The Weekly Review - Edition 2
Published every Friday! Editor: Will11, Joker: Malkalack, Special Thanks: Sethaniel
This week’s review features an interesting interview with the scarily clever Sethaniel (who also provides a detailed solution to last week’s puzzle), fresh jokes by the king of the capybaras Malkalack and more new reviews, tips and puzzles. On a side note for those who like comedy everyone’s favorite penguinite is editing The CYS Morning Times Gazette Tribune Independent, jaystarcat and co are publishing The CYS Weekly Newspaper and another group of veteran writers have the CYS Chronicles: The Daily Herald: be sure to check them out.
Reviews Recommending Riveting Reads
Note: your story-game must have received a player rating of at least 4 for inclusion here.
Quality-wise this has not been a great week for CYOA.
Since The Dawn of CYOA Time (2001):
Snow (a Love and Dating by Sethaniel)
Snow is proof that a story doesn’t need to be long or complicated to be beautiful; roughly fifty pages long Snow combines beautiful pictures with powerful descriptions that work together perfectly to produce strong emotional reactions in readers. There is nothing excessive or unnecessary in Snow and the ambiguity of the writing means it can trigger a unique reaction in each reader, this is one of the site’s favorite story games and it’s artistry lies in it’s simplicity. It is that rare story which is easy to read but nearly impossible to write.
Interviewing Interesting Individuals
1: Why do you write choose your own stories?
They're easier than regular stories? I hardly ever finish linear stories, because once I know how it ends, I don't need to write it down any more. From a purely aesthetic sense, I love beginnings, and I hate endings. I've played every origin story in Dragon Age Origins, and I've never actually completed the game. I've restarted Skyrim over a dozen times, and never gotten more than about 2/3 of the way through the main quest. With CYOAs there's this sense of, no matter how many endings you create, none of them are the true and final end, there could always be more and different stories, you can always go back and begin again.
Actually, I think this quote from China Mieville about detective novels explains pretty well how I feel about choose your stories:
"detective novels are not novels of detection, still less of revelation, still less of solution. Those are all necessary, but not only are they insufficient, but they are in certain ways regrettable. These are novels of potentiality. Quantum narratives. Their power isn’t in their final acts, but in the profusion of superpositions before them, the could-bes, what-ifs and never-knows. Until that final chapter, each of those is as real and true as all the others, jostling realities all dreamed up by the crime, none trapped in vulgar facticity. That’s why the most important sentence in a murder mystery isn’t the one starting ‘The murderer is…’ – which no matter how necessary and fabulously executed is an act of unspeakable narrative winnowing – but is the snarled expostulation halfway through: ‘Everyone’s a suspect.’ Quite. When all those suspects become one certainty, it’s a collapse, and a let-down. How can it not be? We’ve been banished from an Eden of oscillation.”
2: What is your preferred writing method and style?
On a computer, quickly. I write in notebooks, too, but never go back and transfer any of it to the computer.
I actually write on CYS, for the same reason other people don't. I tend to lose my computer hard drive every couple years. I'm the type that revises a sentence until it's right, then goes on to the next and never looks back. I know a lot of writing advice says to just push through to completion and go back later to fix things, but I absolutely cannot write that way. During sentence revision is when/how I figure out what the next sentence will be. (and again, once I'm done, I don't go back.)
Story example: Haunted.
The original idea came from looking at how CYS did variables and items, and wondering if it was possible to tell a story entirely through the use of items. I started with a vague setting of a guy and a ghost, and while I was writing the various endings, I realized who they were and what their story was about. I know, that's not really how creativity works- but when it flows, it genuinely feels less like I'm inventing the plot or making decisions about characterization, and more like I'm realizing things that existed all along.
3: Any plans for future stories?
I have hundreds of unfinished ideas. This site alone has about thirty incomplete stories. Examples:
- A dystopia where psychics rebel against alien lords
- A victorian-flavored fantasy of steampunk cyborgs versus vampires
- A puzzle/romance where those who've come back from the dead with strange powers use their new gifts to escape the hospital holding them prisoner.
- High fantasy about a half-breed orphan's rise to power in a divided city.
Like I told jaystar, I'm trying to write a CoG game at the moment similar to King of Dragon Pass without all the resource management, and a more defined story and characters.
4: Who are your favourite authors and/or story games on this site?
Everyone always mentions the obvious choices, so here's a few lesser-known stories I thought were fun:
- Braak the Briton
- The Apprentice King
- Welcome to Pablo's
- The Princess Pretty series
5: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Read a lot, not always the same author or style. Roleplay in person or online; be different people.
6: How about some final thoughts?
Some more general advice for producing good stories:
1) Draw from your own experiences and interests, there is no point making it harder for yourself by writing about something you don’t know about. Your story’s characters can be based on people you know.
2) If you are going to write fan fiction you are basically plagiarizing someone else’s ideas: probably the best way to do it is to develop that idea further and aim for high quality in spelling and grammar.
3) If you are going to share something you’ve created with other people, whether it’s a story, a cake or a baby be prepared for the possibility of criticism. Not everyone will like it and you must accept that. If the criticism is well-explained and justified consider how to avoid getting that criticism in the future (case in point, I used to get criticized on my grammar a lot because I write in British English, to avoid this I now use the spellchecker to change it into American English).
4) Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are some truly talented authors on here and some very generous people in the forums.
5) Don’t divide your story into chapters or parts. We don’t buy half a book and we won’t like reading half a complete story, have a distinct beginning, middle and end and if you really want to carry the idea forward write a sequel (or eight like SindriV did, and they’re all great).
Puzzle of the Week
Last week I challenged your logic in one big puzzle, this week I’m going to challenge it with three small puzzles taken from scientific psychic.com. When I tried them I got Questions 1 and 2 right but was stumped by Question 3. 3 looks difficult but actually the answer is revealed in the question with a bit of lateral thinking and basic general knowledge. Good Luck!
1: You have been promoted to pet detective while Ace Ventura guides some tourists on a safari. From the following clues, you must figure out who is the owner of each pet, and where the pet got lost.
A) A rabbit and a dog are two of the lost pets.
B) The pet lost in the garden is owned by Mary.
C) Robert does not own a dog.
D) John's pet was lost in the woods.
E) The cat was not lost in the woods or in the park.
2: A valuable painting was stolen from the Liars' Club, but the police are having a hard time identifying the culprit because every statement made by a member of the Liars' Club is false. Only four members visited the club on the day that the painting was stolen. This is what they told the police:
A) Ann: None of us took the painting. The painting was here when I left.
B) Bob: I arrived second. The painting was already gone.
C) Chuck: I was the third to arrive. The painting was here when I arrived.
D) Tom: Whoever stole the painting arrived before me. The painting was already gone.
Who of these four liars stole the painting?
3: A bear walks south for one kilometer, then it walks west for one kilometer, then it walks north for one kilometer and ends up at the same point from which it started. What color was the bear?
Last Week’s Puzzle Solution
Provided by Sethaniel:
This is how you solve the puzzle. ^_^
9 tells you the Norwegian lives in the leftmost house.
Norway, X, X, X, X
14 tells you Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
Now, since he lives on the end, you know it must be
Norway, Blue, X, X, X
Now what color is the Norwegian's house?
Well, 4 tells us that the green house is just to the left of the white house.
So the Norwegian can't live in the green house, because he's just to the left of a blue house.
So, one of those three Xs must be the green house.
It can't be the centre house, because 5 says the green house's owner drinks coffee, and 8 says the centre house drinks milk.
Norway, Blue, Milk, X, X
It also can't be the house all the way on the right, because the white house has to be to the right of the green house.
So the only house it can be is the mid-right:
Norway, Blue, Milk, Green, X
And 4 tells us white is to the right of green. So:
Norway, Blue, Milk, Green, White.
The Norwegian's house is either red or yellow. 1 says the red house belongs to the Brit, so Norway must be Yellow.
Norway/Yellow, Blue, Brit/Red, Green, White
Also, from 5 and 8, we know
Norway/Yellow, Blue, Brit/Red/Milk, Green/Coffee, White
Oh, and 7 tells us the yellow house smokes Dunhill so:
Norway/Yellow/Dunhill. 11 says the man who owns a horse lives next to the dunhill smoker, and that's the norwegian, who lives on the end house, so:
Norway/Yellow/Dunhill, Blue/Horse, Brit/Red/Milk, Green/Coffee, White
What does the Norwegian drink? Not coffee, that's the green house. Not milk, that's the Brit. Not beer, that guy smokes bluemasters. Not tea, that's the Dane. So he drinks water.
Norway/Yellow/Dunhill/Water, Blue/Horse, Brit/Red/Milk, Green/Coffee, White
The Brit doesn't smoke Dunhills (cause we know that's the Norwegian) and he doesn't smoke Prince (13 says that's the German) He doesn't smoke Bluemasters, (12 says that guy is a beer drinker, and we know the Brit drinks milk)
So the Brit either smokes Pall Malls, or Blends.
Well, 15 says the man who smokes blends has a neighbor who drinks water. We know the Norwegian drinks water, and he only has one neighbor, so the blends smoker is the guy in the blue house.
Meaning the Brit is Pall Malls. and from 6 we know he owns birds.
Brit/Red/Birds/Pall Mall/Milk (complete!)
Now 10 says the Blends guy has a neighbor with cats, but we know the brit has birds, so it must be the Norwegian with cats, and that's two complete!
Now where can we go? Well, 12 says the guy who smokes Bluemasters drinks beer, and we know the Blue house smokes blends, and the Green house drinks coffee, so the White house must be the beer-drinking Bluemaster smoker.
And 3 says the Dane drinks tea, so he lives in the only house whose beverage we don't know, the blue house; 13 says the German smokes Prince, so he lives in the only house whose smokes we don't know, the Green house, leaving the swede in the white house.
And we're down to the part where I misread my notes originally ;p
We know everything except which pets the German and Swede have. 2 says the Swede has dogs, so that leaves the fish for the German.
Provided by Malkalack:
1) An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at.
2) Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before.
PLEASE READ AGAIN NEXT FRIDAY FOR MORE REVIEWS, INTERVIEWS, TIPS, PUZZLES AND JOKES!
Nice one! :D
3 is white.
Excellent article as always Will!
Thanks for the feedback guys and you are both right in your puzzle solutions :)