THE WEEKLY REVIEW - EDITION 18
- In Newbie Central newcomers DoctorFizz0505 introduces his or her fantastic self to the site!
- In the Lounge Steve24833 starts an Apology Thread for anyone that feels the need to get anything off their chests…
- In the Parlor Room ugilick (whose profile picture is of one of my favorite movie characters btw) raises an interesting question about first and third person perspectives in stories.
- In the Writing Workshop DoctorFizz0505 triggers a very lively discussion about Sci-Fi ideas for stories.
- In the Reading Corner Kingler1140 looks for fellow fans of the book My Side of the Mountain.
Featured Article - The History of CYS
Today I thought I’d write a bit about the history of this site.
This site is pretty old – about fifteen years old actually. That is older than many of the newer members joining this site. It was created way back in the spring of 2001 by Alex Papadimoulis, who as the member Alexp wrote the fantastically popular Love and Dating story The Proposal. He started off with his friends George and Dan who went on to become early site Admins chocobot and march5th00.
The Site rapidly grew as many users, including all of us, found it the perfect place for reading and writing multiple choice stories. In 2003 madglee and Fleshnblood_78 (Nate) joined the site as Admins, both are occasionally still around. There were others who are no longer active such as Solostrike, Havacoman and TSMPaul. As well as sacrificing their time to do the occasionally stressful volunteer work necessary to keep the site running all found time to write fantastic stories, madglee’s Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight being the most popular.
But unfortunately life and its many distractions drew all the first generation of site organisers and admins away from the site including the site’s creator Alexp. They were replaced by the very able next wave of site Moderators: the extremely competent JJJ-thebanisher in 2005, the fantastically talented Sethaniel in 2006 and the King of Coding BerkaZerka in 2011. All three admins continue to do the work they have done for years to deal with the more troublesome site members and ensure the site remains of a high standard and quality while at the same time writing some of the best stories that have ever appeared on this site such as Snow, The Order of the Midnight Sun and Dungeon Stompage.
I have only been on the site for only two years but during that time I have seen it suffer from a Warrior Cats fan invasion and the bizarre activities of a particularly deranged cat lover (in every sense of the word “lover”) called Ryder. Recognising the diminishing activities of the older Moderators was starting to affect the quality of the site new Moderators were appointed, first the selflessly generous Kiel_Farren and then when that didn’t work out long-time members EndMaster and Killa_Robot who are doing really fantastic work in keeping the site great as well as writing fantastic stories (in EndMaster’s case proving the most brilliant author this site has seen so far).
So there we have it – after fifteen years, some 37,000 members (or possibly 1,000 members and lots of alts), nearly 22,000 story games published (1,085 of which are of high enough quality to stay published) and over half a million comments on the Forums we have this wonderful site – a Library of great stories, a Conversation Place for discussion and a truly fantastic writing tool for churning out the best stories we can write. This little corner of the Internet really is a fantastic place, created all for free through the hard work of Alexp and many others and maintained through the tireless efforts of the current site Moderators so let’s all enjoy it and hopefully it will last for the next fifteen years!
Featured Interview - Introducing Ogre11
Occasionally mistaken an an alt of me (or vice versa) due to an actually bizarre number of similarities this far better creator of choose your own adventure stories (mine tend to fall more under the category of Historical Fiction) has been a presence on this site for two years and has contributed many enjoyable stories in that time. A prolific writer, a friendly presence in the Forums and an all around great guy here is Ogre 11 answering a few questions:
1) How did you find CYS and what made you decide to stay?
That's a tough one -- after all, it was almost two years ago, and I have trouble remembering what I had for lunch yesterday... I imagine it was because I was thinking about the old "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories that I loved. I wanted to try and find somewhere to write them, rather than creating an entire web site on my own. I found this place had exactly what I was looking for, so I started writing. I stayed because I still have a number of those stories wandering around in my head, and this is a place where I can share them with others.
2) What are your favourite stories or authors on the site?
A classic question, and as always, a tough one. There are two stories that come to mind: The Wal*Mart Game and My Vacation. Those were both fun because they were detailed and involved. I played My Vacation over and over again when I first found it, trying to find all the paths and different things in the game. That was fun. Dungeon Stompage was also pretty neat because it was so different than just reading the story. I also had fun with the story lines in Through Time and the Magellan series!
3) You have written a number of great stories, what is your preferred writing style and genre?
I like to write third person because it gives me flexibility and options -- but I like to write in first person because it keeps things SO much simpler! As for genres, I really enjoy reading fantasy -- and there is seriously a lack of that available commercially today. Now it's not even safe to search with the word "Fantasy" in the search box, where it used to be all about swords and sorcery! I do like to write in that genre as well, but I'm just not sure I'm good enough there to keep up with all that I have read there. That's why my stuff here is mostly sci-fi and modern.
4) What future projects do you have in the works?
I have two rather large projects that are started. One is a spy mission that I'm having loads of fun writing (it has lots of objects and dead-ends and different ways to accomplish missions) and the other is a swords and sorcery story that has sort of stalled at the moment. I think it's actually two stories that I'm trying to cram into one, so it won't sort itself out until I make the two stories separate. But I might be wrong about that...
5) What advice can you give to others on how to improve their writing?
Read -- but don't read for content, read to see what words people use. Read to see how others construct sentences. Then write. Ask for feedback on what you write, but realize that there is literally nothing you can write that someone won't complain about. In other words, have thick skin -- ask for comments, but be prepared for anything. At the same time, don't discard all the comments you get! If you ask for comments, don't argue: accept them or ignore them, but then move along.
6) What has been the funniest or most interesting stuff to happen on the site since you've been here?
For me the various alt-wars were hilarious at times. I know it's annoying for the site to have piles of fake accounts piling up, but some of those names and discussions were really funny. Yeah, it doesn't take much to entertain me.
7) If you could change anything on the site what would you change?
Does it have to be a realistic suggestion? I'd love to see a programmer on staff that can work with the site and work through some of the small bugs that have popped up over the years and to implement some of the suggestions of the community that have appeared. Nothing major, just some tweaks and adjustments here and there.
8) What is the weirdest or most unusual thing that has happened to you lately?
Last weekend I was hanging out at the Renaissance Festival and just randomly started working at the banner shop. I was bringing customers into the shop, showing them banners, and selling them. It was fun, even if it was rather silly.
9) If Clinton and Trump decided to unite and choose you as the next US President what sort of things would you do?
Well first I would declare myself king because that's a much better title than president. Next I would ban everyone from driving slow in the left lane and allow people to ram others who are driving too slow in the left lane. I'm pretty sure things would just go downhill from there...
10) Finally, any last words?
I'd like to thank the academy and my agent... what? You're not an academy of anything? And I don't actually have an agent? Can I hire you to be my agent to get me into an academy of something?
Featured Review –The Vampire Hunter, a Fantasy by Wonko_The_Sane (Published 2009)
This is a story about the protagonist, you, being approached in the middle of the night by a stranger claiming to be a vampire hunter.
While the play length is 4/8, it feels considerably shorter, as it sacrifices long paths for multiple ones. It boasts a total of twenty different endings.
The interesting thing about this game is that it very quickly and easily illustrates altering realities.
Many CYS games have a consistent narrative and a sequence of events planned out, and your choices change what you see of those events, or change the events to some degree, but the general narrative usually stays intact.
The endings here show that that is not the case for this story. Your choices in the story are far more about changing what you are and the very nature of the story you're in than the actions of your character.
Perhaps you are a real vampire, or perhaps you are just a regular human, or something else...? Even something much, much worse? Is the vampire hunter real? Fake? An ally? A foe? It's up to you.
For non-linearity and replay ability, it's a good game. It's pretty humorous, so it's enjoyable to read. It is, however, a short story and there's very little substance to it. Anyone looking for an epic ought to stick to our past and present featured games.
The game's 5/8 rating seems a little generous, but it's likable enough to be understandable. Worth a read through or three.
Featured Short Story – The Cornfield by Steve24833
He awoke in a large, empty circle in a cornfield. He found himself staring up at the rows of endless green and yellow, groaning. He sat up with a groan. The man searched his mind for memories of how he had got here, but his mind was blank. He looked down, realizing he was naked. How had he gotten here? What had happened?
The man searched my mind again, but there was nothing. Not just that he couldn't remember what happened. He didn't remember anything. He searched my mind frantically, attempting to think of anything. A face, a place, a... fucking anything!
The man stopped, looking down. He was surrounded by pieces of tattered clothing, which were all stained red. What the fuck had happened to him? Jesus Christ. Was that... fuck, something that looked like a femur protruded from a shredded, once-white and now red t-shirt. What the hell was happening?
The man paused, taking a few deep breaths in an attempt to calm himself down. He rubbed his neck, pausing as he felt a long, horrid scar. He traced his finger across the scar, as it ran along his throat. The man stood, staring at the endless rows of corn. He shook his head slowly, walking forward. Just keep walking, and he'd find something to explain what the fuck was going on. There'd be some place, someone, something that could help him. Fuck, he'd find something.
It was an endless march through the corn field, before he emerged, finding himself in at the end of the garden, leading up to a large farmhouse. He spotted a bearded man wearing blue denim overalls in the window, looking like the most stereotypical hick the man had ever seen. The men stare at each other in confusion, before the hick stands, wandering over to the door and opening it.
"What in the name of almighty fuck are you doing out there, boy?" the man asked, scratching his head.
The man felt the energy drain from him in an instant, as his legs go weak. He opened his mouth to ask for a place to sit down, before collapsing.
The man awoke lying in a bed, a wet rag over his forehead. He looked around, before swearing loudly as he realized the vast majority of his memories were of corn.
"You're up," the bearded man grunted, as he walked inside the room.
"Who the fuck are you?" the man said, pulling himself up in bed, as the bearded man frowned.
"Alright, show some damn respect! I'm taking care of you in my house!" the man says, angrily.
"OK, OK, I'm sorry," the man said.
"You're forgiven. The name's Jacob. Yours?"
"It's..." the man said, racking his brain. "I don't remember."
"You expect me to believe that?" Jacob asks, raising an eyebrow.
"I swear to God, it's true," the man says, pitifully.
"Hell, if that's the way it's going to be, ain't my issue. Is there something I can call you?"
The man shrugged, as Jacob sighed.
"Job. I'll call you that, alright? Unless you got something better for me to call you? No? Alright, Job it is.”
"Come on, I'll get you some clothes."
Five minutes later, Job was dressed like a stereotypical hick, just like Jacob. He looked at himself in the mirror, as Jacob stared at him.
"So, what happened your neck? That seems like a pretty nasty wound. Wonder it didn't kill you."
"I don't know," Job said. "I swear to God, I just woke up in the middle of that corn field. I was naked, and there was tattered clothes all around me, and they were covered in blood..."
Jacob laughs, smiling at you.
"Jesus boy, how much did you drink?"
"Here's what I reckoned happened. You got drunk as a fuck, maybe tried something a bit stronger and ended up going on a bender. Ended up in my corn field."
"No, there was blood! There were bones! There..."
"Alright, alright, settle down! Must'a been a deer. We'll head out to look at it after the family gets home."
"Family?" Job asked.
Just then, there was the sound of a door slamming open.
"Hello!" a voice cried, as a middle-aged woman in a summer dress wandered into the room, a tiny girl barely older than four plodding in after her in an identical copy of the dress. A boy late in his teens wandered past the doorway, seemingly disinterested.
"Oh, hi! Name's June, pleasure to meet you," she says, holding out her hand.
You shake it easily, nodding at her.
"I'm... Job," he replied.
"How do you know Jacob?" she asked.
"Hell June, it's a long and interesting story. I need to take the truck out for a bit, I need to find something in the fields. I'll be back soon."
"Why? It's almost dark, why don't you just wait until morning?" June asks.
"Something tells me this boy won't sleep well 'less we find what he's been blabbering about," Jacob says.
"Are you really going to leave me in the dark?" June asks. "Go on, tell me."
"I'll tell you when I get back," Jacob said, grabbing a set of keys from the table. "Come on, Job."
Job followed Jacob outside, where a rusted green pick-up truck waited. They both climbed inside, as Jacob began driving towards a path cut through the endless corn.
"How long did you walk?" he asked.
"Roughly? Two hours, I suppose," Job said, resting his head against the window as he saw the sun setting.
"Alright. That'll be around six miles. I'll look around for disturbances."
"I..." Job said, before yawning. "I'm just going to close my eyes for a bit. Just slap my head and wake me up when we've driven that far."
"You won't be getting much sleep. Hell, I'm half-convinced you're just a sleep-walking coma patient with the amount you're sleeping."
Job shook his head, as sleep overtook him.
He awoke in a large, empty circle in a cornfield. He found himself staring up at the rows of endless green and yellow, groaning. He slowly heaved myself to a sitting position, looking around. The man searched his mind for memories of how he had got here, finding...
Shit! He was here again. What the fuck had happened? He quickly stood up, looking around. He paused, as he saw a rusted out, green pick up truck, it's windscreen smashed in and covered in crimson blood. The door was wide open, and lying there was a tattered, blood-stained pair of blue denim overalls.
"Jesus Christ," Job muttered.
He walked forward, grabbing the overalls. A few broken falls fell loose of the denim, as Job cried out in terror.
Something... had happened. Something had taken Jacob, and smashed in the car, and left him here again. Job stood up, walking over to the pick-up. The keys were still there. He realized he was still naked, and gently brushed glass off the seat. He needed to get back to that farmhouse, and find out what happened. He grabbed the keys, and begun driving.
He arrived at the house once more. It was identical to what he remembered. He clambered outside, covering his nudity with a hand as the house's door swung open and June charged outside in a night-dress, looking worried.
"Jacob!" she cried, before pausing, blushing as she stared at you.
"I... shit, what happened? Where's Jacob?!"
Job quickly explained what he could, that something had smashed in the car, that something had taken Jacob. She stared at him in disbelief the entire time, before finally taking in a sharp breath and gritting her teeth.
"There ain't no monster! Jacob must've crashed and crawled for help! We need to find him!"
June walked to the door, yelling for her children to come to the door. The daughter waddled to the door, her thumb in her mouth, as the thumb quickly ran down the stairs, bare-chested a golden crucifix necklace hanging from his neck.
"Did you find Dad?" the son asked.
"Just stay here. Mind your sister," June said, before pausing. "Promise you won't leave."
"Mom?" the son asked.
"OK, I promise!" the son says.
"Let's go," June says, grabbing Job. "You're going to show me where the hell Jacob crashed."
June led Job around to the side of the house, where an ancient sedan sat. June hopped inside, as the pair quickly drove along the path once more. Job looked frantically outside the window, for distant shapes or shadows moving about through the cornfields, waiting to attack.
"It's just, like six miles down the road, then a sharp right," Job said.
June nodded, looking frantically ahead. Job looked desperately around, his mind filled as terror, as the darkness filled his view. Job rested his head against the seat. Suddenly, before Job could even react, darkness took him.
He awoke in a large, empty circle in a cornfield.
To be Continued…
Special Section - Famous People being Funny
History can be misconceived as a boring list of dates, names and facts but like Terry Deary noticed when he wrote his Horrible History books it’s also full of funny bits as well. Here’s a list of famous people being sharply witty.
1. Churchill used to do a lot of funny and cool things, not least beginning his days with a glass of whiskey and a cigar in bed before getting up, a habit I sometimes strive to emulate. He also came out with a lot of great one-liners including what is probably the most famous:
Woman: Mr Churchill you are drunk! What’s more you are disgustingly drunk!
Churchill: Madam, You are ugly. What’s more you are disgustingly ugly but at least when I wake up in the morning I’ll be sober.
2. Nancy Astor, the American socialite who once, while arguing for women’s rights to vote, came out with the classic Feminist line “Women have always had superiority over men. Now we want equality as well” also triggered this famous exchange:
Astor: If you were my husband I’d poison your coffee.
Churchill: If you were my wife I’d drink it.
3. The late great Muhammed Ali of “No Viet Cong ever called me Nigger” (explaining his refusal to join the US Army in the Vietnam War) fame also came out with tone of the most famous put downs in the history of boxing:
Frazier: He’s a phony, using his blackness to get his own way.
Ali: Joe Frazier is so ugly he should donate his face to the US Bureau of Wildlife.
4. Sparta is well-known, thanks to the movie 300, as being a nation of spear-wielding, Persian-kicking warriors (though apparently Leonidas really did say “It will be good to fight in the shade” after being told that the Persian arrows would blot out the sun). Sparta also delivered this terse reply to the threats of Philip II of Macedon (father of Alexander the Great).
Messenger from Philip: You are advised to submit without further delay because if I bring my army into your lands I will destroy your farms, slay your people and raze your city.
5. The 19th Century was a far better time for intelligent politicians and clever debate than it is now and Senator Reed came out with this fine example of a Victorian-era bitch-slap to fellow senator Henry Clay.
Clay: I would rather be right than be President.
Reed: The gentleman need not trouble himself. He will never be either.
6. P.G. Wodehouse had a far better sense of cleverness with his pen than he did with little stuff like not collaborating with Nazis but he came out with this fine, if mean-spirited, put-down of a lady of generous proportions:
Wodehouse: She looked like as if she had been poured into her clothes and forgotten to say “when”.
7. Truman Capote, the original author of the True Crime genre, came up with this response when approached by a drunk critic who took the rather unusual step of presenting his genitals to him and asking him to sign it:
Drunk Critic: Since you’re autographing things why don’t you autograph this?
Capote: I don’t think I can autograph that but perhaps I can initial it?
8. Abraham Lincoln was perhaps the ugliest President America has ever known (so far…) but used self-deprecating humor to disarm his opponents, as shown in this retort in a discussion with rival Stephen Douglas:
Douglas: I have said it before and I will say it again, the honorable gentleman from Illinois is dishonest and two-faced!
Lincoln: If I had two faces to choose from do you really think I would really choose to wear this one?
9. The Duke of Wellington, famous for winning the Battle of the Waterloo, was consequently a bit unpopular with the French during his time as British Ambassador in Paris (which is a bit like making George Bush American Ambassador to Iraq when you think about it) but he had his responses ready:
Woman: Those French soldiers are so rude, turning their backs to you.
Wellington: It is ok madam. I have seen their backs before.
10. The writer Edna Ferber enjoyed a mutual dislike of the famously homosexual writer Noel Coward and came up with this great response during one of their regular arguments:
Coward: Edna, you look almost like a man.
Ferber: So do you.
11. Finally, my favorite is novelist Dorothy Parker’s clever response to a drunk man trying to insult her:
Man: I can’t bear fools.
Parker: Apparently your mother could.
Idea by Jaystarcat, Article, Interview and Special Section by Will11, Short Story by Steve24833, Review by Seto and Special Thanks to Ogre11.
Finally, thank you to you, the Reader, for taking the time to read this Review.
Oh, could someone reformat this into Times New Roman 10 or 12 for me? There's something wrong with my computer today and this font hurts my eyes :( Also there should be more spaces... ah well. Next week I'll try a different computer... :(
I really enjoy reading these. Keep up the good work.
I remember JJJ back then x3
And another great weekly review! Can't wait until next week! ^-^
This was very nice. Thank you for your hard work here.
Also, it was supposed to be about 2nd and 3rd person. I even included stats. :(
Excellent review, Will.
These Weekly reviews are really enjoyable. Thank you.
Thank you everyone for the kind reviews, sorry for the formatting issues and ugilick (though it's an interesting discussion you triggered :) ) and I hope you are all having a good week :)