So as promised, I am posting my introduction to the Rangers of Lindenvale OR the Assassins of Dunkirk. The reason I say or is because I don't know who I want to "Chronicle" (hehehe) first. The general idea is an ancient feud between kingdoms is going to erupt once again into a great war. So you're either a ranger from Lindenvale or an Assassin from Dunkirk for this first story. You'll be in the middle of it all of course.
So what I'm looking for is which story you find more interesting. And any feedback you can think of / any ideas you have for the story. Read the intro below.
The Rangers of Lindenvale or the Assassins of Dunkirk
A Story by Chronicle
Description: Four kingdoms have ruled over the known world for as long as anyone can remember. It consists of three continents surrounded by ocean and a great mountain called Dunkirk that lies in the middle. The large continent that lies west of Dunkirk houses the Kingdoms of Aurelay and Lindenvale. To the north on a large mountainous island you’ll find the United Clans of Udenvale. Finally to the south lies the mysterious Kingdom of Faurenheim.
The kingdom of Aurelay is a land of honorable men, proper women, fine wine and summer festivals of great renown. They value tradition above all else, holding tournaments every so often, with a royal family as old as the land itself. Once the military might of the land, the noblemen and women of Aurelay have grown complacent in their superiority and now find themselves threatened by their old enemies in Faurenheim once again.
Lindenvale also resides on the western continent. A mostly flat country with a large farming population. Lindenvale relies heavily on Aurelay for protection ever since the Great War. In exchange for that protection, Lindenvale provides food to Aurelay. Some say the King and Queen of Lindenvale are puppet monarchs. Others believe they have the struck the perfect deal in the face of a larger, stronger neighbor. Despite the fact that they rely on Aurelay for protection, Lindenvale has a deadly covert unit called the “Rangers of Lindenvale”. They are said to be as skilled as a knight, as well read as a scholar, and as nimble as an assassin.
The united clans of Udenvael are found due north. Their lands are nestled between tall pines, grand mountains and cold winds. Full of fighting men and women, these clans vote on the line of succession and often the vote falls in favor of who they consider the strongest. Currently the honor of the strongest clansman is actually a woman. High queen Ingrid Ulfric is as beautiful as she is vicious. Some say she is the reincarnation of their wolven god Yolt. The united clans have been in conflict with all of the kingdoms, but especially Aurelay. Lately they have been raiding Lindenvale, who hasn’t recovered from their losses in this post war period.
Look to the South and you’ll find the Kindgom of Faurenheim. Once a major threat to even Aurelay, Faurenheim waged a great war to conquer the four kingdoms. History will tell you that an alliance of between Undenvale, Aurelay, and Lindenvale was what eventually stopped Fuarenheim’s advance. But the current monarchs know better. They look to the solitary mountain in the center of world. Where a series of small keeps dot the rocky crags. They know that Faurenheim fell due to two major factors. Yes, the first was the grand alliance that saw even the wild northerners take up arms. The second…a series of well-timed assassinations, vicious rumors, poisoned food supplies and general mayhem put in motion by the mysterious group that calls Dunkirk home. Now, years of they incited the Great War, Faurenheim is nearly ready to strike again.
Your story begins in (Lindenvale or Dunkirk).
EDITED my wall of text into paragraphs.
So I'll just give my thoughts on this, don't expect much and keep in mind it is just my opinion, no need to change your whole thing just because I might not like something.
Ok first, the second last paragraph "Now, years of they incited the Great War..." I feel 'years of they' doesn't really flow well, so consider rewriting this sentence. With that out of the way, I have nothing more to nitpick about the actual writing, but I still encourage you to reread it (proofreading is important!).
Another thing, overall, what you have here sounds great to me, you could write a great story about it. The issue is that this is all exposition to the world, nothing really happens. Now, this isn't necessarily bad, as I haven't yet decided whether I start on a mountain or in some farmland. Obviously some world building is important, just personally I suggest you give some sort of action in the scene, heck introducing the player character would likely work great! I am just talking about what I have seen here, keep that in mind. Basically if you spend too much time just world building the 'story' will get dull pretty quick, mainly because there is only so much I can remember about your world at a time, and if it is all exposition it isn't really a 'story' either, more like history....(huh story)
So just be careful that you aren't just telling me about your world the whole time, have an actual story. Again, you definitely have a good premise for the story to take place on, along with plenty of places to go and even some characters to meet. This is great, the world sounds good, just try not to dump too much exposition on the reader too fast. As this is the beginning, the exposition tends to be on a higher level, that's fine, just be careful where you go from here. (ie, please don't spend a huge page talking even more about Lindenvale or Dunkirk based on the choice, considering the reader will be in that place you can make use of the 'show don't tell' technique, which will help get the story going).
Just as an example, instead of mentioning that the Aurelay have "honorable men, proper women, fine wine and summer festivals of great renown", you could have the player character go there and see it for themselves. As Aurelay isn't a starting location, the information about it could be kept out, that way the player could experience these things when they go there (if at all). This helps spread out the information about the world, so you have less exposition right at the start. Also, you would have the potential of the people in, say, Lindenvale painting the Aurelay in a crap light so that the reader has a dislike towards them from the beginning, before they even meet them.
I should mention that is just an example that you could use in regards to giving more details about stuff in general. Show don't tell (as mentioned in brackets earlier). As such, what you did mention already doesn't need to be taken out or changed, it all really depends on the rest of the story. Heck knowing this about Aurelay before picking Lindenvale/Dunkirk could actually be a good move. I don't know what happens next, you do. As such you have a much better idea of what information the reader should know at this stage. There are positives to exposition, it isn't all bad, so again, don't feel that you need to change what you have here at the moment. I just want you to think about where, and why, you give exposition. That way it won't just be tacked on for no reason.
As an example of what not to do: Mentioning that the Aurelay's main leader has seven sons and daughters, all their names, roles, responsibilities, likes and dislikes. Stuff like that is where the exposition really doesn't belong, as it does nothing for the story at this point. The exposition you have here sets the stage, that is good. Just, make sure the reader gets to get on the stage at some point, preferably soon after all this setup.
If you happen to write an 'action' scene of some kind, please do post it as it will give me a much better idea of your writing, as such I can try to give feedback which might actually be helpful (rather than rambling about exposition). Heck, putting up your next page for one of the choices would be great too (even if it is more exposition, since I can give my opinion on if you handled it well or not).
Another thing, I said I wouldn't nitpick the writing too much, and I only read over it once, but when you are proofreading consider mouthing the words to see how they flow. Flow is pretty important as well. With that said, I don't feel you had any major issues with flow, as if you did you can bet I would be rambling about it.
Last thing I will mention is that the two choices you are offering here sound pretty huge. Like, two separate stories kind of huge. I am not sure how big you plan on making this, but if you find yourself struggling dropping one of the paths (and maybe adding it later or making another standalone story for it) could be a good move. However, this really depends on you, and how much you can handle. Just keep in mind you don't have to write two separate stories in one (since to me it really does sound like the choice will have such a huge impact that there likely won't be much overlay between the paths (making writing it take a lot longer)). With that said, you might have this starting location be little more than a prologue, again depends on what you plan to do with it. But considering the thread title is literally "Rangers of Lindenvale OR the Assassins of Dunkirk", I think it is safe for me to assume you plan on having to very different paths.
Well that's all I have to say (for now). Feel free to ask for my opinion on other things if you want. And just to reiterate, what you have here is a great start, but it depends so much on where you take it from here. So again, I encourage you to post the next page (either choice) as the more writing you put up, the better the feedback you can get will be.
Just some questions: How big do you plan the choice here to be? Is it as huge as I think it is, or is it smaller? Just wondering. Personally, I find this is something worth thinking about in regards to any choice you put in. How big or small is it? Are you using the advance editor? Just wondering because this can heavily effect the way you write your story.
P.S. Again, this is just my thoughts on what you have here. The more you give the better they will be. Also the thoughts of a random person who hasn't even published a storygame really shouldn't sway you too much, just think about the things I mentioned and whether there is anything usefulness among it, that could help you make your story as good as it can be.
P.P.S. People who haven't published storygames can still give great feedback, just in my particular case it does serve as a warning to how seriously you should be taking what I say.
TL;DR This is a good start, keep writing, be careful with exposition, keep writing and this is all just my opinion.
I'm pretty sure this guys got it covered, but I'll never know for sure since I simply won't read that much text. But, yeah, trust the guy that wrote the essay on it.
Baah essays have good structure, this is me rambling.
Also read the TL;DR, it sums it all up very well.
EDIT TL;DR Lots of words =/= essay. Also I put a TL;DR for a reason.
That's some great advice everyone thanks! Perhaps I'm being a little too ambitious. I'll write out an intro that is more of an action scene / introduction to your character. Then maybe dial back the scope for some smaller, character establishing stories that will lead up to a much bigger one.
Keep in mind ambition isn't bad, it's the fact that it often comes with a lack of motivation to finish writing millions of words on thousands of pages.
Planning ahead can really help diminish the troubles that come with taking on large projects, as they help you stay focused. The thing is that if you set some limitations you can stay focused on the parts that matter most. As an example of something your story probably won't need: A fishing minigame which lets you unlock dialogue options with some old man. A Time Wizard who sends you back to before the first war, so that you get to live through it. With those examples given, I should mention, those things happening isn't bad in of itself, just if you do put them in they add a lot more work for something that maybe really wasn't needed.
To go further: The fishing minigame could be put into a standalone short story. The Time Wizard thing could be put into another story as well. Then again, these could still be implemented if you feel they are important, after all it is your story and you know how well they would fit into it overall, and how necessary they are for what you want to write.
Main thing is, try to have some idea of what you want to explore in your story, what are the main things you want the characters to get to (try and) do. Know that you don't have to have absolutely everything that comes to mind happen, this would leave you never finishing the story or just having a lot of low quality events stapled together.
But do keep in mind that you can write as much as you want, this is just my opinion, but hopefully you manage to get something useful out of it. (Even if that something happens to be: "Add in a fishing minigame.")
TL;DR: Staying focused can help you finish bigger storygames, and planning ahead can help you stay focused. At least that's what I think.