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New Writer - Advice?

2 years ago

This is my first time making a storygame, and I've read a lot of the Help and Info page to try and see how to go about this. This is also my first time writing a long story, adn I really hope I do a good job. At the moment I have the foundation of the story, a biut of the world's history is setup, I even have a timeline that Ill post below, and I have a plot. Its a bit cliched, but I hope my writing manages to redeem it. The idea I had was that the MC is a cyborg in a futuristic utopian society that has to either stop the A.I uprising or join it - or even make your own side, while being basically hated by both sides for not being either a. A.I or a human. 

I just want to know how the plot sounds, and whether my timeline of event needs a bit more.

Edit: the website screwed up my formatting somehow and it wont let me post my timeline with paragraphs, so if you want to see it, just messgae me. 

New Writer - Advice?

2 years ago
Commended by EndMaster on 5/24/2018 7:03:56 PM
Plotwise, all of that is more than most noobs bring to the table, so it's a good start at least. I wouldn't worry too much about originality, there aren't too many original stories out there. Just focus on making it interesting and fun.

It's really not possible to overdo it on outlining though, especially for a first project. If you're not used to working within the structure of CYOAs, they're like regular stories on crack with alternate universes spiraling off all over the place so they can quickly get away from you if you're not careful or skimp on the planning phase. A common mistake newbies make is coming up with a story that sounds good when explained as the broad strokes in a paragraph or two, but once it comes time to actually break it down scene by scene they get overwhelmed and give up.

Figure out the major plot points on each path and jot down exactly where the branches go. Some you can fold back into the main path and some you can prune with an early ending, but you'll want at least a few that significantly change the plot and you'll want to plan out exactly how.

If you already have an idea of how many words you can type in the average hour or day, and after a bit of writing see about how many words you're using per page/scene, you can then make a rough estimate of how many pages and what kind of overall word count you're looking at for the entire story and how long it will take. If it seems you've bitten off more than you can chew, adjust the plot to something more reasonable.

Much, MUCH better to do this in the early stages than suddenly having to butcher major sections of the plot or rush out an unfinished story when you're already committed to it and have sunk dozens of hours in.

New Writer - Advice?

2 years ago

Ok! I have a few more questions though you answered some of my major ones up there.  Would people be against having the a part where an earlier background detail is suddenly important, and how much description is too much? I know people don't want an entire paragraph about what the main character is wearing, and I don't want that either but at the same time I don't want to have too little details. I also shouldn't have too many many "branches" because I don't want to be too overwhelmed since this is my first time, but I also don't think one or two major endings would be enough? I kind of want to give a good impression, weird as that is.

New Writer - Advice?

2 years ago
An earlier background detail being suddenly important is called foreshadowing, and it's a legitimate and useful thing to include. It's preferable to not just have suddenly important details arriving out of nowhere, anyway.

Description is sometimes a matter of writing style, and sometimes of priority. Important details obviously need to be established, and you want to have enough surrounding the action that it's easy to visualize what's going on, but you're right that too much can be distracting and annoying.

If you're not completely sure of what you're doing, it may be best to err on the side of caution there and remember 'less is more'. The human brain tends to fill in a lot of details on its own if you give it the basics to work with. For character description, height, build, eye/skin/hair color, facial expression and the like are useful as well as a few details about clothing, but don't feel like you have to go down a list like this for everyone. If you picture the character in your mind, what are the most obvious things that would stand out about them at a first glance? See if you can sum them up in no more than two or three sentences if you need a general guideline.

For location descriptions, I appreciate having some good imagery there, but again it's a matter of finding a balance in how much detail you want to include. Anything that adds to the atmosphere or will be important in an upcoming scene deserves a mention. It may help to think of the way a movie is filmed when a scene shifts; a lot of time the camera takes these quick establishing shots of the surroundings or zooms in from a distance before refocusing on the characters, but it's integrated in a way that it doesn't distract you. If the camera actually lingers on something specific you can tell it will be important somehow.

And of course it's a matter of WHEN to include description details and the like too. In a tense or fast-paced scene, you want to keep the story moving so that wouldn't be the time to stop and describe the exact patterning of the flecks of rust on the death bot trying to kill you. Again just think of the immediate observations or other sensory info that would jump out at a person in that kind of situation and what's needed to keep the action clear in the reader's mind.

New Writer - Advice?

2 years ago

Thanks for answering my questions, and I think those were the last ones I have for now. I started planning the major points for my story already, and I'm going to follow one path to the end while leaving options for others open, then go back and follow another path because it seems to work well.

New Writer - Advice?

2 years ago
As for ending and branches...

CYS stories are insane when it comes to branching and stories. This article, if you haven't read it yet, highlights a few of the issue with paths and stories here. These really are different and can get crazy quickly. I have one story here that has 16,000 words but because of paths any one-time through the story will only see 3,000 words -- and that one only has one ending!

You also asked what people like here. As you might imagine, every person will give you a different answer. In general, people really don't like very short stories, stories without choices, and stories that are just poorly written. Beyond that, you need to write for what you like to write. If you try to write to get high ratings here, you're going to spend a lot of time just trying to please others. If you want to go down that road, go ahead, but it's not easy.

Yes, more endings is certainly fun. Having a number of different endings and making many paths to those ending can be rewarding -- but this will require a lot of work and a lot of planning for it to make sense. In addition, you have to prepare yourself for the idea that people simply aren't going to read most of your story because of the paths! Also, beware of fake choices -- choices that don't have any effect, don't add to the story, and end up leading back to where you started. That and insta-death choices without any warning aren't that much fun, either.

Feel free to keep asking questions about anything! Post ideas, thoughts, and other things, there are some here that will give you feedback (though it might take a few days sometimes). Good luck!

New Writer - Advice?

2 years ago

So no fake choices and random deaths. 

I'm not really looking for a high rating since this is my first story. I want to just have a solid first story that I can use the advice on to improve my second story. But I also don't want to seem completely stupid.