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Got a favorite storygame? Can't beat The Wal*Mart Game? If you're here to play storygames, this is the forum for you.

Missing in Action

9 years ago

Hey, I just published my first storygame, Missing in Action. I think I followed all the necessary steps, but please let me know if I got something wrong. All feedback welcome, and the more detailed, the better. Thanks!

Missing in Action

9 years ago
I'll read it tonight. Moving this to the parlor room where it belongs :)

Missing in Action

9 years ago

Sorry about that, and thanks, 3J. Looking forward to hearing what you think.

Missing in Action

9 years ago

Definitely better than anything published since early September. I like it.

Missing in Action

9 years ago

Thanks, Jeff. I appreciate that. I know you're an honest, critical (in the sense of reading with a keen eye, not necessarily negative) reader.

Missing in Action

9 years ago
Left you two comments.

Missing in Action

9 years ago

Hey, 3J, first, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Second, I need to know which ending you chose that seemed so disappointing to you (not the spider one, the other one). Also, the two threads aren't the same. While they share some of the same moments, here's a critical difference between them, in how the guys survive the cave. But your comment at least gives me a lesson in why not to use some of the same material in two very different plot threads.

Missing in Action

9 years ago
I'll reply to this when I get to my computer later :)

Missing in Action

9 years ago
I was very disappointed when the three of us were just crawling around and then suddenly we all emerged alive to some lights. It was far too quick to just end.

I wasn't mad that the threads were the same, I was mad that

A) When I said I wanted to choose a different cave, my character decided to want to go in the cave.

B) When I said I wanted to push onwards, my character decided to rest.

C) When I chose to attack the spiders, you called me a sadist.

Don't get me wrong though, your story was well thought out, an incredible first game and I'm super super super excited to continue reading what you produce. I love the social commentary as well.

Missing in Action

9 years ago

Spider killing is sadism? haha

Missing in Action

9 years ago

That's the first "lame" ending that possibly comes up.

Missing in Action

9 years ago

Thanks, 3J. I appreciate that. Perhaps this is a good time to comment on my process. I took a linear story I'd written a long time ago and rewrote it to fit this medium, adding large chunks of new material in the process. I was also trying to play a bit with the conventions of CYOA, which is why I consciously chose to break a few rules--perhaps to bad effect. :) When I took the two events--singing in the cave to stay alive, and the pissing to stay alive--and split them into two different outcomes, it shortened the perceived length of time in the cave. I also wonder if with this genre readers will want more action on the part of the guys in the cave instead of being rescued by the mother--can you handle being rescued by the mother? :). At any rate, I think I lost something in the translation to CYOA from the original story and didn't make enough use of the links within this medium. Ah, well. I've never flowcharted anything like this before, so it was a fun and instructional process for me anyway!

As far as A), I wanted to play a bit with character motivation and consequences of previous choices, getting back to your relationship with Rick. I guess I'm a little disappointed that we "can't" build in a little reversal like this every once in a while.

B), yeah, I should have done more with that thread.

C), that was just a joke, and a way to split off a first bad ending. But I can see that it might have been too much of a taunt.

I hope I can break some rules here and there as I carve out my own way of approaching this genre. I read CYOA books in the 80s and loved them, but I come back to it from having read mainly literary fiction (as opposed to fantasy or other genre fiction) as an adult. Not saying that's better, just where I'm coming from.

 

 

Missing in Action

9 years ago
I think your first mistake was trying to take a linear story and convert it to a CYOA in the way that you did. Bear with me here because you'll have to do some visualization, but the problem with transference is that your story cannot be a branch of your CYOA. The instinctive thing to do when converting from linear to CYOA is to take the linear story and add branches, this doesn't work because you end up with a tree: A main trunk with one or more offshooting branches. The shape that we're really looking for is closer (but not exactly) to a web. You don't want to have one "main" path, you want to have many "main" paths that sometimes join back together but usually continue to branch off.

Converting from linear to CYOA really isn't advised, but if you have to do it, I suggest using the "splice" method. Take out a blank piece of paper and create a table with two columns. Take EVERY decision that the protagonist makes and put them in the first column. Take EVERY outside-event (not all stories have these) that happens and put them in the right column.

Now, wherever a character makes a decision, give one to three alternative decisions and branch from there. If you have a global event, like an earthquake, you can work it into whatever the character is doing in every branch. Endmaster is fond of having three-five (ish) different paths that all get affected by something that happens globally. So, whether or not you're a ranger in a forest or a swordsman in the city, you're effected by the earthquake that happens five days in to the story.

I'm sure there's other ways of converting, but I really highly don't recommend it, a CYOA should usually be planned as such.

I like that you want to play with conventions, but I don't think you chose the correct ones. The conventions you chose to play with aren't really "conventions" (write in second person, control one main character, etc.), they're more like "rules".

A) If you want to play with character motivation, then write in the body of the page why our character decides against considering a certain option because of "x" reason. Do NOT give us the choice to make that move and then tell us that we can't actually do it. Reversals like that are ALWAYS annoying, no exceptions.

C) This is another pet peeve of pretty much everyone, you gave us the choice to do something so don't make fun of us for choosing it! I mean, it can be done right, but I've never honestly seen it.

I just want to reiterate one more time though, I know that my tone is often a little harsh but I'm not bashing you here at all, I enjoyed your writing and I think you've got TONS of potential. I like that you think outside the box as well. Good luck on future endeavors.

Missing in Action

9 years ago
P.S. Reversals lead to an increase in linearity in all cases except two:

Exception 1: All links on the page are reversals.
Exception 2: A link is a reversal but it doesn't reverse to coincide with the target branch for another link on the page.

Missing in Action

9 years ago

Hey, thanks for all the feedback. It's humbling to start from scratch learning a new way to construct stories after having published numerous times in literary journals, secured an agent, made something of a name for myself, etc. I really appreciate how much time you've spent on this feedback. It might take me a while, but I hope to try creating a storygame that is all new for next time. I wonder if someone with more experience at the game side would be interested in co-authoring? I'm good at characterization, description, and plot, but I'm new at the game aspects, and I'm not a programmer. I can think pretty logically, but it would be nice to learn variables and other advanced elements from someone with experience.

Missing in Action

9 years ago

i noticed that you started with a linear story and tried to branch it. ive never tried that, but im sure its very difficult to accomplish. as the original story is the one with your heart and soul in it. personally, ive started writing many linear stories myself and have found it difficult to switch back to writing in the CYOA format. hopefully you can overcome that obsticle however.

as for someone coauthoring with you, the original response people get is "you need to write a few stories first, before we will spend our time with it". many of us have been burned with new 'authors' coming in, asking if they could coauthor with someone, and then the veteran on the site would end up writing all the story. lol we hate that with a passion!

however, what type of story are you interested in writing next? we have different people with different interests on the site here. 3j is known for long stories with complex puzzles, rommy is known for a couple of war/scifi stories. Endmaster is known mostly for his sick and twisted fantasy worlds. im more of a modern day realist. and madglee is known for his story Mommy Can I Go Out and Kill Tonight (a must read), thats about the only vets that really stick around the site anymore.

nate

Missing in Action

9 years ago
I'm really excited to have you around, it sounds like you're a formidable writer. I'm currently new to my bachelor of science in University and it's a crazy workload so I don't really have time to breathe, let alone right. Co-authoring isn't actually commonly done, but if you can find someone to do it, it can be fun.

No worries about the time spent on feedback, you made a legitimate effort on your story so the least the community can do is make a legitimate effort to answer your questions.

What you can do is ask questions, I'm really happy to answer any editor questions that you have, in detail. Just ask. :)