I whole-heartedly agree with this. I've rated many stories a 1 for making the first choice lead to an instant death. These are supposed to be branching stories, therefore the initial choice should be one of the most significant one the reader will encounter. Or if it does lead to an ultimate dead-end, there should be a compelling reason why.
Then don't read my last story as you have to die regardless of your first choices as you have to become a spirit. Always the death scene is logical and well written can help immensely to the storyline and immersion. For instance, if the character is in the middle of a ship sinking scene during a hurricane. If there is no danger of failure where is the point? Then there is no game factor in the IF is choosing your eternal success no matter the story plot. If rhey are lazy their problem not mine.
If dying for the purpose of becoming a spirit is part of the story -- and the story keeps progressing from that point -- then that's different.
But if all I get is a series of choices where I either die by choosing Option A, or continue the story by choosing Option B, then the branching is pointless. The author might as well skip the storygame format altogether and write a traditional stort story.
The purpose of a storygame is that it can be read multiple ways each time, with more than one fully-developed branch (or depending on the format, with multiple ways to reach the main ending).
For the reasons that Bucky explained above, if I'm not hooked by your story on the first page, and the first choice on that page leads to an instant death, I will take that easy out, rate your story lowly, and move onto something else.
If both choices lead to fully-developed branches, I may conclude you put more effort into your story and stick around longer.
I already have several story ideas in progress, and in fact I am taking advantage of a snow day today to work on one of them. It doesnn't fit any of the contest story prompts, and I can't guarantee completion in a month.
That, and my reason for existence isn't centered upon retaining access to Discord.
I wouldn't know. But several people here said they were "forced" into the contest, and in the past that has meant there were Discord implications -- climbing out of "hell" or something. I checked the site for a brief period over the summer to see what the fuss was about, but concluded it was a further distraction from writing.
The real surprise here is that my profile was even still on the books after all this time. I haven't logged into Discord since August.
I firmly disagree with you. The rest of the game can have millions of paths and branches. If the reader attention spam is based only in a few words in a work of thousands of words. That is the reader problem, not the writer.
If the choice is between suicide or not for instance. It is logical that the suicide option will lead to a compelling death that has to be original and satisfying. If in a suicide scene or in a shooting there is no death choice or failure scene. I feel cheated all the options are the same, there is no difficult of handicap.
That's not how the world works. Readers are not to blame for bad writing. If the first choice in a branching story leads to an ending, the reader has no reason to believe that things will improve by further reading.
If the writer can't create a compelling hook at the beginning of the story, the reader cannot be blamed for losing interest.
That is a basic tenet of good writing.
I don't think arguing about this matters all that much. I tend to not put quick-deaths on the first page, and I agree that usually my first choice is the start of the two-three main paths of the story. However, you could have a story that didn't end on the second page that was bad, and one that ended on the second page (based on a choice) that was ultimately very good. It is a very situational debate... I think the general takeaway is "be careful about how and when you make a dead end because it can take away from your story if the choices don't make sense or lead to unwarranted deaths before the reader gets invested."
It would have to be a really compelling quick ending to impress me. Otherwise it seems like common sense: endings don't belong at the beginning of a story.
Even with Woban Island, which has a death ending after the second choice in each main branch, I got called out on it in Ninjapitka's review. I included the endings as a way to illustrate the viciousness of the competition for the gem (and because they were written into the original 1988 version of the story) but it nearly soured the reading experience. By the looks of the review, the only redeeming factor was that the cause of the quick death was hinted at elsewhere in the main storyline.
That is very true.:)
The other solution is to "Get gud skrub" and not worry about putting end game links on the first page. I've done it several times or at least the second page which really isn't that different.
In fact everyone go ahead and put a death link on your first page if you want, if a reader clicks it and stops reading because of it, oh fucking well.
Honestly I prefer you lot do this just so I don’t have to click through several pages just to find an endgame link in the first place when I have to judge these things. Put as many end links as you like everywhere in the story. I appreciate early exits at any given time.
If you managed to catch my attention enough with the first page (or rather your writing in general), me clicking a game over link isn't going to suddenly deter me from reading your story any more. It's a simple backspace to go back to the last scene and pick the other choice anyway.
If you want to risk annoying me however, have long stretches of linear story without an ending link or worst of all keep looping your story so that it only properly ends by clicking all the way through it. I'm rating it a one unless you managed to REALLY keep from sucking with your writing.