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one month ago

So, I'm starting a storygame, and I have the prologue done so far. 

A lovely boy named Koda has been brought into this Earth. He was born with a purpose. A motive. A goal. The purpose may not be the most heroic. But Koda was born to kill. To kill a person. To kill a crowd. He shall not be wiped off the face of Earth until he fulfills his destiny. Koda's destiny is to become like his father. A man who created explosives and potions that created blood-thirsty monsters. Koda's father used his creations for evil. Destruction. Chaos. Now, it was Koda's turn.
However, his father was gone. His mother had to take care of him. Koda hated his mother. With every bone in his body. Now, of course, there was nothing particularly wrong with his mother. The problem was that she wasn't like his father. Koda's mother was kind and protective. Eclipse, his sister, was exactly the same. She liked adventure, but she didn't like chaos and destruction. However, Eclipse couldn't fulfill her dream of becoming an adventurer, either. The reason why is because their mother trapped them inside their home, and their mother never explained the reasoning behind it. They could be able to see the outside, but never get to go out there. Eclipse hated staying stuck inside. But not Koda. Koda thanked his mother for locking them inside. This way, he could create the explosives.
Making explosives kept Koda busy for a long period of time. For years, Koda kept building all the explosives he needed. Until there were no supplies left. He needed to search for more. He searched the house. He searched it from top to bottom. Checked all the drawers, all the closets, nooks, and crannies. He even checked in his father's office. Nobody was allowed to go into the office; not even their mother. However, this was an emergency. If Koda was going to fulfill his destiny, he needed more instructions, tools, and supplies. While searching, he stumbled upon a briefcase. The briefcase consisted of all the things he needed to make the potions. He carried the briefcase to his room, opened it up, and got to work. Soon, he had a full load of dangerous potions and deadly explosives. 
Years have passed. Eclipse and Koda are now both seventeen. After growing up in the same old house, their mother decided to let them go. To let them roam the Earth to their heart's content and explore new worlds beyond. She wanted them to have bright futures. Dream and think big, she said.
However, that was a mistake.

Is there anything I should add? Remove? 

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one month ago

More space between paragraphs would be nice, like so ~

A lovely boy named Koda has been brought into this Earth. He was born with a purpose. A motive. A goal. The purpose may not be the most heroic. But Koda was born to kill. To kill a person. To kill a crowd. He shall not be wiped off the face of Earth until he fulfills his destiny. Koda's destiny is to become like his father. A man who created explosives and potions that created blood-thirsty monsters. Koda's father used his creations for evil. Destruction. Chaos. Now, it was Koda's turn.

However, his father was gone. His mother had to take care of him. Koda hated his mother. With every bone in his body. Now, of course, there was nothing particularly wrong with his mother. The problem was that she wasn't like his father. Koda's mother was kind and protective. Eclipse, his sister, was exactly the same. She liked adventure, but she didn't like chaos and destruction. However, Eclipse couldn't fulfill her dream of becoming an adventurer, either. The reason why is because their mother trapped them inside their home, and their mother never explained the reasoning behind it. They could be able to see the outside, but never get to go out there. Eclipse hated staying stuck inside. But not Koda. Koda thanked his mother for locking them inside. This way, he could create the explosives.

Making explosives kept Koda busy for a long period of time. For years, Koda kept building all the explosives he needed. Until there were no supplies left. He needed to search for more. He searched the house. He searched it from top to bottom. Checked all the drawers, all the closets, nooks, and crannies. He even checked in his father's office. Nobody was allowed to go into the office; not even their mother. However, this was an emergency. If Koda was going to fulfill his destiny, he needed more instructions, tools, and supplies. While searching, he stumbled upon a briefcase. The briefcase consisted of all the things he needed to make the potions. He carried the briefcase to his room, opened it up, and got to work. Soon, he had a full load of dangerous potions and deadly explosives.

Years have passed. Eclipse and Koda are now both seventeen. After growing up in the same old house, their mother decided to let them go. To let them roam the Earth to their heart's content and explore new worlds beyond. She wanted them to have bright futures. Dream and think big, she said.

However, that was a mistake.

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one month ago
Other than that, it seems like a pretty engaging start.

Initially, I thought it felt like a fantasy setting, but the use of the word 'briefcase' is jarringly modern. If it is fantasy, then a word like 'satchel' might be better suited. If it is modern, then it needs to explain the term 'adventurer' more.

I am also left wondering why the mother kept them in the house in the first place, then let them go.

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one month ago
Yeah I'm a little confused about the mother too. A lot of emphasis was put on that without explaining why, then she just was like 'whatever, bye.'

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one month ago

I am also left wondering why the mother kept them in the house in the first place, then let them go.

I was reading the prologue again and I realized that I needed to jot down an idea for why the mother kept them in the house for a majority of their childhood. My original plan was that she was overprotective and didn't want her children to get kidnapped, and then when she saw that they matured, she let them go. But it doesn't feel right, so I tossed out that idea.

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one month ago
Maybe she realized her son was a bomb making psychopath and was trying to protect others?

But he'd have to run away or otherwise leave against her will to make that work.

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one month ago
I was snooping around your profile the other day since I hadn't seen you in awhile and I read this. I did think it was an interesting start but I have a few questions about the intro.

I'll get back to you in more detail when I can post after work, but first off, can you talk a little bit more about this and what you plan for the characters? And for the new one on the next page?

There's a lot to do with pacing and plot structure, aka how and when information is revealed to a reader that you just kind of get a sense for by reading more books over time. It's harder to explain than things like grammar but it's one of the more important aspects of writing.

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one month ago

can you talk a little bit more about this and what you plan for the characters? 

Of course!

So, the book "Koda" was actually inspired by an old 3rd-grade comic book I drew called "Chip". There were a lot of plot holes, new characters that got added with no purpose, and things that made no sense whatever. I didn't really have a plan for it. The main idea was "a talking dog with his owner and owner's cousin (that randomly got turned into a sister) save the world from an evil alien". So, my main goal for Koda is to be like Chip, but just have a better structure to the story. In Chip, it started out as a fantasy story but then turned into sci-fi. So, for Koda, I want it to be all fantasy.

For the characters, I obviously want Koda to be the villain/antagonist and Eclipse to be the "secret good guy forced to be evil".  Koda would be manipulative and cruel to everyone, while Eclipse would be adventurous and friendly. I don't know what to do for the mom though. Maybe Koda could kill her since that seemed like something Koda would do, and it was explained in the prologue that Koda hated his mother. 

And for the next page... I'm not so sure on that one. I still need to think it over more. 

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one month ago

You've already gotten some good advice regarding what you've written, so I'll focus more on what you've brought up here.

Structure

To have better structure, I'd say you can either plan more now, or revise things later.

Planning

People plan differently, and some plan more than others. There is no wrong way to do it, but it is worth experimenting to find what works for you. Some people prefer to just write as they go, with minimal (or no) planning.

I'd advise looking at your main idea, a talking dog with his owner and sister save the world from an evil alien, and thinking about some of the details you'll want to cover along this quest (your comic can serve as inspiration).

With a storygame, there will be choices, and those tend to be impactful. Will there be a path where they fail? What about a short path where they don't even try to save the world?

While thinking about this, be careful not to go overboard, since scope creep is a common problem. Think about the most important and most interesting paths, and focus on them.

When writing scenes and offering choices, try to have them be relevant to the story you're trying to tell, so that you might keep things moving forward! Always move forward towards some ending.

Also, be sure not to let planning get in the way of writing, since it is very much possible to just plan forever! Got to start writing at some stage.

Revising

You can always improve a story by making changes (removing or adding things) after having the first version written. In fact, your 3rd-grade comic is kind of the first version (but comics and storygames have some big differences).

You've already identified issues with your past work, so just improving those elements is a great goal. Just in case it proves helpful, one way to deal with characters who don't have a purpose is to combine them into one. This means there are less characters, but the characters that are there have more impact (since they affect more things).

Some people just want to share what they’ve written when they have the first version done. This isn't necessarily bad but proofreading shouldn't be skipped! Anyway, revising the work and making bigger changes is something that does get overlooked at times, which is why I wanted to mention it.

Conclusion

Think about where the story is going, and keep thinking about it as you write, that way you can make meaningful progress.

What should the next page be? You're thinking about it already, but if you haven't come up with anything, I'd say consider the alien!

I don't expect you to introduce them on the next page, but you could think about where/when you WILL introduce them, and start writing towards that moment (since it seems important for the story).

That's my advice, hopefully there's something there for you to consider.

Oh, and do keep writing! Consistency is powerful here.

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one month ago
Commended by mizal on 3/5/2021 5:53:31 PM
Damn. It really has been awhile since I’ve done one of these. I need to get off my rear end a bit more often, don’t I? Damn working and earning money just takes up too much time these days. Ah, well.

First, the disclaimers: this is my review. It is likely not like anyone else’s. In fact, you probably couldn’t find anyone else who completely agrees with what I write here. But it’s my opinion. I’m also writing this as I read through this for the first time. These are my first impressions as I read it. I’m not saying they’re right, just what I’m thinking. I haven’t looked at the other reviews or read anything else about this bit before writing this other bit. This is written in the spirit of helping you see how others (okay, me) see your story and to perhaps give you ideas for improvement, and not to be mean or anything else. Please don’t take it personally. This review is likely worth exactly what you paid for it. Finally, you did ask.

Here we go:

“A lovely boy.” Ok, so intended or not, this is about a tiny infant, or a wimp. Perhaps both. There’s nothing wrong with saying “lovely boy,” but just realize those first words set the scene, and it is a soft setting. But apparently he was born underground, because he was brought into the earth, not on the earth. That’s fine. It’s a story about a squishy infant that lives in a cave. I can relate so far.

The next bit, for me, is confusing. We’ve got the setup, but it suddenly is jarring into purpose, motive, and goal. Oh, and death. And clearly not heroic death. So this is now a story about an evil assassin who kills because, well, not for any good reason, whatever that reason is. “Wiped off the face of the earth” seems odd there. Something simpler might be more dramatic, like “Cannot be killed” or something. But oh, we’re in a fantasy setting? Or are we? We have explosives, but then potions, but then monsters. I guess it could be any setting, but it’s just not clear. Though it is clear that Koda is evil for the sake of being evil. That’s fine, but hopefully there will not be point where you want the reader to care about Koda, because you’ve set him up nicely to be the Evil Bad Guy.

Oh wait, now he’s a Teenager Who Hates His Mom. His mom is nice, and Koda is ungrateful and hates her just to hate her. The angst is strong in this one. But he also has a sister with a superhero name. And the two of them have never been outside, though Koda has apparently blown up the interior of the cave many, many times. I guess since they live in a cave that’s not too big a deal, though it might make living in a house, especially a medieval house, if that’s where we are. Some of the wording here was awkward (The reason why is).

I don’t know what is happening in the next paragraph. Koda, who now appears to be a teenager, spent “years and years” making bombs. In his house. From household materials. Repeatedly. And it was an emergency that he continues to make bombs. And he appears to be doing it 24/7, as he never leaves the house. How damn big is this house of the single mom with two isolated homeschooled kids that never leave? I mean, most houses you might spend an hour or two searching for bomb-making materials, and that’s only if you’re a moron, thinking you’re going to find something to make a bomb in the couch cushions or something. Unless the kid is MacGyver, but MacGyver wasn’t evil, so it can’t be a MacGyver fan fiction. So it’s a dumb teenager who keeps checking the cat box for gunpower, since he hasn’t left the house he thinks that the cat’s ass produces gunpowder or something. I’m trying to picture this retard searching just one more time behind the bookcase, thinking, “Oh, THIS time I’m going to find an extra blasting cap back there, I’m just sure mom would have dropped one back there, even though I just checked an hour ago and mom hasn’t been home.” But hey, it’s all good because after searching the house literally millions of times from age 10-14 (and doing literally nothing else since he never left the house), suddenly he found a briefcase. It was probably there the whole time, but this guy is so stupid, he didn’t see it. So now he can make potions. Even though he was searching for bomb-making materials in his sister’s panty drawer.

Thankfully, the potions briefcase (because that’s where you store potions) came with directions. While Koda spent years and years and years trying to learn and practice making explosions in his hovel, it just took him a few minutes to make some potions. I was kind of figuring Koda was too stupid to read, but I guess the deadly potion directions could have come with pictures.

Wait, now years pass. So now Koda is 17. So he was 14 when he found the briefcase. And he had spent his pre-teen years blowing up the house. But from 14 to 17 he did absolutely nothing. I’m picturing him sitting in his room, finishing up a potion, then not moving again for 3 entire years. I wonder if his mom and sister went to check on him, or if they were still busy rebuilding the house from all the explosions from the previous 5 years. And now mom is kicking them out. To go to the moon or something. Which was a mistake. Because, I’m guessing, Koda is planning on blowing up the moon. With potions. I think.

So that’s what I read. Sure, it’s a good start, but I do feel like some of the characters aren’t fully developed. That doesn’t mean you need to write more about them. But one of the things I’ve read about is that you should develop characters completely and understand them before you write about them. For example, if the sister is going to make an appearance, you should completely develop that character and understand that character. Then, when she does make an appearance, you already know what she looks like, what she likes and dislikes, and so on. The overall piece just feels slightly incomplete. Perhaps more significantly, what is the purpose of this prologue? That’s a serious question. Is it really needed? Could you start the story immediately after this point? If there are details from this that are needed, could those be included in a different way? Thoughts of Koda? Brief flashbacks like Koda remembering a scene finding the briefcase? Or even a simple line about potions that Koda found in his father’s briefcase years ago?

Anyway, good luck and keep up the writing!

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one month ago

Thanks for the review! This will help a lot. :]

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one month ago

After reading everyone's thoughts and opinions, I've come to a question. Should I redo the prologue or keep it like this?

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one month ago
Edits to take away unnecessary words and senteces and clarify others are just a normal part of the writing process.

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one month ago

Adding to what Mizal said, revision is a natural part of the writing process. You will write something that feels amazing in your head and it'll turn out to be shit, but revision can help you get it closer to that perfect vision. Don't be discouraged by the need to rewrite things, because everyone does it.

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29 days ago

New Revision (revisions are in bold)

A lovely boy named Koda has been brought into this Earth. He was born with a purpose. A motive. A goal. The purpose may not be the most heroic. But Koda was born to kill. To kill a person. To kill a crowd. He shall not die nor be killed until he fulfills his destiny. Koda's destiny is to become like his father. A man who created explosives and potions that created blood-thirsty monsters. Koda's father used his creations for evil. Destruction. Chaos. Now, it was Koda's turn.

However, his father was gone. His mother had to take care of him. Koda hated his mother. With every bone in his body. Now, of course, there was nothing particularly wrong with his mother. The problem was that she wasn't like his father. Koda's mother was kind and protective. Eclipse, his sister, was exactly the same. She liked adventure, but she didn't like chaos and destruction. Unfortanutaley, he had to grow up with the two of them. He did not let the kindness consume him.

Although Koda had an unhealthy obsession with weapons and blood-thirsty monsters, he was never able to create them, due to his mother destroying every last bit of Koda's father left in the household. That made Koda hate her even more. He snuck into his father's office--a forbidden place he was never allowed in to--and stole his instructions, even if the instructions were crumbled and smudged. So, when the time came, he could get started.

Years have passed. Eclipse and Koda are now both seventeen. After growing up in the same old house, their mother decided to let them go. To let them roam the Earth to their heart's content and explore new worlds beyond. She wanted them to have bright futures. Dream and think big, she said.

However, that was a mistake.

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29 days ago
>Unfortanutaley That would be 'Unfortunately'. There's still some oddness with tense in the first paragraph. A lovely boy named Koda has been brought into this Earth. Koda's destiny is to become like his father. Changing that to 'was brought' and 'was to become' would fix the issues. Technically the 'He shall not die' part should be changed to past tense too, but I think you can use artistic license on that one since it gives the line a certain sense of finality. In fact I think you should leave that line bolded in the story itself. The rest of the changes have really improved this, it's all more to the point and sets up the character relations better and more logically. Stealing the plans and studying them in secret is much more realistic than just easily making all that stuff at home as a kid, and conceivably there will be steps he has to take to get into position for that kind of villainy out in the world. I was thinking you might want to change that line about 'their mother decided to let them go' now that there's nothing about her keeping them there against their will. But actually it might be enough to just say 'agreed to let them go', since they're only seventeen after all. Anyhow, as a first page this works, I think it would catch people's interest and make them want to read more. I know you mentioned having trouble planning what happens next so feel free to PM me to chat about it more if you want.

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26 days ago

Thank you to everyone who gave criticism and feedback for my prologue, it really helped. I was able to get past the prologue and move onto Chapter 1, however, I'm in a bit of a pickle.

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26 days ago
Uh oh, pickle?