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Hello

8 months ago

Hello, I am new to this website and I have a few questions. I found the site while I was googling old choose your own adventure games. I used to like them when I was younger and decided to join. Now a few questions.

1. What are some general tips for writing a good story

2. How would you go about getting motivation when your halfway into a story  and lose it.

3. What are some must read here on this site

4. What are some great books you would recommend .

 

 

Hello

8 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/17/2019 4:06:07 PM

Hi! So first of all...welcome to the site! You'll find some good people here and other....weird people. (I'm one of the weird people.)

So.

1. General tips: Make sure you have it planned out. Writing a story is hard enough, but a CYOA is a story that turned into a tornado. You also need to check over your work. A lot. People on here will tell you what's wrong with a story, sometimes nicely, and sometimes not. So always check for grammar and spelling mistakes. Also, make sure you have a good idea. Nobody likes a boring story.

2. If you lose motivation in the middle of your story, take a break. And also, make sure you read a lot of CYOAs here on the site. They're great for motivation and ideas. (Shhh....don't make it seem like you copied their ideas. That's bad.)

3. Some must reads on the site are: The Price of Freedom: Innocence Lost and...that's all I really enjoyed. Hopefully others can supply you with more.

4. Great goods you can and should read: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, The Kingsfountain Series by Jeff Wheeler and that's what I can think of right now.

Glad to have you on the site! Hope you have a good time!

Hello

8 months ago
What the heck? Where did you come from? How did we get two literate newbies in the same thread?

Hello

8 months ago

I''m not that big of a newbie...I've probably been here for about a month now. But I'm not popular or anything.

Hello

8 months ago

Thanks for your advice! I recall reading mistborn but never finishing it. It is a shame because I loved that book a lot.

Hello

8 months ago

Yes, it is a beautiful book. The ending of the series is a bit depressing though.

Hello

8 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/17/2019 4:05:17 PM

Well I'll be damned! Welcome.

1.) Some general tips, I would say make sure to plan and outline your story well before you start writing.  Actually, that part can be sort of interchangeable, oddly I find it helps to write the first page or so in a word document to get a good feel than plot it all out.  It's alright if you change up the first couple pages later or disregard it in favor of something more fitting.  

Once you have the plot thought out, definitely take some time to think about your characters and how the plot influences them/how they influence the plot and other characters.  I generally find I like having a portion of my story notes set aside to write a small (or sometimes long blurb) of the characters story arc, personality, relationships to other characters as a general guide to keep them consistent.  

Now that I've told you to obsessively plan your story, don't be like me and make the mistake of taking too much time planning things.  Sometimes you just have to make a basic plan and get to it.  You'd be surprised at the things that can organically work out when you working through your plot and writing the story.

2.  Sometimes you can't rely on motivation alone.  I've found that sometimes you just gotta roll up your sleeves and get through the horrid middle parts of the story.  What I find works is to have a scene, character, or event in mind that you like so you can get motivated to write until you reach that point.  What's nice about this is if you place something fun and exciting towards the middle, it can help you flow right on to the next thing you want to get to.  Then before you know if you're almost done! 

(These things can often be easier done than said but don't beat yourself up if you need to get away from your story for a couple days)

3.  I would say anything by EndMaster.  His stories are the perfect example of how to execute large scale branching without completely changing the story randomly due to one choice.  What I mean by this is that in his stories the choices you make tend to influence the world around you.  For example see: http://chooseyourstory.com/story/necromancer

Whereas some stories like to completely change something due to a choice (which can be well done but generally not good).  For example if you have a character eat toast then aliens attack, but in the next read through they find if you eat jello instead the story just becomes something entirely different.

What a lot of people tend to appreciate better is how, exactly, does eating toast or jello influence your interactions with the aliens?  Are they allergic to jello?  Afraid of toast?  

However, smaller choices that don't effect the overall story as much can be well done.  It can add some extra lore and worldbuilding options as well as character development that you can see more and different options with each read through. For example see Steve's: http://chooseyourstory.com/story/fear-the-psyker

4.  I'll admit, I haven't kept up in my book reading in past years.  The reading corner in the forums section would be a great place to look.

Hello

8 months ago

Wow...that's a long answer. Now I feel like my answer was insignificant and tiny... * sobs *

Hello

8 months ago

I mean, your info was good.  Just brief.  We're always happy to have people contribute worthwhile stuff.

Hello

8 months ago
Getting the same points across clearly in fewer words is a sign of good writing.

Hello

8 months ago

Thank you for all the advice. As for planning out your stories, how would you go about doing that? Is there a template you would recommend? I mean I have an idea but as you said I might want to fully flesh it out because at the moment I have a vague idea of the ending and beginning, but no idea about the middle

Hello

8 months ago
I always recommend planning out a linear story first, just like you would any other (see my profile), and then thinking of points where the character might do something differently and what would result from that. CYOAs can sprawl all over the place and everyone ultimately works out their own method for dealing with that, but I usually aim for about three 'main' paths which are narratively satisfying and feel complete, then add smaller paths with early endings onto that or little side branches that fold back in. Learning some basic variable and scripting stuff is a great help for reducing tedium and tracking certain details while keeping things organized, and like Maya said, starting off with a smaller scale story helps a lot with keeping it from getting unwieldy too.

Hello

8 months ago
Commended by mizal on 3/17/2019 4:05:09 PM
Hi Serpent, welcome to CYS! I hope you have a lot of fun reading and writing stories on here. I see you've already joined a contest; awesome, good luck! Just remember, don't be an idiot! Though it seems you won't have much trouble with that.

I'll let the more skilled members on here give you more detailed advice, but here are some basic tips:

  • Always back up your work. Bad things may happen if you don't. There's nothing that's more likely to make you lose your motivation than losing everything you spent months working on.
  • Start with something small. It may be tempting to immediately start a huge epic, but if you haven't written much before, you'll probably be overwhelmed soon. You can skip this step, but a shorter story would be good practice.
  • Have a good plan before you start out. There are a few authors that prefer to just write whatever comes to mind, but you're probably not one of them. Having a good idea of what the plot is and who the characters are will make the story much easier to manage and will potentially prevent writing block.
  • Write about something you enjoy. If you don't give a shit about a story, it'll show in its quality. Writing a shorter silly story can be a good way to practice without worrying about it being perfect, but you won't be able to keep motivated for long if you just don't care.
  • Take your time. Unless you're in a contest or want to give yourself a challenge, there's no deadline, so don't rush. There's also nothing wrong with waiting a few more days after you're finished to proofread and rewrite.
  • Don't worry too much about making it perfect. Have you put a lot of effort into the story and proofread it carefully? Then it's already better than plenty of stories on here.

As for motivation, the most important thing when you have writing block is to just write something. Anything. So if you're drawing a complete blank on the scene you're supposed to write, try writing one you find more interesting instead. Or perhaps even write something for an unrelated writing prompt, although that could lead to you getting a new idea and getting completely distracted, so use with caution. Tracking your progress, such as in a motivation thread on the forum, could also be helpful.

I recommend you start by checking out the featured stories, such as anything by EndMaster, Bestist Frend Jane or Dead Man Walking. They'll give you a good idea of what the readers here enjoy the most and are also just fun as hell to read. After that, just explore. There's something for almost everyone.

We would love if you could write some reviews, to help the authors improve in the future. Far too many of us have been lazy and not doing that.

Hello

8 months ago

Thank you for taking your time to reply. As for making smaller stories I see what you mean. I’ve found that if you go for a super long epic out of the gate it is super easy to give up about a chapter through. I’m also very guilty of wanting to make amazing fight scenes and large fantasy worlds. I’ve found that unless done right a fight scene turns out ultimately boring and hard to make. 

As for not being an idiot, I can’t promise anything ;)

 

 

Hello

8 months ago
Looks like Corgi and Maya an even the mystery noob are already showing off in here so I'll just say hello for now and welcome to the site!

e: oh and I guess I'm obligated to recommend Watership Down for #4 since that's practically a meme with me at this point (it's really good ok) ((not a furry))

Hello

8 months ago

Because peeps have recommended all of EndMaster's works, as they should, I thought I should share a proposed reading order for someone who wanted to read all of his.  

This excludes Imagination, AVSCYS, and off-site works.  


Innkeeper
Rogues
Alpha Wolf
Paradise Violated
Necromancer
Death Song
Eternal
Geek
TRASH
Love SICK
repression

Tales From the Basement
Ground Zero
Suzy's Strange Saga

 

Many of the stories are interconnected, and while you don't have to read them in this order, there is a lot of extra stuff that you might miss if you don't.  

Hello

8 months ago

I was about to suggest the same thing as Cricket and check out all of Endmaster's work, most of it is story focused and not just short sentences"click" short sentences