Zake, The Dramatist
Hello! I am Zake. Welcome to my profile.
Writing is interesting.
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Recent PostsFantasy storygame in the works on 9/21/2018 9:29:38 PM
I will say that your response here is reassuring. My expectations have risen now!
Some things definitely make more sense now, and do keep in mind that I was definitely leaning to the nitpicking side of things.
At any rate, I'll be looking forward to future developments.
Fantasy storygame in the works on 9/21/2018 6:05:04 AM
Disclaimer: Hope you get something useful out of this, but do remember that there is a lot of leeway in writing when it comes to 'doing things your way'. For the most part, if you have a reason for doing something, it should be fine (whether your readers find it fine is another matter entirely, but if your reasons are good I doubt that there will be issues).
The basic idea can work, but whether it turns out good or not will be up to you, after all, almost any idea can work if written well. The three biggest questions I have are:
- How does a commoner hire a bunch of mercenaries?
- Where does a commoner get the skills to be better then all the other nobles?
- What happened to the legitimate king?
As the story will not be focusing on the king, you could easily get away with not explaining these things, however, if you mention something, I'd suggest to explain it at some stage (unless you have a reason not to).
I have gotten into a habit of staring at the first sentence of anything I write, and while I might place to much emphasis on the first sentence, I still feel it is worth mentioning.
"You run your sword through the arcane warrior before he can finish casting whatever he was about to unleash on you and then bash him in the face with your shield, yanking back your sword as you do."
Your first word is "you"! Just wanted to mention it. That aside, I feel the flow could use work. Try reading out the sentence (whispering is fine), and see if you can make it flow nicer. It is a bit long, so maybe just trimming down (or splitting it into multiple sentences) could help. However, this is an immediate action scene, so trimming it down to retain the same content in a shorter length would probably be best. I spent far too long trying to write up an alternative, so I can safely conclude that there are many ways to try and improve the flow, and that it can be pretty difficult, but I do believe it is totally worth attempting it (probably because of my fixation on the first sentence).
Side Note - Here is a first sentence from a book. "The screaming marked an end to the day's toil." What I want you to take away from this is that the opening sentence doesn't have to tell the reader everything, but generally you want to grab the readers attention and set a tone. I'll mention that the sentence that follows this one is considerably longer, so I'll just add in a that mixing short and long sentences can help keep the reader engaged, but keep your personal style in mind.
To avoid a sentence by sentence breakdown, here are some thoughts that came to mind while reading this, and mind you, some things here I don't think actually need changing / immediate answers. However, I did feel they were worth mentioning.
- Your dudes are fighting Arcane Warriors and you had no casualties, why did their magic not kill anyone?
- You know the elvish word for "slave" but not "fuck you"? Goes against my experience...
- Also, you ask random citizens to join your ranks after you burn their homes down. How often do you do this? Cause a peasant army of mercenaries will not be very capable in combat, regardless of what one outlier achieved (the king). Also why don't they betray you? Or just run away in the night?
- Hope the elf slave isn't too young, otherwise taking them as a mercenary is an even worse idea.
- I personally dislike use of caps to signify shouting, just use the exclamation mark, and don't overuse it so it retains it's impact. However this also plays into the tone, I'd say all caps makes it more comedic while lowering the immersion, but that might just be me.
- How did Gudmund become a mercenary band leader? He doesn't seem fit for the position.
- Even Ryder agrees with me!
- "Fight you over some gold and a prisoner", I doubt there is much gold in peasant houses.
- Oh nice a sexist fantasy world, tell me how Reva gets to be second in command if everyone laughs at her for it? Also why are they idiots? She is a berserker, and probably covered in blood at the moment. I'm probably over thinking this. Heck, it might just be Gudmund's people that are sexist, and not the whole world.
- The guy swung "overhead", Reva "ducks under the swing". The "bitch" is dead. Jokes aside, change the wording. Either it was a horizontal swing, or Reva side stepped (or done something else).
- I get the feeling there will be romance options... be careful as it is all to easy to end up with a horrible romance element, since too often it isn't looked at as it's own thing, but rather as a something that one tacks on. Sadly writing doesn't work like that, so effort is still required. (Note you haven't messed up or anything, just a cautionary warning to keep in mind).
- Pathetic defendants? There was an Arcane Warrior! I know am getting the feeling that Arcane Warrior doesn't actually mean anything...
- If you break the contract, you will also be a crappy mercenary company, and I doubt you'll get much jobs afterwards. Good to see that the king will punish contract-breakers!
- I question how mercenaries can be lieutenants, if they are more loyal to the nation, they should be a lieutenant, if to gold, a mercenary, but both? Why?
- Quick mention that I find it weird that the biggest group is used as a hit squad, but I guess this is setting dependant.
- Most mercenaries would break their contracts if there wasn't someone to hunt them down? These don't sound like professionals at all!
Side Note - I added my thoughts as I went, some things make more sense as I keep reading, so think of it as a first time reader experience.
Think about how much of a role realism will play in your story. You have duel-wielding, but also mention the way a "mind is wired" (sorta in passing). Mind you, I don't think you messed up anywhere, but having a good idea can help inform your decisions later down the path, while also helping maintain a consistent feel of the setting. You would have noticed that I attempt poking holes in your setting's logic, but these holes matter a whole lot less if the logic isn't that important, or if the world has it's own logic, or is not be designed to be heavily scrutinised, or whatever.
Consistency is key, especially for tone. Tone can change between scenes, but generally you don't want it flying from extremes randomly. Keep the setting and tone consistent, proofread to catch mistakes, and write. You'll end up with a pretty good to great storygame (assuming you don't completely botch the choices, but I seriously doubt you will). I will stress on proofread, as proofreading allows you to add polish which is what transforms stories into great ones (generally speaking).
What I Liked (EDITED in)
(I might have forgotten to add this in... whoops).
While it might not look like it (due to the general thoughts) I actually rather liked the setting. The pacing felt good (but coming from me this doesn't mean much, almost all pacing seems good to me), since information was given to keep me interested, but stuff also happened. Things were established and I learnt more about the setting and characters.
Character development is what will really determine the strength of the characters you have here, but the character introductions for the most part seemed good to me. The slave elf one felt a bit lacking, what with their only feature being a slave who wants freedom (and only action being a nod). With that said, depending on how you handle their character development, this introduction can be perfectly fine left unchanged, which is why I didn't really get into it.
Some things feel a bit cliched (not that I use this word properly,) but as long as the whole story isn't a big cliche (for no reason) it doesn't matter, because using tropes can help you convey information to readers faster. So I consider this a good, sort of you using a tool to help tell a better story. Well, it is good as long as tropes aren't all there is to it, but as so far it doesn't seem like they are, I'd say you're doing good.
Worth mentioning that the only mistake I recall is full stops in some dialogue tags where they shouldn't have been, as in, they should've been comma's instead, (or where I think they should've been comma's at any rate). Dialogue punctuation is a bit complicated, so it is worth reading a bit about it to ensure you are doing it right. With that said, most people won't notice, since the wrong way doesn't really stand out if you don't know what to look for. Err, I worded this positive like a negative, the positive is that there weren't many mistakes! Which is good!
Anyway, suffice to say, I'd keep reading this storygame, and really, that tends to be the main goal, to keep readers wanting to read. So good work!
Looks good, curious how the choices will work, since the title claims that this is for a storygame, but other than that I think you'll almost certainly end up with something good. Do make sure to proofread however, I'll always stress proofreading since it does make a difference (also I'm not a editor, so it is a good excuse to not mention 'mistakes')!
With that said, the main thing at this stage to do is to keep writing! As for what to work on, I'd suggest figuring out what place realism will fit in, and thinking a bit about the tone of your setting. Also ensure you are putting conscious effort in the story's flow. Be careful with longer sentences, as they can be harder to keep flowing well, but with that said don't drop them all together, short and long sentences are not exclusive by any means, and both have a place.
Looks good to me, keep writing! Pay attention to the flow and make sure to proofread when done.
P.S. I tried adding some humour in here and there (for this post), hope it was obvious and made the read more enjoyable. Feel free to ask any questions if I explained something poorly, or if you think I'm outright wrong (since then I probably messed up somewhere, so I'll try to explain it properly). I considered adding some different shades, but didn't, so feedback on current readability is appreciated. Apologies for the mixed approach, I started rambling more as I went, but I'm working on delivering more concise feedback! Oh, also don't forget about the disclaimer.
War on 9/21/2018 4:02:33 AM
Pfft, fishing? Hardly, more like foraging. Storygame comments would be fishing, actual storygames would be... fishing far away and then coming back to sell the fish after a while.
Also from what I could gather, the short stories were punishments given to people in the discord (or something), they were not written due to true desire! If I recall correctly, they didn't ask for feedback either.
Besides, at this stage I'd feel bad practising necromancy... for the older ones at least.
War on 9/16/2018 12:46:09 AM
Second line doesn't mash too well with the first one. Might just be me, since I can't quite place why, so I'll just leave it at that.
The guy is being a bit dramatic saying "War, you can't describe war." However, being dramatic is fine, I just wonder how it fits in the context of the situation when the other person asked the question. Guess that doesn't really matter, but given the weighty response I do wonder who the two people that are having such a conversation are.
"War is hear the screams..." check this part again, maybe add a 'to' after 'is'.
When I first read "War is getting shot without knowing it" I found it a bit funny. However, with the adrenaline pumping, I realised it probably is a lot more likely to not notice a wound in the moment.
Not sure on the positioning of the exclamation mark. It can work, as it is like the narrator getting more into, then calming don for the final part. However, I still wanted to mention it since it stood out to me.
Also 'they' in the last sentence might be better if replaced with 'you'. This depends on the context of the situation, but as I'm assuming it is narrator talking to the person who asked the question, the 'they' stands out since it isn't clear who 'they' is referring to. Doesn't help that you have been using 'you' exclusively up to this point (inside the narrator dialogue).
You forgot the last closing quotation mark.
Since I haven't experienced war, I guess I can't say if your description is right or wrong, but I will mention that what you described can happen outside a war.
- Dead bodies on the ground.
- Screams of friends as they try to stay alive a few seconds longer.
- Getting shot without realising it.
- Blood pumping.
- Shots firing.
- Trying your hardest to stay alive.
But aside from that, it does paint a pretty strong image of the horrors of war. Also, due to the repetition of 'war', it is pretty clear that you are specifically talking about these things happening during a war.
Looks good to me. Some things stand out a bit, but that is probably because they are written differently to how I would have done it (so it looks off to me despite not actually being wrong). A missing 'to' and closing quotation mark are the only exceptions. Aside from that I'd say swap 'they' in the last sentence with 'you'.
P.S. I should mention that I like the tight focus, you also convey things very quickly here, which is a good skill to have.
If you can't shoot them, then shoot them again! on 8/22/2018 7:09:00 PM
MicroPen in the OP (opening post) said "I am posting this to give my ideas on it and such, as I progress". However they never followed up with these ideas. I imagine Mizal is referring to that.
Random RPG on 8/10/2018 9:01:00 PM
This response (and the one you gave to Mizal) gives me a bit more hope. Will be interesting to see how you make use of Norse mythology, and what sort of story comes from it. Also don't worry too much about time, as long as you actually write it should still work out (unless you have next to no time, but it doesn't seem like that is the case).
Regarding items, I'm mainly worried about the latter parts of the story, since I worry it could spiral into a huge mess. You do seem to understand that it can get bad, so hopefully you will manage to avoid that nasty pitfall, since I am curious about how it'll turn out (because my experience with items has been pretty unpleasant).
Anyway, I'll keep a look out for the next update. It will be a pretty important one, so will be interesting to see what gets put in it.
Just quickly, one major point I missed (which is sort of the reason for the previous comment's section):
- Norse Mythology - Imagine you are making up your own setting and world, you are the sole expert and have to explain everything to readers. Using Norse mythology still requires you to explain everything to readers (to avoid alienating audiences), and in a sense you are still left as the sole expert (unless you take no creative liberates, but then again your sources might conflict with that of others). A question to ask, if it wasn't Norse mythology, would you still have a setting summary to help readers unfamiliar with the setting understand it better?
(There was something else I wanted to quickly elaborate on but I forgot what. Oh well, I'm sure it's nothing important...)
TL;DR Best of luck with the story, I have a bit more confidence in a positive outcome now, I'll eagerly await the next update (which is important, as the follow up).
Random RPG on 8/10/2018 4:21:42 AM
I find mythology pretty interesting, and Norse is one of the more popular ones.
I trust you understand the implications of what you are suggesting. I do not know how exactly you plan on using the items, but if you just have it as a vague idea, consider altering it so it is more streamlined. Six items max with differing carrying capacity costs has the potential to be a huge pain to implement, not to mention get working properly (and having it also be meaningful). Writing a good story will usually trump scripting, or even highly branching narratives, but it all does really depend on what sort of thing you are going for. Think about why you are using the items, being deliberate can help make sure you are making the best experience you can.
Game or Story
Mixing the two is possible, but usually focusing more on one aspect can make it easier to make the thing, while also giving it a more solid identity. So far it sounds like what you are going for is a more game focused storygame, what with the items and the combat system. However that might just be because you haven't mentioned plot/story based stuff yet.
Honestly, be vary of combat systems, hard to pull of in this system, but do go for it. Can be a good learning experience, but know it isn't really something easy to do. Be careful with the stances, balancing is a pain, and in simple systems, it is hard to not just have one 'best' option, which sort of defeats the point of having options in the first place.
Are you just using this as cheap window dressing? I'm just curious, since there is many ways to go about using it, and it is possible to go very in depth. When directly using outside sources, I'd advise being very aware of it, since it can be easy to slip into a crappy implementation of it. Also keep in mind that not everyone will know about Norse mythology, but also that some people will know more than you (probably). Just don't expect Norse mythology to make it better all on it's own, the impact it has will still depend on your work.
Way too early to tell, but so far I am worried about the state of this project. It certainly can work, just when people mention items, a combat system, and nine worlds, I get worried. I definitely do encourage you to work on it, as that is really the ultimate determiner of if it'll work, and discouraging people is far from my goal. I will mention that the implication of your posts that there will be more updates is definitely a big plus, so I'll eagerly await future notification.
TL;DR Be careful, you thread on dangerous grounds. Do keep threading tho, I wish you success and hope to see more updates. Items and combat systems are also tricky things.
P.S. I hate what you done with Bifröst. Dark grey background, each letter a different colour. I can harbour complex guesses as to why you done it, along with simpler guesses, but I won't. Instead I'll just say that it is hard to read, and so ask you to look at it for a minute or two, then tell me if you'll do it again or not (but jokes aside, I'd be careful modifying text so drastically, the dot points and bolding of the post were nice tho, same for the paragraphs and brackets).
P.P.S. Using an image might have been better if you wanted an oomph, figured I'd mention it.
Dealing With Double Life In Two Worlds (CYOA) on 7/29/2018 7:30:56 PM
Ah, I should have worded some parts a little differently, but it was clear that you were talking about a storygame. Also only admins can edit posts once someone has responded to them, which is why you can't edit at the moment.
Anyway, keep in mind this'll just be my opinion based on what I have gathered about your idea, so it's up to you to evaluate it to see if you can get something useful from it.
So, a lot of this will depend on what sort of world you are trying to establish and what not, but here are my attempts at tearing into your setting to see if you can respond (mind you, there is more than one 'correct' response, it is your setting after all!).
They were sent to "find people with noble traits", yet you don't mention what the character's noble traits are. Is "lov[ing] sports and art" a noble trait? Is "lik[ing] to make friends and read books" a noble trait? Or what about my favourite (which I'll get back to,) cruelty? That sure is a great noble trait, specially when it matches the power of the gem...
The reason I got caught up on this is because the idea of something larger than everyday life causing young people to suddenly be a lot more important isn't really something unique, and I know that at least at times, there is no real reason that it is kids and teens being chosen to have super powerful magical powers granted upon them. Yes, sometimes the why doesn't matter, but in this case, I can see finding people with noble traits as a pretty valid reason for younger people being selected (as opposed to 'pure of heart' [granted I can imagine this being handled well, but usually it isn't]).
Another questions I will have to pose is why the gems didn't find people in their own world who had noble traits? It seems like there are some good characters who seem to be pretty capable as is, imagine if they had the boosted power from the gems! Now I'm wondering if one person could have got them all... (I'm assuming no)
Back to the gem wielder gone rogue, how'd that happen! I'm sure answers can be given, but right now I just find it weird that gems designed to find noble people would go to someone super cruel AND stay with them, after all the gems are actually fairies, so why can't the thunder fairy go find someone else? Also why was a fairy that turns people into a "Dark Sage" created? Also a thunder fairy is all about sound, I assume? Or is it just called thunder because Thunder Gem sounds cooler than Lightning Gem?
School or World Saving¿
So I can see that the reason for them balancing their lives between two worlds, one more mundane than the other, is to give a neat contrast and be a sort of selling point for the premise. However, my question is how they hop between the two worlds. It is because of the gems I assume, but why are the gems allowing these 'noble' people to ditch saving their world from pure evil to go study algebra!?
My issue here is that if someone is given great power, in the words of Spiderman, they are also given great responsibility. Don't get me wrong, I think school is important and all, but I just find it a bit weird that people who are given power to save a world would still be going to school for half the day. Also I wonder how they'll explain this to their parents, specially the 13 year old (youngest) and 15 year old (shy, something their parents hopefully noticed, so it'd be weird for her to suddenly be spending all her time outside of school 'with friends').
Ah, the age old tradition of using cool popular names for your own characters, nothing wrong with that, but when you think of it as a parent (supposedly in a modern setting) naming their kid after an Ancient Greek character of tragedy, I have to wonder how that happened.
I also wonder if the names hold any significance, but I guess that'll be answered through reading the finished product.
Looks good to me, the pacing seems decent and you don't waste time introducing characters, which is great for something that has a large cast. Granted, not much to look at yet, but I'd say you are definitely on the right track. Will be interesting to see how you handle major exposition when it comes up in story (along with choices, always a pretty important aspect of storygames!).
I'd be happy to give more feedback on the writing once you have more actually story related stuff prepared. I will mention now that leaving editing and polishing for later can be a good method, so you shouldn't worry too much about having it be 'perfect' right away, as that is something pretty unrealistic to aim for.
Keep writing! You seem to be doing that already, which is great. I throw quite a few questions your way, so see if you can answer them or dismiss (for yourself), in order to build up a stronger world by having a more concrete idea of it in your head. It is very possible you already have this, in which case I might have wasted a bit of time, but I do enjoy questioning other peoples work.
P.S. I am getting the feeling that what gems turn you into depends on you, otherwise the prophetic dream is even smarter knowing to call Jake Vermilion before knowing what fairy would go to him.
P.P.S. If anything I wrote doesn't quite make sense, call me out on it, I was in a bit of a rush so didn't have time to proofread as much as I would have liked. Hopefully you still get what I am saying, and manage to get something useful out of it. Also, once again, keep writing!
Dealing With Double Life In Two Worlds (CYOA) on 7/29/2018 6:03:43 AM
Doesn't seem that you are asking for feedback, so I'll look at this more as more of an advertisement.
I don't know if you are using the rich text editor or not, but regardless, bolding some words to make the two sections stand out would be a great improvement, something like:
Basic plot synopsis:
Characters (So far):
Further, if you bold the way I did, capitalising the main words would also help, (so "Basic Plot Synopsis" rather than "Basic plot synopsis"). Also, when using the dash, I'd have a space on each side, ie:
"Dark General Fafnir - [text]"
I also believe that listing the characters might help make it all look nicer, something like:
- Dark General Fafnir - [text]
- Light General Evil - [text]
An alternative method I'd suggest is bolding the character names, and fully capitalising the section names (CHARACTERS etc).
Other than that, I don't really have any feedback regarding making a good advertisement. Your writing seemed to be properly written, and you didn't just have simple sentences. You also knew how to not post a text wall. I'd give it a solid 7/10, based on the main post that you made.
If you really want to go above and beyond, using complementary fonts for the body and headings while also conveying a relevant tone could help. Using italics to emphasise important things, like "Coming soon to a new storygames list near you!"
This can be helped by modifying the size of text, be subtle since you want it to still look nice, but small increases for certain things could give it an oomph. Also, if you are using html rather than rich text editor, avoid depreciated code because potential publishers won't like that... (maybe idk).
Use of colour and images could also bring the thing to life, if you use images pay attention to make sure they fit well, look at the margins and padding as that can help differentiate quality and ammeter work. You want things to stay simple, but beautiful. Don't forget to give alt="text" to your images, you ought to keep your advertisement accessible to as many people as possible to ensure maximum attention!
Colour is also tricky to use due to sticking out big time, so you really ought to be wise with it's implementation, unless you want people getting pissed.
Also, the last paragraph is where you give a short summary, but emphasis is heavy on the Isekai anime part, which I question because I feel calling it a 'modern/fantasy adventure' would likely get you more hits. After all this is a written work. Obviously it could be turned into an anime or something, but right now it isn't, so I'd avoid labelling it as if it were an anime.
Following platform conventions, namely recognising how one categorises cyoa's is what will help you here, as you want to conform where it will be beneficial. There is a reason phone and computer sites look different! (Sometimes...)
Finally, getting some famous people to review your story and then give it a review that you can cherry pick a sentence from and put five stars beside would also be beneficial, as a quote with five stars beside it really does stand out.
Oh also don't forget to call it a Bestseller (even if it isn't being sold, or even out yet).
Presentation isn't the best thing ever, but you didn't make any fundamental mess ups, they actually seemed pretty solid.
P.S. This post might have been structured as more of a joke... if you want feedback regarding the content, feel free to ask.
Best of luck with the story!
This Kawaii Sim Date Will Lower Your Credit Score on 7/27/2018 2:37:33 AM
While I'm no expert, I'll mention two super general things that I hope you don't forget about.
- Make sure the volume is not too loud or too quiet, it can be hard to get right, but it will stick out bad if it isn't handled properly (specially any 'small noises', no one wants to be jump scared in your game... I think).
- Proofre- err, play test! I'm pretty sure you don't have a big team, but I feel that if you play test until you are sick of your game, then it'll all be good. Just don't skimp out on going through the things you went through a couple times already, since you really want the final thing to work properly!
Anyhow, good job on doing something, but you better finish it! Polishing a 'widdwe bwaby biwd' can be difficult, so make sure to put the effort in. Even small improvements can make a world of difference, so don't underestimate them!
P.S. Oh do still proofread, anything that involves writing should be proofread. Proofreading is important (albeit not that fun to me)!