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Toss around ideas and brainstorm your story.

The Emperor's Zoo

19 days ago
For the December Bucky contest (because that sounds better than the "December Ballad Contest anniversary contest that is not a ballad contest contest"), my prompt is:

The emperor sends you to a faraway land to capture exotic beasts for his zoo. But a spreading plague, a witch-doctor, and a brewing feud between local tribes presents . . . difficulties.

Should be fun. I picked this one because I can see more options to make this a CYOA story. I imagine you, the good reader, heading out and running into trouble with endings that have lots of deaths, but also different paths that can take you to different results and different monsters. With only a month, I'm not sure how detailed I'll get, but perhaps even things you can do that can increase your success or something like that. And if you do manage to dodge all the death endings, I think you might end up with anything from some new magical flying beast for the zoo to a new tiny lizard.

The Emperor's Zoo

19 days ago
I think this prompt was a great choice for you, Ogre. I'm looking forward to it!

The Emperor's Zoo

19 days ago
Thanks, I do think this will be fun -- but the danger is certainly going to be there that I end up with so many choices and options that each path will end up being way too short! I hope that's not the case, but it's going to take some planning (which I've already started).

The Emperor's Zoo

16 days ago
Week 1, Update #2:

I've got the start planned out. I have 12 possible endings already set. I'm not sure yet how to get from one to the other yet.

Also, I'm trying to decide the question I always have with these: Do I allow the reader to choose not to play? In other words, for this one, the main storyline is going to revolve around the reader going to capture an exotic beast. I wonder if I should allow the reader the choice to simply NOT go. I mean, I want to give that choice, but at the same time I hate to spend too much time on that pathway, but I also don't want to make that pathway two clicks and you're done. I could go with forcing the reader back into the main pathway, but I don't really love doing that, either.

The Emperor's Zoo

16 days ago

You should just tell the readers to fuck off if they choose not to, and then specifically call out Bucky and any potential judges as being cunts and not actually writing a plot.

Alternatively, you could write it so that the circumstances that force the player to go on this mission isn't really affordible. Perhaps they can't afford not to, as they're in debt with some bad people. Maybe they're just aware that it's best not to say no to a King. Or fuck it, maybe you could just give them the two clicks, and point out their character died of polio for being so boring. Anything works.

The Emperor's Zoo

16 days ago
Don't give them a choice to opt out, and just include a really good reason why the character wouldn't want to. You don't need to offer an option to walk off of every cliff or drink every bottle of Bleach you come across either. (or let them click the choice if you just need a choice to break up a page, and then be like 'nah on second thought, this would be stupid/suicidal because...')

IDK, some people like to give them a chance to escape two clicks in, but as for me I'd almost rather have them just stop reading if they're just completely not invested in the story rather than give them a chance to put a rating in while having only seen the first two pages and an abrupt end.

The Emperor's Zoo

16 days ago
Maybe with this one I'll allow the reader to head down that path. Then maybe give them an option or two to get back on the path. But if the reader insists on taking the non-hunt down a monster path, maybe I'll break that fourth wall and give them a good talking to...

The Emperor's Zoo

12 days ago
Week 2, Update #1

Ok so I spent (or wasted) a couple days on the avoidance path. I tried to make it a little interesting, and there are numerous obvious opportunities to get back on the main path. But if you insist, you can completely avoid the story. Then you will get a mini-story that will I think end up around 2,000 words or so, have at least 6 or 7 pages, and a number of choices.

Next I think I might actually work on the main story...

The Emperor's Zoo

9 days ago
Week 2, Update #2:

Remember that avoidance pathway? Yeah, well, I seem to have added another one. So now there's around 16 or so pages planned and mapped out. There's two endings in there that you really have to want. They have nothing to do with the story, however.

One day I suppose I'll write something for the actual story or something...

The Emperor's Zoo

8 days ago
I'm sure glad I'm not competing with you in this contest. Oh wait, I am.

Anyway, good luck to you all the same.

The Emperor's Zoo

7 days ago
Oh, it's all in fun! My favorite part of these contests is reading all the new stories!

The Emperor's Zoo

5 days ago
Week 3, Update #1

Week three already? Maybe I just can't count. Anyway, I've actually started on figuring out the main story finally. I'm reasonably sure this will end up being mostly a branch and bottleneck-style of story, with a few random quest directions outside the main pathway for those who just can't seem to stay on track when reading. I wonder if I should call those the "ADHD pathways." I'm also working on finding ways for very early story actions to effect potential endings and I'm going to throw in some random numbers just because I can.

Hopefully I won't get too carried away here and will be able to keep this thing in focus. I will have a lot more time during break time next week, so we'll see how things go when that time opens up for me -- or if I just spend all my extra free time finding a new Netflix series to binge, or just plain surf the Internet for days at a time.

The Emperor's Zoo

5 days ago
Good golly and tarnation! I just put the map of everything NOT including the main storyline (the pre-storyline options) and I've already got 23 darn pages. I really need to stop giving the reader so many choices.

The Emperor's Zoo

2 days ago
Week 3, Update #2:

Yeah, not much going on here. Did I mention that I'm a professional-level procrastinator?

I have done a little mapping and planning out. I've got paths to the three main obstacles for the main story. I'm trying to decide exactly how to implement the obstacles, whether they will all be basically the same, and how that will relate to the goals of the story. That section of the story is leaning more towards interactive fiction, where you can wander about the lands at will, exploring. So I'm trying to decide how much to force a story into that. I'm also currently thinking the three obstacles are non-sequential...maybe they should be sequential... but if they are sequential this will really be a straight line with few real choices...

For example, let's say I've got the whole map laid out and have paths to all the places on the map. I'm trying to decide how to implement the final search. Your goal is to find a new animal. So without making it a click-fest, I'm working on how that works. So if you go to the first obstacle and don't make it, is the story over? Is it just a matter of clicking the right choice to get past the first obstacle? And when you do, will that lead you to a final animal goal? And if so, can you reject that and continue looking? I'm thinking you need to get past all the obstacles and continue searching to find the "best" animal. So do I need to implement state-tracking to see each animal you reject? And then I'll have to ensure you can't find that animal a second time, of course, no matter how much you search.

Hmmm....

The Emperor's Zoo

2 days ago

I feel like this would have been a very easy prompt to transform into a science-fiction story. Alien zoo, exotic beasts being earth animals (including humans), etc...

The Emperor's Zoo

2 days ago
I am having fun with the setting. I'm not into outer space, but I'm also not really clear if this is set in fantasy times or some other time...intentionally... :)