Zake, The Dramatist

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'ello! I am Zake. Welcome to my profile.
Writing is fun, hard, and interesting.
Feel free to message me.

Some sites that may be worth reading, especially the first:




















P.S. Profile picture appears to be a shrunk version of this artwork, by Deviantart MenasLG. I think someone else resized it, because I doubt I would've known how to when I first found it on google (but I can't seem to find it anymore, so maybe it was I who resized it).

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Recent Posts

Create your own horror monster? on 6/5/2019 9:37:34 PM

Choice

The main issue I see with this is that the choices won't matter. If it literally just ends up being superficial level differences, I think you'd be better of choosing what monster is in the story and fleshing it out to create the best experience that way. Granted, I think there are some interesting ways this can be handled for a horror story, so it might be doable even if the customisation choices don't matter, but I get the feeling that isn't what you are going for.

Now, if the story gimmick is that there can be different monsters and that it actually matters, then the issue is the amount of work that'll require. I'm not sure how you are planning to handle this, but keeping the scope of the story in mind would be a good idea. Having three different monsters vs hundreds of combinations (i.e. claws & wings, claws & no wings etc) are very different beasts. Further, branching stories can get out of hand very easily, which is why it is often recommended to start small.

Advice

If you haven't written branching stories before, I'd advise picking something with a clear, limited scope to work on first, to get some experience, both with the process (to help you find what works best for you) and with the editor (so you can actually put it together). Then you can try tackling this more challenging idea later when you have a better idea of what to expect.

Obviously, if you still want to do this idea, that is fine, but I would advise planning it out a bit to figure out the specifics for how you plan on handling this.

Idea

Almost anything can be interesting if written well, so the idea can certainly work. However, personally, I consider writing horror a bit harder than something like generic fantasy, and adding in customisable monsters seems like something that could lead to important scenes lacking tension (but this does heavily depend on how you handle the monsters differences in the story).

What you mention in your post can be done, but I question what comes after. Regardless, write what you want to write, because the worst case scenario is that you learn a lot (even if the story doesn't pan out).

Recommendations for Improvement

These are a bit hard to give without seeing some of the actual story's writing, but if you follow general conventions and writing rules you ought to be fine (as deviating from them better be done with good reason). Things like:

Obviously, more specific advice could prove a lot more helpful, so do tell me when you write some of the actual story if you'd like me to take a look and give less general recommendations.

Conclusion

Idea can work, however it being ambitious makes me worry it might be difficult to execute, but if you keep the scope in mind and don't let it get away from you I imagine you ought to be fine. Write what you want to write and all that, because when the worst case scenario is improvement, you might as well try.

The best way to improve the reader's experience is to write well, but that is such a broad statement that I'd say ask this question again when you have some writing to show (so that you can get more relevant feedback).

Go write!


Genders on 5/28/2019 5:06:32 AM

Beats typing my own original works. xd

I was wondering where that article went, as I was considering linking it, but couldn't find it. No surprises there, as it was never an article, but a thread!

Link to thread.


Christianity what? Rome where? Gaius who? on 5/28/2019 5:04:44 AM

First Part

A big piece of advice is to write what you want to write. If you just write what others tell you to you're much more likely to lose motivation which will end with nothing being written. Further, almost any idea can work, and the two you mention both sound like they could be great, but since you are entertaining the idea of the latter, I'd encourage you to go with it.

Another big piece of advice is to keep the scope of your story in mind, and consider planning things out. You want to find what works for you, but the thing with branching stories is that they can get out of hand extremely quickly, which can, again, kill motivation. Having some sort of plan/outline can thus help you moving towards a specific goal to prevent you from having the scope get out of hand.

Alternatively, consider a smaller scope story to get used to the process. Starting with something smallish is often suggested because it helps you get a feel for how CYOAs can spiral out of control, and thus stop you from languishing in some epic.

Second Part

This is up to you, both can work, but you pretty much want to figure out what role you want realism to play in your story. Think about some specifics for ideas regarding what can happen and what sorta branches you want to have to help you find the preferred choice. As you say that fantasy elements will make the story more enjoyable & captivating, I'd say go for it, since it sounds like that is what you prefer. Again, write what you want to write.

Third Part

Again, up to you, and write what you want to write. A great thing about writing is that you can go back and change things if they don't work out, so perhaps try writing the opening with a narrator and without and see which one you prefer. Same thing regarding technology (this also ties into what role realism will play).

Conclusion

You aren't going to get experience if you don't write, so ultimately, don't forget to actually start writing at some stage. Some people like to plan a lot, but it is about finding what works for you, and regardless, in the end, you'll need to actually write at some stage if you want it to get written (unless you somehow have people to write for you, lol).

I'd say, try writing in a number of different ways and styles, it is the main way to improve and figure out what works best for you. In this case, maybe write some short stories trying out the different ideas you have? Have 1000 words as the upper limit to ensure you give them all a shot, but obviously if you find one clicks with you, feel free to just keep writing.

Looking forward to seeing how this idea develops.

TL;DR
Just write what you want to write! Try different things and change them if you aren't happy. Motivation is vital, so writing what you want to write is immensely beneficial. Figure out what works for you through experimentation, there is no real wrong way to write a story (tho do put in some effort, after all, if you just roll your hands over the keyboard, chances are slim that you'll write something good).


Genders on 5/28/2019 4:46:52 AM

Yes, but I will say that it isn't necessary for the stories here. Superficial customization is fine and all, but if the only difference is literally a couple of pronouns it probably shouldn't be a top priority.

However, you know what type of storygame you're trying to make better than I do, and it isn't like there is anything inherently wrong with having a gender choice even if it only changes the pronouns, just know that there are other options if you don't want to implement it.

Anyway, implementing it is easy enough, just have a reader choice with two (or however many) links that lead to the same page. Then make a variable, say %GENDER. Then for each link have it set %GENDER to a different number.

When you want to reference the character you can use on-page scripting, which is basically this:

%%GENDER%=%1%Male%%

It shows text (in this case 'Male') if the condition is met (in this case %GENDER == 1).

Note that if you have the RTE (Rich Text Editor) turned on, then you'll want to turn it off (check profile settings) or put the script in with the source button. Note that the RTE causes many issues with a number of things, and if you are going to have on-page scripting I'd heavily advise that you turn it off.

As for what those %'s signs mean, basically you start with 4:

  • %%%%

Then in the middle put the variable name.

  • %%GENDER%%
  • (Note this can be used to display the variable value in the story if left as is)

Then you add the check, like this:

  • %%GENDER%=%1%%

And finally the text that will display.

  • %%GENDER%=%1%text to show%%

In order to check multiple variables (which is what you want to do here) you would add on additional checks, you can do it separately but if you combine them you won't get blank lines in your storygame where the conditions weren't met.

Basically do this:

  • %%GENDER%=%1%Male%%GENDER%=%2%Female%%

I think this is the simplest way to do it, but I'm not the best at explaining this stuff, so do speak up if what I wrote is indecipherable / not working. Someone else will probably have more luck explaining it. But hey, maybe it does make sense!

P.S. There is more you can use variables & scripting for, reading the articles in the Help & Info section is a good idea if you want to get a better understanding. Here is an article that uses the same concepts as what is used for a gender choice: http://chooseyourstory.com/help/articles/article.aspx?ArticleId=3850, it might make more sense than what I wrote so do take a look.


Day 6: Digits Orders on 5/27/2019 11:43:53 PM

If you can be bothered, I feel it can be worth trying to 'dig deep' even if you aren't an expert.

Obviously, try to make it clear when you are more uncertain about something, but if the author ends up disagreeing with your criticisms, that is fine, maybe the criticism was bad, but I don't think they will suffer horribly from you sharing your thoughts.

As long as the author can recognize that one person can never speak for everyone, they'll be fine, and can still learn even from the more fringe thoughts. Heck, I imagine the majority of readers aren't sci-fi experts, so their opinion matters as well (unless your target audience is specifically the experts).

I feel that in giving feedback, it is about prompting the author to think more, as they get to see someone else's thoughts on their work which can be beneficial, but the person giving their thoughts can also benefit, helping them get better at developing and sharing their own thoughts.

Anyway, as an example, you could bring up that some sentences seemed awkwardly phrased, but that you are not sure if it is intentional. This way if it isn't, the author will know to take a closer look, but if it is, they might still want to take a closer look to ensure they are getting the desired effect. Maybe you are just an idiot and can't see their brilliance, but jumping to that conclusion can be a bit iffy, as generally, being able to take on feedback is a good skill that can help you improve (so dismissing everything isn't the best route).

At any rate, your feedback is still good, I think there are worthwhile things to take away from it, and I feel that is sorta the goal.

Anyhow, now there is a balance in this thread, OP can either get motivated by your praise, to show you what they can do, or they can get motivated by me, to show me what they can do.

(Altho, perhaps I should make it clearer that I don't want OP to stop writing or anything like that, despite my tone the intent is to push them further rather than discourage them from writing. They can let me know if my intent came across as more malicious than intended).


Day 6: Digits Orders on 5/27/2019 11:13:00 PM

Because the Chef is being very nice, I'll try to be meaner. Hopefully you get something useful out of this.

Technicalities

Dialogue Punctuation

So, with dialogue, you still want to have proper sentences. "You yell/say/shout/whisper" etc. are all dialogue tags, and alone are not proper sentences: you say what? As such, you want them to be capitalised as if they are a part of the spoken part.

Thus: “Run! Now, get to the escape pod.” You yell this ...

Should be: “Run! Now, get to the escape pod,” you yell this ...

Basically, instead of ending the part in quotation marks with a full-stop you'd use a comma instead, and capitalise appropriately based on that. Now, obviously, in your actual story you use an exclamation mark here, and this is fine. If the dialogue ends with an exclamation or question mark you'll just treat it as a comma for the sake of capitalisation, if it is followed by a dialogue tag.

“Run! Now, get to the escape pod!” you yell this ...

However, there are many ways to convey dialogue, so if you find yourself unsure on what to do, I'd suggest using this website. I like it since it has plenty of examples for different situations, so hopefully you can figure out the proper way to punctuate.

Further, really paying attention to punctuation in published books can also help, as they tend to be correct.

This is something many people get wrong, so while you can probably get away with not doing it 'correctly', I think it is still worth knowing.

(Here is an article on this site that is probably a better source because it is written by somebody who is more of an authority on this subject. I think they might be a professor[?] but I'm not sure).

Proofread!

I must always mention this, but now there is an article so I don't have to type out too much. I mention proofreading because I feel it is important in making a story the best it can be.

As an example, here is a mistake I think would've been caught with (further?) proofreading: "Overall the noise," ==should be==> "Over all the noise,"

I care more because this was closer to the start, and I feel that the opening parts ought to be more polished (as the reader is still deciding if they care enough to keep reading/get invested). However it wasn't the only mistake:

It is lush with huge forest that line around the planet’s equator. ==should be==> It is lush with huge forests that [lie around the planet's equator]/[line the planet's equator]

slide chucks ==should be==> slide chunks

Proofreading will help the whole thing read better, my advice is to mouth the words or read them aloud, so that you can spot parts that don't read as well. Really pay attention to what word is being used.

Consistency

I'll keep this simple since I don't want my personal bias to mess with your style or something, but simple things like the measurement you are using ought to be kept consistent.

As an example: "hundred meters" turns to "sixty feet". I don't think mixing measurements like this is a good idea, pick one system and stick with it (unless you've got a reason not to). You use feet elsewhere so I'd advise changing meters to the appropriate measurement in feet.

General consistency is also a good idea, and something worth looking out for in larger works. That isn't to say that things can't change or turn out wrong, just that you don't want the aliens going from a threat to cannon fodder for no reason, as an example (not that I think this happened, mind you).

Science Fantasy vs Science Fiction

Figuring out which way your story leans is a good idea as it can help set a consistent feel/tone. Think Star Trek vs Star Wars, as an example. I'm not a space expert by any means, so I hardly feel qualified to try and nitpick what you have here, but I'll try anyway.

As a quick disclaimer, this isn't to say that you cannot keep things as they are, there CAN be explanations, but if you cannot figure out an explanation, than at least consider changing it so that it makes sense to you.

  • Space ships are not boats. The "ship tilts enough to cause many within the crowd to fall" suggests either artificial gravity (which I imagine would be based on the floor, and thus move with the ship) or the ship is being effected by the planet's gravity, but that cannot be it, since it is only later in the escape pod that "you feel the pull of gravity".
  • Escape pods that can only hold one person? How massive is this room that you had a crowd piling into individual pods? Design aside, can you really not squish an extra person into a pod? Also these pods cause their occupants to pass out when landing on planets, yes G-Force is a real thing but I don't think astronauts pass out returning to Earth these days, so did the fictional setting regress in technological understanding in that area?
  • If you can see both suns in the sky, doesn't that mean a part of the planet is now in shadow? This obviously depends on how the suns move in relation to each other and the planet, but as mentioned I'm trying to nitpick (so you can disagree with points being worth considering) and so I'll bring up whatever I can think of. I will add that a planet with NO night just because it has two suns is going to be tricky to imagine, since wouldn't the suns end up pulling each other closer (and thus stopping the planet from being perfectly between them?) but anyway, I don't know enough about astrology to really comment with too much certainty.
  • Have they figured out that the planet has an atmosphere humans can breathe?
  • Conclusion

    Pretty good, I wouldn't really call it a complete story, but as you asked in the discord if this could be turned into a storygame, I'll say: totally. Even with the fact that almost any idea can work aside, you have a pretty good setting here that gives you a lot of room to expand and make a good sci-fi storygame. I will warn you to keep the scope in mind, as this story seems capable of easily spiraling out of control (like many other fantasy or sci-fi ideas), but it should definitely be doable.

    Featured Storygame

    Chef's comment of "I'd say that it has the potential to become a featured storygame" rings hollow to me because there is one very important thing that must be mentioned when featuring is brought up, what storygame will it replace? You basically got to beat the worst featured story for the category you publish in, and even the worst featured stories tend to be pretty good. But hey, at least you aren't gunning for a feature in fantasy!

    Jokes aside, I'd say everything has the 'potential', but obviously you've got to execute and actually write, so get to it! I have my own ideas on the best way to get a story featured, but they're just weak theories atm, so I'll just leave it at that (but I will share them if they prove successful).

    TL;DR

    I think you've got a good foundation here, so it can certainly be turned into a storygame. However, do consider planning to prevent scope creep and help with figuring out choices. It has potential to be a good storygame, but it also has potential to spiral out of control and never get finished. So make sure to put in some thought to ensure you live up to the better potential.

    Best of luck, I'm curious how this will develop. (Oh, also, remember... you have to start writing at some stage, otherwise the story will never be written!)

    P.S. Also, I'd argue that "the nitpicky worst" would involve going line by line questioning everything and rewriting things that might not even need questioning/rewriting, but hey, that might not be nitpicking, it might just be being an asshole (so I won't question the Chef).


code test on 5/25/2019 9:24:33 AM

Oh, worth asking, do you have RTE (rich text editor) turned on or off? Like, are there buttons to bold text at the top of the input box?

Instead of what you posted here, post this:

The "[img]" shouldn't be used.

Also, you can only post 1 image with each 'block' of code. So just do code test on 5/25/2019 9:02:56 AM

For html images, you don't want to put BBCode (or whatever the square bracket stuff is called) into it, since you are just doing html.

As such, just get rid of the unnecessary tags.

Url is just the link to the image.

A good idea is to also add 'alt', which is alternative text, that way if the image fails to load (or if someone is using a screen reader) they can still know that there is an image there and what the image is.

Text description of the image.


My R&J Summative on 5/22/2019 8:06:44 PM

Author intent and recognising that the play is a play doesn't mean saying 'it is all fiction xd', Of course that isn't going to work as a point! Anyway, given the topic, I guess it would be trickier to try to go deeper, and potentially pointless. I am a little surprised that you are only allowed one quote per paragraph, seems weird, but eh.

Anyhow, you do seem to cover the prompt sufficiently, so I guess my only remaining point is to ask the teacher for feedback (if they are a teacher who gives feedback).

P.S. However, I'm now curious, so ask your teacher if you are allowed to talk about themes and author intent, since I don't think that the person in your example falls under that. Other than that ask if you are allowed more than one quote in your paragraphs as well. If you want to take the 'safer' approach, ask these questions AFTER marking, as a sort of after thought. This way your teacher won't be disappointed when you don't include these things in your essay, but will be impressed that you're putting thought into it even after it has been submitted.


My R&J Summative on 5/22/2019 12:48:55 AM

While I am not a professor, and thus my opinion is uneducated, I can at least give it to you without wanting to die.

Technicalities

I believe that in essays you want to use formal language. As such do not use contractions. i.e. instead of didn't use did not. Also consider rewording phrasing that is less formal (I'm more iffy on this so figure it out yourself,) my suggestions would be things like:

  • "... should have used his brain" > should have thought it through.
  • "... just a little bit more digging" > just a little more research.

(Granted, you already used the word research in the sentence prior, and pointless repetition can be bad).

Grander Examination

I feel you might want to look deeper into the work so you are not just examining what happened. Think about themes and stuff. Think about author intent. Recognizing that this was meant to be experienced as a play can also be good. Heck, thinking about the time period can help with examining author intent as well! What you have here doesn't seem to really be going beyond surface level things, but I guess your main point of the Friar being responsible isn't really looking for deeper meaning anyway.

Granted, you are writing it for 9th grade, so I definitely think you can get away with what you have here, heck it doesn't look bad to me, but trying to push yourself is probably a good idea. I believe taking some risks and being more out there won't hurt your education (as later year's exams are more important?), but you'll know better about that than I.

Can you ask your teacher for feedback? I know some teachers are happy to help their students, just ask Gower! Would probably give you feedback if you were taking one of his classes. Also see if there is a criteria.

Depth

It might just be me, but think about if you are going into enough depth with your thoughts. Leaving things unsaid can be pretty bad, but you also obviously don't want to ramble either. Just... when you are proofreading, see if your point is fully explained, by asking 'why'.

"The Friar could have publicly announced the marriage of Romeo and Juliet, which would have forced the feud to halt then and there, instead of allowing it to snowball into a larger conflict later."

Take that as an example. It is a pretty bold claim that announcing the marriage of Romeo and Juliet would halt the feud. Why exactly would announcing it stop the blood feud? Wouldn't the parents just be pissed that their children went and married their enemies behind their backs? Like, you can argue for it, sure, but I think going just a little bit further into your reasoning might be good.

But do think about this yourself, because again, you don't want to ramble, and the length does seem pretty decent already.

Conclusion

No mention of the author's potential intent, play message/meaning, themes, etc. You are just trying to claim that the Friar is responsible, so it might not be needed, but having even one paragraph on how Shakespeare is making a point about society by having the Friar be guilty might give more variety to the essay while also showing greater understanding.

Obviously tho, showing that you understand what happened in the play is important too.

I'd ask a teacher for feedback (assuming you can) and also look into the criteria sheet if there is one.

Personally, I don't think the essay is bad, but it isn't exactly anything new or highly impressive (tho I may just be too harsh). However, if you stick with this, I'd be shocked if you don't get at least a decent mark.