mizal, The Novelist

Member Since


Last Activity

1/21/2017 3:54 PM

EXP Points


Post Count


Storygame Count


Duel Stats

1 win / 6 losses


Lauded Sage



I'm here on CYS primarily as a reader and reviewer. I have an interest in seeing good stories posted, and bad ones going away, and the site being a place readers can browse to reliably find quality work. I tend to be fairly busy during the week, but if you want general impressions or advice on a story or writing excerpt, feel free to PM me. (If you're new, just fyi getting advice and feedback is one of the things the Writing Workshop on the forums is for as well.)    

Otherwise, past experience has taught me that the reason you're looking at my profile right now might be because I hurt your fragile feefees with critical remarks.

If so, let me explain my approach to reviewing:  

I said it just a moment ago, but I know words are hard, so I'll repeat: I'm here primarily as a reader and a reviewer. If I feel the thing I just read wasted my time, my review will reflect that. 

A story, to be a story, needs an engaging plot, relatable characters and conflicts for them to overcome in a believable way. A rudimentary idea of pacing and structure and a creative idea or two thrown in the mix wouldn't hurt either! (Spelling, punctuation, grammar and proof reading are a given. Better to not publish at all if you can't even be bothered with that much.)  

It's not any reader's job to pat you on the back for only failing to deliver in X or Y number of ways. When I see a story that's not a story, I rate it a one and move on. There are people happy to offer feedback, and you can write all you want for as long as you need, but once you hit that publish button you're throwing your work out into the wild and you'd better be sure it can stand on its own merits. 

(Storygames with more focus on the 'game' part are rarer and have slightly different criteria, but they still need enough decent writing to hold them together, and above all need to be entertaining.)


Now, for all you kids just starting out, the Grammarly Handbook is a great resource, and above all I'd recommend you just read more books. Step away from comforting junk food like Warrior Cats a little while and challenge yourself by branching out to other genres, older books, and books above your age level. Whether you like them or don't like them, see if you can look at the author's choices from a meta level and identify why.      

Trophies Earned

Earning 100 Points Earning 500 Points Earning 1,000 Points Thorough and consistent writing workshop contributions / excellent commenting.


Now You Gotta Deal With This S***
A tale told in verse. A text from your sister requesting a pick up from a party leads to a night of strangeness. Inspired by Bucky's ballad contest. Though...I wouldn't call this a ballad. I'm not sure what I'd call it, actually, other than exceedingly stupid, and fun to write. (Don't pay any attention to the scores, they're just for me to track which endings reviewers get.)

Articles Written

CYS Forum Advice and Etiquette
A modernized guide to the forums. The path to internet popularity and happiness, and a few CYS specific do's and don'ts.

Recent Posts

Commending on 1/21/2017 3:54:24 PM
Yeah, congrats. Pretty good job...for a Marauder. I guess a day when no one else gets a commendation is the best you people can hope for.
Top Rated Storygames has disappeared on 1/21/2017 11:07:34 AM
Oh, never mind, I'm dumb. I was thinking it'd already gone through. Shows how much clicking around I've been doing the last couple of days.
Top Rated Storygames has disappeared on 1/21/2017 10:52:04 AM
It happened again... (Probably this has already been noticed.)
Awakening (Continuing Story) on 1/20/2017 9:14:07 PM
Ew, people are still posting here? Okay. You're a man with tanned skin and spiky blonde hair, of average height and average build. You start examining your surroundings more closely. The room is fairly large, but the amount of machinery makes it feel crowded. Aside from those surrounding the metal slab you awoke on, there's a treadmill hooked to a heart rate monitor, a full body scanner, several blank-screened computers on a row of desks against the wall--one apparently the source of the obnoxious beeping--and other equipment with functions you're frankly not sure of. Most seem vaguely medical in nature. Two small doors open into a tiny bathroom and empty closet, neither of which contain anything of interest of value. A third door leads to a hallway. Searching the desks reveals someone has been frustratingly thorough in removing any papers that might give you a clue as to who or where you are. You do however unearth a working flashlight with wrist straps, a lanyard with two keys and an empty plastic sleeve where an ID had once gone, a multitool, and a styrofoam cup containing the congealed remains of what had once perhaps been coffee, now overgrown with a colorful variety of flora. Discarding that last, you spot a much more useful bottle of water and grab that instead. A crashing sound and the tinkle of breaking glass chooses that moment to grab your attention. It came from somewhere outside the room, in the direction of the thumping sound, which has now stopped. 1.) See what's going on outside. 2.) Examine the computers.
CYOA vs. CYS on 1/20/2017 8:32:43 PM
I'd be curious to see how well a situation like a game with each room having multiple objects to interact with went over, actually. It's the norm for interactive fiction, but would be an awful lot of clicking for a CYOA without making any kind of story progress. Having to load a separate page for a one line description of opening or closing a drawer, for instance. Speaking as an author I'd not sure I'd ever attempt it, even as in love with the way IF handles discovery and exploration as I am. It'd take a lot of scripting to create the illusion of what would at best be an imitation of a very rudimentary IF game, minus the freedom and sense of immersion the parser gives. I'm way more into CYOAs than I used to be, but it's always going to be a limitation of the medium that any action on the player's part is always going to boil down to the game going, 'Here are your options. Now click one.'
Dark City feedback on 1/20/2017 11:07:21 AM
I guess it'd be Berka's call but it feels like planning too much out would ruin some of the fun of the sort of spontaneous collaboration everyone's got going on.
Awakening (Continuing Story) on 1/19/2017 10:56:35 PM
(I saw what you did there. :P Not brave enough to stick with a black, blonde, swole dwarf woman I see...)
Dark City Index/Feedback on 1/19/2017 10:50:07 PM
Figured I'd make this so the main thread doesn't get cluttered up. I wasn't here for the previous version but it's shaping up to be a lot of fun and I'm excited to see where it goes. Malk's piece on the Thrice Dead Men was fantastic. Everyone else needs to step up their game now.
Awakening (Continuing Story) on 1/19/2017 10:45:20 PM
4.) Examine yourself more closely. Your jumpsuit has no markings or tags, and you don't seem to be carrying any form of identification. Frowning slightly, you run your fingers over your wrists. There's a tiny metal port in each, and a search reveals another at the nape of your neck, and one on your chest. They're like something a patient receiving dialysis or chemotherapy might be fitted with. It seems probable you were hooked up by the plastic tubing to the machines to receive some sort of treatment, though you feel fine, and physically, nothing else seems out of the ordinary. You have no tattoos or notable scarring that you can find in an initial search. You are male/female with pale/tanned/dark skin and spiky black/brown/red/blonde hair. You seem short/of average height/tall, and you have a slender/medium/muscular build. 1.) Locate the source of the beeping. 2.) Investigate the thumping sound. 3.) Search the room.
Dark City (collaborative content) on 1/19/2017 10:05:14 PM
Just at the place where Park Square meets Saugath's Way, pedestrians pause in their routes, ostensibly to take in the sights of the stagnant water pooled up in the broken fountain or the vandalized statuary, while avoiding the vacant, accusing stares of boarded up shop windows. Money will furtively change hands here, and no one pays any mind to the blind old beggar, wrapped up in so many rags and bandages only the briefest hint of flesh can ever be seen. He's there every day, seemingly just as silent and barely more aware than the statues themselves.