No announcement yet.

Tips, Tricks, & Advice For New Or Soon To Be Authors

This is a sticky topic.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Tips, Tricks, & Advice For New Or Soon To Be Authors

    There may be something like this already on here but I haven't seen any so far and I see a lot of new writers who could use some help. These are my personal tips on writing a story and some directing tips and tricks. I'm not popular on Episode nor am I an expert or the best writer out there, but, I have been on Episode for a long time and I've seen and read a lot of stories.

    I will update this topic as Episode improves and adds new features.

    If you have any questions, comment them below or PM me!

    Tip One:
    Have a plan: It's always best to plan out a story idea before you start writing. Just like writing a book or an essay for school, You should have like a rough draft of what you want to make a story about, the characters roles, and the characters' personalities.

    Tip Two:
    I wouldn't really call this a tip but more so a mandatory thing: You should learn the basics of coding obviously. Things like spot directing, zooms, and transitions can really improve a story. So can adding music and sound effects. I would suggest checking out Joseph Evans on Youtube, he has a bunch of tutorials on directing. Start a little test story to play around and get the hang of everything.

    Tip Three:
    Don't rush to publish your story: You should take your time to make sure there are no errors or spelling mistakes and preview your story multiple times in case there's anything that needs adjusting (the previewer in the writer portal glitches with spot directing and zooms at the moment so I suggest using your phone or tablet.) Also get someone else's opinion on your story, you could ask a story reviewer or a friend or just whoever you want. You could ask me even if you wanted

    Tip Four:
    Try to avoid cliches and overly used plot ideas. Example: gang stories, pregnancy stories, bad boy stories, vampire stories, werewolf stories, and love triangle stories.
    You could use these ideas if you want but try to add a plot twist that'll make it stand out from other stories. Yes I know all those types of stories are pretty popular on Episode but they're still overused in My Opinion, I see way too many of the same plot ideas.

    Tip Five:
    Adding drama and s
    uspense to your story: leaving a little cliffhanger at the end of an episode can help leave your reader wanting more and wondering what'll happen in the next episode.

    Tip Six:
    You should never info dump too much: I see a lot of new authors who tell all about their character. Well, why not let the character tell about themself? By adding flashback scenes and having the character explain in detail about their past or whatever else, A, you're adding some more content for your readers to engage in, and B, it can show the reader exactly what happened and see it from the character's point of view. Another thing: If the character's had an abusive or just rough past, never have them tell everything all at once. I have been abused and it just doesn't come all out that easy for people who have been abused or just went through something traumatic.

    Tip Seven:
    This is pretty similar to what I just said on tip six: Character introductions. Introducing characters can be okay in some cases, like if the reader is about to customize that character, (another thing I want to touch base on) but if you plan on introducing all or just a ton of characters, it could turn your readers off. Because it can be like spoiling the story or it's just boring. I'm sure a lot of readers just want to start the story.

    Tip Eight:
    Character customization: Allowing your reader to name and customize the character(s) can help engage the reader with the story. Of course you don't HAVE to allow readers to customize the character(s) if you don't want them to. But if you are going to let readers customize the character(s), you should let them customize the character(s) as they're introduced in your story, because when you have to customize like an entire family plus friends all at once, it gets pretty boring and tiring for the reader.

    Tip Nine:
    Choices: Adding choices is also a good way to engage the reader in your story. When you add choices, try to put drama within them and add choices that really make the reader think before they choose. Dramatic choices that will affect the rest of the story are good as well, for that, you'll have to use the gain system which is pretty advanced branching and I'd wait until I had everything down pat before trying it.

    Tip Ten:
    Change up outfits: I've seen a lot of stories where some characters NEVER change into another outfit. Most people don't do that in real life if they have the choice. The character doesn't have to be super important but at least make them change outfits every other time they'll be seen in the story. I try to change my character's outfit at least once in every

    Tip Eleven:
    Having a large and small cover for your story with the title of your story on it: I feel like a reader is more likely to click on a story that has a cover on it than one that doesn't. You don't need to make it fancy or advanced, you could find a picture from the internet that relates to your story and simply add your story title on it. That's what I did until I decided to make a custom cover. Or you could even have a screenshot of the main character(s) doing an animation in a background as your cover. Or you can find an artist to make one for you, there's a ton of episode editors on Instagram and there's some right here in the forums.

    Tip Twelve:
    When you publish your story: Once you have published your story, you kinda have to be a self-promoter, But Don't act desperate about it. Getting reads takes time, so does getting feedback on it. Here on the forums there's plenty of places to promote your story and get a review or two on it. Instagram works well too, there's a lot of Episode accounts on Instagram.

    Tip Thirteen:
    Making episodes long enough: A lot of authors make the first episodes of their story short, which is fine but you don't want them to be too short. Having about 1000+ lines of story (not counting the customization codes if you have them) can usually make a pretty good length. You should gradually try to make your episodes a little longer the further into the story you get. I know some writers get overwhelmed when trying to make longer episodes, advice for those of you who get overwhelmed when trying to write longer episodes: I'd suggest maybe writing a few scenes then taking a break and coming back to it once you're ready. It may take longer to publish episodes or to write them but like I said above, you shouldn't rush to publish unless you have some sort of contest deadline.

    It is the same if you're frustrated or struggling with writing, take a break and come back.

    Random Tip:
    Never use the "add animations" button, it'll just add random animations, and it might not make sense if the animation is wrong. And another thing, It looks best if you animate every line of dialogue!

    I think I've covered just about everything with tips, now moving on to tricks/directing tips!

    How to use props:
    Example of how to use a prop "@add Lipstick to CHARACTER" and when you wanna remove it, "@remove Lipstick from CHARACTER"

    Episode now has a prop section but they don't have all the props they have listed. So, here's a list of hidden props that I know of:

    NOTE:These are the ones I know of for Ink, so they won't work for Limelight or Classic.

    Camera Bag
    (This one can only be used on female characters)

    White Coffee Mug
    Hair Brush

    You should be able to publish using these props too!

    How To Make Your Story Theme Purple Or Pinkish Red:
    Some people have already addressed this but I decided I'd add it.

    Simply name your story "Demi Lovato" for purple and "Mean Girls" for the pinkish red when creating a story.
    You will be able to change the name later on after creating it.

    Using AND, THEN, &, is, starts, and #:
    Use AND when you want a character to do something while doing another command, Example: Char enters from left to screen center AND CHAR is run_athletic.

    Use THEN when you want a character to do something after what they're already doing, Example: Char faces right AND CHAR is talk_arms_crossed THEN CHAR faces left

    Use & when you want a character or command to do something while something else is happening at the same time, Example:

    &CHAR2 is think

    CHAR (talk_confused_mindblown)
    I can't believe school starts so soon!

    This way, the second character will be doing an animation while the first one is talking.

    Use "is" when you want a character to do something while the character is doing something else such as in a screen or spot position, as shown in the examples above

    Use "starts" when you want a character to start doing something Example: Char starts cheer_loop

    You can use # when you want to write something on your script, kinda like a little note to yourself, it'll turn a faded gray, Example: #remember to make a new outfit for the main character.

    And no, this does NOT show up in your story.

    All Default Screen Positions:
    Screen Left
    Upscreen Left
    Back Far Left
    Screen Right
    Upscreen Right
    Back Far Right
    Screen Center

    All Transition Commands:
    Transitions must have a time of how long it takes for them to transition, Example: @Transition fade out black in 5

    Fade in/out
    Iris out
    Shade up/down

    Curtain(All of these in black are directions the curtain style transition can use, you can't use colors with this one. AND DON'T FORGET THE UNDERSCORE)
    In Top
    Out Top
    In Bottom
    Out Bottom

    All Transition Colors:

    All Zone Commands:
    Cut (Example: @cut to zone 2)
    Pan (Example: @pan to zone 3)
    Follow (Example: @follow CHAR to screen center in zone 2)

    Pans can also have a time limit of how fast or slow you want them to pan to a zone

    Example: @pan to zone 2 in 3

    How To Make A Character Upside Down:

    You need to know spot directing for this. Move your character to the center of your screen then scale them all the way down until the character is upside down, then adjust them if needed. You'll notice the upside down spot numbers have a hyphen in front of them.

    How To Turn Backgrounds Upside Down:
    Like with turning characters upside down, you can turn backgrounds upside down too with the zoom helper (I actually didn't know this until I was playing around because I've never seen anyone do it.), you zoom all the way out until the background flips upside down (characters will be flipped upside down as well) The upside down zoom percentage will have a hyphen in front of them.

    How To Use Music And Sound Effects And How To Adjust The Volume:
    All you have to do is write, "music" in all lower case than insert the name of the song you want to use, Example: music juvie_houseparty
    Same goes with sound effects. When you want to turn them off write "music off" or "sound off" If you want the music to fade out or in, you'll need to play with the amount of time you want the music to fade in and the amount of time is in milliseconds.

    Example: volume music 0 1000
    I suggest turning the music off once the volume is at 0 then after that turning the volume back up so you don't forget and leave it off.

    How To Get Different Colored Choices And Locked Choices:
    All the available colors are GREEN, BLUE, SPECIAL, NORMAL, PREMIUM, and LOCKED. Each color except for Premium which is gold and Locked, will show up
    differently depending on the color theme of your story.

    Example of how to use them:

    <PREMIUM>"Insert name of choice here"{


    How To Use The ReaderMessage:
    Write "readerMessage" then next to that start typing what you wanna say, there is a limit on how long it can be though.

    And that wraps up all what I wanted to address. I hope this helped some of you!

    Last edited by NATALYA; 11-19-2017, 04:10 AM.

  • #2
    This is so good I was thinking of doing something like this before


    • #3
      For classic, one of the Props was "Baby"


      • #4
        Wow, seems like a very thorough guide. I'm impressed!


        • Apes
          Apes commented
          Editing a comment
          Any chance this can be a sticky topic?

        • AshlynnA
          AshlynnA commented
          Editing a comment
          Apes I've talked with the team and they've agreed this can be one!
          Last edited by AshlynnA; 09-29-2017, 10:44 AM.

      • #5
        Thanks it will really help us


        • #6
          Thank you! This is very helpful.


          • #7
            This will be helpful to the new authors! Thanks for the effort you put into this.


            • #8
              This is amazing! So clear and to the point! I recommend all beginning writers read this


              • #9
                Thank you for this post, it's really helpful!

                I have a question, hope that somebody can help me.

                I have just published my story "XOXO Gossip Babe", and the first 3 chapters are available to play right now on the app.

                I then started working on chapter 4 on my desktop, and saved the work that I have so far. But when I go on the app on my mobile, under the "Create" tab when I open the story, I can only see the first 3 chapters, and not the 4th chapter. So I am unable to test chapter 4 on my phone.

                I don't understand because previously before publishing my story, I was always able to test the 3 chapters on the app on my mobile.

                Please can somebody help me?


                • Apes
                  Apes commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Try to log off and log in again and reset your phone. If you still having this problem you should send a support ticket.

              • #10
                Thank you for this seriously so to the frkn point its perfect and un complicated


                • #11
                  Quick Question: what's the reader message?


                  • ParkLow G.
                    ParkLow G. commented
                    Editing a comment
                    It's this new feature, it's kinda like a quick notification to inform on a choice (eg. if you choose to compliment Adam, the reader message would be 'Adam is flattered' or 'Adam would remember that'

                  • Kittenlove
                    Kittenlove commented
                    Editing a comment

                • #12
                  Hi guys, I'm new and just started writing my first story. In the story I want CHAR1 to follow CHAR2 and CHAR2 has to have her eyes closed while walking. Anyone that can help me with the code? Another one about this issue: CHAR1 walks in front and the camera follows CHAR1 but I want CHAR2 in the same frame when they walk across the room, again .. any help with the code?? :$


                  • NATALYA
                    NATALYA commented
                    Editing a comment
                    If you want CHAR1 to walk with their eyes closed, there's an animation called walk_eyesclosed. To have them follow each other, use @CHAR2 walks to screen position AND CHAR1 walks to screen position, if the commands are on the same line it will look like they are following each other.

                • #13
                  My character keeps entering the screen before needed time, idk how to fix it let alone what caused it. Anyone know how to make my character enter the screen at the appropriate time??

                  #beat starts
                  @pause for a beat
                  @pause for a beat
                  #beat ends
                  #beat starts
                  EXT. TOWN SQUARE LOOP - DAY
                  #beat ends
                  #beat starts
                  @KATELYNN changes into Katelynns_PJ
                  @KATELYNN enters from left to screen center
                  &KATELYNN is walk_sad

                  I had ran out of the pizza joint a few hours ago

                  #beat ends


                  • NATALYA
                    NATALYA commented
                    Editing a comment
                    That is because you have Katelynn change into an outfit. Put the outfit command under a transition command or have her standing off-screen in another zone to change than have her walk to the screen position you want her to.

                    Example of how to put the changing command under a transition:

                    @transition fade out black in 5
                    @KATELYNN changes into KATELYNNS_PJ

                    Example of how to have her change off-screen:
                    @KATELYNN stands screen left in zone 4
                    @KATELYNN changes into KATELYNN_PJ
                    @remove KATELYNN
                    @KATELYNN enters from left to screen center AND KATELYNN is walk_sad

                • #14
                  Thank you so very much


                  • #15
                    I was hoping you could help with my 3 questions?

                    1. Is there a way to change the theme without using the Mean Girls or Demi Lovato name? (not necessarily pink/purple)

                    2. Is there a way to lock a choice if something specific happened (eg. you chose this earlier so you can't choose this?)

                    3. Is there a way to let readers share a picture on instagram/facebook etc. (like in Demi Lovato/Mean Girls/Clueless)

                    Thank you!! x


                    • NATALYA
                      NATALYA commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Answer for question 1: You can change the name of the story after you have created the story with the name Mean Girls or Demi Lovato, the URL will have the name you create the story with but nobody else besides you the writer will see it.

                      Answer to question 2: Yes.

                      Answer to question 3: Yes, you may need custom backgrounds for this and you'll need a phone screen overlay.

                    • louise2197x
                      louise2197x commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Thank you so much!!

                      How do I set the answers to be locked for specific things?x

                    • NATALYA
                      NATALYA commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Write the answer choice then next to the choice on the left, write <LOCKED> like how I showed above.