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Toss around ideas and brainstorm your story.

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9 months ago

I was wondering what you thought of this: http://chooseyourstory.com/story/project-t~2dh

Give me feedback. What can I improve?

How can I make it better?

Where would you like to see it go?

Interested to hear your feedback, and ideas.

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9 months ago

I actually really liked this, you did a good job hooking and layed out most of the major characters. 

Though I don't really know how you're going to go with this wether it'll be a school based story or you'll go full on Fantasy Adventure which would be much more preferable in my opinion.

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9 months ago

Thanks.

I figured that I'd go with a Fantasy Adventure, but I'll admit, I'm a little stuck on where to go from here.

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9 months ago
And this is why outlines are your friend. You've sank a few hours now into a story that might not go anywhere at all; much better to work at least the basics out in advance.

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9 months ago
Seems a little linear so far and there are a few issues with spelling and words being misused, but I assume you haven't gone through any kind of edit phase yet. (Might want to brush up on how punctuation works with dialogue however because you're CYS Author #95232525 to get tripped up on that.)

The mom physically abusing the dad was an unexpected touch, not sure about 'dark skinned people are oppressed and yet somehow the protagonist has never learned what race he is' though. I had to go back and check to realize that the protag and presumably the other students are five year olds because none of them act like it. (Five year olds yell out FUCK! in the middle of class?) The sister being a sorceress at the age of eight seems a bit far-fetched too.

...though now that I think about it if the eight year old sister and five year old brother are in the same classroom together there must be a wide range of ages there. Either way, the transition from the walk to suddenly being inside is a little abrupt and means details like this don't get clarified.

//When you do reach the school, you are greeted by an adult woman with darker skin then your own, who seems to be the teacher. "Oh! You must be Annet's brother. Why don't you introduce yourself to the class." You find it strange that she worded it like a question, but said it like a command.//

I mean presumably he would be noticing his surroundings as he entered the school and then the classroom, but here it's more like he teleported from the sidewalk to his desk.

Anyway it'll be interesting seeing where you go with this, you've obviously put some thought into the setting.

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9 months ago

Thanks. I'll try to make the transition into the class room more natural, as well as try to make ages more apparent.

Fixing up punctuation will be a pain, but if it makes it better, I'll see what I can do.

Things like the setting I've been working on for almost a year (writing a proper novel in my spare time), so maybe it would be best to explain that the sort of oppression that is going on in this early stage of the country is more on the financial side. As the story continues, this will change.

Other issues you point out, like how oblivious the character is, is more for the reader's sake, but I'll see what I can do.

Thanks again. I'll enact on this feedback right away!

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9 months ago

I'm quite intrigued by the elves and how their memory works.  I've only gone through a few pages so far, but idea wise it seems good.  Others have taken care of the technical critiques, and I have nothing to add on them for the moment, but I'll definitely back up that it will need polishing before it's considered complete.

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9 months ago
Commended by EndMaster on 11/30/2017 7:18:06 PM
Ask, and you shall receive. As usual, I do want to point out that you did ask. Also, these comments and suggestions are worth exactly what you paid for them. Oh yeah, I also tend to have fun with these, so hopefully you do not have thin skin and don’t get offended easily. I’m not trying to insult you or make fun of you, I just like having fun with words.

I don’t know if it is intentional, but the blank page before the story is jarring. I’m referring to the page where people go that has the button to play the story. I’m hoping that you have something for that page and you just haven’t added it and don’t really want me to comment on that, but that did sort of jump out at me. Hopefully you have or will develop that page to draw the reader into actually reading your story in some way.

On to the story!

Page one, birth day. Second paragraph, typo: then should perhaps be than? Fifth paragraph, C should be capital, and I’m not quite sure what the heck Annet was chocking. Were there some tires at the end of your feet? ‘Cause that’s what you use chocks for normally.

Whoa, tense blaster! This is an area that can be very, very difficult for many writers. I have done this often myself and really have to look hard when proofreading to avoid this. In the first paragraphs of the story, I’m following along and reading about what happened in the past. Even the action was in the past because I screamed, Annet hugged, and so on. But when I hit paragraph seven, all that changed. Suddenly it was “Annet hangs her head down.” It looks like much of the rest of the page stays in present tense, so that’s nice. But the change really jars the reader out of the story entirely (or at least it always does me). I’d suggest you go with either tense you want and stick with it throughout the entire story.

Overall I like the first page. I like the story and can see what’s going on. I’m comfortable being Vhilliam and can see his point of view just fine. There might be some issues with punctuation around the quotes, but not bad. I do notice the single link with no choice. Usually I don’t like those much, but I like this one because it is clear what’s going on: there is a break in the action and there’s a scene change. In that case, with a good length page like this, I can see the single link working well. Onward to page two!

The next few days/Dad:
Did Mom slam Dad’s head in a mechanical device used to secure an object for working on it? That’s what a vise is. If you’re looking for the Latin phrase that means “the other way around,” then you’d want to use vice versa. The first one works fine if Mom is a blacksmith, of course. And why is Dad talking to colleges? Colleges are large buildings where people go to get education (allegedly). But I think I’m more worried that Dad is listening to those buildings. How hard was his head squeezed in that vise? If he were a more normal person, he might have colleagues. Those would be people who he works with. Strangely enough, that term is most often used by people who actually work at colleges…

I like the story development that’s happening here. The only slight confusion is when I first see Dad, he’s got “a large bruise around his left eye.” But later in the page he’s suddenly bleeding from multiple flesh wounds, enough to make blood drip off his face. If there are severe cuts that deep on his face, I think I’m going to see them first, or at least at the same time I see the bruises. I’d just mention those earlier because in my mind after the first sentence Dad just has a single bruise. I like the choice at the end of the page, this works well and makes sense. I hope the choice actually has an effect…

Another Page/To School/The Necklace
Now I know you’re supposed to just read through, but in this case I’m switching back and forth, trying out the different links to see what happens. I’m one of those that hates making a selection that has zero effect. At first, I love this one! The selection makes a difference on the next page and actually gives me different choices. That’s awesome. But what is going on?

I went back and checked, and this was just a necklace, but it doesn’t seem to be a necklace. If I don’t put it on, on the next page I see that “after I closed it” what? I don’t know how to close a necklace. Maybe that’s some term I’m not familiar with, but for me, you can put a necklace on or you can take it off. You can also throw it across the room or stomp on it if you want. But I don’t know how you could open or close one unless it is a locket that has an opening. I’m wondering if you are talking just about the clasp on the necklace. I guess you could open and close that, though personally I might clasp the clasp (hey, I can do that if I want). I get that it could be cursed, but just the word “open” really doesn’t seem to work for me (but it might make perfect sense to others).

On the other page (where I put it on), I get what’s going on there, but again the wording, to me, might work better with different words. In other words, instead of just saying that I can’t take the necklace off because of magic, maybe I’d describe the process:

“You carefully place the necklace around your neck. As it settles into place, you feel the edges of the chain tighten slightly around your neck. You reach up and grab it, but it stops shrinking. You reach back to take the necklace off and you cannot find the clasp! The necklace is now permanently attached to you and you cannot find any way to remove it.”

Or something like that maybe.

“You’re interrupted from your thoughts?” That’s just… I don’t know, awkward. At this point I’m going to take a guess that your first language was not American English. I don’t think there is anything technically wrong with that sentence, but those words just don’t seem to make that much sense together. My thoughts might get interrupted, but I’m not sure I’d be interrupted FROM my thoughts. I think it would be clearer if it were: “Your thoughts are interrupted…”

Ok, I’m ready to go on, but now there’s so many branches I can’t possible comment on them all in this short bit here. I do really like that – I like that the necklace and its effects are making the story change a lot. Maybe I should just take one path and talk about that one…

Wait, I just took a path where I tell Dad I’m terrified of going to school. On that page, Dad seems to sense that school is a bad place. That page makes it sound like Dad knows something bad is going to happen to me at school. Now I’m really confused. Dad gave me the school clothes and was excited for me to go to school. Mom, the apparent witch giving out cursed wheel chocks (oh wait, that was my sister with the wheel chocks. Mom is the evil necklace giver), is the one that did NOT want me to go to school because it was too expensive. I’m not sure why Dad would be so worried and convinced something bad is going to happen if he not only wanted me to go, but apparently is spending all our money to send me there.

On the page “Introductions,” there is a part where Dad tells me a tiny bit about the apparent race wars that are common in the town, then he sends me off to school. Remember, this is the Dad that wanted me to go to school, yet is worried that something bad will happen. Now I’m five years old and I’ve literally never been outside the walls of my house. Despite that, apparently Dad just gestures in the general direction of buildings and tells me to go because I “safely assume that this is the school.” What kind of place is this that beaten men send their inexperienced five-year-olds off to school without even telling them where the damn school is, much less meeting teachers, or even ensuring that the tiny kid even makes it to the school? I’m kidding, of course, but that line of “You safely assume” is enough to really push me back out of the story and think, “What is going on here?” It would take little more than changing that to, “You follow the kids into the schoolyard courtyard and sit down.”

But hey, I’m five and I can read and write. I do wonder if you might change the age of the protagonist on the first page to ten or something, just to make bits of it more believable. Of course, when you do that, it might be a bit harder to believe that the protagonist hasn’t ever been outside his house before. I dunno, is that really significant? Do they live on a farm? Could he have just worked at home or something? It’s not a big deal, but if I form a picture in my mind on the first page of a five-year-old, there’s some other parts that just seem too advanced for a five-year-old. And then his sister? She is eight. But then she has also “completed…training and undergone a pilgrimage.” Wait, what? How old is this girl? And wait, if she has undergone sorcerer training AND a pilgrimage, why is she in the same class as the five-year-old?

I do like the setting and the story so far. I also really like that the branching is real. I went back and tried again putting the necklace on and met the doctor with the nice bone saw. Sheesh! One part that is missing for me is more details about the setting. Maybe this is intentional, but I can’t tell if I’m in a medieval setting with a thatched roof, or if I’m in a modern setting with sci-fi buildings all around me. Since Dad goes off to work, I’m guessing he’s not a farmer. Because he refers to the college buildings he listens to, it sounds like he’s a professional, but that doesn’t help me because he could be an college professor in any age, or a bearskin-wearing wannabe poet that hangs around the last cave on the left, criticizing cave drawings. Just a few bits here and there might help point out if I’m in a modern setting or if the walls are built of rough-cut logs. Do keep it up, I see lots of potential here.

And again, I hope you didn’t mind me having fun with some of the mistakes in the words!

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9 months ago
Oh see I didn't even try to put the necklace on because Mom was evil and it was obviously bad news, and I pretended to be enthusiastic about school for the sake of my poor, beaten Dad. Looks like there's a lot more branching than I thought, I'll take back what I said about it being linear.

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9 months ago

Maybe I should make the path you took more branching.

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9 months ago

I like your critiquing style; it's got a certain flavor to it.

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9 months ago
Glad to hear it. I like to have fun with it and just type as I read so I can share what I think as I see it. Sometimes it doesn't go so well and people don't like the style (and feel offended), so I am glad that you like it!

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9 months ago

Don't worry about that.

If you did offend me (which you didn't) I'd rather have something to work on then a generic "Everything's perfect. Don't change anything." If you know what I mean.

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9 months ago

I must admit, that's a lot to take in.

Thanks for that. I think you've given me plenty to work on for a while.

You're right about American English not being my first language, but I don't think my Australian English is the problem so much as my poor literacy skills.

I reckon you're right about the ages but it will take some time to readapt the story to the change.

As for time era, it is meant to be mid-early industrial revolution, but they are living in a nonindustrial zone. I could try to explain this, but I struggle with natural lore exposition (which is why the protagonist doesn't even know their own race).

I see what I can do about a lot of this, but the description was left blank because I'm not sure how the story will turn out yet.

Thank you for your passionate feedback, and I'll get to work immediately.

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9 months ago
An idea for the era: As Dad and I walk outside, you could describe the view. Something along the lines of what the weather looks like and how the buildings around look (I could spot a hole in a wall that someone is patching with clay and mud). Then as we walk over a hill, perhaps the buildings suddenly change and I see more square buildings with actual windows in them (that might amaze me because that might be something I've never seen, either!)

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9 months ago
//I could try to explain this, but I struggle with natural lore exposition (which is why the protagonist doesn't even know their own race).//

Some stories suffer from too much exposition, some from not enough. But a good rule of thumb for when it's appropriate is exactly in situations like this. Things the characters would obviously know and not be having conversations about. 'As you step outside you see a young man with skin much paler than yours and blah blah blah. You're seen/heard about blah and realize this must be blah blah.'

A line or two inserted here and there doesn't disrupt the flow and you can feed a lot of useful info to the reader over time in a mostly organic way. Always keep in mind that the POV character is seeing (or hearing, smelling...) and having thoughts or reacting on the things happening around them at all times.

As for general descriptive text about where they are and what's going on, a line or two at minimum for each major location or scene transition is really useful to have. The importance of imagery and descriptive detail in keeping the reader grounded in the world with the character and letting them follow along at all can't be overstated.

If it helps, picture it like a movie. You're in control of the camera (in the case of a second person POV it's literally parked inside the protag's skull) and everything you write should reveal something about what it's seeing. Some things will be immediately obvious at a glance when a scene is established, others need a slow pan or to be gradually zoomed in on.