A guide to Interactive stories that a novice or professional can appreciate.
Hello and thanks for visiting my Interactive Eye-Opener, this is a complete guide to interactive stories and how to write them professionally and properly here at writing.com. Inside I'll list not only beneficial things you should do to for your interactive but also many things you shouldn't do.
I've seen so many writers fall into the same traps over and over again when writing Interactive and today I'm hoping to help stop that.
Things to think about...
Reasons for Writing
So you want to write an Interactive Story? WRONG! You want to write a successful Interactive Story! What do I mean by "successful"? I mean an Interactive with quality chapters stemming from various authors, a story with a decent amount of views, with good ratings, positive feedback, and most importantly, an interesting and original story.
When thinking of a story I advise you to write one that interests YOU. Even if there aren't many sci-fi interactive out there, if you like sci-fi then write one. Trust me, when you write something that you favor your quality shows much more than if you wrote something that wasn't your style.
For all you shrinking writers who want advice on whether or not to start your own or if you have questions on your own interactive don't worry, I'll have a Shrinking Interactive section at the end. I'm only giving shrinking its own section because I realize there is an undeniable surplus of them and I may not be able to lessen the number but I can hopefully improve the quality of them.
Biggest and Most Common Blunders
Ok, over the months I've been here I've read an awful lot of Interactive, and I notice a common trend among most. I'll like the most common mistakes Interactive author's make. I'll go into detail on all of them so hopefully you can avoid them when writing your own!
assume the reader knows who your talking about
make the reader choose EVERY decision
make to many customization chapters
make to many rules
ignore the rules of grammar
put "plz add"
Now that I've named a few mistakes I'll go into further detail on how to avoid and handle them in your story.
1. "Making the reader choose to many decisions"
Well obviously the point of an interactive story is so your story can be, well...interactive! Meaning the user, along his reading journey, should be able to choose a ton of different routes he wants the story to follow. However, a common mistake is that chapters suddenly become a mere paragraph long and the choices come as soon as you start reading.
Soon the reader creates the ENTIRE plot, which is not what Interactive are about. As the author it is your job to compose a pleasing plot for your reader, although your reader steers it in certain directions he isn't supposed to re-write it for you.
Try to make each chapter written have some substances in it, something the reader can bite off and chew on. They shouldn't be short or merely a paragraph before another set of choices arise. This is a story you know, and there should be alot of reading involved not just judgment calls.
2. "Making to many customization chapters"
This is similar to the same mistake as above with a little difference. Usually Interactive start off with a couple of customization chapters in the front, namely stories with little initial plot, like "male or female" and stuff like that.
I'm not saying that is bad, but I've seen a couple of stories with over 10 chapters of lame custom chapters. Imagine being 10 chapters into a book and not even have a story yet...
All I'm saying is that brevity is the key here, you have to develop the characters too ya know, not just the reader.
3. "Changing Tenses"
This is one of the smaller problems authors face and it's easily correctable, but also easily messed up. With so many authors adding it's common that someone fudges up a tense. Just be sure to read and edit every chapter that is added and stay on top of the tenses. If it's past tense keep it that way, present tense keep it that way, it will make it a much more clear experience for your reader.
4. "Making to Many Rules"
A common eye sore that novice or professional authors add are many rules to the introduction of their Interactive. It's not uncommon to see people listing rules such as...
'No Vore, No killing the main character, no gay/lesbian, no racial slurs...ect'
I'm all for rules and regulations and I can understand why authors would list them, I even did it when I wrote my first Interactive. However, when it comes down to it I personally have NEVER seen someone submit a chapter that had the main character killed off or some outrageous event. Seriously, no one ever randomly will just add a gay scene or something like that.
Authors I think tend to do it just because all other Interactive have it, but it's really not necessary, all it ultimately turns out to be is filler that no one bothers to read.
5. "Comply with the laws of grammar."
This probably seems like a no-brainer to most but I think many of us can agree that a large margin of current Interactives contain a deplorable amount of grammar. Many lack proper grammar and punctuation and some become almost unreadable. Authors need to make sure they keep themselves and authors who contribute in line.
That means editing chapters, capitalizing, and all other things pertaining to grammar. I suggest writing your chapter on Word or a writing application so it can auto-correct your spelling and grammar. Another thing I that you should make sure to do is capitalize your story title, whenever a chapter title is not capitalized I pass right over it.
Never type in internet slag or short hand always spell out words completely, your trying to write a story your not IMing your friends.
It's a sign of low determination and it makes it look like a grade-schooler produced it. You want to look clean-cut, professional and you want your story to look like you actually care. It's pretty sad to see a good story with terrible grammar, and I think it is such an easily correctable thing you should always keep grammar (besides the actual story) your highest-priority.
6. "Don't write 'please add'."
This is something almost every interactive I have ever come across had. I know, like rules, it is a common trend for many and second nature for most to include "please add" in either their sub-description or description.
Now this is not necessarily a bad thing but before you go and put it in your Interactive think of it this way.
Its a bit duplicative to put "please add", don't you think? I mean we all know we can add if we want, the author doesn't need to tell us. If the story is good and catches his attention an author will add regardless of your notation. It's just distracting and adding that is quite stale. Besides how many people do you think you can honestly persuade into writing something just by tagging on "please add".
As a side note, if you are going to include that, at least don't do what some people do and spell it like "plzadd". Spell it properly.
7. "Don't Assume the Reader Knows what Movie/Cartoon/Video Games Your Writing about."
I see many different interactive surrounding certain cartoons, movies or video games these days and I just want to remind the authors of those that not ever one has seen this movie or played this game. Give some insight to the characters and story in it. Or direct them to a Wikipedia page or something to help explain what it is your writing about.
My thoughts on Shrinking Stories
We can all safely admit that there are a massive amount of shrinking and giantess stories roaming the halls of writing.com today. Is this a bad thing? I don't think so, after all there is a filter button for those of you who don't know.
I, myself am a writer who is particular to the fetish of weight gain and such so for me to shun or "dis" shrinking stories would be totally out of line. However, I think the problem lies in the fact that there are so many fetish stories out there that are written with almost no thought put into it. The spelling is poor and the overall writing is poor in most(not all).
I have read many shrinking stories I happily admit that there are many, many stories with an amazing amount of talent packed into it. But sadly, they are dwarfed by the number of lesser shrinking stories, thus giving them a bad name among non-shrinking lovers.
Reviewing Interactive Stories
Interactive are stories just like Static items but I think when rating and reviewing them a few different things should be taken into account.
Although most reviewing techniques remain the same, when I review interactives I tend not to take off much for spelling mistakes and punctuation if the story itself is quality. I do notify the author though and usually advise him or her to run their chapters through some word processor or something.
I used to run my chapters in Microsoft word before I downloaded Firefox, man I recommend this for everyone. It has spell check for everything written on the browser so anything you type is instantly spell checked, great tool.
I recommend reading at least one full string of chapters until you hit a dead end, then review. Of course this rule can change if the story is still to short to do so. Never rate on the number of chapters, that is downright stupid because I got a review based solely on how many chapters I had and it was so upsetting to hear someone critic my story because of how many chapters I had.
So, ultimately don't rate it on the number of chapters or ratings previously given, or if you like the author. Just rate the quality, be generous but real. Give them encouraging but realistic tips for their story, and trust me, they'll thank you for it.
At the end of every chapter in interactive history there has always been two choices to decide upon. But as an author how do you know what choices to give the reader? Well, it should come naturally and pertain to the plot.
If your choices don't alter the plot than there is no point to them, always keep that in mind. Put your self in the character's shoes, if you were him/her what two things would be the first thing in your mind?
Oh and this next bit is mainly regarding fetish interactives...
All to often do I see hordes of lame choices, chapter after chapter the choices become routine, dull and people just stop reading. THINK before putting down your choices, I always see stuff like:
"Should she be 1 inch or 2 inches tall?"
"Gain 50 or 100 pounds?"
"Grow 100 feet or 200 feet?"
Choices like these really don't matter at all. They don't effect or progress the plot in the least. Unless it is a body swapping story cosmetic choices are wastes. As an author you give your characters physical traits and cosmetics but most readers like to envision their characters in certain ways so having a person gain 50 or 100 pounds really isn't relevant because if a reader like a girl obese he will picture her obese. If he likes her pleasantly plump he will picture her pleasantly plump, regardless of choice.
So please put some thought into your choices and don't let it get dull!
I'm going to release this from the "My Eyes Only" setting prematurely for the simple reason that its been sitting in my portfolio for to long and if I leave it I'm afraid I'll forget about it. So, here it is and I hoped you liked it. Please send in any comments and information you think should be added, you will be thanks and given credit.
I know it seems like a shabby guide but I'm going to continue adding and modifying so check back in every now and then to catch the updates!