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Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago
So you know this awesome new contest by Endmaster right? The biggest and most important CYS contest ever? I am creating a story for it and, from what I can tell, my shit is so good it will pretty much be the next Eternal. It is an extremely edgy supernatural story about how fucking horrible your life is, attempting to kill yourself, and then possibly getting a trace of hope that your life will eventually be slightly less shit... at the cost of doing the bidding of a supernatural entity.

I am looking for someone who will receive the honor to be the first one to set his/her/its and other mentally ill pronouns's eyes upon this masterpiece.

As well, you will also receive the ability to provide me with any criticisms of the story/plot of this masterpiece (as if there are any shortcomings to the story) or the writing style/grammar of the author and be assured that any feedback will be taken extremely seriously.

It is truly so great, that any second you spend reading this post instead of applying to read the actual submission, is a second of your life wasted.

The rewards you will receive, if you are to bring any errors to my attention, will be great and bountiful, and may even include me sucking your penis/feminine penis. Probably not though. I will most likely just provide you with an IOU.

Thank you for reading.

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago
Someone please help him, he'll never have an excuse to suck dick if you don't.

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago
I'll offer my critique if you'd like. I was going to wait for someone more qualified to offer their advice, but it seems that the situation is getting more and more desperate.

I'll reject your dick sucking offer and ask that instead you'd review my contest entry after it's published. Assuming I end up starting it sometime soon.

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago
The terms of your offer are acceptable, though I'm sad that the dick sucking offer has been rejected :(

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago
Sorry, more into men my age tbh.

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago

Well, trying to help you would be a better way to procrastinate, but I could've sworn the op post was different a few days ago. Suffice to say, I'll pass on the rewards.


Story/Plot

Pretty sure the old version of this post wasn't as interested in this, so I'll just say that drafts/rewriting can greatly improve work even if it takes more effort. I, of course, am a strong believer in that pretty much anything can work, so just experiment and find the approach that works for you.

Oh, and since this has a deadline, probably don't do any major rewrites, aha. Things don't strike me as needing one anyway.


Writing Style (and Grammar, I guess)


Dialogue Punctuation

Gower's Article.

Seems you're doing it the 'correct' way, but between us two, I've softened up on how important 'correct' dialogue punctuation actually is. You might notice incorrect dialogue punctuation in some highly regarded storygames, which goes to show this should not be a priority.

But it is a matter of communication and reader expectations. As long as you have a consistent approach, the reader can (probably) adapt, so you wouldn't miss out on the potential to control their experience in some pretty interesting ways.

I'm not really at the stage where I can make good use of these tiny variations available when portraying speech, but one thing I find really good to remember is that readers can be creative. A sentence of dialogue might imply trailing off even without anything to indicate it, beyond context and flow (or whatever you call it).

To try and use an example:

"Ughh....guhhddd...juhst finnisshhh me offf..." You barely manage to get the words out, blood pouring from your mouth.

Could also be:

"Ughh....guhhddd...juhst finnisshhh me offf..." Blood pours from your mouth.

I think readers will figure out that you'd barely managed to get those words out. But I don't think your version is wrong, or even worse, just different. Thinking about this sort of thing to find the version that'll work best for you can be useful (which is funny, considering I just pointed out you don't necessarily get something better), but I advise against overthinking all lines of dialogue.

If a scene drags too much, do it, and you might find stuff to cut. If a scene is some pivotal resolution, do it, so it can (hopefully) be improved (or to just confirm it is already great).

Just remember, the dialogue tag / attribution / whatever-its-called, when after the dialogue, will start with a lowercase letter if it is a part of the sentence containing the dialogue.

i.e.,

"Ughh....guhhddd...juhst finnisshhh me offf..." you barely manage to get the words out, blood pouring from your mouth. -- Altho I think this technically could be two sentences as well.

"Yeagh....nooo shhhit it hasss man. Could you *cough* *cough* let me have that gun, I'm tryuughhhing to kill myself heeere..." You cough out some more blood. -- You don't speak when coughing (even tho you can use it in place of 'saying' something, but that is a bit of a creative blemish. Like when people 'spit' a sentence, they don't actually spit it - maybe you spit after it tho - but enough of this tangent).

However, those are just my most recent thoughts. Think for yourself, and feel free to disagree with me.


...Ellipses...

And I do feel compelled to mention, ellipses (alongside exclamation marks) can become annoying/less-effective if overused. I know I'm drawn to using ellipses all the time, since I gotta portray that gap in speech, or leaving something unsaid, but, as with many things in writing, there are other ways to do this.

Replace them with a comma, reword the sentence, mention a pause outside of the literal dialogue. Sometimes an ellipses is the best choice too!

However, I do feel you use them well, and they fit the overall tone/style (at least to my amateur's eye).

Just be more careful with their use in the more tense / important scenes where you are going for a more serious tone, since overusing them then can mess with the reader's perception by making stuff feel less concrete. (But sometimes you might want this, but even then, ellipses might not be the best choice).

This is probably something I should check on when I got more time. Let me know if interested.


All Caps

I think using all caps is technically incorrect (maybe?), but even if it isn't, it is at least more...amateur?

Anyway, consider the overall tone of the work and what you are going for, since the dialogue of the woman screaming doesn't HAVE to be capitalised. But it can be. I didn't HAVE to capitalise HAVE, but I did.

But while I felt compelled to mention this, I think it works fine for the scenes you use it in, so def don't just change it for my sake (since I don't actually dislike the use). In fact, I think where Harak tells you to say 'HARAK! I ACCEPT YOUR PACT!' would lose something if it weren't capitalised, but I'm no expert on this.

I might be overthinking this a bit since I do really like the way you handle dialogue for a number of characters, things felt distinct and I was never confused about who was speaking or what-have-you ('boring' dialogue might be a flaw in my writing, so I'm trying to look out for it here, but I didn't notice it).

Evolution

Finally, I feel compelled to mention that language evolves over time, so if you like doing something 'technically' incorrect, just do it, and maybe that'll become the new 'correct'. I'm sure this take of mine is perfectly reasonable.


Conclusion

It is looking good! If you want more feedback, I could read more, since I didn't get through too much (I should've done this earlier in the day), but my advice tends to be generic stuff like this, so you probably won't get anything of more value from me.

All in all, things didn't stand out in any negative way, and overall it was good (or at least what I read was, but I doubt the quality will randomly dip...but maybe I should check. I clicked through one path somewhat quickly and stuff seemed good, but without all the context I might not notice something).

Anyway, anyhow, however, but, whatever, yet, also, and, now, I shall stop typing.

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago
This is some amazing stuff, and I would commend you if I could.

Too bad everyone is passing on the "big reward" :( But if you ever need a review/beta-reading of an amateur, I will be more than willing to return the favor.

Also yeah the original post was boring as shit, I have to thank Mizal for pointing it out. I wrote it literally three minutes before I fell asleep, not thinking much about how to draw in viewers.

If you are not busy, I would greatly appreciate you taking a look a bit further. What you've given me is already great, however, so don't feel compelled to do so.

Also about the "cough", I did use it in place of "speak". Pretty sure there was an "along with some more blood" in there at one point, but it got lost.

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago
Commended by mizal on 6/18/2022 9:33:42 AM
I've read through a proper path now, and things progress nicely.

I don't want to nitpick, since I do think things make sense enough, and trying to find plot holes can sort of be a self fulfilling thing where I make assumptions that are not true (rather than assuming something that would explain it).

But in the spirit of trying to give feedback, I will mention one thing.

When in Esbern's house: 'you then search the house for some money and valuables, the task made incredibly easy by your ability to see through walls'.

But previously: 'Your abilities enable you to see a faint outline of human shapes through doors and walls, and so you know which rooms are empty'.

These wall hacks helping find valuables later but not the hidden letter / compartment in the desk feels a bit disconnected.

I do get a small, tiny, miniscule even, vibe that a certain video game might've inspired some things, and the ability to see valuables through walls / doors but not the 'hidden' item in the desk would make sense enough there, but I do think these powers can be explained just a bit differently to feel more consistent (without changing scenes).

I'd just get rid of mentioning the 'ability to see through walls' at Esbern's house. Or, instead, explicitly mention that certain types of valuables can also be detected through walls. Or maybe, because you're now focused on it, you sense valuables instead of people.

Yet another alternative is to mention this in the previous mansion somehow. Maybe make it clear you can't find a letter, but you would be able to find gold or whatever. Or, maybe the office room, with all the fancy goods in there, ends up 'overwhelming' your loot detection. Lots of options.

Even leaving it as is works fine.

I do think having the powers be consistent is important, but I don't think you need to go overboard explaining them either.


Something else that I noticed and just want to mention is that when you shoot Doppius in the head, 'like a puppet whose strings have been cut' is used as a descriptor, but the same thing was used in reference to the sleep bolts when you're breaking into his mansion: 'as she falls down unconscious, like a puppet whose strings have been cut.'

Maybe you just like the imagery, maybe the sleep darts are actually lethal, or maybe it is a reference to how someone dying or being forcibly knocked unconscious are similar, or that being hit by a sleep dart signifies just how close they were to dying. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out what it is.


Other than that I like how the wife and your boss tie back into the story, and how the couple who ran you over can also be interacted with again. One-off characters that you interact with for one scene are fine, and while interacting with someone again is a simple payoff, what I want to say is that the way it was done here seemed good to me.

Those four I mentioned also end up being related to the character (one is a wife, one is a boss, and the other two literally ran you over causing Harak to offer you the pact). Similarly, Liam having backstory with the protagonist is also good. If he were just some random dude running a black market things would feel weaker (probably because finding out what happened to Maria ends up building up the antagonist and allows for a payoff before the final confrontation).


Overall, it is a fun structure that makes me wonder about what I missed, and about how you'll finish things up.


Looking forward to Harak judging me, since that has the potential to be neat, and my advice is to keep the focus on the characters, rather than just having Harak stand in for a philosophy professor (tho I'm sure you could make that funny).

Just, while the story is dark, it isn't depressing in tone. Our hero has superpowers, and can (?) save the day! As long as the ending doesn't end up being dissonant from what came before it should be good. (But that isn't to say the ending can't be more serious or depressing, but rather to be extra deliberate if you go for something like that).

But enough rambling about that, I trust you to finish this, and considering my track record, I'm probably not the best person to give advice on how to create endings (heh).


edit - P.S. guess I gotta write an epic now to force you to read it.

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago

I do get a small, tiny, miniscule even, vibe that a certain video game might've inspired some things, and the ability to see valuables through walls / doors but not the 'hidden' item in the desk would make sense enough there, but I do think these powers can be explained just a bit differently to feel more consistent (without changing scenes).

Well you've hit the jackpot. A certain video game I am currently replaying IS the inspiration for some things. Just a tad though :D You must be a famous sleuth, I thought I was keeping it subtle *inserts a literal picture of the character as a stand-in for one of my own*.
I will make sure to adress this inconsistency when I finish everything and go back to proof-read/implement these suggestions.

I do think having the powers be consistent is important, but I don't think you need to go overboard explaining them either.

Heh, I think it's way too important as well. I just remembered a certain "limitation" I have to adress with the teleport, so as to make it clear why you can't use it to go through the cover at the end, but can aim other stuff through.

Something else that I noticed and just want to mention is that when you shoot Doppius in the head, 'like a puppet whose strings have been cut' is used as a descriptor, but the same thing was used in reference to the sleep bolts when you're breaking into his mansion: 'as she falls down unconscious, like a puppet whose strings have been cut.'

I think I mention "falling down like a puppet whose strings have been cut" at least five or six times across the story. That, in itself, is a reference to the Overlord light novels, who love abusing the shit out of that phrase. I love my references.

From your description of things, you chose to go the "low-chaos" route. The scene in Esbern's house changes in a way I'm sure will offend some "easily-offended" types if you're a maniac.

Just, while the story is dark, it isn't depressing in tone.

Oh I'm sorry, is the world not repeatedly fucking our protagonist in the ass for 25 years of his life not depressing enough? JK I know what you mean and you're probably right. I do intend on fucking him up until the end of his life/until the end of time in 2/3 of the remaining epilogues. Since you've played the certain video game, you know what choices will lead to that.

and considering my track record, I'm probably not the best person to give advice on how to create endings (heh).
 

I guess there's a backstory I am not familiar with here, and I'd love to get familiar with it.

edit - P.S. guess I gotta write an epic now to force you to read it.

Fair is fair. And since you declined the dick sucking, reading your shit back it is. Thank you, truly.

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago
Ah, I should've guessed the strings being cut was a reference.

As for my closing remark's backstory, it's nothing interesting, I just haven't finished writing projects often, despite having had plenty of time.

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago
Here's a compilation of it, in fact.

https://imgur.com/a/jg2ge

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago
Commended by mizal on 6/18/2022 9:35:23 AM
Alright so you wanted thoughts on grammar and style. I was going to do more, but it turns out line editing is hard work so I'm going to limit my advice to the first page. I tried to spend a lot of time getting my examples right and did some grammar research to make sure of some things but nothing I say is absolute. My experience with grammar rules is pretty much just studying for the English part of the ACT. (I did get 34 on that though,) Zake gave a lot more general examples so I'll go in depth. Take everything I say with a grain of salt obv.

"Unfortunately for you, you did not read up on how to hang yourself very well."

This is a style issue, it just reads as really clunky. The very well part of it just makes it read clunky, Maybe something like, "Unfortunately, you didn't even do the research to hang yourself properly." Most importantly it gets rid of the very well, and less importantly the narrator seems very casual so using the contraction "didn't" and replacing read up on with "research" felt more like it fit better. You might also try replacing didn't with couldn't instead, depending on how well you'd think that'd fit.

"The drop should ideally break the cervical vertebrae and one should lose consciousness immediately, hell the
drop may even decapitate you at once if you're lucky."

There's a couple things wrong here. Most importantly I'm fairly certain "One should lose consciousness immediately" is a complete sentence, but I'm not certain. Either way the sentence structure might benefit from switching things around a little. For example, "Ideally. the drop would break the cervical vertebrae, causing you to lose consciousness immediately. Or hell, it might even decapitate you instead. Keep in mind you'd have to shift sentences around it to accommedate the changing to would and some other things if you chose to implement some version of this, I think it sounds better personally.

"And it's what happened to you."

You need to change it's to that's. Not sure if this is a hard grammar rule, but I know this kind of syntax is at least frowned upon if not incorrect.

"As you start turning blue in the face, your survival instincts kick in, against your will."

Pretty sure that's grammatically incorrect. It should be, "As you start turning blue in the face, your survival instincts kick in against your will."

"Unable to think straight, probably due to whatever brain injury you suffered during the hanging attempt, you
somehow manage to get up, and decide you need a more surefire way to escape the torment that is your life."

Drop the comma after up. The thing following and is a sentence fragment so that comma doesn't belong there. If you changed it to "and you decide..." then it is required.

"Heading along the narrow dirt path out of the forest located on the edge of the city of Revel, a place where
you figured your death wouldn't cause too much commotion, you are deep in thought on how best..."

Reads like a lot of exposition to me. Is the city name important? If not I'd leave it out. Maybe rephrase the first part as, "As you head along the narrow dirt page the trees part and you find yourself at the edge of the city. You contemplate on how best..."

"Unable to turn around to look at her and see who she is, you can hear her screams of terror directed at the
man in her shitty Model T car."

Two things here, firstly I'd change look at her and see who she is to identify her, and second how does the player know the model of the car? He can't turn around to see.

These are just the things I picked up. I hope maybe some of these will help you. I would do more, but if I wait to start my own entry any longer I might not beat yours lol.

E: Fuck the formatting screwed up. Tried to fix it but it didn't work. Should still be readable

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago
Specific examples are very appreciated, though I did not expect a line by line review out of anyone. Really just a general overview would have been enough, and could have let you read a few more pages perhaps.
It is, of course, important to get the first page right. First impressions are hard to change, so if there's a page a line-by-line edit is needed, it's that one. Thank you for that.
If you find any more time before I actually submit the damn thing, I would be glad to have any more tips. Doesn't have to be detailed line by line editing, simple "plot holes" like the car thing are more than enough.

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago

I'll just use this thread to ask my question, so as to not make another one. What is the "rule" on using commas before conjunctions? For example, grammarly is suggesting to get rid of some of these commas despite the fact that, when I read the sentences aloud, I make a pause at those moments:

They are in the middle of a heated argument, and do not spot you until it is far too late.

Just to be sure though, you run up to each one, and stomp their heads.

Her clothes are torn, her face is heavily bruised and bleeding, and her makeup is smeared all over her face.

She cannot take it anymore, and starts wailing again.

You are well familiar with it, because your only child just died from an outbreak.

You make a funny quip at the man who is no longer alive at this point, and is more bone than flesh.

Nobody else is in the mood to appreciate your superior comedy, due to either being dead already, or in the process of becoming so.

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago

I’m not the greatest at grammar, but I’m pretty sure that at least ? of the commas are unnecessary. I'll try to go through each sentence and tell you why I think they are, but take everything I say with a grain of salt. 

"They are in the middle of a heated argument, and do not spot you until it is far too late."

This comma doesn't need to be there because "do not spot you until it is far too late" isn't a sentence. You only put commas before one the FANBOYS(For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So) if both sides could be a standalone sentence. So for example, "The cows are pretty, but I'm scared of them." The reason that I can put a comma there is because both "The cows are pretty," and "I'm scared of them," could be a sentence. Also, you might want to change "Do not" into "don't" just to make it flow better. 

"Just to be sure though, you run up to each one, and stomp their heads."

I think that the first one is fine because "Just to be sure though" is an introductory phrase, but I'm assuming that you were talking about the second one. The second one isn't needed because "stomp their heads” isn't a sentence. If it's saying that the first one is wrong then let me know and I'll try to figure out why. 

"Her clothes are torn, her face is heavily bruised and bleeding, and her makeup is smeared all over her face."

I'm honestly not sure about this one. I would think it would be correct because when you use three or more adjectives to describe something you use a comma. (I was hot, thirsty, and tired.) However, it might not work because you are using more than one word for your adjective? I'm not really sure about this one, so you should get someone else to help you figure it out. I would say it was correct, but I'm most likely wrong. 

"She cannot take it anymore, and starts wailing again."

"Starts wailing again" isn't a sentence. 

"You are well familiar with it, because your only child just died from an outbreak."

Again, I'm not entirely sure if this is correct or not, but my best guess on why it wouldn't be correct is because "because" isn't one of the FANBOYS. 

"You make a funny quip at the man who is no longer alive at this point, and is more bone than flesh."

"Is more bone than flesh" isn't a sentence. 

"Nobody else is in the mood to appreciate your superior comedy, due to either being dead already, or in the process of becoming so."

I don't think that the second one is needed because "in the process of becoming so" isn't a full sentence. The other comma rule that comes into play here is if you are adding on extra information to a part of the sentence. The key here is that you make sure that whatever you put into the commas could be taken out of the sentence and it would still make sense. For example, "The key, which was handcrafted, slid into the lock and opened the door." There I put "which was handcrafted" in the commas because it is extra information that I don't need to make the sentence make sense. In your sentence, you could just get rid of the second comma and have "due to either being dead already or in the process of becoming so'' be your extra information.

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago
Yeah, I probably should have specified which ones it complained about. You are right on the money on most of those.

About the one you're not sure about, I think it just got stupid or something. Inspecting it again, it's not reporting anything now.

So I take it that the rule is "incomplete sentences don't get separated by commas, even if you want to imply a slight pause in dialogue"? How would one go about hinting to the reader the "proper" way to read the sentence?

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago
https://chooseyourstory.com/help/articles/article.aspx?ArticleId=4315

Basically just read this for technical correctness, but keep in mind that sentence flow (easiest to test when read out loud) is the most important thing for most readers. Most won't notice or care about the exact rules, but you do seem to overuse commas many times when splitting a sentence or slightly restructuring would convey the same information in a smoother way.

Looking for a beta-reader for the contest entry.

5 months ago

As a native English speaker, none of the sentences need pauses where you placed the incorrect commas. In fact, they sound decidedly unnatural if you do insert a pause where those commas are. That's precisely why it's grammatically incorrect to use the commas in those places.