Forums » Writing Workshop » Read Message

Toss around ideas and brainstorm your story.

My idea

one year ago

I am thinking of starting a story and I was thinking how good is my idea so I figured I would post over here my idea for my story. NOTE I have not started this story yet. I want you to judge the idea so this is not the first page of a story. 

This story takes place in a si-fi world where there is a overlord that has taken over earth. Five kids have there parents killed because there parents where part of a rebellion. These kids all get sent to a orphanage where they start a club and plan to escape. After around 10,000 words they finally escape and join the rebellion. I don't have much planned after this but will think of that when I get there.

My idea

one year ago
It works as a blurb to advertise a story, but it sounds like you need to do a lot more thinking about what the story will actually contain.

It's hard to give advice based on this because it's pretty vague, and honestly you can make any idea work, what matters is how engaging your plot and writing is.

If you're new to to writing altogether I'd recommend practicing with short stories and of course reading a lot of books. A CYOA, even a smallish one takes a lot of work and is challenging in ways you may not expect. Having a good grasp on writing in general is the most important first step.

Also no matter what you write, make sure you carefully proofread it and use a site like the Grammarly Handbook to sort out any technical issues you're not sure of. I noticed you kept mixing up their and there, for instance.

My idea

one year ago

Thanks for the feedback! I am kind of new to writing yet I have wrote a story that is around 3000 words before though. (Although I bet a lot of you will fill up three pages of a CYOA with that much so not a lot.)

My idea

one year ago
Commended by EndMaster on 10/9/2017 3:07:55 PM

You claim to not have started this but you say that "after around 10,000 words". So you planned things out a bit? I for one have no idea how many words things will take to get done, so I'm pretty impressed. (Or maybe you just said 10,000 cause it sounded like a lot).

As this sounds like a really big project you might find it hard to stay motivated, even more so depending on how you branch it. I imagine a bottleneck style would be best, since it'll stop it from being super linear but you won't be stuck with thousands of branches either.

As it sounds like you have five main characters (the kids) be careful that they are actually fleshed out characters, not just there for no reason beyond having more characters.
You will probably want them having pretty different personalities, considering this makes it sound like they'll all be together a lot.
Worth mentioning that you might want to consider cutting it down to just one kid, so that it is easier to write, as this sounds like a massive epic, but this really depends on how having five kids would impact the story. If it matters a lot you obviously want to keep them all in.

Also I find it a bit weird that the bad guys killed the rebels but then let their kids go to an orphanage. Like they'll totally harbour resentment towards your regime if you do that. Then again this can be avoided by having the kids hide or something, but then this kill squad is pretty bad, tho I guess they were only told to kill the parents.
Also wouldn't a lot more kids be left orphaned than five in a place where the rebels are fighting a force that took over the planet? Obviously there is probably more than one orphanage, so this isn't a major thing to worry about, just something to think about a little.

Speaking of bad guys, this overlord sounds interesting, fella took over the whole Earth! So many questions about how this could even happen. It is Sci-Fi so there is a huge amount of room for explanation, but I do guess how it happened doesn't matter much for this story. However I believe at least you, the author, knowing how it happened can help flesh out both the world and numerous character motivations.
Was the world a awful shit hole where everyone was dying, so this overlord went "screw this!" and took it all over to try and fix it? Or are they just super smart but evil or something? So many possibilities!

Also as the main setting (for the first 10,000 words or so) is going to be an orphanage, I do wonder how you'll keep it interesting. I assume it'll be about the five kids building relationships with each other, while also planning an escape. I do wonder how old they'll be when they join the rebellion, doubt the rebellion would want little kids doing dangerous/important missions. Also will they get separated when they join? Heck while they are still in the orphanage will one of them get adopted or something?

Look your idea is fine, it is decent. I won't say this is the most amazing thing ever because it isn't, but that doesn't mean the story you make out of it can't be the most amazing thing ever. It all really depends on how you write, and what you write. The thing you have here is a very broad outline that could turn out shit or awesome.
I strongly encourage you to think about the plot, some key things that will/could happen and the major characters before trying to write it all. Just some more concrete details, even just about the world, will really help not just make your story better, but if you post them here, others can provide some more useful feedback.

If you are one of those people who figures out the details as they write, that's fine, in that case start writing! Specifics really matter, they shape the world and what not, so there is only so much feedback you can get back based on what you wrote here.
Also if you do write a first page, or just find more details about what you're thinking about writing, feel free to post here. I'd be interested in reading more about this setting as its got my curiosity piqued.

The idea isn't super amazing, but it is decent. How good the story is really depends on you, and your writing. I suggest figuring out some more details. This could be awesome (or shit), but I cannot tell from what you have here, right now, so either figure out more stuff or start writing, whatever works best for you.

My idea

one year ago
Yeah there were a few things I was wondering about, like 'start a club and join the rebellion' sounds pretty complex and involved actually, but until it's all worked out in more detail I was holding off on addressing any specific points.

Unless the 'overlord', wherever he came from is some cackling stereotype, from a legal standpoint it basically sounded like some terrorists got killed and then their kids got swept up into the system. I could buy that the ruler of the world got at best a memo about this and wasn't personally involved at all.

But actually I'm realizing now it wasn't clear if the overlord was even human so yeah, there's a lot more that could be fleshed out there, including what form the conflict will take during the largest percentage of the story where the BBEG is not just hanging around a bunch of kids and waiting to be assassinated.

My idea

one year ago

Thanks for the feedback! I will take this into consideration. I am currently working on the profiles for the five kids. Hopefully I can get this done soon and I will post my first page here.

My idea

one year ago

Okay have my first page done. Here we go!


It’s the year 3000 and Marcus has taken over the world. The rebels called him a dictator but he didn’t see what they were talking about. “I am the god of the new world!” He thought “I am good, I am justice!” He stood there, alone, in his office. He looked around and saw his marble floor, his velvet couch, and his bear skin rug. “Why do they hate me?” He thought. “What am I doing wrong” He knew what the rebels would say. They would say. “Taking over the world is what you are doing. That is too much power for one man.” He griped his sword “You’re wrong!” He said “I’ll Show you!” Then his door opened. “Sir the rebels have been found and eliminated.” “All of them?” “Yes all four of them.” “Great, Those four where the main problem. Even if they where retired they where a ray of hope that shone down on the ones that remain.”  “Now did you kill the children?” “Children!” He said startled “I never knew about the children!” “They always come in pairs now go and kill them or I will have your head!” “Y-y-yes sir” He stammered.

My idea

one year ago

Is that your first page, or just a rough plan of what your first page will be?

My idea

one year ago

Rough plan.

My idea

one year ago
Since I guess it needs to be said, as a general rule you want to proofread and format anything you're putting up for critique. There are other issues with this, but if that's a hurdle that can't be passed even with just a 200 word excerpt then there's not a lot of point in anyone addressing anything else.

My idea

one year ago

It's not that big a hurdle. I will take note on that and do that next time.

My idea

one year ago

As mizal mentioned you want to proofread and format this, because as it is, all being one big line, it is unappealing to look at (and it isn't the correct structure either, ie. when a new character speaks you want it to be on a different line).

You did mention this is a rough plan in response to another comment, so I won't go too in depth. Here are some general thoughts I had that might help you out while drafting this:

When a character is thinking something, I suggest the use of italics, since personally, I find that when quotation marks are used it is difficult to tell if it is actual dialogue or not, unless you (the writer) directly classify it as one or the other, which can be a bit jarring when you are trying to immerse yourself in a story. Further you might end up saying 'He/She thinks' a whole lot, which also isn't the best.
Maybe italics aren't the way to go with this, it might be worth googling around a bit to see if there is a proper way to write character thoughts. The main thing, if you ask me, is that it should be clear if the writing is normal dialogue or thoughts, so have the two be different to each other.

Yeah it is not the most fun thing ever, but it makes the final product a lot better. If you read out loud what you are writing it can help make it flow better, because you can see where it doesn't quiet make sense (or if the whole line needs to be rewritten).
Also be careful with certain words that are similar but mean different things (specially if they sound the same). I noticed you used 'where' instead of 'were' (at this part "Great, Those four where the main problem").
Using google to check that the word you are using is the proper one can be pretty helpful, but obviously you need to be uncertain about your word choice to begin with, so really just make sure to proofread. Few people manage to write perfectly straight away, proofreading helps a heap.

That's all I'll mention for now, since if you do those two things the quality should pretty much skyrocket. With that said proofreading is not the same as rereading, you aren't supposed to just quickly skim through the thing and go "yep, perfect, just what I wanted". Really pay close attention to the actual writing itself when you proofread.

Oh, one more thing, the last part annoyed me a bit. You had: ' “Y-y-yes sir” He stammered. '
Here from the dialogue itself it is pretty clear that the goon stammered, I feel you describing it as 'He stammered' is pretty pointless because the reader already knows that the fella stammered based on the way you wrote his dialogue!
I'm mentioning this because it is a pretty big deal, you don't really want pointless descriptions of dialogue. Heck, you don't want pointless writing in general!

Just try to figure out if the description adds anything to the writing itself, or if it is just repeating what the reader knows already. Obviously sometimes you do want to repeat things, repetition has a purpose, but make sure it is intentional.

Tangent - (With that said if your reinforcement of the idea that 'he stammered' was intentional and matters, to say, reinforce that the goons are afraid of their boss, you could make the dialogue have him stammer and have the part after be something else that serves the same purpose, for example 'He bowed, swiftly turning and practically running out of the room'. Btw not sure bowing really makes sense in a sci-fi setting, so obviously find what works for your story in regards to this, I was just giving an example here.)

As mentioned by others, you want to format this properly and proofread your writing. I suggest reading out loud what you write to help make it flow + sound better.

When/if you rewrite this page so it isn't just a rough plan, I'd be happy to mention my thoughts on the way you handled the characters in the scene (mainly, the introduction of the Overlord), but I feel doing that right now would be a little unfair, as this isn't the final version (or at least somewhat close to it) yet.
Hmm, I wrote a bit more than I was planning too, hope it proves useful.

My idea

one year ago

@Zake finished first page and re-read it so here it is.

“Wake up,” Tristan’s father shook him awake, “we have to go.”

“Where is Sara?” Tristan asked with nervousness in his voice.

“In the bunker you need to hurry before…” Father got interrupted by the sound of a door busting open. “Hide,” he hissed.

Tristan ran to the bunker underground. He found Sara there waiting for him.

“Where have you been?!” Sara asked with urgency.

“Asleep,” He murmured, “Guys need their sleep you know?”

“Did you not hear the alarm go off?”

It was true their parents had installed an alarm device around the house. It went off every time someone enters the grounds. It had sounded five minutes earlier.

“Sorry I didn’t hear it,” Tristan said annoyed can’t he have one night of sleep without something interrupting it, “Fill me in.”

“Squad five is here,” she said quietly, “I’m scared brother.”

Tristan could not ignore the fact that he was scared too. “I have to stay strong,” he thought. “It’s okay Sara,” he could see her lip quivering; “Dad will kill them we won’t have to worry.”

As he said that he heard a scream. It was his mother’s. Sara started to cry. After this Tristan heard groaning from behind the door.

“Marcus will fall Giovanni if you kill me the rebels will track you down and kill you.” Tristan’s father spat.

Giovanni laughed, “You think you know everything old friend but do you know if I don’t kill you Marcus will kill me?”

“Run away to the rebellion they will take you in and protect you I will escort you there myself if you don’t feel comfortable doing so,” He said gently.

“I don’t want anything to do with the rebellion or you I have put my past behind me and now you will die,” Giovanni said with menace, “now kill him.” Weakened by Giovanni’s blows he was easily deposed of.

Tristan had to cover Sara’s mouth to keep her from screaming as they watched him die from the peephole. “Stay strong,” He told himself, you can’t cry you are a man now. Inside himself he made a silent vow. “I will avenge you father.”

Once squad five left they headed for the rebellion cell located near where they live. Sara had taken a map from the bunker to locate this place. Looking back Sara started to cry. Tristan put his arm around her and said grimly, “This is our life now and we must accept it or die.”

My idea

one year ago
Commended by EndMaster on 11/4/2017 12:52:25 AM

Oh neat, much better than what you had earlier, congrats on continuing to write.
Oh boy, lots of characters getting introduced here. (EDIT - Actually maybe it isn't that many.) Starting right away at an important moment too, I approve. Will try to split this up and not ramble too much.

Seems the father/mother didn't get names, which isn't necessarily bad as they die right away, just know their deaths aren't super impactful because:
1. They are nameless.
2. It is hard to invest in characters you've only known for one page.

With that said I feel that by default someones parents dying is a pretty shit thing to happen, so the characters get (at least some) sympathy points.

Moving on, Tristan and Sara seem to be pretty standard main characters so far, which is fine seeing as character development takes time and there is only so much you can get across right away. However, I'll say that it is nice that you manage to still show some character traits in the opening (Tristan caring for his sister, for example). I can't really fault Sara for wanting to scream after seeing a parent die, but (unless this got changed around in some way) I thought their parents were some pretty top notch rebels, I would think they might have thought their kids some more control for high tension situations.

However, with that said, it isn't clear how old Tristan and Sara are, come to think of it they start pretty young (right?), also their parents might not be the badass warriors I was expecting, but instead they could be more political leaders for the rebellion instead. Or they might have wanted their kids to not worry about that whole side of life (for now or forever).
As you can see this is more just something to consider while you continue writing, don't necessarily have to change anything for this page.

Giovanni has an interesting name. I like how you suggest that there is a history between him and the father (and probs mother too), it might have been done in a pretty non subtle way but honestly I don't think that is a issue, it is nice to have solid exposition in the opening, but more on that later.
I do wonder if the history between them will ever be explained, considering the parents are now dead. It will be interesting to see where you take Giovanni's character, as he appears to be a major bad guy for the story at the moment. Marcus was mentioned, but hey he isn't here doing the killing.
I'll say you have lots of room to go with Giovanni, and also it is good to have a clear antagonist for the start.

Squad Five might not count as a character, but I will say that I am now wondering about the other squads, their purpose and what not. Will be interesting to see how you handle it later down the track, since at the moment all I got was that Squad Five are probably pretty good at killing (and kind of a big deal).

A peephole in a bunker? I feel that it wouldn't be that hard to spot (but I guess the bad guys might have assumed it was empty if the lights were off or something). I mean there are ways to explain it, but I just find it weird that a bunker has a small hole in it. Might be because I am imagining it is like smack bang in the middle of a wall, but it could easily be off to the side near the floor or something. Ugh I am thinking too much about this, just know that when I read it initially I found it a little weird.

I understand that the home isn't a major location and the characters will likely not be coming back, but I feel a little more description of where the action is taking place would be nice. This might just be me, so for now I'll just say to make sure you don't neglect describing locations, obviously you don't want to ruin the pacing (which is why the lack of describing the scenery here makes some sense), but if the location is important or the characters will spend a lot of time at it, make sure you help the reader imagine it the way you are imagining it.

Looks good to me, good to see the descriptions of the character's tone helping pretty much solidify how they are saying things. For example '“Where have you been?!” Sara asked with urgency.' is good since yeah, I can assume she is saying it with urgency, but it could be other things as well, such as with anger.
I'll close this section here since dialogue is one of the things I struggle with, but I can safely say that I feel you done a decent job with it. (With that said, maybe it could be better [there is always room to improve right?] but as it I can't point out what you should change.)

I already know too much about the setting to not be a bit biased in regards to this section, but I feel you handled exposition well. You didn't bombard me with paragraphs upon paragraphs of info dumps, but I still feel like I know more about the world and characters. So good job, it will be interesting to see how you continue to handle this aspect of writing fiction.

Also the formatting looks good to me, more clear when characters are thinking or speaking as well. Good work on that. I would like to mention, this is a sci-fi setting, so regarding this: 'Weakened by Giovanni’s blows he was easily deposed of.' Was Giovanni punching the guy (or using some other non gun weapon)? Because if yes, why? Something that can be explained later, but I'm just curious about it and feel it is worth keeping in mind as you write. (With that said, it might never be directly explained, really depends a lot on how you want to handle it and whether or not the story really needs it explained).

Also, I will say that if he was using a gun or something, you might want to replace blows with wounds or something. I feel bullets don't really classify as blows in this context, but I might be wrong.

Oh one more thing regarding dialogue, the fathers exchange with Giovanni doesn't seem to flow that well, mainly because the father goes from 'spat' to 'gently' pretty quickly. My advice regarding this is splitting the second part where the father talks into more sentences, that way the tone shift won't feel as forced. I'd go with something like:

“Marcus will fall, Giovanni, if you kill me the rebels will track you down, and they will kill you.” Tristan’s father spat.

Giovanni laughed, “You think you know everything old friend, but do you know that if I don’t kill you Marcus will kill me?”

“Run away to the rebellion then. They will take you in and protect you. I can escort you there myself, if you don’t feel safe going alone.” He said gently.

Hmm... having tried to rewrite that, I think the father spitting isn't a very good descriptor since the sentence is long. Try spitting that sentence out yourself! Doesn't necessarily need to be changed, since he could always be spitting the last part only.
Anyway, what I wrote isn't perfect, but note how there are more breaks in the last part. This sorta suggest to the reader that the tone is changing. It slows the pace down a bit which (hopefully) makes it feel more natural that the father is now trying to help Giovanni out.
I imagine there are many ways to go about showing that, I'm just going on about that part since I feel it was the weakest point of what you wrote.

I encourage you to try rewriting that exchange, think about the important parts you are trying to convey through it and try to get it across in a different way. Of course that's just my opinion, reread it yourself and see if you think that part could use changing.

With all that said, I understand that some of the things I talked about might not be very clear, or that there might be more specific things you want an opinion on, in which case just ask, then I'll try to clear it up (or offer my thoughts more specifically).

Massive improvement, comparing it to what you posted before. The formatting goes a long way too btw. I liked the way you handled dialogue, but I suggest looking more closely as the exchange between Giovanni and the father.
Also keep writing!

Like an idiot I forget Tristan was talking about 'being a man now' so I guess they aren't that young, in which case my bad. Hopefully you still get something out of that part of the character section.
As I probably mentioned before, this is what I think, it is up to you to find useful things among it that'll help with your story. Some things I complain about might not matter because of [insert reason], what does matter is that you (the writer) know the reason, and if necessary, share this reason with readers at some point. ie. Why is Marcus being evil and not super nice? Because being super nice won't work! (Not a great example, but I hope you understand what I mean).

My idea

one year ago
Is the story going to explain how four people were considered THE major threat to a guy who controls the entire world?

Also how did he go about subjugating the rest of the planet in such a way that only four people were bothered?

Actually, my bigger question might be why the story is starting off with this guy instead of one of the main characters. He's not a very convincing or compelling villain when viewed in this light.

My idea

one year ago

To be fair, if I had taken over the planet and only four people opposed me enough to rebel, those fuckers would piss the ever-loving shit of me until I got a 100% approval rate.

My idea

one year ago

There are more rebels but the four where a big problem.

My idea

one year ago


My idea

one year ago

The rebels sound really bland. Here are some examples of rebellions in fiction: 


  •  Dune, the Fremen
  • Rogue One, Saw Gerrera's men 
  • The Hunger Games, the Soviet underground people 
  • The Last of Us, the Fireflies 
  • Bioshock: Infinite, the Vox Populi. 


  • Divergent, the... well, I don't even know what the fuck they're called. The protagonist's group. 
  • The Maze Runner, The Right Arm 
  • King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, the Knights of the Round Table 

See what the good ones all have in common? They have a unique identity, with shared traits and goals that make sense. They're also not just "the good guys" who are fighting against "the bad guys". 

Likewise, see what's wrong with the bad rebellions. They're all personality-less "good guys". If they have any flaws, they'll quickly become cartoonishly evil. In the end, they're also almost-universally supported by the "common people". Those are infantile portrayals of revolution, because a lot of people would be vehemently opposed to having the state violently dissolved. 

Now, I'm certain you're planning on having your rebels be the good guys. That's fine... but consider what you'd need to do to dissolve a science fiction dystopia. War crimes? Probably. Terrorism? Sure.  Puppy-kicking? Definitely not. If your rebellion isn't morally grey, at least on some level, it won't be realistic, and won't be compelling. A gaggle of Good Guys With Guns helping a bunch of shitheel teenagers beat the odds is going to be a terrible story. 

So if you don't want the rebels to suck ass, you should do the following. 

  • Think of a leadership structure 
  • Think of why they haven't been exterminated. Different cells? Compartmentalization? An exellent propaganda department? 
  • Think of something morally repulsive you might do if you were trying to topple a global government, be it a nuclear bomb, or hijacking a plane and flying it into a military base. Good. Now have your rebels do it. 

If you can read this post without getting assmad and follow my advice, you might write a compelling rebellion. 

My idea

one year ago
Nice, this may just be commendation worthy. Seeing how often this same general plot idea pops up I may keep a copy to point future newbs to.

To this I'll add that the villain shouldn't be stereotypical cackling puppy kicking evil; somehow he's inspiring everyone around him to continue to support him. And he needs to be presented consistently as a real and competent threat. It shouldn't be in question how he was able to take over in the first place or how he's been able to remain in control without someone else taking him out.

Remember that heroes can only be as good as their villain.

My idea

one year ago

I think after reading this I will make the rebels look like the good guys until the end where the main character finds out the rebels are the bad ones.

My idea

one year ago


My idea

one year ago
I'm laughing like that Simpson's kid right now.

My idea

one year ago

Just messing around. Though might do it will most likely stick to what you told me.

My idea

one year ago

Also what do you mean think of a leadership structure? 

My idea

one year ago

Knowing Malk, you need to devise how it's led. Is there a rebel council of leaders, a singular commander of the rebellion, or is it just dozens of different leaders of small groups who cooperate on a grand scale? In most cases, rebellions benefit from being as spread out as possible, so you can't cut the head off the snake. Terrorist cells have the benefit of each cell being self-contained, so a security breach only destroys one cell, not the entire organization. Plus, this means you don't have to deal with the issue of having an entire rebel structure built upon being defined by what they oppose rather than what they are.

For instance, having a full rebel alliance with a command structure means that either A. This organization somehow miraculously avoids all the conflict of differing ideogies that would plague it as Communists, Islamists, Libertarians, Socialists and pretty much every ideology besides that of the dictator try to get along, or B. This organization is somehow miraculously free of disputes, either because no one ever seems to bring up what they want to happen after the rebellion succeeds, or because they all happen to have the same ideology, which is most likely nonsense.

My idea

one year ago
A real overlord would have just slaughtered the kids. Rookie mistake.

My idea

one year ago

Sounds really good. You better get started.