Hi! I want to keep writing a story published early for a contest, and I was wondering how to restart its engine and work on it again.
It is, for now, quite disheartening: the style is bad, some events are concentrated, ruining the rythm, branches are cut short and nothing is proofread.
On a second note I wonder if people will give it another chance when and if this story is published again.
Esteemed members of the site, how would you approach such a challenge? If you did so already, what happened and how did you fare against your obstacles?
Most people don't know that 'Dreamtruder' wasn’t my first storygame — it was only the first one I published. The first 'storygame' I wrote was a planned trilogy with roughly a few thousand words. Despite completing it pretty early on, I didn’t want to publish it until I finished the second installment (and I'm glad I made this choice).
Back then, it was probably worse than a wreck, lol. I didn’t understand choice-based stories, and the protagonist couldn’t make a single action without the reader first choosing it for them. Each page was 1-3 sentences long. But after reading more storygames and ‘finishing’ the second part of the series, I realized the flaws in the first one, and painstakingly went through every page to ensure the minimum word count was 200.
Here’s what I’ll do in your situation:
1) Read through what you’ve written
2) Make notes on the things you like and the things you dislike. This could be the characters, plot twists, the overall theme, etc
3) Check to see if there’s more you like or dislike
If it’s the former, you could probably carry it to a new storygame, add some branches and new choices, refine what you’ve written, proofread everything, and complete it. But if it’s the latter, you’ll probably do what I did with my storygame, ‘Roads to Resistance’: transform it into something entirely new.
Using the notes you took earlier, decide which elements you want to keep in your story and which you'd prefer to change. For instance, if the protagonist is flat but another side character has an interesting personality, you could consider keeping both characters but switching the point-of-view to the more interesting one. Another tip: save snippets of prose or paragraphs which hold promise in another document, and find ways to incorporate these into your new WIP.
Sustaining interest is important if you want to complete your storygame. I usually get bored when rewriting scenes, so one way to keep yourself inspired is to add new elements. This could be a new setting you’d like to play around with or another side of the characters you wish to explore. Or you could completely change the story’s plot while keeping what you’ve written as a subplot. The brain thrives on novelty, so a tip would be to see your storygame through a new perspective, while keeping true to the integral parts of the narrative.
And if you're wondering what happened to ‘Roads of Resistance’, you probably have seen its second draft. Most of it got condensed into the prologue of ‘Breaker’, with a few extra snippets transferred and reworked into its first chapter.
Shut up and learn to write stories you lazy fuck.