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salvaging a wreck 101

4 months ago

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? 

salvaging a wreck 101

4 months ago
To start with you really should copy it over to a fresh storygame to work on any expansions, so that it gets its chance on the new storygames page again. (Unless you're a pretty visibly active member or the game gets featured, the majority of reviews will happen in the first two weeks after publishing.)


Maybe the act of looking over it all again as you move the text will give you some inspiration to restructure it a little and add new things. I have traditionally had zero results with rewriting contest stories enough to republish, but I have not given up hope on at least one of them seeing how I'm 4-6 pages from the end and Darius drew me some cover art. Just gotta.... get there, one day.

salvaging a wreck 101

4 months ago
Commended by mizal on 7/20/2022 10:09:25 AM

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.

salvaging a wreck 101

3 months ago
I've always admired people who have a talent for writing. This cannot be learned, with this one is born.

salvaging a wreck 101

3 months ago

Shut up and learn to write stories you lazy fuck.

salvaging a wreck 101

3 months ago
I can speak to two instances of this for me.

One was a contest entry that I just plain didn't finish. The plan was monumental, and it was the only time I did not submit to a contest I had entered. It was over 3 years ago now. I am still trying. There are pages and pages of notes and choices and plans. There are around 50,000 words written. I'm still trying to put the final pieces together. I am re-reading what I wrote and trying to get back into the flow of the story. I hope to have a plan to finish this one this week. One thing that helps me with this one is that I have other stories I'm working on as well so my brain has different directions to go. I don't think I'll actually finish writing the story this year, but maybe next year it will be done. If I can make a determination on my plan on how much I need to write, I can write out a plan on how to get there. It might include writing just 2 pages a week, but that will be progress (if I can get the plan done).

On the other, it was another contest entry that was crammed through at the last minute and taken down once judging was complete. It was just bad and incomplete. It was a nice idea, just not finished. I did as mizal mentioned, I created a new storygame with a very similar title (in fact, I think I just added punctuation to the title). I had the same starting point and a few similar choices and direction, but other than that it sort of became it's own story. It was much expanded and explored the characters quite a bit more. I'm in the final editing parts of that one and it should be published next month. As with the other one, I wrote out a plan that included just 2-3 pages a week and combined with other writing tasks, wasn't too overwhelming.