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Asking for Beta readers

8 months ago
Looking for Beta readers for my story "FERAL Files Chapter 1: The Lost Island"
This story is unfinished right now but I still wanted to see what mistakes other people may find and their first impressions of what I have so far.
I'm looking for advice on technical stuff, the characters, the story so far and especially grammar since I suspect there's a lot of mistakes I can't see.

Asking for Beta readers

8 months ago

Could you post a clickable link to the story?  Most people have an extension that lets them access it from your profile, but I don't, unfortunately.

Asking for Beta readers

8 months ago
I'm not sure how to do that :/

Asking for Beta readers

8 months ago
Does this work?

Asking for Beta readers

8 months ago

Yup, thanks

Asking for Beta readers

8 months ago
Commended by mizal on 9/2/2021 11:11:48 AM

I've read through your story.  It seems like you've got a solid premise you want to explore, and I can definitely tell your story is going somewhere.  Here's a list of some suggestions that jumped out to me while reading:


1) Grammar and sentence structure.  You’ve got a number of grammatical issues, and should do a full read-through to check for problems.  You especially had trouble with their/there/they’re and other homonyms, and with apsotrophes, especially in the links.  If you’re having trouble spotting grammatical errors on your own, you may want to type your work in a software with spellcheck, or use a website that checks your grammar when editing rather than relying on sight.

Additionally, there are many sentences where the phrasing is clumsy, despite being grammatically correct.  I recommend reading your story out loud to yourself to identify these places and figure out how to phrase them more smoothly.

2) Limit pointless actions.  The vast majority of the actions the player can take seem to have no purpose.  All except two of the conversations mean nothing to the plot, and for several of the questions, all of the characters you ask give nearly identical answers.  I recommend going through what you have so far, and cutting down on the actions that don’t mean anything.  There's a lot of wandering around the base and making small talk that slows the story down and prevents the player from getting to the interesting parts of the plot.

3) Barebones dialogue and narration.  Nearly everything in this story is very directly stated to the reader, giving almost no narration or description.  This leaves the writing feeling flat and dull.

You may be afraid of bogging the reader down in details and description, but details and description are absolutely necessary in this story.  As things currently stand, I have no idea what the surroundings look like, and very little idea of what kind of people these characters are.  Try to give the characters speech patterns and mannerisms that show the traits you want them to embody, and don’t be afraid to have them talk about things other than the plot in order to characterize them.

To fix this, I recommend taking two steps:  First, go through your story and remove/condense the conversations and interactions that add nothing to the plot, or do little to furthur characterization.  Then, take what you have remaining, and flesh out the detail and descriptions, including characterization and description of the setting.

4) The click-to-text ratio is very high.  Each click gets you about a sentence, before you have to make another arbitrary click.  Though certainly a wall of text with little choice is offputting to the reader, having to constantly click through meaningless options to get to the next part of the story is equally frustrating.

I recommend that you decrease the amount of clicks per interaction.  For example, have the entire conversation with Sarah take place in a single click, or condense multiple conversations into a single click.  All of the information the reader gets from the various conversations in the office could be conveyed in a single conversation between the characters in the room, probably on the first page.  I rewrote your first page/office encounter section as an example of what it might look like if you choose to do this:

“How strange,” you say.

“What’s strange?” asks Gerald Whitener, hardly looking up from his computer.

"Some of our buoys are picking up faint electromagnetic pulses emitting from just off the Aleutian islands."

“Could it be lightning strikes?" asks Sarah, glancing up from the weather model she’s analyzing.  “There’s an intense low pressure zone forming over the Bering Sea in the next few days.”

"Doesn't look like there's any in the area," you say, after looking over the live radar.

"Hmm,” frowns Gerald.  “If they're faint it may be a glitch with our dish.  How about you go run diagnostics on the dish in the shed?”

“Alright,” you say, getting up out of your seat.  You pause briefly at the coffee machine to pour yourself a cup.

“Hopefully this doesn’t just boil down to a dish malfunction,” says Jacob.  “We could use some new readings.  It’s been pretty boring here lately.”

Sarah nods in agreement.  “Yeah, I was expecting a bit more excitement when I applied for this position.”

You can’t help but agree.  With any luck, these new readings will mean something interesting after all.

The benefits of doing it this way would be to reduce the amount of meaningless clicks the player makes, speed up the story, and give the players a chance to see the characters interacting more naturally with each other, rather than just responding to prompts from the links.  You may have an easier time working in characterization if you choose to do this.

5) Don’t include a pointless vote choice.  Since voting what to do has no impact on what happens, there’s no real point in including the choice, unless you’re specifically trying to show that this character does not have personal agency.  There’s a couple things you could do to fix this:

-Have Gerald make an executive decision without consulting anyone.

-Have everyone else vote first, and have the main character not bother to vote, as they know their choice will have no effect.

6) Work on your characterization.  You have a lot of characters, and very little for them to be doing.  It’s very easy to get them mixed up and confused, since they have so little in the way of defining traits.  I recommend cutting out several of your characters in order to focus your characterization efforts more tightly on the characters you want to develop.

How important will the characters introduced here be later in the story?  If there’s going to be interpersonal conflict later on, you may want to foreshadow some of those conflicts while everyone is still at the base.

7) Make character goals more clear.  This is a pretty minor nitpick, but there are times when it’s not really clear what the main character’s goal is, and it seems like you’re just wandering around until you stumble into something.

9) What kind of research have you done so far on alaskan weather stations?  I know virtually nothing about alaskan weather outposts, so I can’t check you for accuracy.  If you haven’t already, spend some time researching alaskan science outposts and what it is they do.  If you already have, great!

10) What kind of story branching is this going to have?  What you have so far is pretty linear.  Is this a gauntlet type story with a good ending to achieve, or will there be more cave-of-time style branching?

Asking for Beta readers

8 months ago
Thank you for such a long and detailed review! and I would absolutely love to see your thoughts once I put in your suggested changes. For your final question this story is gonna have minor choices scattered around that help change the final ending of the story.

Asking for Beta readers

8 months ago

I'm glad you found it helpful!  By the way, you might want to get feedback from some other people before you implement any sweeping changes, as I'm sure I don't speak for everyone.  Other people may disagree with the feedback I've given.