WatchNon-threaded

Forums » Writing Workshop » Read Thread

Toss around ideas and brainstorm your story.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago

I"m trying this for the 100k war on intfiction story. I'm new to CYOAs but I've outlined this idea as a novel a couple of times before and would like to know if anyone here thinks it has potential:

On the planet Sagewind, the native feline race called the Sjades live in their traditional settlements, while Humans have built spaceports and cities. The two races live side by side by rarely interact. Sundown is a Sjade who was horribly burned and injured as a child in a conflict between tribes that killed his parents, and Nova is one of the daughters of the family that took him in.

Against all odds they fall in love in their teens and have a romance, which is cut short by Nova being selected by the Humans to recieve a Human education and go into space. Three years go by with only the brief messages that can be sent between planets, and then just like that he learns she's died in a far off war.

Nova's body is shipped back for a traditional funeral, and afterwards in mourning Sundown seeks the advice of a shaman and goes on a spirit journey, where he is offered a chance to go back and change the past. Follow her into space or convince her to stay there on Sagewind, there will be many paths but the question is how long can the lovers dodge fate?

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago
It sounds like there's a lot of plot happening before the spirit journey and the various paths start opening up. How are you planning to handle that in the story itself? Having the tragic backstory and romance all confined to exposition and infodumps is going to distance the reader from something hugely important to the character and make it difficult to relate to. But at the same time if you write it all out, it'll need to have some choices in there that change things somehow.

Anyway, I think the idea itself does indeed have potential, this is a more interesting write up than a lot I've seen pitched. But at the end of the day it's all in the writing and the ability to follow through. This might be a little ambitious for a first story while you're still getting used to the editor too. We usually advise to start with something smaller scale, because if you're not used to the way this kind of story can get out of hand once they start to branch, it's easy to get in over your head and burn out.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago

Thanks for the advice, I'm glad you think it has potential.  BUt I've experimented with the story editor enough to know the basics, and it's just a matter of writing it now. The plot is one that already had multiple outcomes from the same start, so I start off with an easy way to fit it to the CYOA format even being new to it.

When I finish Chapter 1, which should be by next week, I'll post it in here if anyone wants to see how I'm handling the first part (everything up to the time jump) and give more advice while it's in early stages.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago
Commended by mizal on 11/21/2020 4:27:36 AM

The story format is easy to accidentally put into a runaway condition. I would heed Mizal's advice. It sounds like you are passionate enough to follow through, but let me expand on a few key things that may trip you up.

1. Each choice multiplies your writing if you are not careful. Compared to a linear story, each choice you add will add an entire additional story length of words. For example, if you are writing about three choices that can be made to save the human girl, then you have to write three full stories. They should all be different or people will complain that the choices don't matter and it is not a CYOA. If you planned for this to be 20,000 words on one branch of the story, three choices make it jump to 60,000 words.

This gets worse when you add multiple choices in a branch. Let's say you add 4 or 5 big choices and one branch expands to 40,000 words to accommodate. Factoring in the other two branches, you just planned a 120,000-word story. Now if you want to add "one more choice" you can end up around 160,000. Of course, not every branch needs to be the same length, but this is why the warning is valid.

2. People expect choices early and often. You might not have time to build an entire relationship before adding a choice. Again, there are ways around this, but it's tricky your first time. If you want to write a really good love story, it will take time to develop. Some kind of choice every 1,000-2,000 words is expected. If you just linearly write 10,000 words to build their relationship, people will think your story doesn't branch and complain that it is not a CYOA before they get to your amazing choices later on. Likewise, adding a choice between two options every 2,000 words (if not done carefully) can create 2^5 or 32 branches before you get to your time skip. This will create a problem with tip number 1.

If you take my example above and say that you are going to make their whole romance so that it ends up with two branches, then your story doubles to 320,000 words. You may not even realize your story expanded this way until you are 50,000 words in and realize that not even one branch is done.

You can play around with things and make the story work, but don't take this advice lightly. Maybe ask for more tips from people who have written lots of these. I wish you the best of luck with the story. It does sound like you put a lot of thought into it, and I think romance stories are very good when done correctly.

Here are a few key things that helped me:

- One page should be (roughly) 1,000 words or less.

- You can connect two pages with one choice that says "continue" but you should never do this for more than two consecutive pages!

- Not every choice has to lead to a new branch of a story. Some can immediately end it by killing your character (or getting them distracted, captured, etc). There are also ways to make choices that take you on a separate path that eventually funnels back into the same storyline as the other choice. You need to make sure each "mini branch" feels different enough to justify its existence but is never referenced later in the story.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago
I agree with all of this, but of course, when I did the noob contest earlier this year I set a word limit to try and protect the new authors from out of control branching, and we had people like @Mystic_Warrior who just blazed right past it. Then there's thst Sonic guy....

So I'm inclined to give this kind of advice just out of habit, but the guy is here for the 100k challenge and seems pretty dedicated, and I've learned that some people do best when you just step back and let them do their thing.

I'm gonna wait to see this first chapter before giving any more input at this point, that should give the best idea of where he is on all this and where the best areas to offer advice in might be.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago
You can do it! My entry for my first contest was 98k in a two months deadline, you have a good plot and an entire year, you can do it!

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago

Thank you! I wish I could write that fast. Right now I'm aiming for just about one chapter a week, but with a year there shouldn't be a problem even if I can't stay motivated the entire time. I'll post regular updates here to help me stay focused.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago

Oh fuck, it's furry porn! >.<

To be fair though, I guess Cathar from Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic were a cat like alien race and that was one of the rare instances where anthropomorphic animals didn't instantly make me throw up in my mouth, so I guess it could work.

I'll be honest, the plot kind of reminds me of Life is Strange (which is a good thing, I loved that game.) Like, I'm kind of hoping it ends up like that, where Sundown goes out of his way to save Nova but the more he tries to save her, the more he fucks shit up. Like: "Oh, hurry! I saved the woman I love... But I accidentally blew up a planet in the process. I guess I'd better go back and try again."

Either way though, I'm sure you can make it work really well. The fact that the main goal of the game is to change the past means that there's so many different ways that the story can branch out. ^_^

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago
Cat races seem to pop up in a lot of sci fi.

In space, no one will judge your closeted furriness as long as you hide it with enough science talk.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago

The Kzinti from Larry Niven's Ringworld (And later "borrowed" temporarily for OG Star Trek)

The Mrrshan from Masters of Orion

The Iskai from Albion

The Thundercats from... Thundercats

There's a lot of examples in regular fantasy settings as well.

For some reason you don't encounter as many dog races.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago

The new Star Trek: Lower Decks has a cat-person (Caitian) serving as the ship's doctor. Concerns about furriness aside, this character is pretty kick-ass.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago
Cat from Red Dwarf

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago
Cat and Kryton are tied for best character in my mind, though it's a pretty close race between all of them.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago

Ok let me make it clear, it's not a furry porn game. This is an alien race with its own culture that happens to be feline in nature, not just sexy cat people. They're similar to bipedal lynxes and have heightened senses, but they're not just humans with fur. (Females don't even have noticeable breasts, which is the real furry test.)

I loved Life is Strange too, but time travel isn't going to be a big part of the gameplay, you go back to a fixed point and the puzzle is in the nature of the story itself in figuring out the right paths.

 

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago

News flash, every furry who writes and worldbuilds has written a race with its own culture, abilities, and adaptations, that happens to also be a critter. The fact that they don't have breasts or are just bipedal versions of the animal just makes them higher on the "feral"* scale. No less incriminating, it just implies that if there are furries, they appeal to the kind who like just like animals. I prefer to just give them tits and be done with it, frankly.

*That being the euphemism for furries that are just animals.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago

I'm sorry, I'm just not perverted enough to follow your line of thinking.

Or to tell the truth, I'm not sorry.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago

No need to be. It is what it is, but there's not really any defending yourself from the sort of people who point and say 'furry!', and there's certainly no defending yourself from the degenerates.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago

A highly concerning point. If the furries wish to fap to the tittiless sentient lynxes, then who out there can stop them? O.O

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago
So many masked people running around now, when will one of them step up and be the hero we need?

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago
That's why we have Sent, to think in ways we can't and know things we don't want to.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago

The setting sounds great. My feeling is it needs a lot of thought in terms of storrytelling. Probably the best is to start when she is already dead then give information in flashbacks, which become increasingly real until we are not sure anymore what is dream and what is reality.

Perhaps like this:

  • First Scene: Normal day in Sundown's Life to introduce the character, but at the end of the day he gets the message.
  • Following night: Dream of Nova's departure, but already we can make some choices differently.
  • Some days later: The body arrives, leading to an immediate flashback to some earlier scene where they had a fight about something
  • A week later: Sundown talks to a friend revealing that that he keeps having these flashbacks. Friend recommends to go on a pilgrimage.
  • ...

Re length I wouldn't necessarily try to stretch it to 100K, it might be a bit short for that

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago

The story won't have any trouble reaching 100k if I can do it fully as I envision, the only limitation is my time and motivation. There is a lot to explore in Sagewind, or in the galaxy itself if you choose to follow Nova off planet, plus the events of the war.

Thanks for the ideas, but when the time rewind occurs the player and character both have a clear understanding of what's going on and their goals. There are scenes in the first Chapter that you will revisit with more options once this happens.

My original plot had Sundown making multiple time jumps and trying different things, that's not necessary here since all options will be available to the player to explore from the beginning, but altogether it's still a novel length story that will just be told in parts for the CYOA format.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago
I keep reading this as 'a love that spams the stars'.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago
"Nova, I don't like sand in my litterbox. It's coarse, and rough, and irritating, and it gets everywhere."

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

7 months ago
Not a huge fan of romance stories, but this sounds really cool. What kind of ideas do you have planned for if you go into space? I have a big sci fi story in the works too that has a couple of similar things. There's a time jump and it mixes spiritual plots with sci fi. No romance but in the first section one character will meet gods and be able to travel to a mirror dimension, and later another rescues his second in command from the afterlife.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

5 months ago
This guy never logged in again. I wonder if the world will ever see this tragic furry romance.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

5 months ago

I'm sure he is writing it in Google docs. One day soon, the whole story will appear. That or he is doing research into real life human-feline romances...

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

5 months ago
If Drax is really gone, then this is an orphaned love story only @Avery_Moore can do justice to.

Sundown and Nova: A love that spans the stars

5 months ago
Kind of sad because I was actually interested in this one, cats or not. We need more people writing sci fi drama.