Advice from veterans?

Hi there. This is my first post on the forum. I’m an aspiring author hoping to have a few of my stories I want to tell put out there using the Hosted Games method.

I’m new to the game and would welcome any advice from veteran authors you’d care to give.

That being said, are there any major do’s or dont’s I should watch out for?

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Probably the thread title for one.

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Also, I’d love to post up some specifics of the stories I’m currently working on. I see that others do it quite frequently, however, what is to stop someone else from blatantly ripping them off and essentially stealing their story?

You don’t need to worry about copyright infringement. It’s very rare, and having a demo up on the site is proof that your version was the original. Plus, anyone who stole someone else’s work would be screwed when it came time to expanding that story or even editing it because they didn’t create the ideas to begin with.

As for advice, I’m probably not the best guy to ask, but I have been writing HGs for about 6 years now, and I’ve learned a few things, believe it or not.

CHARACTERS:
Make them unique, memorable, and important. It’s hard to make a great story without strong, three dimensional characters as the backbone. They should have a history, and motivations of their own. Readers will become attached and invested in them and become eager to see more about them.

LENGTH:
The longer, the better. Now, this isn’t to say that shorter stories can’t be good. They certainly can, and ultimately, if you don’t feel comfortable undertaking a large project on your first go, that’s understandable. However, I believe it’s worth it to create a longer story. (Think 200k +) readers almost invariably like these better as there’s simply more for them to enjoy, it’s usually more satisfying, and you can fit in more smooth plots, character development, etc.

CODING:
Make your code simple. At least for me back in 2012, coding was a nightmare. It took me several months to get used to it, and when I finally did, the code I made was far too complex for my first interactive novel. This was the case with my second as well. There was tons of jumping around throughout chapters and a health stat and an inventory system that were surprisingly hard to keep track of. To this day, there are still bugs that I haven’t been able to track down in my first two games.

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Fixed.
And thanks… I think

@Samuel_H_Young Your reply is greatly appreciated. I’m honestly thrilled to see that there are others willing to lend a bit of advice to a newbie minus the condescending tone others might convey.

I’ll likely be putting up some of my work very soon for per review and critique.If you see some of my work, I’d welcome any input you care to give.

Thanks again.

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I don’t test WIPs because I’m busy with my own stories, but good luck!

Set your sights on something manageable to begin with–a shorter game you can then expand, maybe.

Don’t take all forum feedback to heart. People will always want games that are both long and have a lot of choice. Try to please everyone and you’ll never finish.

Write what brings you joy. Only joy will get you to the finish line.

Read finished games to give you a sense of what’s possible and what others are doing. (From the author interview of Silverworld, it sounds like a must-read for the game mechanics alone.)

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Definitely will echo to make your code as simple as possible for your first game. Like Samuel I made my own game really complex and used a lot of redundant code which I didn’t truly realise until I had it professionally editing and they pointed out I had scenes which could have been halved with clever coding.

It also helps that the simpler the code the easier it is to bug hunt.

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So I’ve had a certain interest in writing for the past 4 or so years now, and have written some shorter stories, with people I talked to saying they’re pretty good, however I have never been able to write a long narrative, typically some styling and pacing errors start appearing around the middle of whatever I’m trying to write, any advice or help would be appreciated thanks. Also feel free to ask anything if you care (I guess idk)

Errors of any kind are just a fact of life in writing. You literally will never avoid them. I’ve been writing since middle school and I still make errors constantly. Don’t let the fear of making mistakes paralyze you. Use them to fuel your growth. :grin:

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I’ve been writing for over twenty years. Mistakes are part of the course it’s how we learn and you’ll find your fellow CoGgers are a godsend when it comes to feedback they’ll be very helpful.

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The thing is, what you are describing will ALWAYS happen, and what you learn after writing a few longer works is to try to ignore them until you are done. Make a note of them, if you must, but keep writing, DON’T fix anything. Not until you’re at the ending, only when that is done can you reread the whole thing and start fixing pacing and continuity with editing.

The first draft will be full of errors. It’s a sketch, not a finished work.

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You don’t know how difficult it is doing that. I agree with you. If you don’t first the draft first then add the improvements you don’t end anything you end up in an eternal cycle of self-doubt and rewrite.

Still, For me, the first instinct is Redone and redone… Not redone and keeping writing is HARD AS HELL more if like me have a monster of self-criticism and doubts lol that is more than an imposed evil.

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I echo Malin. Writing stories isn’t that much different than building a program, or designing an offshore rig, or making iPhone: you build it out from start to end, and then reiterate for bugfixes and improvements.

Brute your way to write your story from the first word to the conflict resolution. Any kind of fixing comes after that, afte you have a working plot built.

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Keep posting your draft on a forum WiP thread and you’re likely to get good advice on any errors you make (as well as a second opinion on whether they actually are errors).

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As a side note, shorter works are also a valid and sometimes under-appreciated creative choice. It’s worth taking the time to think about whether you’re angling to write longer works because that’s what you want to write, or because you assume shorter stories are a stepping stone on the way to novel-length works. People talk a big game about loving epics, but they also play and replay shorter games a lot.

You can aim to get your short stories as polished as you like them, before deciding whether to go on to write longer works. Or you can work on a draft for a longer game, while continuing to write short games in parallel.

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I’d like to thank everyone that took time out of their day to reply, and to say that I might actually take up writing again, maybe even try to make a W.I.P. (If I find my will to live ever again)

Joking aside I am grateful and think I actually got more than I could have hoped if I posted it on some other place I frequent (Literally anywhere else the discussion would turn to “Why do you have a Joseph Stalin picture” or “Why is your bio such a shit post”

Thanks again

P. S. I wrote this on mobile, and English obviously isn’t my first language, so blame any grammatical mistakes on that Ig

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On a side note, there are a lot of people who apologize about mistakes they make because English isn’t their first language, even though on the whole most of them write in a more correct and coherent fashion than half the people who graduated from my high school.

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Hear, hear!

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