Answered here: how do Episodians like their stories?
This thread is here to help you make a better idea of what people seek in stories on the app for yourself. It can also simply answer your questions, if you’re curious. I’m not saying you need to base your story on what the majority of people like (but you can), I’m saying you can learn what to expect for the story you make.
1 - First things first, what genre should my story be in?
Apparently, a majority of people do care which genre the story they read is.
The most popular genre (of course) appears to be Drama, leading with only one more vote than Romance.
If you do want to base your story on its genre, you can choose any and it seems you’ll be fine. Except for Comedy, apparently.
2 - Branching & Choices
Choices are a very important part of the stories on Episode. I’ve seen many people ask themselves and others if choices really matter to them. As you could (probably) expect, choices are the most popular choice by definition. If you want your story to have better chances out in the world of published stories, you better include them and make your story revolve around them! (That was a tad bit sarcastic)
A majority of people like complex branching, choosing their paths and etc. That it be for Romance (choosing your love interest through branching, etc.) or otherwise. Less people than I thought would love choosing their sexual orientation, their love interests and their paths, which makes for a good Episode Original story, don’t you think?
A minority of people don’t care about branching. I assume these are the same people who like choices less and enjoy feeling like they’re watching a movie when reading a story on Episode.
3 - Customization
(This goes with choices and branching a lot but oh well)
Another big question I’ve seen is : should I let my readers customize the characters? And thankfully, you don’t need to!
It’s good to know that you don’t need to allow customization to make your story appealing and “read-worthy”. I’m very pleased to see that a majority of people do like seeing the characters through the author’s eyes, and not necessarily the way they want the characters to be. If you do want to allow customization, know that the best way to do so is to incorporate it well into the story so that it fits into the storyline and that it isn’t something you need to get rid of in the beginning out of context (according to most popular choice).
4 - Coding
I’m very pleased to see that directing matters a lot to most people. To me, it makes all the difference, and it seems to be the same for 75.8% of people.
(See also : HOW TO: Make your directing better than average )
As for length, people like “average-length” episodes. There’s no exact definition of what average length is for episodes on the the app, but I’d say (and I hope people agree) that it’s about 8-12 minutes an episode.
Now for pace. Thankfully, people like to see character development and when big events happen occasionally. The “I like when a bunch of stuff happens in every episode” option is what I’d use to define Episode Original stories, and a majority of trending section stories (mostly in action like mafia stories, those are the best stories you can go for if you want way too much stuff to happen every episode).
5 - Pros and cons
We all seem to agree on bad dialogue/grammar/directing and clichés being annoying (although clichés aren’t annoying to as many people). A big point that came often too was bad directing and no character development (another one I’ve seen a lot is the plot being too fast-paced).
But then, what do people absolutely LOVE to see in stories? We know now:
As we can see, “good plot” comes often. I can’t tell you exactly what a good plot is, because the definition of one is different for everyone. According to these results, you can get a lot of recognition if you include choices in your story and even clichés! It seems as though clichés have a very balanced like/dislike ratio. Directing is also SO important! I cannot stress this enough! You can get so many more people to enjoy your story if you take the time to make your directing appealing, and this can be so easy!
6 - Overall
To me, the thing to take away from this very last pie chart is that no matter what your story is, someone will like it. You don’t have to stick to the cliché copy-pasted plot all trending section stories have, but if your goal is to get onto that shelf, you know what to do. I’m very glad that only 26% of people (that filled out the form) read a story because of its genre, its author and its branching (LI, CC, LGBTQ+).
I think the moral of the story is that no matter what, if you like your story and you work hard enough on it, you can get the recognition you deserve