mizal, The Master Scrivener
Sagely advice for the children: Here and here and all over this wonderful internet only a single Google search away, you may find explanations of correct grammar and punctuation usage in English. That and proper spelling (most writing programs and even the editor on the site itself helpfully include a spell checker!) are the bare minimum expected of anyone posting a story on the site. If you're not willing to do that much, you're not remotely serious about writing. And if you don't care about what you write, then we don't care to read it. So don't bother.
Rating and reviewing other people's stories is still an excellent use of your time however and a way to accumulate points and respect on the site even if you don't write. It may also teach you a thing or two about writing and especially writing and structuring CYOAs, which are a bit of a different beast than a standard story. Reading books, and thinking about them on the meta level in the sense of the the things the author chose to include and how they were introduced and why is also a good exercise in sharpening your skills. Reading bad books and being able to identify why they're bad, even better! Read books above your designated 'age level' or whatever as often as possible. That whole system was created by people who think you're stupid and want to keep you that way. You'll never get better at anything unless you push and challenge yourself.
Sagely advice for newb authors: Read the articles. Especially the ones on the advanced editor and scripting. A basic knowledge of variables and scripting will save you untold headaches in the future and streamline the whole process. Learn what $DEST is for and how to toggle a variable within link if nothing else.
A regular story is challenging enough if you're serious about doing it properly. Meanwhile a CYOA is an exponentially expanding story on steroids and crack. You MUST make plans ahead of time about what you're doing and where it's going or it will get away from you completely.
Always back up your work. If nothing else, make a copy of anything you write just before hitting the button to save it. Glitches have been known to happen and a page can time out if it sits too long.
Many of the veteran authors here do all their writing in a separate program that can be more easily backed up and paste it over to the site when they're finished. Your words often flow easier when you tackle one path at a time and then go back to add in branches, treating each major path like its own complete story with variations within it.
Although, there are many ways to structure a CYOA and you may found a different system than the one described above works best for you, one thing that's important for any story to be satisfying is that it's structured like a story.
Behold the sacred precepts of S T R U C T U R E in all their simple, straightforward glory:
Spelling it out (for the blindies and others) in order for a story to BE a story you need to start off by establishing your setting, important characters, and the conflict they'll be up against. Smaller obstacles leading up to the major one will need to be overcome, and the protagonist will usually try and fail to deal with whatever the main source of conflict is, or it will be revealed to be more powerful or dangerous than believed. (Remember, an easily won victory is a boring one.) This leads into the climax, the point of greatest suspense where the stakes are highest and the characters have everything to lose. Once THAT'S overcome, the story enters a period of falling action where the tension winds back down and the fallout of resolving the conflict plays out. Finally, the resolution or epilogue where the themes or larger lessons meant to be learned might be reflected back on, and everything is wrapped up leaving a sense of closure for the readers and/or characters.
Finally, a quote, since that is apparently a thing we do:
"Your reviews for both the published storygames and the works in both the creative corner and writing workshop have undeniably helped countless users. Your site presence is a boon for the site by acting like a fiery furnace. You'll roast the worthless rabble and refine what's left.
If you never would've discovered this odd yet charming corner of the web, then CYS would be missing a beneficial and integral part of its very identity." --WouldntItBeNice
A puzzling math and logic game I made just to put some of the scripting practice I've been doing to use. Have fun and please let me know if you encounter any bugs.
Should be solvable by middle schoolers, or those with same basic level of intelligence as a middle schooler.
(DO NOT READ if you're at all easily offended or lacking in a sense of humor. There's nothing graphic at all in here, but seriously, I still cannot stress it enough, this story is not for you.)
Dedicated to the good people of COG.
In addition to the scientific explanations, there's a small story dramatizing it all.
Hopefully young readers will find this fun as well as educational. :)
(Might not be the greatest story ever written, but consider this: it got me 200 points.)
Written in six hours, for no other reason than to avoid consignment to the SHAME pit after my other Romance contest entry didn't want to cooperate.
A tale told in verse. A text from your sister requesting a pick up from a party leads to a night of strangeness.
Inspired by Bucky's ballad contest. Though...I wouldn't call this a ballad. I'm not sure what I'd call it, actually, other than exceedingly stupid, and fun to write.
(Don't pay any attention to the scores, they're just for me to track which endings reviewers get.)
THE PURITY AND INTENSITY OF MY HATE IS LIKE A THOUSAND MERCILESS, UNQUENCHABLE SUNS.
AND YET, I ONLY NEED ONE...
A fairy tale adventure.
[AUTHOR'S NOTE: There's a heavily scripted scene that due to time constraints I didn't have the opportunity to thoroughly test. You'll know it when you see it. In addition to a save game link beforehand, I've provided the option to skip it altogether should you encounter problems. A PM describing those problems would also be greatly appreciated as I'll be revisiting this game once the crushing weight of December has passed.]
Articles WrittenCYS Forum Advice and Etiquette
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Can't read it all just yet obviously, but what I've seen looks REALLY well done so far. Unless it turns out to be super linear or something it might even be feature worthy.
(Well okay there are a lot of missing periods and issues with dialogue punctuation and such but the fact those aren't giving me seizures yet is just more proof the story is good!)
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