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Toss around ideas and brainstorm your story.

Story idea

3 months ago
Well, I'm outlining a story right now, well, the outlining is already finished, but it maybe needs some tweaking. I hope you guys will give me your brutal opinions.

So I was kind of inspired by games and books about pandemics so I came up with this kind of storyline. I'm just wondering if this kind of thing has been done to death before. (I know zombies are for example a bit overdone in this site)

The story is set in the capitol of a fictional country which just has experienced a major economic boom due to the invention of the steam machine a few decades ago. The beautiful cliffs which the city stands on, are now filled with big steel factories. The monarchy was chased away a long time ago and to replace the power vacuum a parliament was born. Sadly enough, wealth and prosperity does not last forever as a mysterious disease has spread over the city cliffs. Chaos and a loth of death ensues.

You are playing a 35 year old doctor who was just visiting the city for a week with your 12 year old son. Now you are trapped in the city and tasked by the ruling coalition of the parliament to find a cure for the disease.

This won't come very easy as three members, each representing one political faction of the current parliament. Every one of them has a specific vision how the city as well as the country should be ruled. They have a lot of power over you as they control how many funds you will have at your disposal, but at the same time they know that you have a lot of power over them as well, as your decision which faction gets access to the cure first will decide the future of the city.

Beyond the endless political squabble you also need to keep track of your son and make sure he is safe and well. You know that he looks up to you and you really want to be a good role model for him. However, raising a son is kind of damn hard during a epidemic and bureaucratic nonsense.

The game mechanics are nothing really fancy. (because I don't have much knowledge about scripting) It is basically a system of managing some character relations and stats. I've played around with links and stats already.
I was kind of planning to make this 9 chapters with four official endings.

Let me know what you think!

Story idea

3 months ago
Sounds fun to me!

Story idea

3 months ago
This sounds really cool honestly. Authors here lean heavily to fantasy but as a reader I enjoy something a little more grounded now and then.

The addition of the son should allow for a lot of additional plot hooks, and of course don't miss the opportunity to imperil him for added tension when things are racheting up in the final acts. What else are kids in fiction for?

And I see you're new so welcome to the site! Let us know if you have any more questions or need help with the editor. Basic relationship tracking as you described is pretty simple though, basically once you know how to check a variable and have it change text/change the destination page that will cover 80% of scenarios most authors will ever need.

Story idea

3 months ago

Haha thank you for welcoming me. 

Initially I was kind of worried about the advanced editor, but the thing mostly works pretty intuitively. I was actually pleasantly surprised. 

Yup, of course children are made to be cannon fodder. These fleshy body parts are not made without a reason. 

Story idea

3 months ago
Color me intrigued. Looking forward to more.

Story idea

3 months ago
Wow, an idea thread where the idea is more than two lines? Wonderful!

Mizal already made a good post, so I'll try to keep this short (as I doubt you want me to try to nitpick an overview, lol).

Suffice to say, there aren't any issues that stick out to me. I will say that seeing chapters mentioned did fill me with apprehension, but as you followed that up with mention of four official endings, that worry evaporated.

Having finished the outlining is a good sign too, as the scope of this story could end up spiralling a bit.

The idea itself seems well thought out as well, with a good deal of elements to it. Will be interesting how you handle the choices and how long the pages are, but regardless, it should work out well. My advice is to try to write consistently, as that is one of the better ways to ensure works get finished.

When you finish writing a bit, feel free to share and you can get some feedback on that. There are some common mistakes that aren't too hard to fix (and are more just a knowledge thing).

Other than that, setting seems interesting, the protagonist being a doctor is a good way to tie them into the setting and be impactful, and having a son is a neat addition that can add some heart to the story.

I will say that consider doing research for any doctor based choices to try and keep them realistic (if that is the goal of course), as while I doubt there are many doctors here, research can help push up the quality of sections that'd otherwise be less thorough.

It is a balancing act tho, as you don't want researching to get in the way of writing/progress. Some people just don't consider it at all, so I like mentioning it.

Game mechanics not being fancy isn't a bad thing, as it is about the type of storygame you're making. Simple is good too, in that it is harder to mess up (or rather, complex mechanics can get in the way if not handled carefully)!

Anyway, while it is hard to judge what the quality of a storygame will be just based on the overview (even if it is a good overview), this does look promising regardless, so...get writing! (Not that you need my approval for that, aha).

Story idea

3 months ago

Great advice! Haha, I had the same thoughts running through my head about the son idea. Yup, the interpersonal relation with him was supposed to serve as the emotional through line and I just love parent-child interaction. 

I was allready wondering whether it would be okay if I post a small section of the story for people scrutinize it a bit. I guess I will do that when a significant portion is finished!

English isn't exactly my first language, so I bet my dumb-grammar-mistake-filter will not be able to filter every single bullshit in the first run. 

Oh yeah, bout the research, I thought it would be more fitting to the setting  to limit the available medical knowledge to the 19th century. No antibiotics have been discovered for example. It's also a little bit convenient for me; 19th centruy england has achieved some great records regarding the amount of epidemics. 

Story idea

3 months ago

Sounds good!

Some of the common mistakes are made by native speakers too! Stuff like Dialogue Punctuation is a common problem even for good writers.

I imagine it is just generally not covered well in school, so you either pick up on it by reading (but who pays attention to punctuation?) or learn it elsewhere. But if you don't have an editor, where else will you learn? Strangers on the internet will tell you, of course! Or, you know, you'll learn professionally.

Anyway, your writing looks solid from what I can see here, but seeking feedback for a smaller section is a good way to avoid having to change a lot in case you are making a certain mistake consistently (such as dialogue punctuation).

Longer sections are good for pointing out any issues with the broader strokes tho (like overall pacing, or an inconsistency that only happens after multiple pages).

Most other mistakes can generally be caught with proofreading, and perhaps speaking (or mouthing) the words.

I guess stuff like there/their, where/were, quiet/quite, etc, might not be, but as long as you pay attention for if someone does point such a mistake out, you can learn to avoid such mistakes in the future.

Oh, when proofreading, do be careful to read what is there, and not what you think is there.

I guess also google any words you're not 100% on, since I know certain things didn't actually mean what I thought they did (and sometimes I'd just like the sound of a word, lol).

Anyway, remember to write!

Story idea

3 months ago

This sounds like it would be a real fucking blast and Im excited to see how it turns out.

Story idea

3 months ago

This actually sounds pretty original and interesting, there's not a lot of political intrigue games and I look forward to reading it!

Story idea

3 months ago

> The story is set in the capitol of a fictional country

My sole contribution here is to suggest you nail down the difference between "capital" and "capitol."

Story idea

3 months ago

* vehemently pressing CRTL-F in my words document for any trace of the word capitol.*

Story idea

3 months ago

I think that I’m interested in seeing what you can possibly do with this idea that you have.

Story idea

3 months ago

I like your idea for a story game.  I think it would be a lot of fun to figure out how to best balance family, race for a cure, and leveling up with power/influence over a city.  I can't help but think of the practical implications, too, for the reader running through personal thought experiments that parallel the story game.  Career, purpose, personal relationships... the eternal drama, right?

Story idea

one month ago
I really like your idea. It can be used to write a book or make a feature-length movie. Truth! It seems to me that the right choice is that you decided to add the son of the main character. So he will dilute the character and show him from the other side. You can also raise the topic of generational differences and disagreements between children and parents. In general, the idea is super. Continue to develop it.

Story idea

one month ago

Small update I guess. I hope I didn't intrude too much on your free time. Surprise, surprise. Well, this story turned out to be longer than I expected. This project is ongoing. I'm still intending to finish it no matter how long it takes! This thing has easily become the longest piece I've ever written. The first chapter is 17.000 words and it only costs half of my sanity. The second chapter's first branch is 10.000 words and half-way finished. 

I'm happy to say that the first chapter is as good as done. (I will read it again for one last time to filter out the last spelling mistakes). Due to the whole length of the story, I intended to add the stat changes at the very last moment (I have to calculate stuff in order to make the game not too hard or too easy). Before I forget, does anyone have tips on how you manage your stats. I've never done the whole stat balancing thing before. 

In the first chapter I made some attempts to make some things a little bit more game-like and added a little bit of branching. One thing I wonder about is whether some parts are a bit too hard or too easy. Another thing I wanted to ask you is whether the pacing is perhaps a little too slow as there is still no sign of a plague. 

In the second chapter the plague will be shown. For that chapter, I wanted to have two big branches and the first possible deaths you can get. 

The link is down below. Thank you all for taking your time to write your feedback, especially Zake. I was actually surprised how nice you all can be. 

https://chooseyourstory.com/story/viewer/default.aspx?StoryId=65501

Story idea

28 days ago
Commended by mizal on 5/24/2021 7:55:02 AM

I find giving feedback for bigger things (that don't have obvious errors) hard, so it is good that you asked specific questions!

Also, good to see you've made progress.


Managing Stats

Having a document to keep notes on variables (or stats) might be helpful. Helps me anyhow!

Tho I haven't gotten far writing stuff using stats, so someone else might have more specific feedback.

I'll say that balancing stat choices can be tricky, but it does depend on what the stats are and how you're using them.

Seems to me that if you use incorrect-stat endgame fails sparingly, you should be fine doing mostly whatever. Have interesting things happen.

If this'll be more of a stats game, then making excel sheets to track stat ranges and averages might be good (or something, as it can give you a better idea on what to make the checks at different parts of the story).

Further, while you do have ranges for your stats, because the reader doesn't start at a random spot, tracking the possible min/max for each stat is relatively easy and maybe worth doing (unless your story really branches and overlaps weird, in which case don't worry about it).

e.g. If at the start of Chapter 2, the max corruption possible is 50, you shouldn't bother adding a choice that checks for Corruption > 80 (unless you want to account for people hacking the game). Knowing that the max at this stage is 50 also means you could have a special choice that checks for that, and so only the most corrupt players will see that.

Having tighter checks, or multiple variants for success can also affect the challenge. Currently it seems the challenge that might exist will be based on the endings, rather than scene to scene, but maybe I just chose the right choices.


Pacing

I'm not the best at noticing issues with this, especially since I think slower stuff can work, but I think you're fine.

Enough stuff is happening that it isn't dull. You give exposition, or character scenes, or both. The 'plot' is advancing, even if the plague element hasn't been introduced yet (tho having the Cure stat visible, along with mention of Miasma, etc might be hinting towards it).


Bugs/Errors

Or so I assume.

  • 1.1.1 clicking continue brings me back to 1.1.

Both pages have a line mentioning ‘’So player, I can assume you are a bit unfamiliar with this game and its mechanisms?’’.

So it seems to me you want the two choices of: 'I’m already familiar with this game. Skip the tutorial.' and 'Can I read the tutorial?' to replace the continue choice on 1.1.1.

  • 1.5.2 'yead' should be 'read'

Bottom of page: "The contents, which you can yead on the label, are water and carbolic acid."

  • 1.5 "eighty-five percent."

On page 1.5.2.2: "Seventy-five percent," Emile said, :These are the numbers you want, right?"

Considering eight-five percent is the success choice, I think Emile is saying the wrong percentage here. Or at least something isn't adding up.

  • Cenz

Do you want giving Cenz to the carriage driver to reduce this variable?

The stat might be more of a representation than an exact count, but if it is an exact count, then it should go down.

  • Page 1.6

"His almost child-like smile, coupled with his bright blue eyes and luminescent pale blonde hair made look almost angelic."

Should be: "...made him look almost angelic."

Anyway, I've decided pointing out these mistakes is distracting from what actually matters (considering I'm not here to proofread).

  • 1.7.1

"Now knowing that he was armed all along, you realized that your previous interaction could have turned really ugly. A small tremor came from you hand."

At 1.5: "The guard’s face was ice cold as he pointed his musket at you." Was this a different guard than the one that insults your son?

If no, then we already knew the guard was armed, but with a different weapon. I should probably re-read to make sure I didn't make a mistake, but I'll leave it up to you instead, heh.


Closing Question

"it depicted the war of ten years ago."

But, our protagonist is thirty-five, so he was twenty-five when the war ended.

And he was in the city around his son's age, which is twelve. He was twenty-three when his wife gave birth.

All these number make me wonder...did he play some role in the war?

Story idea

28 days ago

Oh thanks for pointing these continuity mistakes out. The carbolic acid was an obvious mistake of mine. Sometimes these errors pop out of nowhere. I think I should've proofread it one more time. It's great being nitpicky sometimes; it helps me polish my prose a little bit more. And the guard man, I have to look at it again.

Regarding the reason why I wanted some stats and how I intend to use them;  Due to the whole length and the the depth the story will have, I wanted to construct bottlenecks at the end of each chapter as you've maybe noticed it here. A big part of the story can be played without paying notice to most of the stat changes. 

At around chapter 4 I wanted to introduce the first stat checks that have some bigger consequences. That is the chapter where you investigate the origins of the plague. There are again two branches you could follow; visit the slums or visit the city library. The stat that keeps track of how much trust the poor or the wealthy have for you, plays the biggest role here. You still have the freedom to choose which route you want, but the success rate depends whether you have the right stats.  

About the closing question

Cool for you to notice that, these were some hints that I placed to hint about the father's real past.

Long story short, the father had been lying to his son about his origins. The son was never born in the Southern province. His mother was an escaped slave, now part of a rebel group. The golden eyes were iconic for her ethnic group named "the wanderers"  or more commonly known as the "golden-eyed devils" or "flying rats". Most of them were at the time enslaved or living in poverty. They met in the same city they're now in. Ten years ago there was a great cleansing and round-up of the rebels and consequently a war on the neigbouring country Vollachia since they supplied the rebels with money and weapons; thus, the war from ten years ago. 

Shortly after the very beginning of the war, the son's mother was killed. To avoid the great purging and to avoid people connecting the dots that they could've been associated with the rebels, the father fled the city with his son, resulting them traveling and hopping from place to place until now.

Story idea

27 days ago
I haven't been able to read the entire thing yet, but just from the first few pages this is shaping up to be really impressive.

It does feel like the racism against the wanderers is a little heavy handed. Or rather, I know that was important to establish, but the way they treat the son and the things they say in the presence of his father seems like it would create a more outraged response.

On the other hand if that's just the norm for the setting than it seems like they'd both be a lot more cautious in public, used to constantly defusing these situations, and it would be heavier on the father's mind as a constant threat to his son. (I mean it was implied that anyone could snatch him and sell him as a slave and it seems he's instantly recognizeable as having this trait to anyone who sees him.)

Story idea

26 days ago

Yeah, when I was writing that scene, I was constantly second-guessing myself whether it was a little too much. The endwork will probably be not very family friendly, but I like to keep most of very heavy stuff more in the middle and at the end.

To go off a little tangent, the endings are pretty much set in stone by now, but there was this one pretty dark ending of which I was also a bit hesitant about. That ending heavily implies that the Father underwent a mental breakdown and deluded himself into thinking that his son is his dead wife and went on to keep him as a slave and subsequently raping him. I think that this one is pretty interesting, but I don't know if it's a bit too disturbing or too edgy. 

My other idea to tone this a bit down is to scrap the mental breakdown and the rape-incest part entirely and only keeping the slave son part. In this ending he was forced to do this in order to keep him safe. 

As you had said, the scene you described was made to serve as exposition about the current position of the wanderers, but hearing this I think I have to go back and adjust the scene a little bit. 

 

Story idea

26 days ago
Funnily my issue with that would probably not be that it's too disturbing or too edgy, but more that I'd be questioning the realism of a delusional episode of that magnitude, especially a permanent one, that still left him able to function in normal society.

Mental breakdowns over lost/dead SOs are a little overplayed in fiction anyway, everybody loses someone at some point and most are able to continue on with their lives.

That said, we're talking a large story with a variety of endings, so there's not anything necessarily wrong with trolling the reader a little with one especially fucked up one.

Story idea

26 days ago

Haha, are you reading my thoughts right now? I know that some stuff in the main storyline (for example, you have the option to do very homophobic stuff in chapter two and the option to be friends with a racist monarchist and an eugenics fanatic) would probably render the story non-publishable in Choice of Game standards, so I might as well put more fuel into it. That said, I will shelve it as bonus content when I'm finished with the main bulk. You know, it's kind of nice to bounce ideas off to someone. I don't usually do that in real life.

The other endings are all not that bad and a little more down-to-earth; civil war, national unrest, foreign countries invading, the main duo getting assassinated, patricide, the country turning into a one-party-state and some coups. I made sure that at least one character will be alive at the end of it all, so I would count it as somewhat happy.