Well, the biggest and most successful contest in the site's history has just finished as of two hours ago. Many souls were SHAMED, yet many more also managed to submit something. Because it'd be terribly annoying trying to find them all, here's a compiled list for all of you lazy slugs to use. Also included is the word count, so you can get your easy points by giving Ford's game a 1 (or any other short game whatever you want).
In order of the prompts (any prompt not mentioned has not been completed, and the author has been SHAMED):
1) A story where the protagonist is a devout religious missionary. (TharaApples) -> A tale of a white lie (34.1K words).
2) A story where the protagonist is an explorer, treasure hunter, or archaeologist exploring some recently uncovered ancient ruins, which may contain traps, treasure, or paradigm-altering discoveries. Can take place on earth or in a fictional world. (Axxius) -> Alpha Centauri (9.4K words).
4) A fast-paced action-packed story about a bank heist, prison escape, or similar taking place in a fantasy, sci-fi, or historical setting. (Sherbet) -> Warden (6.1K words)
5) A story where the player and narrator are separate entities. (Darius_Conwright) -> Our last talk (25.4K words)
9) This story’s protagonist is a con artist running a scheme where they convince people they are the chosen hero from an renowned ancient prophesy. What started as a grab for a few quick bucks is going much better than planned, and attracting a lot of unwanted attention. (RyboiTheLegend) -> Fake it till you make it (57.3K words)
10) A story where the protagonist is a zombie. (Fluxion) -> The SHAMEful dead (7.7K words) (nice reference)
11) This story’s protagonist is an artificer, magical blacksmith, or creator of magical weapons. You can translate this prompt to a sci-fi equivalent if you want. (MrAce321) -> A city lost (10.9K words)
12) A story centering on an unusual mirror. (325boy) -> An unusual mirror (11.9K words) (also the first one to submit, so automatically deserves some swag points)
16) A story of a lunatic empress... with a fondness for horses. (stargirl) -> Vira and cupcake (14.7K words) (this prompt could have gone so much worse in somebody less innocent's hands)
17) A story revolving around a graveyard tryst. (BenCrucifix) -> A graveyard smash (15.7K words)
19) A story taking place on a terraformed Mars, Venus, Titan, Europa, or Earth's moon. Take your pick. (Abgeofriends) -> The fables of namesake (6.2K words)
20) A story set during a nuclear winter on Earth (Ford) -> What? (1.1K words) (lol)
22) A story about an aspiring medical student traveling to a foreign land to study at a renowned hospital. The plague draws near. (Paradox_4) -> The demon of Hurtgen (11.8K words) (and absolutely 0 choices lmao)
23) A story where a mad scientist has just created a new ... animal? species? creature? race? Whatever it is, she has an army of them, and things aren't ever going to be the same. (elad771) -> The Shmorps (8.3K words)
25) A story set in the Wild West. And once again yes, if you don't want to strictly adhere to proper history, you can fill it with "weird west" shit. (Tim36D) -> Ranger (23.5K words) (and also finally out of hell)
26) A story involving the Vikings. Can be from the Viking perspective or whoever they’re raiding. (Yummyfood) -> The wolves of the sea (2.6K words)
27) A story with a kobold protagonist (Mizal) -> The Protagonist is a Kobold (4K words) (Certainly an original title, and also the last submitted entry, clocking in 1 minute before SHAME)
28) A PROPER story about a creepy restaurant. (WizzyCat) -> Visceral (3.8K words)
29) A story where the world just keeps kicking you in the tender bits. Your house burns down. Your daughter dies of disease. Your spouse runs off with a soldier. Things can't seem to get worse, so you head to a tavern in downtown to drink away the last of your money before you hang yourself. Only . . .something worse happens and shit is about to get real. (Celicni) -> What a terrible world (46.1K words) (an anonymous source tells me this one is really good folks... really good... check it out)
30) A story where you find a magic whistle. (DBNB) -> Blow My Whistle Baby (8.4K words)
32) Make story involving a race to acquire a valuable resource. This can be based on something historical like the gold rush or some sci-fi shit on a distant planet. (Mazdark) -> Hyperborea (8.4K words)
34) A story about colonizing a planet. (Digit) -> The Naughty Nachos (4K words)
35) A story about being a war criminal. (enterpride) -> General Butt Naked (3.1K words)
36) A story about being a traveling merchant. What you're trading in and the setting is up to you. (Lux_Inferni) -> The Misfortunes of a Travelling Merchant (2.1K words)
39) A story involving an old Oriental style setting. This can be completely historical or you can make up some fantasy shit like Jade Empire or something. (Mystic_Warrior) -> In Moonlit Waters (92.3K words) (holy shit)
40) Pick a story from the Bible and do whatever the fuck you want with it. (Chris113022) -> The Thief And The Messiah (3K words)
43) A story done in a first person noir detective perspective. (Ogre11) -> Dark Night (Noir) (16.2K words)
44) A PROPER story involving a robot invasion. (poison_mara) -> Red Mirror (5.8K words)
45) A story about a forbidden romance. (MadHattersDaughter) -> Mission Sunshine (14.3K words)
And that's all the submitted ones folks. Eternal SHAME to the shamed ones. Eternal glory to the ones that submitted anything.
Until the judges are done with their... judging... you can contribute to this website by reading, rating, and leaving thoughtful (or otherwise) comments on these stories. Authors will love feedback on what people liked, and on what can be improved. In fact, in this very thread you could leave your own "top 5" or whatever. It'll probably mean a lot to whomever you pick.
If you find any errors, make sure to leave a comment below, so I can ignore you.
It was originally going to be called "The SHAMED Zombie," but I felt that was a bit too on the nose.
Collecting my swag points.
Anyway, congratulations to everyone else who submitted, most of whom wrote a better story than mine!
This thread can be where all the wondering who will win takes place.
Anyway, the secret judge is almost done with all the stories. They just got one more since they thought that Attack on Titan dating sim was in the contest (lol) and forgot all about 325boy.
After that one is done, we'll just be waiting on Gower and Gryphon.
Bigger is not necessarily better, as dudes with small dicks like to say, but I kinda have a feeling the 90k word story has some pretty good odds of winning...
Well, since ninjapitka isn't competing, it could be a toss up between you, thara and Mystic (I would be colored surprised if someone else won). If Endmaster was the sole judge, I would think that yours would be an automatic win, but who knows?
RATING ALL THE CONTEST ENTRIES EXCLUSIVELY BY TITLE:
First of all, Celicni, I am disgusted by your inconsistent capitalization of storygame titles. In some, the first word is capitalized and not the others. In others, the entire title is capitalized. Now, this could be forgiven if it was consistent with the capitalization of the storygame's title itself, but no. You have altered the capitalization pattern of several games, apparently completely at random.
A Tale of a White Lie: Hot damn. This is how you title a storygame. Descriptive. Enticing. Memorable. 8/8.
Alpha Centauri: Decent. You get points for successfully communicating to me that your storygame takes place in space (I assume). Not especially memorable, though, and not especially unique. 5/8.
Warden: Having already read this story, I really don't think the title is an accurate representation of it. It's an intriguing and memorable title, though. 5/8.
Our Last Talk: Yes it is. 7/8.
Fake It Till You Make It: I think this title fits well the premise of its game, but it doesn't mean much on its own. 5/8.
The Shameful Dead: I don't really like this title, but I have no idea why. 3/8, I'm not going to rate it lower without a good reason.
A City Lost: This may well be descriptive of its game, but it's awful generic and forgettable. 4/8.
An Unusual Mirror: This IS descriptive of its game, but it's even more generic and forgettable. 3/8.
Vira and Cupcake: Generally you don't want to include names in your titles. However, the name "Cupcake" is unique enough that this game gets away with it. 5/8.
A Graveyard Smash: Nice. The reference is amusing, but even if you don't get it, it doesn't make the title incomprehensible. And it's certainly memorable. 7/8.
The Fables of Namesake: This tells me absolutely nothing about the story and is surprisingly forgettable. 3/8.
The Demon of Hurtgen: "The demon" is a good and evocative descriptor to include in a title, but "Hurtgen" is a made-up name that means nothing to the readers. 5/8.
The Schmorps: The what? 4/8. Should be lower, honestly, but "Shmorps" sounds funny. Lol.
Ranger: Too generic. I'm going to confuse this game with the 5- other stories entitled "Ranger" or some variant thereof. 4/8.
The Wolves of the Sea: Nice. We know what we're dealing with, it's phrased in an enticing matter, and I'm not likely to forget it. 7/8.
The Protagonist is a Kobold: Well, uh, you get points for being descriptive, I guess. 2/8.
Visceral: One word titles are usually bad, but I like this one. It doesn't tell you much about the story, but it sure does communicate a tone. 6/8.
What a Terrible World: Boring. Sorry. 2/8.
Blow My Whistle Baby: Not brilliant, but it's unusual and attention-grabbing. 5/8.
Hyperborea: I guess I'm getting the impression it has something to do with the north, but not much else. 4/8.
The Naughty Nachos: Uh, original. 5/8, reluctantly.
General Butt Naked: What is with these titles? 4/8. It's eye catching, but it's also going to scare off some of your readers.
The Misfortunes of a Traveling Merchant: Fine. Not especially remarkable. 5/8.
In Moonlit Waters: Ehh. This doesn't tell me much, and it's not particularly memorable. 4/8.
The Thief and The Messiah: Nice. Good structure here, and beyond the thematic information about the story it relays, some readers may actually be able to guess the contents from the title alone. 8/8.
Dark Night: Meh. 4/8.
Red Mirror: Meh? 5/8.
Mission Sunshine: Nice. Intriguing, original, and memorable. 8/8.
Oh cool, Gryphon's done and made his public already.
Well now all we're waiting on is Gower and I'll tally everything up.
A man (or mythical creature?) of good taste.
How in the hell did you notice such a small detail Gryph?
But anyway as far as I can tell, it wasn't completely random. Apparently, halfway through, starting with "The Shmorps" I started looking at the way the authors capitalized the story. The ones before I just wrote out as you would in a sentence (missing the fact Cupcake is an actual name, and I believe it should be obvious that the SHAMEful bit was intentional). That's about it.
Too generic. I'm going to confuse this game with the 5- other stories entitled "Ranger" or some variant thereof.
Too generic. I'm going to confuse this game with the 5- other stories entitled "Ranger" or some variant thereof.
One word titles are usually bad
Expected the first picture.
DID NOT expect the second one lmao. Got spit all over my phone.
Ooh, I've actually got an answer for this! One word titles are usually bad because they're not very recognizable to people not already familiar with the work. If I hear the word "Blackbirds", I think of Ninja's game, the beatles song, and a couple other things, and I don't know what the speaker is talking about.
If a work becomes well-known enough, (like Eternal), or if the single word is unique enough, (like Unbroken), it escapes most of the negative side-effects of having a one-word title.
Additionally, on a site like CYS with not too many games on it, having a recognizable title isn't that important since it's unlikely someone else has already used a similar one. One-word titles work better for the storygame genre than the linear genre in general (which I probably should have taken into account when I was lambasting the titles, lol), especially when they're used as descriptors of the protagonist (like Gunslinger and Rogues).
I have no excuse for Diplomat's title, lol. It's pretty lackluster. I just couldn't think of anything better.
I'll hijack this comment to respond to Tim: I meant there are a bunch of books with "ranger" in the title, not storygames. Though perhaps uniqueness among the site ought to count for something.
Generally you don't want to include names in your titles.
Generally you don't want to include names in your titles.
I feel like Gryphon's "general" rules are generally untrue.
My general guidelines were meant specifically for first-time unknown authors trying to market things in today's book market. I'm in complete agreement that if you look at bestselling novels, they're breaking these guidelines left and right. If you've written a good enough story, it doesn't matter what your title is, and a unique name in your title is probably going to help you with branding. But as an unknown author trying to market an unknown book to a busy publisher, it doesn't tell them anything about your story, and they might use it as an excuse to not look at it.
The guidelines I was using to rate titles were "Does this tell me about the story?" "Is it distinctly different from other story/book/movie titles?" "Will I remember it 30 minutes from now?" and mostly, "Does it make me want to read the game?" Games with made-up words or proper nouns don't tell me anything about the story, aren't memorable, and don't do anything to interest me in the game (though I'll admit, they do score on the "distinct" category). It's possible that a dislike a proper-noun titles may also be a personal thing for me that's less true of other people.
Amusingly, lot of people think that Harry Potter was so difficult for her to sell because of its title.
You're going to have to be more specific :)
You're acting crazy
Had no idea that our very own Choose Your Own Adventure books were doing numbers like that.
In my opinion, one-word titles are the best
Modes: 4k, 8.4k
I don't know why I did this.
I love this comment in that video:
“Girls usually speak faster around someone they like”
Girls talking to me:
Given that 22 prompts didn't get used, I guess some (if not all) of those can be recycled for a future prompt contest.
As we await the judges, I saw that the old threads had like... reflections on the writing process and such stuff. So I suppose I'll do one.
The first part is easy enough:
A story where the world just keeps kicking you in the tender bits. Your house burns down. Your daughter dies of disease. Your spouse runs off with a soldier. Things can't seem to get worse, so you head to a tavern in downtown to drink away the last of your money before you hang yourself.
A story where the world just keeps kicking you in the tender bits. Your house burns down. Your daughter dies of disease. Your spouse runs off with a soldier. Things can't seem to get worse, so you head to a tavern in downtown to drink away the last of your money before you hang yourself.
This would have been a short depressing story (though knowing me, it'd probably still be incredibly bizarre). I'm not sure how well such a story would have gone, though... I certainly wouldn't want to read a story that's ONLY shit event after shit event. I want a little bit of positivity.
But then came the
Only . . .something worse happens and shit is about to get real.
Only . . .something worse happens and shit is about to get real.
part and I was able to go full-on crazy mode. Which shows, considering every single comment is wondering just WTF are they reading (and I even got compared to a shitposting bot lmao). I do love my ultra-violent (read: hilarious) death endings. And even when you don't die, you still do some fucked up shit. I really enjoyed writing all those scenes, which may suggest there's something wrong with me.
However, despite the bizarreness, my story actually has a slight bit of depth to it if you bother going for the good/best endings. I've had some unfortunate encounters with death and suicide recently (not mine, obviously) and so wanted to encourage anybody that may be down on their luck, and perhaps considering such a thing. That's when I started wondering how to implement it and decided to also link the reader to a song in the very best ending. The title is repeated throughout many death scenes, to show just how shit the world is, but the very last link you will click if you do everything right is the complete opposite. That's how I decided on the title.
The point of the post is: Gryphon's title rating method sucks.
I'm currently still reading the entries, but I guess I will also do a reflection thing so that Cel will not be alone.
25) A story set in the Wild West. And once again yes, if you don't want to strictly adhere to proper history, you can fill it with "weird west" shit.
25) A story set in the Wild West. And once again yes, if you don't want to strictly adhere to proper history, you can fill it with "weird west" shit.
I'm not going to lie, I was still a bit spiteful and stubborn when I chose this prompt from the available prompts and didn't really put much thought into the premise. I just said "fuck it, cowboy story, it's gonna be GREAT and AWESOME with NO MENTION OF APES WHATSOEVER", and then realized that I had no outline or ideas or anything at all. I didn't even know how I could start it, but I did know that I wanted it to be like the classic books where, really, only the first few choices are major ones, and the rest sort of are "right or wrong" ones. Seemed simple enough, but I needed to research more into cowboy times. So I did what any sensible person would do in my situation: Watch a lot of western movies.
And I mean like a lot of western movies.
The classic Clint Eastwood ones, naturally (The Dollars Trilogy, The Outlaw Josey Wales, etc), but also some newer ones (The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, 3:10 to Yuma (the remake), Magnificent Seven (Also a remake, but pretty wildly different), etc.) not only for inspiration, but also for just getting down the way cowboys talked and stuff. I don't think I got it perfectly, but I at least got it very stereotypical. I also decided to make a bunch of references to other works as a sort of funny joke, so props if you guys caught them all.
Anyway, after watching these movies, I decided to go with the simple "stranger wanders into town" thing, and start off with the classic saloon scene that literally every western movie has. I also decided to have four major paths, based on the generic western protagonists: Quippy Sociopath, Serious Gunslinger, Asshole Loner, and Comic Relief. I also wanted to have two seperate stories, with two of the paths being one story and the other two being the other. The Ranger is one of four fundamentally different people, and experiences the world differently based on the personality.
You can see how that turned out.
So yeah, I thought I was hot stuff, completing the Saloon section in only a week, and then started working on the first path like "damn, I'm on a roll, this'll be a breeze." Then several times as I'm writing this, I just couldn't think of what to write EVEN THOUGH I had an OUTLINE OF CHOICES AND EVENTS. But I guess that's just how my brain was working. So yeah, it took me almost the rest of the month to finish one path, then a day to start the other one, and then 11 hours straight of writing to finish the path before the deadline. Had to cut the other alternate story and the two remaining Rangers, but I'll finish em.
Anyway, that's pretty much what happened when I wrote my story. I kinda wanna hear about how you other fine peoples fared in writing as well.
... Well, except maybe miz, because I already know the story behind that one. Enter, too, actually.
I can't do a proper reflection like you but I can do this.
5/18: 0 words
6/13: 9231 (main path complete)
6/19: 11874 (done)
6/21: Relax and wait for ratings
6/22: Wish I was better at proofreading
6/23: Wish I was better at proofreading
6/24: Wish I was better at proofreading
6/25: On holiday
6/26: On holiday
6/27: On holiday
6/28: On holiday
6/29: On holiday
6/30: On holiday
6/31: Does not exist
7/1: On holiday
7/2: Get back from holiday, log on to CYS and see that 90% of contestants have done the typical CYS thing
7/3: Sit back and relax as everyone struggles to finish
7/4: Sit back and relax as everyone struggles to finish
Yes, the path of the Master.
What I meant was that at the beginning of my game, if you don't get the mirror (which leads to the main story) you get sent to a side path (about 2,500 words) where you try to steal the mirror. If you succeed, it takes you back to the main story, and if you fail, you get a bad ending. What I meant by "main path complete" was that I had written everything except that side path. I realize now that this would seem a bit confusing to people other than myself.
As for the "writing a no-choice story then going back and adding branches", although that's not what I did in my contest entry, I did do something similar for "A Super Tale" 2 years ago. With that game, I took a normal/no-choice story I had previously written and added lots of choices, an entire second branch with a different partner, and even additional scenes in the original no-choice story's path. (The ending of the no-choice story is the best ending in the game.) The difference here is that I had already completed the original story before I decided to make a CYOA out of it.
Overall, I think that writing a no-choice story first definitely isn't a bad strategy that I might try out in the future. Obviously when doing it you have to make sure there's natural places to add choices though!
Yes, like that.
Well, normally I would make a lengthy afterword, but it seems I've forgotten to add that. Well, here below it is.
Why did I pick this prompt?
Why this idea?
Okay got a few more ratings in from Gryphon and waiting on a few more from him. Just need all of Gower's and the ones from the second secret judge and we'll be set.
Had I known you were going to be around and actually read everything, I would have had you as a secret judge.
Speaking from my (slightly limited) experience, writing large storygames definitely helps you become a more prominent member of CYS.
Close to the start of the contest, there was a day where I attempted to instill panic in myself because I wasn’t writing much. So I procrastinated by looking at other participants, saw your profile, and found your other unpublished storygame. I don’t know why, but I somehow panicked, thinking it was your entry and you wrote around 50k words in a just few weeks lol.
I told myself to match your wordcount, which was something that helped motivate me whenever I felt uninspired. But 60k words is really impressive, especially considering how many endings you have; I’m sure you would have submitted the longest storygame in most other contests.
Ha, I actually liked the JERRY link as it was just so random I laughed out loud. I guess my sense of humor is broken.
I think in addition to this contest having the most entries and being the biggest one we've had, this contest has the most stories actually getting ranked the quickest. Granted there's still a lot with the question mark, but I don't think I've seen so many having an actual rating by their name so quickly.
Possible. I've no such issues, I don't want the people I know irl to know anything about the depraved shit I write.
Interestingly enough, the aforementioned porno, Wheeler and Brandt, also has ratings all over the place—although I suspect that was about the deviant content. I certainly shared that with no one.
Not to mention the story that’s nothing but one big dock joke, Slay the Dragon.
Jesus I’m a pervert…
She had me and one other friend rate it, both of us members, but we didn't automatically rate it an 8 or a 7. I think I gave it a 4. I honestly can't remember, but I didn't just automatically rate it high and neither did Olivesalid10 as far as I know.
Yah, I'm unsubmitting that peice of garbage as soon as we get judged, honestly I forgot about the competition. And when I remembered we had 16 hours left. I threw what I had together, and behold with more grammar mistakes than a fist grader, I published It. And plus I did not get friends to rate it, I DON'T HAVE FRIENDS. except for stargirl.
But then, when all hope is lost, those who you thought were your enemies and bullies will free you, and tell you it was never meant to be personal, and that they all actually kind of liked you the whole time. Then, after that catharsis, you will fly to the Grand Canyon, where you will surprise stargirl and begin the final battle, backdropped by an apocalyptic looking sunset.
Who will win, no one can say. That, it turns out, is for the sequel, and is exclusive to Fluxflix Plus Plus members.
I can see the watch time on this show to be monumental, although I like the Idea of Stargirl betraying me better. Now we need a name for this series. The best one I could come up with was. "Betrayer".
Just like the cheesy movie "Matilda".
Agreed. It's all about the avatars and names.
Stargirl and her avatar indicate more of a hero, while abgdeweghr's weird mash of lettering for a name along with the snake avatar indicate more of a villain.
Already got enough ratings to rank some of the stories. Just waiting for the rest from Gryphon and the second secret judge.
We also already have a potential tie for first place. Of course if things go a certain way with other ratings we could have a certain winner or even a 3 way tie.
Of course there is a third secret judge in case of tie breakers.
Alright, I did a reflection post after the contest, but almost forgot to post this here. Ctrl+F ‘tip’ to quickly read about some things that helped me in my writing journey; who knows, they might work for you too!
To Join or Not To Join?
Due to time zone differences and my initial indecisiveness, by the time I thought about joining this contest, there were already 24 contestants. It was time to decide for once and all — do I seize a prompt before it’s too late, or should I let this opportunity pass me by?
Day 1: Nothing really happened. I just ‘watched’ the thread and caught up on some irl stuff.
Day 2: I gave myself an ultimatum — If I am able to come up with an intriguing idea for any of the prompts, I will take part in the contest. I researched tidally-locked planets and did some worldbuilding! Then I created a fantasy planet with mostly humans and a cool magic system, and fixed the issue of characters’ survival despite the environmental hostility by adding cool plot-related kingdoms that survive in their environments in a number of different ways.
However… Even in the outline, there were too many plot holes in the story. The storygame required a completely new idea if I wanted to use this prompt. Therefore, I decided to sleep over it. Lo and behold, the next day, this prompt was replaced and someone else took the new one.
But this ended up working for the best.
Decision: To Join
IIrc, it was the third day when I finally joined the contest. I saw the prompt in the morning, got inspired to write up a quick outline, and tried to write.
Unfortunately, life got in the way of this. It was late at night when, encouraged by the legendary CYS discord (for those of you noobs: it doesn’t exist, it’s a figment of my imagination, so don’t bother looking for it), I decided to announce my intent to enter.
Of all the contests I’ve joined, this was the one I was most concerned about. I have this (probably anxiety-influenced) rule where I do not permit myself to join contests until I’ve written a good amount. That’s why you’ll probably have noticed my joining posts at least a week or so into the contest. However, this time, I only had an outline and a rough draft of the first page when I signed up; a large departure from my usual habits.
My past storygames had their own various goals (e.g. write my first ever storygame, write 100k words in a month, finish a storygame in a new genre I’ve never attempted, prove to myself I can still write long pieces, etc). Here are some goals I set for this contest.
1. Rank highly in this contest
When I first wrote down these goals, I was stuck in a writing rut and the thought of getting top 5 sounded like an attainable buta challenging aim. But now, maybe for the first time, I think I may actually have a chance of winning! Although it’ll certainly be tough; there are some really strong storygames from what I’ve seen.
Under this category would be writing a storygame worthy of being commended and featured. That’s my goal for all storygames, although it goes without saying that if I rank highly enough, the game would probably be commended too! I usually feel bad about knocking other games off the featured category list, but that’s replaced with a grand feeling of accomplishment so the positive benefits of this are much higher.
Goal Status: In progress. I’m still waiting for the results, but I’m slightly more optimistic than I was when I drafted out these goals. But either way, I'm glad I finished the storygame after the chaotic last day haha.
2. Fix all the mistakes in my past storygames
My previous storygames had typos and grammatical errors due to careless proofreading. There were also a number of unrealistic details or awkward phrases. Last but not least, another somewhat common comment was that I fell prey to the middle-sagging syndrome, which is where the story starts to lose momentum near the middle.
To combat the first two issues, I created a completely new writing process:
Step 1: Draft scenes into the freewrite document
Step 2: Edit out the most glaring errors
Step 3: Refining or rewriting (depending on how I am satisfied with what I’ve written)
Step 4: Moving scenes to a finalized document where there’ll be a final proofreading check
Step 5: Transferring them to the CYS editor
Tip: I recommend this to anyone who constantly makes lots of typos and would like to take writing more seriously. Feel free to experiment and find what process works best for you.
This new method was much more time-consuming than my previous practice of writing directly in the CYS editor, yet I believe that the final result was worth the effort. Unfortunately, due to the chaos of the last day, I wasn’t able to utilize this method for some ending scenes, but depending on the feedback I receive, I might end up taking my storygame down and improving the last pages after the contest.
I’ve learnt a lot more about writing over the past few months too. This time, I tried to continuously raise the stakes throughout the story instead of keeping them exactly the same throughout. Hopefully this kept readers invested in the 90k word storygame.
And I tried out the 3 act story structure for the first time! Not sure if this was wise, considering I nearly didn’t finish my storygame on time, but it certainly helped me improve significantly as a writer. (Tip: If you aspire to write novels, I’ll say this 3 act structure certainly helps).
Goal Status: Almost accomplished
I received a nice message recently from a reader who pointed out a typo in Chapter 4 of my storygame. I’m taking this to mean there were no other mistakes as far as the Prologue to Chapter 4 are concerned! And my ratings seem to be higher than my other storygames, which is good too.
Edit: Just received a comment and it turns out I’ve got a new mistake to fix in my next storygame, whenever that would be. Thanks for all the feedback, Ugilick, it's appreciated!
I hope I’ll be able to keep improving and even though I’m still very far from being a good writer, I’ll get there one day.
3. Rediscover the joy of writing
At some point close to the start of this year, I felt like writing became a chore. Maybe my past success meant that I felt obligated to do better — to take writing more seriously — rather than just writing for the sake of it. Writing used to be easy when I expected nothing out of it, but unfortunately, it seems putting unnecessary pressure on myself to succeed has become my new pastime.
I’ve found myself enjoying the writing process a lot more recently, so that’s good. There were some horrible days where I wanted to scrap everything I’ve written and start from scratch, because this overly ambitious goal made me constantly question if I’d finish it on time. But there were some great days like when I hit 50k words, or when I surpassed all the other competitors’ word counts (yes, I had been spying on some unpublished storygames and keeping tabs on some competitors lol).
Tip: I’ve found that having small milestones to reach would help with motivation. Whether this means finishing Chapter 1 or setting a new ‘high score’ in terms of words written in a day, recording those moments where you feel undefeatable can help you overcome those writer block days.
Another tip: Whenever I felt uninspired, I would re-read my favorite scenes I’ve written or mess around with the font and pictures, until the aesthetic of “In Moonlit Waters” compelled me to keep writing. Making a writing playlist or keeping pictures of settings can be helpful too.
Goal Status: Accomplished!
It honestly felt so good to have this overarching goal to work towards. This gave me a reason to wake up each morning. Now, I almost want to write a whole new storygame, but I’m definitely going to take a long break first because I’m slightly burnt out.
Test Run Week
Before June began, I eased myself into writing. Rather than instantly forcing myself to write 3k words each day (which would definitely kill my motivation considering I went through this horrible rut), I watched writing videos, read book passages, and played around with Pinterest pictures for a bit. Then I got to writing.
Since I was utilizing a new writing process, this week was to decide whether it would be more helpful or harmful. Turns out it worked! And another thing I tried to do — record my word count and freewrite daily — ended up becoming more of a chore instead. So while I still recorded my word count every now and then when I needed inspiration, I only wrote ‘writing diary entries’ when I needed to relax or get myself in the writing mood.
I managed to finish the Prologue and half of Chapter 1 before June began.
Tip: I mentioned this in the Perfectionist thread, but having vomit drafts (that is, horrible first drafts) definitely helps. If you can’t stop judging your work and it’s interfering with your ability to start writing, throw down random words on the page and return to them when you’re in a better headspace. Worst case scenario — you’ll scrap the whole thing and rewrite it, but at least your rewrite would be much better than if you were to have started from scratch. Best case scenario — you’ll find out it isn’t as bad as you thought and a simple round of edits would lead to a finalized scene. Or you might run out of time and turn a blind eye to the less-than-perfect scenes, but hey, I suppose that’s better than submitting an incomplete storygame.
I don't think the structure falls under any established category because for the first 10% of the game, the choices you make may only seem to trigger flavor text; however, delayed consequences make up a big portion of the narrative.
Almost every choice so far (except 1 or 2) would lead to consequences in the future. Some things are obviously better if you choose them, but there are other options that would provide an advantage in one situation and a disadvantage in another. Remember: if a choice grants you a disadvantage, that doesn’t necessarily mean it wouldn’t help you out later. That’s all I’m going to say about that matter for now.
At the moment of planning the structure, I was not yet comfortable doing a full cave-of-time storygame. The last time I tried, I accidentally created a storygame where I wrote around 40k words but was still barely close to finishing since I’ll probably need 2ook words to finish telling that tale. To practice using the cave-of-time structure, within each of the ‘competition’ stages in this storygame, I tried to adopt a mini-cave-of-time structure with life or death outcomes.
The results turned out slightly different from the plan. Chapter 2 had the best branching imo (3 different main branches; almost like a mini-storygame in itself). Then Chapter 3 was also pretty cave-of-time, but Chapter 4 and 5 made use of delayed consequences instead because by then, I was running out of time. Chapter 6 suffered most from the deadline. I wouldn’t consider it a chapter — it is only 1 page long lol — but it determines which epilogue you get.
I didn’t anticipate there’ll be a secret judge, or two, at that, but based on my observations, I tried to ensure my storygame would be what all 3 judges were looking for. Here’s some slightly questionable notes I’ve written (tip: it might help you in future contests, no guarantees though).
It’s no secret he likes darker, edgier stories. While this isn’t a strength of mine, I’ll consider “In Moonlit Waters” the darkest storygame I’ve written thus far, even if it isn’t obvious at first. I tried to add some descriptive violent scenes and mild references to mature content, but all in all, my entry definitely isn’t the best in that department.
While End may not read the storygame, of all the chapters, I like to think he’ll best enjoy the one starting with: “This darned soldier bleeds too much.”
He prefers story-oriented games too. That’s why I decided to add an option to turn the puzzle-mode off this time, and also used the 3-act story structure. Instead of focusing on the challenges, I put emphasis on the narrative and character arc, which I hoped would score points with him.
Based on this thread, I attempted to keep his preferences in mind too. And I also added a choice which was rather loosely based on an iconic scene in Eternal which scarred me when I was younger lol. That storygame is truly legendary.
While it might be a pity he isn’t a judge, I noticed someone who may be secret judge rated my storygame a 7, which is great! Thank you, potential secret judge :)
From the aforementioned thread, he likes narrative and discovery storygames. Reading that thread made me feel like I was on the right trajectory, having written a narrative-based storygame, with lots of little ‘mysteries’ to uncover. Since he seemed to enjoy the challenges and puzzles in Dreamtruder, I decided to add that aspect in my storygame too.
One thing I liked was that I could discover his ‘grading criteria’ based on his reviews (I feel like a student trying to assess the teachers’ rubrics all over again lol). There are the usual things like grammar, mastery of language, and branching (the new writing process helped with the former two, and the attention to choices in the drafting stage improved the latter).
Thanks to Abbie Emmons (a writing youtube channel I’ve been binge-watching lately), I learnt to write character-driven stories and hopefully met the criteria of character development. And I hope the plotline made sense too; afaik, I don’t think I caught any major plot-holes, but then again, I was rushing quite a bit.
Sadly, he didn’t post in that thread. But when I heard he was one of the judges, I knew I had to improve my prose and proofreading, so I read a few articles and completely changed up my writing process (which honestly, I should have changed long ago ever since the reviews about ‘typos’ and ‘lack of polish’ started flooding in).
I decided to channel my inner A+ student mentality for this. There are a number of metaphors and symbols in the storygame and at one point, I really wanted to announce how the [redacted] is a symbol for the protagonist’s innocence and childhood, and when it became tainted, this symbolizes the death of her childlike ignorance! I’d be getting extra marks if it were an assignment! And there’s more — theme, parallels, foreshadowing, alliteration, character foils… alright, fine, I might have gone a little overboard.
One thing I could have done better would be to capture a slightly unsettling tone in certain parts of my storygame. This is something Gower manages to perfect in his storygames, but I think it’s better for me to practice that skill on a different piece instead. It probably would have clashed with the themes and overall atmosphere of my story.
The Last Day
I wanted to cover so many more things in this reflection, but I’ll refrain. This would already be too long of a text wall as it is. Now, I’m going to tell you the story of the very chaotic last day of the contest, and hopefully you’ll find it entertaining and subscribe for Mystflix Plus (name tbc).
Things I needed to complete by that day:
- Proofread, potentially rewrite, and finalize 4 pages from yesterday
- Start 6 pages from scratch (Chapter 6, Epilogue 1, Epilogue 2, main Epilogue choice, main Epilogue better option, main Epilogue death end) and go through all the steps in the aforementioned writing process
- The author’s note section (proofread)
- Write a storygame summary/ description and format it
From the moment I woke up, I was terrified.
The last time I had a holiday, I ended up not writing, and due to sheer panic, I wrote 8k words the day after I returned home. Today was the beginning of a new holiday. My family doesn't know about CYS — for many reasons, most of which being they simply would not approve of the ‘jokes’ made here — which means they’d be an obstacle to my quest.
I woke up too early. Everyone was asleep, so I crept downstairs to my ‘study room’, turned on the light, and started reading the past day’s work. To my jubilation, it didn’t require any more than minor edits and I logged onto CYS, transferring these pages to the site.
One task done! But I was far from complete. If the previous holiday taught me anything, it was that writing sessions weren’t guaranteed as soon as we left the house.
So I wrote. Some words were soul-crushingly horrendous; others were threads of inspiration, and upon unraveling them, they led to astoundingly beautiful parallels and scenes of closure. Bad writing wasn’t going to stop me now; not when the alternative of no writing was much worse.
My family emerged from their slumber, stumbling down the stairs, casually conversing as they had their breakfast. I wrote. And wrote some more. It was around 10am or 11am when three pages were complete!
Once I finished getting ready for the trip, I set my luggage by the door. Guess what I did next? I proofread some scenes! Unfortunately, the inevitable occurred, and we needed to leave when I was halfway through editing the first new scene I wrote today.
The car trip to the resort was long. And my family frowned upon using devices in the car — in the same way we often frown upon people coughing without distancing themselves from others in public — so I spent the first many minutes staring out of the window, brainstorming the climax of the storygame.
What would it be? Should I relentlessly cut out more scenes due to a lack of time, and end the storygame with ‘the author ran out of time, so if you honor CYStian traditions, pretend this is the best-written ending of all time, and no one would be any wiser’? Or maybe I should just fake a ‘link problem’, whereby I totally had an awesome and brilliant ending planned, but due to some variable issue or something, you can’t access it! But you have to take my word for it, the ending is definitely amazing and cool and everything that’s needed to tie together the plot and satisfy you narratively.
Alright, I was getting a little desperate. Some family members started listening to music. Unsure of how to end my storygame, I plugged in earphones and listened to some writing advice on Youtube. It wasn’t writing, but it was close.
A wave of drowsiness descended upon the passengers in the car, and one by one, they fell asleep (thankfully with the exception of my dad, who was driving). I slipped out my phone. Desperate times called for desperate measures. After using the downloaded version of google docs to edit my storygame, I could no longer stand how slowly the words I typed appeared, courtesy of my unstable mobile data. I would replace one word with a stronger version, and be required to wait 5-10 seconds for the change to be registered. The document was acting like a corporation, only responding in 5-10 business seconds.
So I switched to the notes app on my phone. Fortunately — though not for all the impatient drivers who were adversely affected by what was a stroke of luck for me — there was a traffic jam. I have horrible car-sickness when reading on long journeys, so this allowed me to halfway-finish one of the scenes before we began speeding down the road again.
When we arrived, I was stressed despite the spectacular resort. There were some truly picturesque sceneries which, like a CYS author rushed for time, I wouldn’t detail here so you’ll just have to believe are splendidly stunning. For immersion, use your imagination (or search up ‘nice scenery’ images if your imagination is blind).
The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the resort and taking numerous pictures. I felt like a thief, stealing time in small quantities, penning down sentences and phrases every time we waited for anything, as if every second I stole would add up to a grand reward of sorts. But as the day crept on, the forces of agitation grew stronger and merged with that of despair.
I nearly gave up. Numerous times. And I wanted to disappear from CYS, enjoy my holiday to the fullest, and never join another contest ever again.
But then I thought of all those odd hours, writing words down onto a google document, searching up pretty pictures as a less-unproductive form of procrastinating, hoping the words I write would resonate with someone out there. I had to complete this. Even if it was just for the girl who stayed up late and woke up early, believing something great could come out of her efforts.
Fine, that sounded cheesy but I don’t care. Who knows, the sunken cost fallacy may help some of you in the future, and lead to great works on CYS!
I knew that at the very least, I would have one last writing session: tonight, in the hotel room, right before we slept. If I tried hard enough, I could probably turn a blind eye to the mistakes of the past written scenes and knock out the last 3 remaining ones. They could be short. I could write a poem if prose proves to be too pernicious. And who knows, I might actually have a chance of completing this!
Armed with new hope, I did my best to enjoy the holiday. Then we had a buffet dinner; platters of appetizing meals were laid out in front of us, daring us to devour the delicacies if our appetites allowed it.
Here’s a riddle: What’s the worst thing to have at a buffet dinner?
The answer wasn’t cheap-but-filling rice, nor was it glasses of water; it was something that threw all my plans down the drain, a disastrous moment which led me to teeter on the edge between life and death.
An allergic reaction.
To say it was bad would be an understatement. An allergy reaction nearly ended my life when I was younger. I downed glasses of water, felt my throat swell and my airways constrict, as I struggled to pull oxygen into my lungs. My skin broke out into a rash. And I brought out my bag, fumbled around for the medicine, and breathed a sigh of relief (well, a rather restricted one).
But I had brought the wrong medication.
This was a milder version, which my dad (a doctor) claimed wouldn’t be enough to ward off the reaction. I could hardly think. What if I needed to be sent to the hospital without my laptop? Fine, the storygame wasn’t the worst of my worries, but in the moment, I thought about all the things that could go wrong.
It was irony that one of my last posts on CYS would be: “But regardless of whether that happens, I'll finish this storygame or die trying.”
We rushed to the front desk, asking for the infirmary, waited for a bit, and entered the cold, white room where I awaited my fate. They had the medicine. Not exactly the one we needed, but we could only pray it was enough. I took a few tablets, drank many glasses of water, felt the knot in my throat move down to my stomach, and tried to stop panicking as time ticked on.
After 5 minutes, I could breathe more easily. At 10, I started attempting to eat some solid food, ensuring they didn’t contain my allergen. And in 20 minutes, it seemed everything would be fine again, except that I was the object of scrutiny around the dinner table.
How was I ever going to finish this storygame now?
There was an after-dinner show. We headed into the dark theater, and I tried to write while waiting, but focus shunned me while distractions ran rampant. Not only was the rash on my skin an awful menace, but my siblings wanted me to explore the area with them, and seeing how I didn’t spend much time with them in the former weeks (during which I wrote this contest storygame in the hopes I’d finish it before the holiday), I felt obliged to agree.
No words were written. I was pretty unmotivated and exhausted by then, certain that the shame pit wouldn’t be the worst place I could end up in. Besides, how much more agony did I have to go through before the first words of my storygame — some stories aren’t meant to be told — would be applicable to the entire story itself?
Call it a stroke of luck, but one of the performances included a deep sea dive, where the diver nearly drowned but made his way back up to — you guessed it — moonlit waters (well, technically there was a moon in the background but that counts for me). This was the atmosphere I wanted to embody with my storygame. In fact, here’s a pre-written passage from before which might rationalize why I chose the title despite it not following some of the well-established title rules Gryphon pointed out:
This storygame is like diving in moonlit waters; at first, under the moon’s glow, the waters are calming and serene. Then you dive deeper. Everything becomes darker, obscured, more dangerous. You start to sink away from the moonlight, losing trace of the trajectory you were on. Inevitably, you know you’ll run out of oxygen or be transformed into something hideous and unrecognizable. That’s when you must decide: lose yourself in the darkest depths of the ocean, or rise to the surface of the sea, returning to moonlit waters.
Call it fate, or destiny, or a blessing in disguise. (Or maybe ‘deus ex machina’; but that might only work if my storygame somehow wrote itself). Once the performances were over, there was dancing and flashing lights and booming music. They overwhelmed my senses. I couldn’t think. But let’s say the subplot of that allergy reaction worked out for the best.
Half my family wanted to stay and soak in the sights, while the other half couldn’t stand the noise and bright lights. I was in the latter. Seeing my discomfort, and possibly taking my recent allergy reaction into account, some of us returned to our rooms and took warm showers while lounging in the peaceful rooms with clear views of the crashing waves.
But this wasn’t the end. I shared a room with my brother, and he sleeps earlier than me. He’s rather cool though, and allowed me to write without interruptions (probably because he was too preoccupied playing a game on his phone). I read through the past passages with as much attention as my fatigued and addled mind could muster. Satisfied enough, I moved those pages to CYS, nearly forgetting to add in the formatting html code.
Down with 3 pages. Luckily, I managed to complete 1 page on my phone, and as I typed it out to my laptop, tried to proofread to the best of my ability (which wasn’t much considering my deteriorating attention span and energy levels). Good enough. I was running out of time — my brother wanted to sleep at 12pm, which meant I had less than 30 minutes — so I sacrificed the death ending and did the somewhat shameful thing of copy-pasting one of the other endings I was proud of to that page.
One last page. My eyelids could barely stay open by now; I had woken up too early and ate too little for dinner. Every moment, I feared I’d give way to the siren call of sleep, abandoning my storygame entirely. Still, I wrote. I choked out a few passable paragraphs of prose before nearly caving into the normal spiral of despair and self-loathing, so I changed tactics completely.
What if the last part could be a poem?
And that’s what happened. The dynamic activity of switching tabs, googling synonyms and rhymes, and counting stressed and unstressed syllables in my head kept me awake. Then I finished it! In my google document, I had the completed, 92k version of “In Moonlit Waters”.
It was exactly 12pm. Our parents wanted us to sleep, and knowing my brother needed it too, I locked myself in the bathroom, pretending I needed to use it, and sat by the bathtub, transferring scenes to the CYS editor. If it wasn’t for the uncomfortable chair, I’d have probably been swept away by slumber.
Then it was done. This was almost an hour later; for I forgot to format the epilogues, nearly lost the document where I wrote out the author’s notes, and everytime I edited a page with a centered page break and reloaded it, I’d have to reset the formatting because I made the noob mistake of starting the storygame in the RTE once again. And I also had to add formatting tags for the links because past me decided a storygame with different fonts and aesthetic chapter titles would be cool. I could only trust her judgment and hope it paid off.
The synopsis was killing me. I’d left it for last, as a method of procrastination, and didn’t remember half the things I planned to add to it. To make matters worse, my brother was starting to get concerned about why I wasn’t asleep yet. So I soothed him with a few lies — not something I’d usually do, but I was too tired to make good decisions by now — and combed through documents, trying to find out my notes amidst the pages of words.
I couldn’t feel my legs anymore; they’d become frozen in place. So I looked at my old storygames, felt another pang of stress seeing all the other entries that had trickled in, and finally, decided to just write it. Maybe it won't be perfect, but it’ll be enough.
It was too late to check the time when I finally clicked the ‘publish’ button. With a wave of euphoria, I went to bed, drifting off to the view of moonlit waters.
I’m very glad I didn’t die either.
And tbf, I think my parents wanted us to talk to one another and rest during the long journey, both of which I attempted, but didn’t quite succeed in.
I probably should stop writing so many words lol.
(Also, EndMaster, thanks for the trophy! I’m still in shock and it was a really great way for me to start the day. Thank you for suggesting it, Mizal!)
Well that story was a fucking rollercoaster and a half. It'd be pretty ironic if you if died.
Also I wrote my story as I would like it, and am pretty sure the End also would too. Sadly, he's not judging.
I know of one secret judge and he liked the story. Gryphon did as well, but everyone also knows his ratings.
Best thing I could do for Gower was proofread pretty well. I still don't think he liked the story too much.
I honestly think your storygame would do really well in this contest, at least based on what I've seen so far. So I don't think you have anything to worry about.
Something about doctor dads, and after-show dinner parties or something.
That last day part was a story in itself.
I assume by "12pm" you meant midnight, because 12pm is actually the middle of the day.
Yep, good catch. I didn't proofread the reflection as well as I thought lol.
Anyway, IMHO the best Jesus was the one in “The Last Temptation of Christ.” It’s the only one I’ve seen where Jesus is actually fully human, and fully tempted, which is usually preached in churches but not really believed. Also it has Willem Dafoe, which automatically makes it good.
He did indeed have a suspiciously close relationship to Mary Magdalene, which suggests there was unrealized desire there. Of course, clearly Jesus the Christ would have resisted the temptation, otherwise he would not have been a worthy sacrifice. Imagine if he was in love with Mary (or John), and was forced to crush those yearnings. Presumably he would not have been immune to such things, if we are to go with the standard Christianity in which Jesus was fully man whilst incarnated.
That said, I mean, "Turn the other cheek" seems pretty gay, at least in English (and he surely would have known what it would sound like 2000 years later). And he may have been a bit of a sub. But then again, if Jesus is God incarnate, then he's also a dom. The domist of daddy doms.
Honestly I’m surprised this materiel hasn’t been adapted much here. All the Biblical related stories I’ve seen are basically religious tracts, but there is genuine potential for literary entertainment based on the Bible.
I guess I’ll give this reflection thing a try as well.
At first I wanted the story to be deep, and reflect the nature of discovery and science and god and choice. But then I realized half of the time to the deadline passed and I had a page and a half. So I started writing nonsense. It was actually easier, so I continued.
It blows my mind how people here can write 90k stories, more than x10 than I managed. And on the site more than 20x. But I appreciate the progress I made, this 8k story was probably the longest finished story I’ve written. Maybe next time I’ll do something longer.
I did discover in the middle how to write more, however. I always thought writing in the evening is better for me, but I was wrong. Turns out in the morning I have more ‘brain juices’, as it’s called. I figure they dribble from my dreams throughout the night, like a leak from the sink that is my subconsciousness.
Also, I realized I can’t write while knowing nothing about the future of the story, but I also didn’t need to know everything. Setting 1-3 plot constraints for the next 1000 words helped me.
The story was supposed to be science fiction, but the more I wrote the more fictitious it turned. So I had to even it out with even more accurate science of course. This mainly meant researching questionable stuff on the internet. If I lived in the US, I would probably be on the FBI tracking list now, but that’s the price you have to pay. I also started to get youtube targeted ads about cellular regenerative treatment for a variety of diseases.
The last days were before exams so I couldn’t really write a lot. I used writing to procrastinate from studying, but also vice versa, so it worked out.
Everything except the many grammar and spelling mistakes. I’ll have to change those after the contest. Also, I’ll get the right tags and change the description (which I wrote before the story). I probably won’t add anything else unless I’ll get a good idea. Maybe I’ll cut some of the science explanations. If you have specific ones that you think don’t add anything relevant or even just bad grammar it would be a very helpful mention.
That’s about it, for now.
Oh, Israel. I did spent two years in the US at the dark times of middle school though, it was great there.
Yup, too bad I didn't start the morning thing sooner, It's fun. Preferably with the addition of a cup of coffee.
I'm not exactly sure how I write 90k storygames either, but the anxiety certainly helps.
(But in all seriousness, it usually starts with having an idea which requires lots of words to complete, along with a lot of different plot points to cover. Then the hard part is just deluding yourself into thinking you must write everyday for your overambitious idea to be completed).
There was a contest with End's name on it, so I figured I would write an entry for it.
Seeing as the only two stories I've ever written were both for Endmaster contests, I figure this was pretty much my rationale for entering as well.
I think it's three for me. It's another story with "tale" in its title. Maybe rereleasing that should be next on my agenda.
Ah, so that's how you'll make your stories unique, by fitting in "tale" in every title.
Me, I think I'll just always have an ending where you fuck your sister.
Usually that's how most famous stories end.
I suppose I'll follow this trend of reflection.
Days 1-5: I did a bunch of research about vikings that I didn't end up using a lot of. I made a loose outline for what I wanted to write about. I wrote half of the first page in this time as well.
Days 6-3 days til submission: OVERPROCRASTINATION! Youtube, Blacksmith, life stuff. Everything distracted me.
2 days til submission until day of submission: I raced through some of my planned content but had to leave a lot out.
After scoring: I plan on adding to the branches I had to clip for the sake of time.
I had a similar process too, except I tried to force myself out of the procrastination spiral earlier on by writing down my distractions and consciously stopping myself whenever I opened up those apps or websites (though this didn't always work, it helped quite a bit).
One thing I forgot to mention in my "reflection" is that, as stated in the description of the game, a lot of the stuff happening to the MC actually happened to me (just slightly less shit). So I had some fun writing that first part out.
For example, the choice to take the bus vs take the tram... both of those happened to me. I wasn't carrying any tools, obviously, nor am I pathetically weak and deformed. I also wasn't kicked out of the tram after punching the groping bastard, I just left on my own cause I arrived at my stop. People still thought I was the maniac for randomly punching a fat old fuck, not noticing the groping. And I kicked the schizo dude out of the bus after he started beating up the old granny.
The whole "childhood" trauma part was all true, just not with such disastrous consequences. I have, indeed, been dropped down a gap between the steps as a one-year-old; I just don't have any scars from that event, unlike the character. Being unsupervised while riding a bike close to stairs is another one, but again, my eye is alright. I do not walk funny, but I was legit left crying and bloodied on the road after closing my legs between the wheels. And the school bully stabbed me through the shoulder and the hand with a graphite pencil. I have the marks to this day.
My house didn't burn down, and my wife wasn't gangbanged by a bunch of dudes before leaving me for her fat old ugly boss... mostly because I don't have a wife. But the ones with a good memory among you may recall a thread I made when I started being active on the site last year, where I explain my girlfriend leaving me for her fat old ugly boss. So I guess the story did kinda end up being my autobiography.
"I have, indeed, been dropped down a gap between the steps as a one-year-old;"
When my brother was a baby I watched him role down the stairs head over heels, bouncing on each step.
I wasn’t going to even join the contest at all until Ab convinced me to. Generally I don’t like to actually show my writing to other people because I know that it isn’t very good, but for some reason I let Ab talk me into it. This would be the second contest that I joined because of her.
I actually only agreed to join it because I was bored and thought that I wouldn’t have anything to do over the summer, but I was wrong. This summer is actually turning out to be pretty much the most event filled summer that I think I’ve ever had, but that isn’t saying much considering that I typically just stay home and hang out with Ab.
Once I had agreed with her to sign up, I searched for a good prompt. The one about the lunatic empress who is fond of horses caught my eye. It seemed like a cool idea to write about a lunatic empress at the time, and I had never tried writing a story like that before. Normally all my characters are kids(as I don’t really know what it’s like to be an adult) and I’d never written about a character who wasn’t completely sane, so I figured I would try something new. I grabbed the prompt and then thought about what I wanted to write about.
The problem was, I had just gone off of what I thought might be fun to write about at the time and actually had no clue how I should go about it, or even a general idea for the plot. The other problem was that I knew absolutely nothing about horses. I may have touched one once when I was six at some fair where they had animals or something, but that’s about all I’ve ever had to do with horses.
Eventually I came up with a pretty loose general idea of an empress who’s fairly young(early 20s or something like that) who has just stepped up to the throne and has the rationale of a little kid. For the horse part, I would just make them love their pet horse or something. Without a story outline I just started writing a page and went where it took me. I wrote three or four pages, finished a path within the first week, and then summer break started and I forgot about the contest.
About two weeks before the deadline I realized that I needed to write stuff and figure out what the different paths were going to be. I had attempted to do this earlier, but I hadn’t come up with any ideas. At this point I had completely forgotten what I had written, but I didn’t want to get rid of it now because I didn’t have much time.
I read it over and didn’t really like it, but I didn’t have any other ideas so I just stuck with it. I scraped together a loose outline for a few other possible paths and then did absolutely nothing for another week. At this point I had a week left and I was nowhere near done.
I convinced myself to write some over five days, and with a steady but very slow trickle of about 500-1000 words every morning before my brother woke up, I had finished another path. Then I had two days left and only two endings with two paths. The writing itself wasn’t great even with my standards, but at least I had that. I knew it wouldn’t be good enough though, and it was too linear to submit anyway.
I was complaining about this to Ab while texting her, and I think her exact words were “Lol, ur still doing that? I quit a long time ago”. At this point I was desperate to have some kind of motivation, and I remembered how when we were working on Graveyard of Empires for the culture clash contest we would facetime and both write. If one of us wanted to get up and do something else, the other person would convince them to stay and write. If you were stuck on something then the other person would give you an idea and you would keep writing.
I managed to convince her to start her contest entry, and we wrote for about 2 hours that day. I still wasn’t anywhere near done, but I had written another death and was almost done with another path. I chilled for the rest of the day and played with my brother, knowing that I would have to spend most of the day tomorrow wrapping up my story and attempting to give it a quick glance over.
The next day came and I woke up Ab at 7 by calling her, and we wrote. I was doing well with only a few pages left to go, when my dad said that I had to spend some time with my brother. This was understandable as I had been locked in my room all day trying to come up with how to end my story, but it was infuriating nonetheless.
I was able to finish my two pages later that day, but I had to spend more quality time with my brother after that so I couldn’t proofread. Knowing I wouldn’t have time anyway, and being yelled at to come out to the living room, I quickly published it without having even read my last two paths and submitted it.
I was going to say how I’m not going to enter another contest here because I don’t write very well anyway and I regretted doing it, but now that I think about it, I had fun. It was a very stressful kind of fun, but it was fun and I learned stuff. Mainly that my brother actually gets up at 6 am and chills with my mom before going back to sleep, and that yes, I can wake up at 5 in the morning with enough motivation, but knowledge is good right? Plus, I have a bad feeling that Ab is going to drag me into another contest no matter what I do.
"2 paths is too linear to submit"
@Paradox_4 would disagree.
Well, I guess I will join in on the contest reflection trend.
Initially, I was excited to join the contest because I thought having a deadline would force me to write and put something out there. Since I had never entered any type or writing contest before, or actually submitted any writing publicly other than way back in school, this whole process was going to be new.
As for my prompt, I picked it because I felt that it gave me the freedom to go a bunch of different ways with telling the story. I had some ideas about possible paths and endings that I wanted to see, and started out working out a narrative to bring the character to those ends. Unfortunately, I let distraction get the better of me. Things got crazy busy (as they seem to do for everyone) and I just didn't make the time to focus and get down to writing, and before I knew it, I had about 1 week left. My story ended up being chopped and spliced together into what I could manage before the deadline. Although it is not necessarily complete, I was able to submit a finished story, avoid shame, and had a bit of fun.
During this process, I learned some things that I need to do in order to improve my writing. I am also looking forward to whatever comments or critiques I get that can help me get better. Once judging is complete, I will unpublish my entry and work on finishing it the way I had originally envisioned it.
Should have the final ratings at some point soon, the fourth secret judge has practically rated all the stories and as far as I know they only have one more to go.
Might be 18 secret judges before this is done with.
Alright I got the finally scores. Now to tally everything up and post the results.
I'll try to do it tonight.
I'm glad you were able to get them. Looking forward to seeing the results whenever they may come.