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The Weekly Review - Edition 41

5 months ago
Commended by BerkaZerka on 2/2/2020 11:00:09 AM
The Weekly Review – Edition 41


Awesome Article!
Notable News!
Intriguing Interview: Bill_Ingersoll!
Recommended Reads: I Went to the Graveyard by Bilbo!
Who’s Who: Alexp, BerkaZerka, Chocobot, Endmaster and Madglee!

So the Weekly Review is back after a hiatus of nearly a year for another run of however many I manage to write before I run out of steam :D As always I would be glad to get contributions from in the forms of articles, interviews, reviews, short stories or jokes from anyone willing to contribute: the more people contribute the easier it is to keep publishing these every week! A lot has changed on the site but the Review, about four or five years old now, is like a boomerang, periodically it keeps coming back :D


In Newbie Central Serage annoys EndMaster and Mizal fishes for fresh meat.
In the Lounge Mizal seeks cool bird pics while Crickets looks for bugs.
In the Parlour Room Avery_Moore’s Interesting Comments thread remains popular.
In the Creative Corner Mizal’s 100 words or less thread remains popular.
In the Writing Workshop Mizal discusses the Cave of Time writing concept.
In the Reading Corner Bilbo asked the question what are we reading now.
In the Advanced Editor Forum LJacko struggles with global pics.


1: How did you first find this site?
I was an avid reader and collector of the original CYOA series published by Bantam Books in the 1980s and 1990s, and in my teen years I even wrote quite a few of my own CYOAs. But then my interests moved onto other topics, and for nearly 20 years I've been writing about the Adirondack Park in New York State. However, writing about one topic (as big and diverse as it may be) eventually grows old, and in 2019 I decided to try and make use of some of the story ideas that were building up in the back of my imagination. It occurred to me that the gamebook format would be appropriate, and while researching the current state of the genre this website repeatedly ranked high in my internet searches.

2: What made you want to join?
Essentially, I had drafts of two stories already in progress (Giri Minor and an early version of Grass Planet) and I was concerned that if I didn't find a home for them soon, I might talk myself out of finishing them.

3: What are your favorite aspects, members or stories on this site?
4: What are your least favorite aspects, members or stories on this site?
Probably best that I not get into these topics too deeply. However, I do like the story editor on CYS, as it has robust features. Writing is one thing, presentation is another. I enjoy that I have some ability to customize the look of my storygames.

5: What inspires your writing?
For me, writing is compulsive. My first "book" was a dinosaur book that I wrote and illustrated (with pencil and crayon) in the second grade, so it comes as no surprise to me now that I take immense satisfaction with the writing process. I don't argue with it anymore, I just do it. In terms of inspiration, I try to pay attention to the real world when I'm out and about. The things I might hear someone say, the things I might experience are all potential story elements. Creativity is the discovery of linkages between apparently unrelated things, so a routine hike that I did last week might become part of a quest to find a jewel on a tropical island. One never knows when inspiration will hit, or from where it will come. Just leave your schedule open so you can do something about it when it strikes.

6: What writing plans do you have for the future?
In terms of storygames, I am 35,000 words into my fifth work for CYS, with ideas for more after that, time permitting. My ultimate goal is to get a storygame published in print.
At the same time, I feel I've been neglecting the Adirondack stuff too much. I was able to get away with it in 2019, but I foresee myself getting drawn back into it in 2020. There are obligations people will expect me to meet.

7: You now have two featured stories, what do you think is important in producing good writing?
Talent and time are key. It's one thing to have an interest in writing, but if writing is important to your happiness you will arrange your life so that there is plenty of time to make it happen. You will want each new project to offer a challenge to you, so that you are continually improving. You aren't just writing to amuse yourself, but you are creating things that will exist in the world and be read by others.
For anyone looking to get into print publishing, learning to work within someone else's guidelines is key. Some of the most beneficial assignments I've ever had are where I've been tasked with conveying a complicated viewpoint within a strict word limit. Being tolerant of the editorial process is also important; I almost torpedoed my writing career in my 20s by getting snippy with magazine editors who dared to change some of my precious words. My solution was to learn to be a better writer so the editors didn't need to make as many changes.

8: You are also quite a prolific and thorough reviewer; how do you find the time to read and review so many stories in such a short time?
Being a good reader goes hand in hand with being a good writer. How can you know what you want to write if you can't recognize what you do/don't like in other people's work? I frequently go through phases where I'm either reading or I'm writing. This month I have been reading several books on paleontology.
More specifically to CYS, I wanted people to read and react to my storygames. But I didn't want to be selfish, so I made an effort to put the same level of thought into reviewing other people's work. Rather than focusing on any one site member, I've read a little bit of everything. That said, by my math I've given more than I've gotten back as far as reviews go, so for 2020 I am reconsidering my priorities.

9: Any funny stories to relate?
Sure. There was this time I thought it might be an interesting idea to see if there were any illustrators who wanted to collaborate on a storygame with me. I had no idea the reaction this would cause. In the real world, not all writing (or photography) projects result in a paycheck. I've contributed articles and images to commercial publications several times in the past where my only "reward" was a free copy of the book. And there's a regional magazine here in New York State for which I've been a regular contributor for almost 20 years; if I had saved all of the money they've paid me during that entire time, there might be enough to buy me a lunch at McDonald's. Paying gigs are all well and good, but getting published just for the sake of getting published is a thing, too.
However, my request for an illustrator caused several people to get their panties in a twist, as if I were directly insulting them. The reaction really was comical. But I learned a lot from the experience, so I hereby concede to the infinite wisdom of teenagers and trolls. They are right, I am wrong.

10: Finally, any words for new authors?
Be wary of distractions. If something is preventing you from completing something meaningful, it is by definition a time-suck.
Take chances. Seek feedback. Challenge yourself. One of my favorite quotes ever:
"Your abilities will take you farther than you can ever imagine. Don't imagine, then. Extend yourself!"

RECOMMENDED READS: I Went to the Graveyard by Bilbo!

An Everything Else story with a Difficulty of 2, Length of 3 and Maturity Level of 4.
I really enjoyed this story: it is short, sweet and enjoyable with some excellent quality writing. Bilbo made the interesting choice to present this story in the first person but it works well, as does the interesting branching option presented. This story has been well read and very well reviewed by many a talented reviewer but just in case anyone missed it I would recommend this excellent entry into the 2019 writing competition.

I introduced this in a Weekly Review edition ten months ago but I like the idea and want to run with it of introducing the most important members of the site in its history in blocks of five at a time. This week:

1: AlexP
Joined: 2001
Last Active: 2019
Top Story Games: The Proposal (Romance)
Notable for: AlexP was and is the principal founder and creator of this writing website back in
2001, the majority of all site content originated with him and he continues to maintain the site financially, if not personally. As you would expect he has infinite points, just about very trophy ever made and wrote the wonderful romance story The Proposal about his real-life marriage proposal to his partner. He is the main reason we have this wonderful site.

2: BerkaZerka
Joined: 2011
Last Active: Currently Active
Top Story Games: Cows vs Aliens (Everything Else), Dead Man Walking (Horror), Delve (Everything Else) and Dungeon Stompage (Fantasy)
Notable for: BerkaZerka is a scripting genius with many contributions to the advanced editor forum and known for helping many new users root the bugs out of their scripts. With infinite points and a frankly intimidating trophy cabinet he is also an extremely gifted author combining clever scripting effects with really excellent writing, author of nine stories his four featured stories are among the best on the site.

3: Chocobot
Joined: 2001
Last Active: 2013
Top Story Games: Various
Notable for: Designing the artwork and imagery of this website as the second of AlexP’s co-founders he is responsible for the unique character and feel of the site which makes it a very special part of the internet. Of course he has infinite points, a large number of trophies and, though he hasn’t been active for a very long time, he has also left us with four very entertaining story games to read.

4: EndMaster
Joined: 2007
Last Active: Currently Active
Top Story Games: Alpha Wolf (Horror), Death Song (Fantasy), Eternal (Fantasy), Ground Zero (Science Fiction), Necromancer (Fantasy), Paradise Violated (Science Fiction), Repression (Modern Adventure), Rogues (Fantasy) and Suzy’s Strange Saga (Modern Adventure).
Notable For: EndMaster is the most talented overall writer on the site dominating his preferred genres and is one of the oldest site member who remains very active, crushing newbs and maintaining the quality of the site on a daily basis. So admired he even has his own fan club End is an Administrator with infinite points, an array of trophies and can claim authorship of many of the site’s best stories, including possibly it’s most popular, Eternal.

5: Madglee
Joined: 2003
Last Active: Currently Active
Top Story Games: Mommy, Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight? (Modern Adventure)
Notable For: Apart from being the oldest still-active site member (having been with the site almost since it’s creation in 2001) he has been an Administrator for the site for more than a decade and remains an active trophy holder. In addition to his constant work to improve the site he wrote Mummy, one of the best and most popular of the Modern Adventure stories. Madglee also enjoys infinite points and an array of trophies.


Notable News: Avery_Moore, Bilbo, EndMaster, LJacko, Mizal and Serage.
Intriguing Interview: Bill_Ingersoll.
Recommended Reads: Bilbo.
Who’s Who: AlexP, BerkaZerka, Chocobot, EndMaster and Madglee.

The Weekly Review - Edition 41

4 months ago
Agreed that this was pretty comical.

I know this was last week's, but nice to see these are up and running again and with the new one posted this morning the "Weekly" is no longer a lie.