 AM

I agree, letting this rest is a bad idea, mainly because it is making me doubt my own sanity.

I checked that fancy site someone pointed out before. Found this.

EDIT - Because brackets can technically be ignored when reading (right?) it means that having that criteria removed is perfectly fine, grammatically speaking.

EndMaster’s Children Story Contest on 10/23/2017 6:40:53 AM

Ah thanks for the reply.

Will make sure to avoid deadlinks, was planning on just throwing end game links while restricting the continuation ones with impossible criteria (ie SCORE = 100). That way finishing it would be a bit easier.

I'll consider taking it down after the judging (to finish it up), but I will probably dislike doing that. Anyways, will see what I can get together till the due date.

Thanks for the response, clears things up.

Thinking back on it, a tl;dr wasn't necessary, but I'll keep it anyway (just like this post script).

I ended up making some pretty bad mistakes, oh well not the first time I didn't manage to write a story (only the first time I publicly announced that I'd be trying).
Congrats to the winner.

EndMaster’s Children Story Contest on 10/23/2017 5:49:00 AM

(Your story would probably still beat mine.)

The thing is that what I was trying to write ended up branching more than I was expecting, and I overestimated my writing speed. So basically I really doubt that I'll finish it.

So I figured out that if it didn't need to be published I could write a less branchy version and put it on sneak preview, then just write up the rest later and then publish (since publishing a less branchy version [instead of sneak preview] would doom the thing to never being finished, since no one would ever read it if I end up having to republish it later).

I want to try and have the first thing I publish be something I can be proud of (to some degree at least), rather than just something I look at and go "it meets minimum site requirements and isn't horrible".
So sneak preview is preferable in this scenario (for me).

With all that said, if it has to be published I'll probably just try and plan something else that I can actually get done on time (and finish completely).

EndMaster’s Children Story Contest on 10/23/2017 5:10:45 AM

This sounds pretty interesting, and mizal insulting the competition has encouraged me to ask the following question:
Does the storygame have to be published or can it just be put on sneak preview?

Asking because:
"You WILL have to write an actual story".
"Remember to post links to your stories here if you make one."
"Unofficial contest".

I feel that I could reasonably assume that an "actual story" doesn't have to be published, links can be given to sneak preview stories, and this isn't an official contest so the rules could be different.

I am pretty sure that someone mentioned that forcing stories for contests to stay published would be good since as it is, they get taken down quite often to be 'improved' (which doesn't happen more often than not).
However as nothing regarding this was edited into the OP using your awesome admin powers I decided to still ask this.

Does the storygame have to be published or can it just be put on sneak preview (in order for it to be eligible for the contest)?

First Page Thoughts on 10/15/2017 1:51:57 AM

Gonna give my thoughts on this. See if you can find something useful among it.

I see that in the near future people forget the word 'mages' exists and decide to use 'magiks' instead. Obviously calling them magiks is more original than mages, but seeing as the setting seems to be the near future I wonder why it's like that.
Actually this reminds me of how many zombie movies don't call zombies 'zombies', for some reason (or is it copyright? idk).

To be fair, this isn't really an issue as long as you are consistent with it. Come to think of it, it could be funny if one character insists they should be called mages but everyone laughs at them and says that's a stupid idea.
You don't have to do this, obviously such a thing might not fit within the story and what not. Do what works for you.

Moving on, I wonder if by overseas you mean everywhere overseas, since I mean not every country watches american tv, right?
However, again, this isn't really a issue, since to be fair if someone was preaching for killing magiks and a powerful country was listening others would probably do the same. Not to mention that big deals tends to be shown pretty much everywhere you got a tv.
Just I do wonder if some countries are going to be on the other side of the argument, maybe wanting to study the magiks and what not. Personally if you completely ignore scientists in a near future setting I will be wondering what happened to them. Heck I wonder if your magic has a scientific explanation.

Oh also is the police completely okay with people just killing those who they think are magiks? I mean the Salem trials weren't the only time in history people accused others of stuff and had them killed. Just wondering if this is happening again, since I feel people might have learnt that this isn't the best way of going about things by now... and, I feel, organised executions done by government officials only would make more sense, but that might just be me. Something for you to think about (don't necessarily need to change anything, just think about it a bit).

The writing itself looks good to me, but I am not the best judge on that sort of thing.
I feel you handled the exposition pretty well, it isn't mountains of texts, tells me what I need to know about the setting and establishes some main characters.

With that said, you have a lot of space to go with this. Heck some things I mentioned probably don't matter since there are explanations for them, and as long as you know what they are I've got no complaints (unless the reader not knowing hinders the overall reading experience).

So keep writing? I can't comment much more because nothing outside of setup, in the form of telling the reader about an important event, happens. However I can say I would keep reading, since my curiosity is piqued.
Also, just wondering, if this is your first page does that mean there is a choice at the end of this? Or is it just a 'continue' link? (Actually I guess it is also possible this is what will be on your first page, but not all of it.)

Looking good so far, nothing super amazing but the setting has a lot of potential. The writing itself looks good. I like how you handled exposition. And finally, where you go with this is what really matters, so hoping you manage to write something great.

I completely failed to talk about your introduction of who I am currently assuming is the antagonist, so here goes:
I like the way they aren't being portrayed as crazy evil (at least not right off the bat). They also seem to have good reasons for what they are doing, protecting the people. Obviously he could turn out to be evil, have motives he doesn't share on camera and what not, and that is fine, as long as you handle it well.
With that said I wonder if more antagonists will be introduced, since the setting could certainly allow for it. Like some crazy big bad magic guy or something (this is a poor example, hope it isn't this since it doesn't seem to fit, tho I guess it could fit, depends on how you write it). So again, lots of ways you can go with all this. Good luck!

A Chosen Hero: Feedback on 10/11/2017 5:11:57 AM

Hmm, tried giving a go at reading through the story to provide feedback, but boy is it tough. I did leave a comment which I hope you find useful.

For now I'll just say that when proofreading I encourage you to read it out loud, as this can help catch some hard to spot mistakes. This is a hassle to do when the pages are this long, but it will totally be worth the effort.

The story seemed linear to me, but the fact the end games were more than just simple 'you died xd' means it didn't detract from the story.

I'll see if I can find the time to go through it in more depth later, but I hope this helps for now.

Looked pretty darn good to me, since the mistakes I did notice were only noticeable when I was really looking for them. With that said the first page sorta sucked, felt weirdly out of place.
I highly encourage you to just write what you want to write.
And finally, I'll try to get something more substantial out when I have more time. Reviewing a storygame thoroughly is harder than I anticipated.

I should mention I am pretty crap at spotting writing mistakes when not really focused on looking for them. Doesn't mean you shouldn't eradicate them all tho!