Amberose's Live Thoughts on Your Stories

Hey, I’d love a review of my story Last Dance I’m a new author and some feedback from an experienced author would be extremely helpful :grin:


In case you will read the story, I recommend you read the whole thing because I learned new stuff and tips every time I wrote a new chapter. :heart::purple_heart:

Hi Amberose! So I’m still very confused as to how the forums work (fingers crossed this will reply to your page), but I wanted to ask you to review my story. It’s a bit of a mess at the moment because let’s face it… I’m insane. However, if you could read it, and give me any improvements I would gladly appreciate them!

Episode Name: The Narrators
Author: E.P.O.C.H
Episodes: 5
Description: Their job is to tell the story, but add in crazy phenomena, spy like precession, mystical powers, and a traitor… makes for one heck of a TIME.

Thank you in advance! I really appreciate it! Just a heads up though, I know I haven’t put a lot of choices in (if any) because I’m not sure how I can do it without too much interference to the story. If that makes any sence :thinking: Again, Thank you so much! :grinning:

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@Nierido - Let the demon inside

  • Well, it stars off with my number 1 hate - an author’s note. There were a few things you mentioned there they’d I’d suggest you take out. Don’t apologise for English not being your first language, and don’t give away what’s in the story. People click on your story because it took their interest, so don’t say “oh there will be this many love interests and it’s more supernatural than romance, but will include sex blah blah blah” Because you want the reader to discover this, not be expecting it.

  • I’d tread carefully about breaking the forth wall to comment on the angel outfit - a small comment is enough, but I felt like that lingered a bit too much, because you had both characters say it and then the readerMessage as well.

  • The & command is your best friend. Every time you have a scene that you want characters to already be standing in, replace @ with & so that the characters will be there at the same time the background is. I’ve noticed this a couple of times, but mostly in you school hall scene.

  • So I’m getting a little confused with who everyone is and how they know each other. I think you need to spend a little more time introducing each character. When I say introducing, I don’t mean saying it in a narration bubble, I mean by showing the readers. Like MC for example… So she used to live in the area and know Din, but he figured it out so quick that if you weren’t paying close attention, you’d miss it. You’d need to draw things like that out, so that the reader becomes really curious about how they know each other and they get invested in the story. Another thing I was confused at, was why were they all in the forest with the body. I didn’t really understand why they’d all be there, because it didn’t seem like they were in the same friend group, so maybe add in a scene that explains how they all came together?

  • I loved your dream scene

  • This sign or tattoo thing that keeps getting mentioned, it would probably be better to include an overlay, or even an art scene, so readers know what you’re talking about. It seems very crucial to the story, but I don’t understand its importance because I haven’t seen it.

  • You’ve got a great selection of outfits to choose from.

  • Try and animate your background characters so they are dancing in the background of the party. Or maybe drinking? Up to you.

  • Great use of that smoke at the beginning of episode 4!

  • I think you might have spot positioned the speechbubble and forgot to reset it. They’re all pointing to Din.

  • Also, I noticed you’ve spot placed almost all your characters, so the guys are taller than the girls. Nice work.

  • Oh, you did get a tattoo overlay!

  • Ok, I got to say episode 4 is like a much higher quality than the first 3 episodes. You use filters, text effects and overlays. If I were to guess, I’d say you started learning a lot more coding and directing tricks in between episode 3 and 4, and it really shows. I’d definitely recommend to go back to your first three episodes and see if you can add more of that wow-factor stuff that I’m seeing now.

  • When Din lifts Alanna, she should move forward a layer.

So I’ve reached the end. There were a few English mistakes, but not enough that would make me stop reading. One thing I noticed was your apostrophes are backwards. It should be instead of `. But this was sort of something I got used to. I think episode 4 really got my interest, and I would suggest going back through 1-3 to bring it up to the same standard of episode 4. Panning and zooms were good, I’d just recommend having a stronger introduction of the main characters to make it all a little less confusing. The mystery element can be good for stories, but too much mystery (as in who the heck is this person?) can have a negative effect.

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@Rosalind - Bite Me

Hey Rosalind,

  • First of all, cute title. It might be hard to find in the app, because there are a few like it already but I still like the title and the cover.

  • I’m liking the level of mystery at the moment. I mean, from the title I think I can guess what Elizabeth is, or at least what the story is about, but there’s still an intriguing mystery there with what Henry’s saying.

  • For your first scene, I’d suggest adding some close ups. Because you’re in the scene for quite some time, you want to mix it up with close up shots of Henry and Archibald.

  • Same in the bar scene, Thatcher is talking with Elizabeth, so you could have it zoomed on them and when Prescott says can you stop flirting with my sister, a zoom on PRESCOTT to 250% in 0.1 would look really good!

  • When the guy comes into the bar, it really reminds me of the movie version of Little Red Riding Hood. The one with Amanda Seyfried in it. I can’t remember the name, but if you know what I’m talking about, yeah, the whole setting and outfits and the way he died might me pull a connection to that movie.

  • Sometimes your characters exit the screen really quick. Is this a vampire thing, or an accident?

  • You have a really good hold on characterization between villagers, vampires, faes , etc. Like your clothing and appearance, even the names, are a great way you’ve identified everyone.

  • I like how you do the vampire bites. This is the first vampire story I’ve read, so Idk if others do it, but I think it’s very creative.

  • When Elizabeth meets her lady in waiting, they look a bit too tall. Use the bed in the background to scale.

  • A little tip based off my own experience… Intros will make your story go from a 6 to a 10. Even if it’s just a pic of your story cover for a beat, it gives it that professional vibe. Same thing with warning splashes… I think I saw one at the beginning of episode 1. I had never realized how random an episode starting without any sort of intro looked, until I included an intro on one of my own. I personally think it makes the whole story so much better. Something to consider. Could even be something simple with an overlay or you could do a whole background. Or maybe you already have this idea in the works and I’m wasting my time telling you.

  • I just want to say that normally I feel inclined to be like “WHY IS MC JUST CASUALLY AGREEING TO THIS BALL?” But I can’t do that here, because I actually understand why in this case: her family. Every time I see a potential plot hole, you fix it so it makes sense to the story. The only one I haven’t figured out (although I might have missed it if it was simply a one liner), why was Elizabeth taken but not Prescott? Does it have to be female blood or something?

  • I love the choices you let Elizabeth ask Maria. It gave me a good chance to learn about this fantasy world. Just a tip, if any of those answers/info needs to be remembered for later by the reader, maybe text effects would help you out?

  • Another example of why I think you need to add close ups is the scene where Henry and Archibald go to the council. While Katarina is talking to them, the guy on the right was frozen in an unnaturally angry pose. If you use zooms, readers won’t see him at all so it doesn’t matter that he’s stuck like that.

  • When Thatcher is teaching Prescott, there’s no info on Hunters. Is this because you’re still writing? Lol.

Ok, I guess it was because you’re still writing because I’m not at the end :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: Well, I quite enjoyed it, which I didn’t expect because that’s not usually my genre. Your plot was great, dialogue perfect. You only need those zooms and you’re good to go.

Side note: I really love that you’re waiting to have 5 episodes before you publish. That’s also my goto when it comes to publishing a new story. And I totally know what you mean with the anytime you try something new. Still happens to me after a year! Haha!

2 Likes

Thank you so much for the feedback! I’m gonna start trying to work in some zooms and such. I originally left them out because I didn’t get how to set them up, but I think I’ve sort of got it now. We’ll see how that goes XD

I also agree about that intros making chapters look more professional, and I do try to put in the warnings for each chapter (both for intro purposes and because I talk about killing a lot), but I’d really love to put in the cover or something too. But I don’t know how to upload a background or overlay, otherwise I’d use all kinds of homemade stuff. Do you know how I can upload my own stuff?

So as for why Elizabeth was taken but not Prescott, it is because only female blood gives the vamps power. But thinking back on my flashbacks I don’t think I stated that as clearly as I could have, so I’ll go back clarify it. Thanks for asking though! And I’m glad that that was the only plot hole you found, I despise plot holes, and I try really hard to let them slip into my stories.

And wow, you got to this faster than I was expecting XD Chapter 4 is kind of a mess right now, last night I was just trying to write dialogue, since my web previewer is currently dead, and making sure everyone looks natural and interesting was taking a back seat to figuring out new characters. And yeah, last night it was around 2 am when I decided that it was time to give up and go to bed, so the hunters don’t have their lore written up yet, but they will!

Thanks again for all your advice! This is my first Episode story, but I don’t want it to look that way, and I think your feedback will help me make that happen. So thank you a bunch!

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That’s a guide on how to upload your own stuff.

And I definitely think zooms are the only thing that gave away that it was a first story - but I could only tell because it was like my first story. I had zero zooms and let me tell you it is such a pain to go back and put them in. It’s worth it, but so time consuming

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Hey! I don’t know if you’re still doing this but here’s mine:

Title: The Nation D: Moon Eyes
Author: P Marroquín
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Style: Limelight
Number of episodes: 5 (ongoing)
Description: Heather is trapped in a place were she can’t go out, but what happens when her best friend and his dead sister offer her a way to get out of there and start a brand new life…! Where’s your new destination? And what dark secrets does it hide? Will you finally find answers to your past?
Link: http://episodeinteractive.com/s/6435647390351360

Still doing them. Once I get on my laptop I’ll update the waiting list

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@amberose Hi! Sorry about that! It’s called A Summer To Remember!

Here’s the link: http://episodeinteractive.com/s/5182146054062080

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All good. I forgot to ask at the time lol

This is really helpful. Thank you. After you read this, I expanded the college girl friend character. There is a phone call with her in the car on the way to the bar for the first time, and in chapter 4., they meet for lunch. I also expanded the pool scene so that you could see how Lauren felt like an outcast in high school, and Evan’s encouraging response. Those should help.

I am working on a DD contest story at the moment, but I have been reading Kylie’s stories and getting good ideas for chemistry development. I’m practicing that approach in DD and will probably go back an do more of it in TLabL later.

I did think about the guy that inspired the character of Evan, and why I liked him. He wasn’t the most handsome, and his smoking habit drove me nuts, but he had a great voice, and I was addicted to the way I felt around him. It is hard to put that into words.

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In real life “Evan” did not let me in. Perhaps it would have if I had been more assertive like Lauren. But the reader would not like it if she never got to be with Evan. Let’s just say that is why I have a pen name. He would be mortified.

Either way, the guy that inspired Evan is happily married with a kid now, as am I.

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Well I’m glad I can help. Your added scenes like they would really help with character development.

Sorry real Evan didn’t let you in, though it does make for a great story. I think we all have a real Evan so it’s relatable whether or not they have that night together or not anyway.

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Can you please review my unpublished story? :heartbeat:

*FIRST CHAPTER IS DONE, AND I’M HALFWAY DONE THE SECOND

Description:
Being the daughter of Zeus isn’t easy. Add responsibilities and your mother having cancer topped on with a forbidden temptation to a boy who can rock your world , literally.

LINK:

SMALL COVER:
5242e4c65aad4dc4eaa16195e5918d47b926391f_1_323x500-2

LARGE COVER:

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@Mia13La - Last Dance

Going to start off with saying you recommend me reading the whole story (which is fine, I do that with most), but you say it’s because you were learning new things every time you wrote. So from that, it gives me the assumption that each chapter is going to get better (again, this is also fine), but looking at that from a marketing point of view, you want to make sure you go back and edit the first episodes so they meet the standard of your later episodes, so that you have that consistency and that readers are drawn in from the very beginning.

  • Loved your first few splashes… And then your author note came up :unamused: I hate author notes, I will never not tell someone to get rid of them, hence my advice being to scrap it. But at the end of the day, that’s your choice.

  • This feels very fast paced. I honestly feel like I’m watching Gilmore Girls, because all the characters on that show talk fast.

  • You’re lacking transitions. A simple transition fade in/out would look great for changing scenes.

  • In the flash back there’s a few errors.

  1. Chloe is walking on the spot
  2. When you pan to the other zone, it’s blank and then the characters pop in. Make sure to place them in their spots before you pan.
  3. Those extra characters are also far too big for where they’re standing. Use the houses as references to scale them down.
  • Woah, your first chapter was extremely short! I know you can’t publish unless you have 400 lines, but - not to scare you - people can actually get reported if it has less than 50 lines of dialogue. I think if we took out your author notes, you actually could be awfully close to 50-100 lines of dialogue.
  • I’d also say to not tell your readers how many lines you used. Most people are only readers, and have no idea how making an episode works so the comment about the lines will just seem pointless to them.
  • For the hair and lipstick change, it would be worth adding the props to go with it.
  • So many of your background characters at the Shoo Club are wearing beach clothes. Seems random.
  • The scene where Chloe and Logan start dancing is another case of characters popping in after the background is already there. Make sure you place them all at the same time using & instead of @ to avoid this.
  • You could probably merge episode 1 and 2 together to have a decent length-ed pilot episode.
  • I liked the OTS shot to start of episode 3, but I would suggest having it switch back and forth so we get to see Logan’s face too.
  • That was a clever way to have Chloe and Jane hi-5.
  • Chloe in bed, where you say you don’t have the night version… Why is her skin so overly tan now? Also, if you’ve got the night version, I’d recommend swapping that in now. Or if not, use the EFFECT DIM 60 overlay.
  • I think this is because I’ve recently got the new speech bubbles, but in episode 4 Chloe’s face is being covered by almost every bubble. You may want to go back and spot place them…
  • For the dream sequence, it might be better to go with a filter or a white transition so we can tell the difference. I was very confused until Jane actually said it was a dream.
  • Episode 5 was another very short episode. If you’re apologizing for it being short, that means you know it too so you should definitely go back and fill it up. Also, just another thing to take into consideration, instead of rushing to publish chapters for your readers that end up being short, take your time to make them longer and to give them more content. Your readers will be happy to wait and you’ll most likely gain new readers because of the quality. More people will give up on a rushed story over one that takes a while to update.
  • Chapter six started off with some really cute splashes.
  • I feel like I know what you were referring to when you said each chapter you learnt more - I’m now seeing the mirror scene… Just note though the Chloe’s reflection has a different lip colour.
  • You have some very nice custom backgrounds. I feel like there’s a good flow throughout Chloe’s house.
  • The zooms are sometimes a bit fast… Especially when Chloe meets Logan outside.
  • The ending of episode 6 was a bit of a blur. I think they might have been zoomed in to the wrong spots?

Overall, it’s not a bad effort. There’s definitely a few things that could use some work, but you’ve got a nice plot to work with. If you do take my advice, here’s some points of what I would suggest to do:

  1. Set the scene with every character placed before you pan to a zone.
    INT. BLACK - DAY
    &MIA13LA stands screen left in zone 2 AND MIA13LA faces right AND MIA13LA is shiftweight
    &AMBEROSE stand screen center in zone 2 AND AMBEROSE faces left
    @transition fade in black
    AMBEROSE (talk_shrug)
    Something like this is how it should be coded, for example.
    This needs to be done in the beach scene, the dance scene, the cheating scene and a few other scenes, but mostly those first three.
  2. Consider combining some of your episodes together. I’m coming from experience here. I recently revamped one of my contest entries. I brought the first half of episode 2 into episode 1, then added a bunch of new scenes to episode 2 and kept the episode 2 ending the same, then added more scenes to episode 3, as well as making another ending. It took most of my episodes from about 800 lines to 1600, and I feel like it improved the quality too. So I would recommend you do something similar to this. You could add in more scenes, or just combine some episodes together?

Those two points alone I think will really bring your story to the next level :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

@Epoch195 - The Narrators

Congrats, you successfully replied to my thread on the forums :blush: Mess is good, insane I can handle, so let’s get to your story…

  • Great use of text effects to start off with. It really stands out.
  • OMG I’m a character in your story (technically). That’s my name and my hair. Haha.
  • I’ve noticed your scenes start zoomed in somewhere else and then flash to their right spot. When you’re setting your scene, make sure to use & instead of @ so everything will appear at the same time…
    Eg.
    &AMBER stands screen left AND JACKIE stands screen right
    &zoom on XYZ in 0
    That will make your zoom start in the right place.
  • When you have your characters placed in a spot, when they exit they go back to their default size, which cn sometimes be a huge difference. Perhaps consider walking them to a spot in a different zone so that it looks like they’re exiting at the same size.
  • I like the dark kind of plot vibes I’m getting. And now with the scene in this abandoned warehouse… It’s like gossip girl meets breaking bad.
  • I was scared your little quiz was going to be hard, but it was doable. Hard for someone who wasn’t paying attention, but easy enough for someone who was paying attention but not actively remembering.
  • It’s a bit hard to keep up with conversations when two characters are talking about someone else… Considering I just started, I can’t recall everyone’s name straight away. I’d recommend having more time spent on introductions (not the narrator saying who’s who, but like just a bit more scenes/dialogue so we can get a feel for each character).
  • I really love how unrealistic this is to start off with. The idea of having high school aged kids do this is insane, but in a good way. Like I could imagine this as a TV show where they hire 29 year old actors to play the high school kids. It’s got that feeling to it. And it’s at the point where I wouldn’t advise you to try and make it realistic, because it’s just the right level of “mess” as you call it.
  • I don’t quite understand the guy with the glasses on the black screen holding the book… Is he The Narrator? Any case, having him there for only one line is kind of a waste.
  • I have a sneaky suspicion about the woman with Adam not turning around.
  • Episode 1 had a bit of an awkward ending. I feel like it was half a cliff hanger and half we’re just left with a lot of unanswered questions.
  • So for episode 1, I think you’ll have to give everything a strong and clear introduction. Especially for the main characters and this setting. With setting it in basically another world, you’re going to have to lay down the law, so to speak. How is it different to our lives? And how can you convey the differences over to the reader?
  • I’m so confused with this school thing now… But I’ll wait for it to make sense before I comment on it as a whole…
  • I don’t think Roy should be holding the book the entire time, some of the animations look funny.
  • Seeing as this is set in a futuristic, alternate universe, it would be really cool to see custom backgrounds for their bedrooms and classrooms. Just an idea, their are a lot of people on the forums who could help you out with that. It would also help differentiate between rooms.
  • There’s probably a reason you haven’t done this… But for the aliens, why not make their skin blue or green? Limelight is lucky enough to have that option and it would be an easy way to tell the difference.
  • Your quotes at the beginning of each episode would probably be better if they were all on the same background so it’s like a uniform.
  • The uniforms are cute as!
  • Did I just seem Steve say they’re only 14??
  • That foreshadowing in the beginning of episode 4 is heavy!!
  • Adam is facing the wrong way in the black and white scene.
  • The way you did the partner dancing was cool, but since it’s slow dancing, have them stay in each position a second longer. Overall though, I loved that black and white scene with Adam popping in and out all over the place.
  • I’m still confused as to this role of a narrator and I feel like the kids are a little too eager to be on board with it when they should also feel a little confused like me.
  • Time looks AMAZING. You really made him unique.
  • I just noticed how you sort of did a play on words in your description with the word TIME
  • In Adam’s weird dream/flashback thing, there is a lot of characters at the wrong layer.

So I feel like this story has a lot of potential and could be really interesting, but at the moment there’s too much confusion. If you end up replying to this (I say if because I’m finding a lot of people don’t), I’d love to ask you some follow up questions about the plot to help me understand, so I can give my 2 cents worth.

In case you don’t reply to me though, here’s my advice:
First, get all your directing in order. Use the & to set your scenes - This is really important for you as you have scenes where the characters are supposed to “pop” in, so it gets very confusing when they pop in when they’re not supposed to. Similar thing with your transitions. Since you use them throughout your story for things other than just transitions (example, giving them powers), it’s crucial that you have all your actual scene transitions perfect. Make sure when you’re doing a fade in transition, that all your characters are placed in their spots and you add your zoom commands before the transition command.
Secondly, would be the big task of introducing the characters, this alternate universe and what a narrator is without having to do an information dump. This would be a lot of work, but would be well worth it. Just, whatever you do, don’t end up doing “This is Amber and she is blah blah blah and This is Roy and he is blah blah blah” There’s a way to do this using the show, don’t tell method, it just requires you to spend a lot of time on it.

A lot of what you mentioned I knew would cause problems, but I just didn’t really know how to fix them. And when I’m thinking of things my mind just jumps around so much that I literally can’t catch up, but yeah I know what your saying! I would totally love to tell you the plot and stuff, and to hear any more advise you have :sunglasses:

Hey, I would love to get some feedback on my first story…
It isn’t published yet, as I am still working on episode 3, but I’ll add the link!
(So, I would recommend just reading the first 2 episodes… Since episode 3 isn’t much yet…)

Story Name: Getting out there
Author Name: Ezz
Description: Daisy has always dreamed of leaving her small boring hometown behind. But what happens when she finally gets the chance to leave? Will she finally be ‘getting out there’?
Episodes: 2 episodes, still working on the 3rd.

Link: http://episodeinteractive.com/s/6291950116667392

Cover:

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Thank you!!! I`ll rewrite first episodes!

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Ok, well, hopefully I’ve given you the right info to fix the errors :slightly_smiling_face:

Now for the plot…

Right now, my understanding of it is that Roy is a narrator and Father Time has selected this group of kids to become narrators and Roy has to teach them at this narrator universe. I’m not sure if you’re using narrators in a meta-theatre kind of way, or in a parody way or if there’s some deeper meaning to what a narrator is in this world.

I know it’s set in the future, but there was a couple of jumps forward here and there, so I’m not sure how far into the future most of it is…

And that’s where I am with the plot, so hit me with your plans for the story :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes: And let me know if my understanding was right or way off ahaha