Beginner's Guide to chooseyourstory.com
Hello! Welcome! I am going to assume you just stumbled here or just made an account. When I first did, I was a bit lost, so I am hoping that I can point you in the right direction. Most of this will be the very basics: where you can find things and what is important. All the guides I reference can be found in the "Help & Info" tab you found this under (upper left side of the webpage).
Reading and Rating
I know you know how to read, if not click here to find out how. Hopefully, you figured out the link isn't real, but in all seriousness feel free to read anything! If you are having trouble deciding what to read here is a link to a guide that can help:
There is also a list of featured games under the "Home" tab; this is just the five highest-rated games (self-explanatory), and the top five games in need. This second category means that the stories are newer and need to be rated by a few more people to receive a ranking; they are not guaranteed to be the best, but they usually are good enough that some other people on the site enjoyed them. Anyone can post these stories (even you, as I'll explain later), but extremely bad stories are deleted before they make it to the featured page. If you want to read a game in a specific category, just click on the "Storygames" tab. That will take you to a page with all of the categories, and the top five in each (by rating) displayed for you. You usually can't go wrong with these games.
You will be asked to rate and review the story at the end. Reading stories does not come with rules, but please do rate and comment on stories! Do not be afraid to do this, authors here want feedback to improve their writing. At least rating the game (which just involves giving it a 1 through 8 score after reading it) is helpful. One thing to keep in mind is that in a choose your own adventure (CYOA) game there may be multiple paths. If you see an end game link, that does not always mean the game is over. Feel free to use the back button or the reset button at the top of the webpage to try other choices. I recommend not rating a game until you have read multiple paths, or seen various "End game" links. Here is a guide about rating games:
With that, feel free to read, rate, and comment on anything!
Writing your own Stories
This can be very fun, but keep in mind that it is not easy! This is not a poem you are reading to your class in school. Once you publish a game anyone can read it, rate it, and comment on it. They can rate it high or low. The feedback here is honest, so make sure that your game is ready before you just publish something. Also, be sure that you can handle criticism; your first game might not be as good as you think it is. Here are some important guides you should read before writing a game:
I know that seems like a lot, but there are a lot of good writers and picky readers out there. If your spelling and grammar are bad, the game will be deleted. If your game does not meet the Minimum Site Standards for Storygames, then it will be deleted. Games here also are meant to be choose your own adventure (CYOA) games, so they should have choices the reader can make. If there are no choices at all you can write the game on the forum, covered later in this guide.
If you are going to write a game, it is highly recommended that you read a few first. Get an idea of how other people write games, how many choices they put in them, how long they are, which you like and which you don't, what the grammar looks like, etc. You can learn a lot by reading first. It is also important to note that there is no time limit, quota, requirement, etc. If it takes you ten years to write one game, but you do it well, that is fine. Take your time and make sure you are writing something that you will be proud of. That being said, you also may want to make your first game short (but complete). These types of games have a habit of expanding out of control, so start with something simple to practice.
Also if you see a contest running I highly recommend not joining until after you have written your first story game. Contests have negative consequences if you do not submit an entry, or if you do not write something that meets the Minimum Site Standards for Storygames. Contests can be very fun! They are hosted here, and sometimes people provide links to other sites that are hosting contests. However, they are usually not the best environment to write your first story due to the time limit. If you want to do it no one will stop you, but no one will take it easy on you because you are new.
For reference, I found some examples of long and short games that all meet the Minimum Site Standards for Storygames:
Now, I do have to mention that you need to read Minimum Site Standards for Storygames. If you did not gather that it is important when you saw the link four times, let me assure you it is. Anyone can post anything here, but people want to read well-written stories. If you are not confident with your story or only want to show it to your personal friends, then do not publish it. You can turn on a sneak preview that allows people to read the story before it is published to show it to someone the game. Publishing an incomplete story that does not meet the Minimum Site Standards for Storygames is never a good idea. It also notifies everyone that there is a new game (click on the "Storygames" tab and scroll to the bottom to find the "Newly Created Storygames" category), so people will read it and provide honest feedback. Honest feedback means good and bad things will be said.
Joining the Forums
The forums are the sites chat rooms. It is a great place to go for advice, short stories, or help with things you can't figure out. People are typically friendly, as long as you type actual words and sentences. They are broken up into categories so you can find what you are looking for faster, or know exactly where to post based on what you want to talk about. Some of these categories are:
- Creative Corner - write short stories that are not decision-based, play games that people host here, participate in writing prompts, and more.
- Writing Workshop - ask about story ideas and writing help for your story games.
- The Lounge - meet people in a general forum, or talk about anything that does not fit into another category.
- There are more options, but you can read a description of each in the "Forum" Tab.
If you do want to use the forum, I recommend you start by posting in Newbie Central. If you just say hi, people will introduce themselves to you; it is the best way to get started. As I said before though, use complete sentences and proper grammar. This is a writing-based website. Other than that, no one will jump down your throat too much but do keep in mind that real people can post anything. Don't be surprised if people respond, and don't be offended if they disagree or give advice you don't want to hear. Things that get out of hand will be deleted (so don't do anything too stupid). Here are the guides you want to read for the Forum:
If you want to get more involved in the community, there is also a discord server. You can ask about that in your first forum post or poke around the site and ask someone about it later. People are more talkative on the discord, but it is in no way required to read or write games.
That is the end of this guide. This is a very good place to write or learn to write, in my opinion. It can be a bit intimidating, so I hope that you have an idea of what to do now. There are many guides I did not reference for things like coding, advanced grammar, advanced story writing strategies, etc. Use them if you have specific questions, but don't feel like you need to read them all to start. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to have fun!