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What do YOU want to see more (and less) of in episode stories?

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  • What do YOU want to see more (and less) of in episode stories?

    So, I've been thinking a lot and what makes an episode enjoyable and what doesn't. For me, I like to actually feel control in the stories, rather than have to watch the character say/do things that I wouldn't personally decide for them to do. I enjoy frequent choices, great directing, and of course interesting yet mostly realistic writing that keeps me hooked. It's hard to give a solid response but I would like to know what you guys think makes a good episode story, and what you want to see more/less of? Feel free to give examples/recommendations.


  • #2
    Hey! I totally agree with you and with my first story I'm trying hard to make it as interactive with the reader as possible. You seem to know what you're doing and I was hoping you could give me some honest feedback on my story. I want to make sure it's interesting and interactive with the reader. Can you check it out sometime? It would be much appreciated.

    Here's The Link:

    http://episodeinteractive.com/s/4932416998473728

    Comment


    • #3
      What I like is a variety of characters meaning that your characters are unique to each other in some way. They aren't all the same.
      Of course I like drama but it doesn't have to be over the top or in every episode.
      A good flowing story line(s)

      Comment


      • #4
        I want to see more good writing:
        Well-developed, multidimensional characters, if a character is not developed enough, it should not be a part of the story because the author would be making them a plot device, rather than a person.
        Good grammar and spelling, I may come off as a hypocrite on this one since I'm still learning some English grammar rules, but bad grammar and spelling put me off.
        A good plot, if the plot gets my attention, I'll probably keep reading it. And every chapter should be developing the plot further, filler chapters are boring.

        I don't want to see:
        Stolen stories/plots, people should respect the effort authors put on stories, copying a story/plot is awful.
        That much romance in non-romance stories (I'm not a fan of the genre)

        Comment


        • LiahMegan
          LiahMegan commented
          Editing a comment
          I enjoyed this comment. Thanks for the contribution. In order to make an episode that is enjoyable for everyone, it's good to know what to look out for even if it is simple common sense. Of course, my question warrants very subjective answers, but also mutual ones that everyone seems to look out for within stories.

      • #5
        I'd like to see less high school bad boys being won over by the shy, awkward girls, less Stockholm Syndrome (ie falling in love with your kidnapper, just ewwww) and less authors popping up for random chats.

        I'd like to see more well-written dramas, more meaningful choices that impact on your understanding of the characters and more difficult issues being tackled. I like original stories and characters who you care about that have real flaws. There are some great stories out there, so really amazing original ideas and I'd like to find more stories where people find their true voice rather than just worry about writing for reads.

        Comment


        • LiahMegan
          LiahMegan commented
          Editing a comment
          Authors popping up for chats no thanks, disrupting continuity is the fastest way to make me slam that exit button. Also the whole shy girl/whatsapp copy + paste shiz is getting rather old. I'm happy you've mentioned this, and also that you want creators to find their voices, I think that's an important point. Thanks.

        • MabelSweater
          MabelSweater commented
          Editing a comment
          "Popping up for a chat." YES! That's what I wrote about a while back because it was bugging me in an otherwise good story. I also really wish authors wouldn't address their trolls/haters in their stories. Really ruins the mood for the readers who are trying to enjoy the story. Two stories I've read recently did this, and while I would be on Team Author any day, it really put me off the story.

      • #6
        I agree with all of the other responses here.

        I definitely want to see more stories that have good grammar and a broad range of vocabulary. It's really off putting when there's a lack of punctuation, capitalization, wrong usage of words such as your vs. you're, their vs. they're, etc. It leads me to believe that some authors don't take their stories seriously and don't bother revising before publishing. (But I'm very forgiving to those who are dyslexic or whose native language isn't English!) I know directing is difficult, but I would also like to see stories that have mastered basic directing.

        I think it'd be nice to see more stories that tackle difficult topics such as overcoming drug addiction, mental health disorders, abandonment issues, etc.

        Comment


        • Cam Boulder
          Cam Boulder commented
          Editing a comment
          I'd love to see that kind of stories too, but it is kind of risky because someone could end up misinterpreting and/or romanticising those serious topics.

        • LiahMegan
          LiahMegan commented
          Editing a comment
          I reckon it's a tricky one, but if executed tastefully can be incredible. My only issue with the difficult topics would be the platform, and also the ages of the majority of readers. I think that perhaps due to the nature of episode, and it's fun/lighthearted kind of feel- a heavy story tackling drug addiction could be seen as insensitive. This has a lot of it has to do with the writer though. I think even just looking at how these topics are portrayed in mainstream media is enough to recognize that these sorts of issues are widely misrepresented and even glorified by industry professionals. Movies/shows that tackle drugs ingeniously: Requiem For A Dream, Trainspotting. VS movies/shows that romanticise drug use/mental health disorders: American Horror Story, Skins. I just think it's something that will prove controversial however you go about it, and perhaps it's an enter-at-your-own-risk kind of zone.

      • #7
        Agree with all the comments above and to add on that, I value creativity. Creative plot-line/creative dialogue/creative directing...Things that distinct itself from the same stories we all see. When I read a story, I do not want to be able to predict the story-line and the ending. I can not tell you how many times I get two plot lines mixed up because they are too similar. I also enjoy smooth directing and authors who make the most out of the same directing tools provided to produce a visually captivating story.

        Another factor that I like is realism. I don't mean the setting and plot - I love myself a fantasy/drama story. However I want character's behaviours and responses to be realistic. No I am not going to go to a party a week after my father's death. No I am not going to grab a gun and kill people a day after being recruited into a 'spy agency'. And I am fairly positive that if I were to be kidnapped, the attractiveness of my kidnapper is NOT going to be the first thing on my mind.

        Comment


        • KittyCat2
          KittyCat2 commented
          Editing a comment
          I agree with both posts, especially the "falling for kidnapper" one. In every story the kidnapper is always young, "hot", charming, and never *actually* does anything to threaten the MC.

        • NevadaDream
          NevadaDream commented
          Editing a comment
          Definitely, the "blurring of storylines" as LiahMegan put it, is the absolute worst. It throws realism right out the window. Sometimes they use things, like the father's death, for example, to gather up some sort of emotional response from the audience and then discard it. Things like a death in the story should shape the character, not become old news the second it becomes "inconvenient." Someone who's father just died doesn't want to go to a party the same week, it's common sense.

          The worst thing about that "falling for your kidnapper" cliche is that not only is the character disgusting and abusive, their behavior is usually excused by an event that happened in their life or simply because they're good looking and occasionally charming. A lot of them threaten away other guys too, which is another pet peeve of mine. A guy who is not abusive can see their SO with someone and not freak out, but in these falling for your kidnapper scenarios, they're always possessive to the brink of obsession, but noncommittal at the same time, somehow. The relationships depicted in those types of stories are just so toxic, I honestly don't know why we have so many of them on episode.

        • LiahMegan
          LiahMegan commented
          Editing a comment
          Ah, the 'death' card. A lot of the time deaths are used as a way to conveniently discard of what they believe are useless characters e.g the Mom/Dad.

      • #8
        Alright, let's see….

        More of:
        • Unique characters; everyone's always saying how much you can make characters look different with ink, but a majority of the time all I see is Beach Wave hairstyles. This goes for not only appearances, but personalities.
        • Cool, original plots. I don't really care how many bad boys fall for awkward girls. I want interesting stories.
        • Good directing; even if you're not an expert, at least there should be an effort to have even the simplest direction look nice.
        • Grammar. This is so important. I've actually noticed that a lot of people who say English isn't their first language tend to have excellent grammar, and you can tell they've revised. But authors who use text speak (lol, omg) as characters talking just give off the impression that they don't really care.
        • Options for a romance in stories of other genres (comedy, mystery, fantasy, etc.) or have the romance take the backseat while the main plot is…well, the main plot.
        Less of:
        • The following overused plots--- Bad boy falls for nerdy girl (or vice versa). Falling for your kidnapper. Teen pregnancy. The "chosen one". Forced to date/marry someone and then you actually fall for them. I'm not saying these are always bad, but there are just so many of stories just like this, and I think authors should branch out to other story lines.
        • Like Cam Boulder said, copying plots is awful. Someone put hard work into that story and passing it off as your own is horrible.
        • This isn't one I see a lot of the time, but it's still something that bothers me….Authors putting readers into their stories as major characters. I understand if they do a character contest on instagram or something, and a reader gets to be an extra with one or two lines, but when readers just send in fanmail asking to be the MC's best friend, or enemy, or love interest, and the author just inserts them in there and has them be a main character…I dunno, it just seems off to me.
        • Illusionary or contradictory choices.

        Comment


        • LiahMegan
          LiahMegan commented
          Editing a comment
          Oooh. Lists are great. I agree with 100% of this.

        • Katjuska
          Katjuska commented
          Editing a comment
          Oh that damned beach wave hair! It's a really cute hairstyle but so overused. I actually made it my goal not to use it in my story, not even on the extra/background characters

        • Hopelessromantic
          Hopelessromantic commented
          Editing a comment
          HA ha I didn't use beach wave in my story either it is way overused and all the girls look the same in the end and you end up getting confused. I also dislike that authors take weeks to get out a new chapter. End up waiting weeks for some and then there is no recap and I can't remember all the details because you have to read one ep every couple of weeks. I have ended up reading those that release at least once a week or completed stories only

      • #9

        I would like to see more variety in personalities and appareance. All of the female MC have the same nose and same hair, besides being the typical awkard girl with few friends that is completely docile to the bad boy's advances.
        In the Fantasy genre, one of the worst cliches is when the MC is some kind of almighty human being that is unable to lose. Heroes have defeats and victories; life (especially one where you risk constantly your well being) is not satisfying all the time.
        Also I would like to see more historical stories -- I'm planning to write two of them. Albeit the lack of fitting clothes for other periods on the Ink style doesn't help...

        Comment


        • Lum
          Lum commented
          Editing a comment
          How is it called? I'm interested in reading it. Mine only have a few dialogues and one chapter so you'll have to wait a lot :P But I'll make a thread when I finish it.

        • JessicaSwift
          JessicaSwift commented
          Editing a comment
          It's called A Loveless Marriage and is set in England in 1910. I've had to compromise a little on the clothing but you can see what I've done so far.

          Do you know of any other historical stories in Ink?

          http://episodeinteractive.com/s/6102657736638464

        • JessicaSwift
          JessicaSwift commented
          Editing a comment
          PS sorry, really did not mean to promote my story on this thread. Just very excited to see that some other people were going to write historical stories.

      • #10
        One thing I hate is when the story starts with, 'the first 3 3 episodes are short but they get longer after episode 4'.
        My first story is shocking and follows all the things I now hate. I have been researching and creating backgrounds and writing notes about the story I'm going to start after Christmas for a few months.
        I think a lot of people just jump straight in with no clear plot.

        I also dislike like customisation stories (not all). I just prefer to have a character that has a background, you can't really reference the past 100% if the character is customised.

        Also I too hate how a lot of stories wouldn't actually happen in reality. Of course it's the stories a fantasy or mystery etc they won't be 100% real but seriously how many girls do you know dating a ruthless gang leader?

        The whole grammar thing is annoying too and when the scenes are choppy and characters are for example in school then all of a sudden at the mall with no explanation.

        Anyway my my grammar is probably terrible right now it's 3:40am, so I can't really talk.

        Things I like-
        I'll keep it short. I like stories with advanced vocabulary, you can actually tell the author has passion.

        I also like custom backgrounds when necessary. I hate when they say 'just pretend it's night/day' there are loads of people in the community that offer to make backgrounds for free, use them!

        lastly I like when the author takes time to make up background extras and spot place then instead of using the party scene with the same characters for everything. At least change the characters appearence.

        God if I sound whiny. Honestly I'm still learning so I can't talk but practice practice practice 😁

        Comment


        • DinaDina
          DinaDina commented
          Editing a comment
          You made some really good and valid point. I love how you mentioned a want for a bit of realistic elements.That's one thing I'm trying to do as a writer. I have some stories I haven't posted because you just want the reader to enjoy it!

      • #11
        This is a very interesting topic and everyone has given great ideas! I would personally like to see more stories that are placed in working environments and characters that are closer to 30 than 20. As I'm an older reader and as much as I want to think I'm forever a teenager, I notice that I can't really relate anymore to teenagers and high school/college drama. But there are good stories involving high school drama and/or teenagers so don't get me wrong.

        When I think about my own story, It's encouraging to read these kind of comments! I feel like my story has quite a few qualities mentioned here (realistic, adult characters, MC looking bit out of mainstream, good grammar, decent directing, some custom backgrounds etc.). But... When I look at the Trending Section on the app, it gets depressing to see bad boys, vampires and pregnancy stories dominate. I write because I'm in love with my story but yeah, some reads would be really motivating

        It's good that Episode has that Hidden gems-section but it would be nice if they would update it more often!

        Comment


        • fenderchick2010
          fenderchick2010 commented
          Editing a comment
          I was going to add this and I agree with you 100%. I'm in my 20s and while I know lots of Episode writers and users are young, it would be nice to read stories with characters I can relate to in my age bracket. That's partially why the story I'm working on has a protagonist in his 20s.

        • Emma Wonders
          Emma Wonders commented
          Editing a comment
          Very encouraging to read your post! I am writing specifically to fulfill this niche because I want to see more stories with people in the 30's and up. Love doesn't stop at 18! lol

        • Katjuska
          Katjuska commented
          Editing a comment
          Emma Wonders It's almost a year since I wrote my comment and since that I've actually written a romance story with 70 year old male MC so I couldn't agree with you more about the age thing

      • #12
        I want to see... More fantasy and thriller, or even horror! No, NOT romance thriller, or romance mystery, I want COLD, HARD, THRILLER! SO MUCH THRILLER IT KILLS MICHEAL JACKSON A SECOND TIME.

        Whoops. But, yeah. I want to stop seeing romance tied into every single story. It makes it less enjoyable and it makes the story taste like plain lettuce. Plain lettuce doesn't suck and I'll eat it, but I'd much rather eat that plain lettuce inside of a taco. So that it's no longer plain.

        Do you get me?

        Comment


        • #13
          I agree with a lot of what has been said already, but want to add that I'd love to read more comedies - good comedies. I've found a few that I enjoyed, but with many comedies I've started, the author never finished the story, or the humor is a bit juvenile to me.

          Also, I'd like to see fewer stories where a female character has to choose between two guys. That plot is overdone and gets extremely boring after awhile. Even if romance isn't the central focus of the story, a character can just either be single or in a committed relationship and not have to choose a guy.

          Comment


          • #14
            TL;DR: diversity in general! good grammar! your characters should not be robots! original plots! sorry for writing way too much! why do i procrastinate on essays and then knock out a 700 word post like this!

            something i'd really like to see more of is ethnic diversity in trending stories, especially since they're predominantly focused on caucasian characters or don't even specify ethnicities at all. the world we live in is made up of so many different people and there's still a lot of underrepresentation today in mainstream media. readers want to see people that look like them, and i guess character customization does help, but people like love interests, other main characters, etc. are usually not poc. ofc, that doesn't mean no stories are diverse at all - we're making lots of progress - but !! this is still something i'd like to see develop as authors write

            one thing i'd also like to see more of is better grammar/spot directing in the trending section. i'll pick up a story that looks and sounds okay, but bad grammar or faulty/very basic spot directing is a huge turn-off for me. i'm not saying your grammar or coding has to be completely spot-on/super complex, but ignoring general grammar rules or having the hardest spot directing in your story be @CHARACTER walks to screen left can be a deal-breaker for some.

            genre diversity - just like CatterPie_Blue said, "Plain lettuce doesn't suck and I'll eat it, but I'd much rather eat that plain lettuce inside of a taco. So that it's no longer plain." romance is a good genre, but it's better to incorporate as a theme rather than base a story solely on it. we have niches for, like, fantasy, adventure, etc. but most of those stories have 10k reads/under and makes it a lot harder for readers to seek these types of stories without having to look into the corners of Episode. i think some authors write romance because they want to garner reads, rather than writing what appeals to them. write what you want to read! you'll inspire others to do it too, and then perhaps we'll see a little more of each genre.

            one thing that irks me is lack of character development/personality. i think some authors fail to realize that their characters aren't mindless robots that go through life without thoughts or feelings. make these characters have backstories - make them have prior and present emotion, make them realistic and complex as any human should. again, not saying your character has to have a fully developed background right down to the cake they had on their 5th birthday on Uncle Marvin's yacht - just a general thing, with major points in their life that define them or feelings they have that could cloud their judgement. some characters i see have some thoughts/feelings, but the authors don't continue to take on those emotions and let it affect the character throughout the story. one thing i like to do to make sure i create an mc that's not one-sided, especially when i'm roleplaying, is to look up myers-briggs (sp?) personality types and base my character off of one.

            last thing, i promise! there are definitely some really great stories with original and exciting plots. still, most of the popular stories are recycled versions of each other - maybe different characters or a twist that doesn't really get readers good, but is enough to make it different enough from another with the same basis. the bad boy x nerdy girl, popular boy x average girl ship is very over-used. teen pregnancy - over-used. i also feel like the gang/kidnap stories are topics that shouldn't be romanticized; is it just me? gang/kidnap stories are pretty serious, i don't see how you could fall for someone who would do that... especially since many gang kidnappings irl could lead to things such as rape, molestation, or abuse, i feel as though danger shouldn't be romanticized. unpopular opinion? i have no idea. i've never actually tried reading one of them, so forgive me if i'm biased/uneducated. bottom line, i feel like if you are capable of taking these plots and writing them well/making them your own, you should do it! but for the most part, writing with original storylines are a better way to expand your writing ability and creativity flow.

            Comment


            • CatterPie_Blue
              CatterPie_Blue commented
              Editing a comment
              All I can say:

              *clap clap clap clap*

          • #15
            Whenever I read episode stories, I think what makes me keep going is how much excitement the story gives me in just the first episode - (at least). I tend to drop some stories depending on the what happens on EP1 - all the freakin' time, lol!

            I like it when the english is readable - no need for a perfect one, as long as I can read and understand them. (please don't make spelling errors each time, lol!) I don't appreciate a story that becomes too wordy of descriptions (especially when I can see what's going on in the background, why do people still need to describe it exaggeratedly in narration, it makes me feel im reading in a book and i hate reading book type stories, lol) it gives me that feeling as if it's so tiring to read them.

            I appreciate narration that helps me understand the story or if it explains the thoughts and feelings of a character but if you're going to describe the scenery, the birds, the water, everything - that is so much not relevant to me. I won't get to enjoy much, so please, PERIOD. lol! I guess this depends for each of us, but this is what's for me and my opinion anyway, haha!

            I like a story that has good direction - doesn't need to be perfect but at least decent and not have too many errors. At times, a really good direction gives life to the story and makes me get hook, too. Whenever I read a story, I keep wishing there is sounds, lol I think that gives life to the story, not all has it though... (some stories make the sound annoying but if used right, it can really give more excitement towards the reader.)


            For the most part, I like it when the story is ORIGINAL and UNIQUE, putting drama is okay but please make put some humor in it, too.. It makes me keep going with the reads because of its uniqueness, etc.. it's that thought, "I've never read anything like this before - it's so fun!" - that kind of feeling.

            I know a lot of people enjoy picking choices, etc - but for me, if I had to do choices every single time - it actually irritates me, lol... Especially when a choice is not even relevant to the story!!!

            I also do not appreciate type-in choices very much - less of those, the better. Maybe stick it with the name or idk, lol!

            Like for example: Choices about reacting to what someone tells you, etc... (once or twice - yeah it's fine) but you do this EVERY SINGLE TIME? Seriously... Why? What for? >.< I know you want to make things more interactive but it's becoming irritating than interactive! For me, it makes the main character "dead" - I am not able to relate to the character nor sympathize with her/him or whatever you call it , because the MC needs my help every single time in making decisions even with simple conversations with other characters.

            I'll prolly exit and discontinue, lol if I encounter a story like that! (and hey, I did encounter them 2 to 3 at least, in the past.) I honestly don't care much about choices, except when picking dresses (and please, make them decent, lol!)


            I guess one of the reason why I'm only interested in reading "mystery genre" stories is that there is that most mystery stories are more unique. They could have a story about a stalker or a suicide or a massacre but almost no story will ever be completely the same, except if someone plagiarized the story - that's a different issue. If only the Episode App doesn't mess up the Mystery genre it would be so much awesome (I saw a lot of love stories in the Mystery Genre in the app - made no sense to me, lol)

            If authors plans to write a similar story from someone, it would be really nice if they still do something in the story that makes it different from the original. I'm currently reading a story that was inspired by another's story (which is one of my most fave stories - I don't want to publicly put their titles here to avoid drama when it's not really needed and existing in the first place.) - though, I like the idea, the author made it a bit very similar to the original (someone gone mad, being sent to a ward of some sort, getting away - people dying-reviving, etc) they are way too similar (even the names calling of some characters) so similar (you won't call it similar when it's actually exactly the same, right? lol). I can't even call it a different story anymore, it became more like a fanfic or something? But maybe the author will change it in the future episodes, so who knows... I've read the first 10+ episodes, it was dead-on similar. So, something that highlights their differences could have been really nice. (But, I also hope some people can be more creative with titles, some people put Royal this and that, Pregnant this and that... it's crazy lol)

            I think the PLOT of the story matters, too. Despite the popularity of some stories, I've never really read any of those pregnant by this and that... I can read them and I'm old enough for such, but I still don't like those type of stories for some reason. Heck, I don't think I've read some of the featured stories by Episode especially those bad boy stories, haha! I think bad boys are hot but, I was never interested... I tried reading few of those, but I was never hook - didn't enjoyed it and I don't fancy it at all. (PS. No offense to those type of stories, I'm sure a lot of those are good and I am not to judge them, I just don't like the idea in general, period.) I also don't like a story that is too much depressing or sad - I think a good story should be something you can relate, enjoy and has its moral lesson at some point in it, etc.

            I actually gave up on romance stories in Episode. I think for the most part, it's just hopeless case, haha!

            (even if I wrote my own story in the romance section: Do You Believe in FATE?)

            but I did wrote my story differently than the usual romance love stories in episode because I feel most of the time, it's always about - girl likes guy - no reason, he's cute, he's hot - I want to kiss him, hug him - let's make out - then leads to something else. There's almost no development between the characters at all but the story ends up as if they can't live without that person even without building any foundation in the relationship. I think those kind of stories takes away the realism on how love and relationship is supposed to be and THAT influences most teenagers nowadays. Most of these heroine don't even have self-respect anymore and they act as if it's normal and some readers, idolize them. I think that is sad.

            So I made my story putting that into consideration, putting realism back in place to what love and relationship is supposed to be - it's a slow process, but I think building the character and knowing MC is a good thing, too. (PS. the MC of my character is no perfect either, full of flaws but that is what makes her like a real human being, right?) It makes you know the character. The internal struggles one goes through, etc... slowing down and making the relationship grow, etc. It's like a story with moral lesson, because there is something to learn from it at the end of the day, etc. I had some readers who loved it on how relatable it is, etc... there are few who kept rushing me to make the relationship move forward - fast "already" (most of those who requested this are those who have yet to experience love and relationship - very young teens compared to those who gave feedback who messaged me that they were able to relate to it, etc - due to the relationship encounter they had // based on real life) etc.

            I think it's so interesting and a bit sad how the younger teens are not even interested with building relationships anymore - they want things to happen and happen fast on the get go. Hopefully, most episode stories that practices those plot of moving fast in relationship are not the reason why most young teens are so influenced by such things, nowadays. There are other factors involved but an app that caters to millions? Anything is possible. So yeah, I totally gave up on romance stories on Episode (i'll prolly read my own story but I won't read just any others, unless it's actually freakin' good - in a sense that it practices healthy relationship, etc, you might say I'm prolly being bias with my own story *and I am, it's my story after all, ROFL!* but i'm honestly sick with romance that doesn't have a main character that has any self-respect and dignity in her) - I'd rather go for Fantasy, Comedy and Mystery, haha!

            I think episode story should give highlight to other stories that are new but worthy to read. Seeing the same titles over and over again in the app is disappointing, as if there is no new stories to read each time when there are probably millions of writers creating something new and so good Episode - who knows, maybe those are even better!
            Last edited by msaishakristine; 01-10-2017, 03:23 AM.

            Comment


            • Antika
              Antika commented
              Editing a comment
              Well said

            • msaishakristine
              msaishakristine commented
              Editing a comment
              Antika - Thank you, hehe... I re-read what I wrote and boy, did I write a lot, Lol!
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