Well, I have a few questions that probably won't get a reply since most who would reply are busy writing their storygames for the contest or are a contest judge.
1. What should I classify a storygame that has: a. an "Old West" setting, b. a "horror" theme, and c. an odd mixture of science fiction, geography, and fantasy for explanations? I don't particularly wish to put it under horror, but the other options don't fit well at all. I'm having a hard time further clarifying my storygame without giving away spoilers (which I do not want to do).
How are they heroes might you ask? Well, they fight the antagonist sort of, so there's that.
2. Does anybody wish to beta my storygame starting about six days from now? (I have not taken any of my writing from my word document yet, btw.) It should be ~20k when done I think. All I want is to see if you'll be like "wibn, this makes no dang sense and the dialogue is impossible to follow." And feel free to point out stupid things I wrote or spelling errors which I made. I'll be very surprised if I have any takers on this.
I hope Malk doesn't quit, but he'd also make a good beta. :)
I apologize for my limited description. I attempt to not use everything else unless it's absolutely necessary, but this appears to be the case. Thanks.
Your story wouldn't be the first to defy easy categorization. I suppose one way to consider it would be to ask yourself "What element most drives the story forward?" There may be elements of multiple genres in your story, but each of those elements likely somehow feeds into another genre that's propelling the story. I'd volunteer to read through your story, but my available time fluctuates greatly especially over the coming months. If you still need me to do it, ask me again when you're about ready? At the very least I can proof your story for grammatical errors.
There isn't an Old West section here, so there's not much to take into account there. If horror is a consistent or ubiquitous theme it may be easier to just toss it in the horror section.
Here's some philosophical commonalities/redefinitions that apply to Science Fiction and Fantasy that may help you.
Fantasy is about creating a fantasy, invoking a mood and a place and a presence. by that I mean it's supposed to entice the reader to explore a new world. Not because it makes sense, but because it's full of interesting things. Therefore people are expected to take the existence of certain things for granted. DOOM, in this sense is more science-fantasy than science-fiction. It doesn't explain how humans are really able to get to Mars and then open up a portal to Hell, or where Hell is in the physical plane of time and space, it invites you to explore a world with demons and shotguns because demons and shotguns are interesting. Star Wars is a fantasy story in sci-fi clothing. They're space wizards with crystal swords in a universe inhabited by giant worms and a slug mafia. Protagonists tend to be (but are by NO MEANS limitted to) heroes or villains or other people actively involved in the world and doing things, since that is a good way to provide the reader with lots of little threads and subtleties about this new and mysterious world the story takes place in as well as with the general strokes provided with the rest of the story.
Science Fiction is about invoking wonder and thought in the world. In Sci-Fi, the reader is led to believe that this story is taking place in the real world, or that it could happen in the real world. Sci-Fi will talk about the implications of things like political/philosophical extremes, scientific theories and other things. Science Fiction is meant to speculate and invite speculation. Protagonists, rather than heroes and interlopers actively interacting with and exposing the world, usually (again, not at all always) do a lot more exploration and observation than actively taking part. Hell, the whole alien-non-interference clause that a lot of stories have enforces this principle. Science fiction on a more fundamental level is about invoking thoughts like, "Wouldn't it be cool/scary/dangerous/comforting to have knowledge/technology/encounters/societies like this in the real world?" rather than "I want to know more about the place this story is set in."
There's a lot of mixing and matching to be done here, and a lot of stories mesh pretty plentifully into both genres. Fallout explores technological and philosophical themes in the real world while taking place in a timeline very, very different from our own and attributing almost magical properties to the abilities of Science and radiation. Likewise, a lot of Lovecraft's settings ask us to take magic, monsters, and technology for granted while also inviting us to contemplate the very real-world horrors of existential indifference and insignificance in the face of immeasurably greater things. If you want to be in Everything Else only as a last resort, it's pretty easy to switch out most of the EE stories that are actually narratives rather than games into either of those catergories based on what they try to evoke.
Who wants to be a wonderful person to be a beta for me? :)
It's mostly complete (with only the final act having blank pages), but that's not the part I'm worried about so much as what I already have up. Thus, here's a golden opportunity to improve your abilities as an editor. Yes, I placed the storygame in everything else.
I'll do it, but my time for the next roughly 7 days is going to be pretty short. So if I'm the only one, might take a while?
Well, feel free. It's an entry for the contest, so I'll be submitting it on Friday evening. The length means only a little over an hour of reading should cover what's currently up. What I really want to know about is if the mechanics of the storygame are too weird or if the story makes no sense.
I can play it a couple times before Friday and let you know. How would this work? I've never done it before.
You'd go through as if you're just reading a published storygame. Try to read through "all" of the story. Then, send me a pm on your thoughts for it. Are there grammar errors? Was there something wrong with the structure (such as being too liniar or being too confusing)? Did you like the plot? Et cetera.
Baisically, tell me what I could improve for the storygame. PM me if you have any more questions. :)