Can someone review my new story?

Hi! I just published 3 episodes of my Own Voices story. I was wondering if anyone would be willing to read and review it. I want to know what you think. Thanks in advance :blush:
Here’s my link: Episode Writer Portal

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Hi, I read your story! It seems pretty interesting so far, but there are a few minor things. Some of the spot directing is off. I’m not sure if it’s a glitch or just how it appears on my end, but it takes away from the experience. Here is an example of that


I’m assuming it is going to be explained and cleared up better of why the mc is running/ran away but right now it’s kind of confusing. It might make it turn a reader away, so maybe explain things a little bit sooner…? I know suspense is really good, especially with this genre, but it might be too confusing. 2 more things. The chapters are a bit shorter than I’d prefer. A lot of people say the ideal is 7 minutes to 15 minutes per episode. The episodes end sorta abruptly and sudden and they don’t really go together. One second they are at school then at a party and it threw me off a bit. Lastly, which isn’t a big deal, but there is no character customization. I just think that if you include changing their name option, then you should probably add cc too. It makes the story feel more personal like it’s in 1st person, rather than like I’m watching a movie.

Again, these are some small little things. I hope this doesn’t sound too harsh or anything, just feedback. I know for a fact your story has a lot of potential to be amazing, just a tiny bit of editing to be done! Best of luck :upside_down_face::black_heart:

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Hi honey. By far, I’m really enjoying the story. However, there’s a few things that will help to make an improvment.
If you let the reader custimize their character it helps to he more into the story, there’s a templete in the sane section that the name customization, btw, if you put that part at first the default name [FIRSTNAME] won’t appear at the beginning.

And there’s something that feels weird with the spot directing of the characters and the speech bubbles, it just not feels organic. In YouTube there’s this guy, Joseph Evans, who made a lot of Episode tutorials I let you the link for the Limelight ones: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLeKgFV1aDXtSO6AocEPjEndR828Ps7SXs
For me have been really helpfull so I hope will be the same to you.

Good look for continue writing your story :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Okay, so I’ve never been one to sugarcoat things… and I have to be straight forward with you. To begin with: The summary doesn’t really pull you in.
And then when I read the story I feel like I’ve uncovered the entire plot within the first two episodes. MC is clearly in love with her best friend, but is too scared to tell her. And that’s that. We’ve figured out the plot already! It’s seriously lacking anything that would make readers wish to know more and keep coming back.

The lack of transitions makes it feel extremely spotty, and to be honest the directing is quite lazy. The speechbubbles are all over the place and you didn’t use any zooms.

There’s no outro, the episodes just end abruptly without warning… no transitions, nothing.

The story also claims in the summary that the MC has anxiety, and as someone who has actually been diagnosed with anxiety, it’s usually noticeable as soon as the person appears, let alone speaks. [Doctors as well as people in general, have easily recognised it within me… before I even speak.] And because I suffer with it myself, I can often recognise it in others, too. And I can honestly say that there’s nothing about MC’s personality, that would suggest she has anxiety.
You don’t seem to have taken the time to properly research what you’re writing about. You’ve mentioned some “generic” symptoms that anyone could easily find with a quick google search, but you don’t mention how it truly feels to suffer with anxiety!

The whole thing feels rushed, the characters don’t have any personality and the fact that your story only took 3 days… makes it quite clear [or at least feels as though] you didn’t really care to put that extra effort into it. Not much thought nor research has gone into this story and I’m sorry if you think that’s harsh, but it just feels like you wrote this story for all the wrong reasons… like you just wrote it for the sake of entering a contest. :woman_shrugging:t3:

You also forgot to censor some cuss words, and those will definitely get pulled by the Episode Team.

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Hello, so I appreciate your criticism but I’m doing to politely disagree with you. I happen to have really bad anxiety and depression so I know about the topic I’m writing about. Secondly, maybe it’s my writing style but I like my episodes to be on the shorter side but I’ll take in to account the cuss words. Thank you for reading

Thank you :blush:

It’s very important to note that depression and anxiety are not the same thing. Have you been diagnosed?! Because I’ve known people to just assume they have both, simply because they have one of the two!
Note: I didn’t even know what was wrong with me, before diagnosis.

And if you truly do have anxiety, perhaps prove that by showing your own experience through the characters that you’re writing! Because by reading your story, you don’t portray it very well! Mental health is already brushed off as if it’s some kind of joke… and that’s how it felt when I read your story. It was as if it was coming from an outsiders perspective, since they have no clue what it’s like! Anxiety and just mental health in general is so misunderstood and dismissed… and your story made it seem like these conditions aren’t that serious, when in fact, they are!

No one really knows how it truly feels unless they’ve lived it, or are currently living it.

yes and an important requirement of the contest is that you include your own experiences:)

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Yes, I’ve been diagnosed and I currently go to therapy and an anxiety group. I’ll do my best to portray it better, but anxiety and depression is really different for everyone. Thank you for your time

Moved to Share Feedback since this is for story reviews. Make sure to check out our Forum Tutorial for more info about creating topics, and feel free to PM me if you’ve got questions. :smiley:

Also remember that the contest ends in July. You still have plenty of time to make adjustments :grin:

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Just a quick note to begin with, which is only my opinion!! You can, of course, completely disregard it as it’s your story. However, I do think that this is exceptionally quick to have your contest story out. To be brutally honest, having an entire three episodes out only days after the contest was announced doesn’t get you off to a good start. It gives the impression that you really haven’t made much effort. Whilst that may not seem fair, it’s just the truth, people want to know they are spending passes and time investing in a story that’s the best it can be, so for you to have it already released in such a short time, doesn’t make people think that this is going to be the case.

Anyway, to dive into my feedback…

  • Covers! - This is more of an advisory note, but if you don’t have your own covers, it’s less likely to be seen in the mass of contest entries when it comes time for the majority of people to read the stories. It needn’t be commissioned art or even drawn/detailed edits etc, but try to have something created rather than the default Episode Adventure cover as it’s the initial eye-catcher for most people.

  • The description feels quite vague and doesn’t really hook me. If I was scrolling the section of entries, I wouldn’t be likely to read based on that description. It could do with some re-wording to make it more punchy.

  • Opening your story, you randomly have the title on a black screen, given that this isn’t done in any kind of fancy overlay text or a cover background/anything that benefits visually, I don’t think that it’s necessary, and would be better just cutting straight to the warning splashes.

  • Your first scene: For starters, you have the character narration name as FIRSTNAME. This is obviously a coding error and given there’s been no CC/entering name option prior to this opening moment, it looks unpolished and could potentially lose you some readership right there. If you want to have a reader CC their name, then give that option right at the beginning, before any scenes, or give the character a name first, which can later be changed. — Also on this first scene, you have the character’s legs just walking on loop on a static background. To give the illusion of walking, you need a looping background. If you cannot find one to suit your needs, you can ask for someone to make you one. Otherwise, this does look clumsy. If you do not want her to be walking on the spot, have her positioned off-screen and then have her walk across.

  • The sentence structure you’ve used is very basic, the sentences are simple and short and one after the other, which doesn’t particularly lay the base for a story so much as tell us what the character is doing each second. Also, some of these sentences would be better reworded to make them stronger.

  • I’m not sure why we have a name the character option whilst she’s strolling along. It comes across a bit of an afterthought, especially as we haven’t even had a key moment so far.

  • She’s walking in a neutral walk, whilst the tone is supposed to be darker, so I’d suggest a different mood for her walk. Especially as you’ve specifically stated in your description that she has anxiety, it would be a moment like this where you could portray that in her behaviour as she walks.

  • The detention scene teacher is frankly odd. Detention is a tame punishment, for a teacher to welcome them to detention, then just tell them to read something that lacks significance and structure. He’s indifferent and his role is pointless.

  • The detention scene in general seems to serve no purpose at all. She pretty much says two lines with this male character, and then is in the hallway. The lack of transitions makes this jarring, and seemingly random. She’s also still in the same position that she was when she was in the classroom as you haven’t reset her animation between these scenes.

  • Your characters don’t interact. Yes, they speak to one another, but between lines, they are either idle or frozen in their animations, there’s no action/reaction base here, they don’t react to what the other says as though in a conversation, they just stand there waiting for their line. (Also, the guy on the phone in the background has been happy talking way too long, which makes him look creepily ecstatic)

  • Pretty sure that for the most part, you are using basic spot directing such as screen right/centre/left etc, this makes it appear that the characters are a strange distance apart all the time.

  • In the clothing store, she’s just standing idle again, whilst she monologues. Have her do something. It’s not entertaining to watch an idle character.

  • Huge pet peeve here, but the constant zoom on her legs then panning upwards is irritating and time-consuming from a reading perspective, it delays the continuation and there’s no need for it as we know the character, and can see the outfit from a wider camera angle.

  • Some of the MC’s lines are delivered whilst she’s out of shot, and the speech bubbles are messy here.

  • Again, this scene is rather pointless, there’s nothing happening in these scenes. We’ve had her walking at night, then in detention, in a school hall, then in a clothes shop, and so far we know nothing about this character, her life, her friends, what kind of person she is, what she likes, dislikes etc. There’s no content in these scenes to make us want to read on or find out more, conversation is simplistic at best, carries no depth, and is repeatedly ended abruptly without any flow or lead onto the next scene. Take this clothes shop for example… We read her lines whilst she’s thinking about how she likes her best friend, then she helps her pick an outfit, then say she’s tired and walks off. There’s no hint prior to this as to why she wants to leave, and there’s nothing mentioned even like an unbelievable excuse that would give us as a reader an inkling into what she’s thinking or feeling, it’s just random and leaves an element of confusion. I know that you’ve created this character to have anxiety, but if this is supposed to be the portrayal of anxiety, then show it in a way that informs us that this action is because of this condition, not just random behaviour, because so far it’s that piece of the puzzle which is missing, and given that anxiety affects people differently, we need to see her unique experience with it.

  • The layering with her mother is off, her mother is positioned in front whilst she should have been behind the MC.

  • The exchange with her mother is once again empty and has nothing to add to the direction of the story. Also, her mood swings drastically, which with a story covering mental health issues, you might want to be careful of, as it can come across as though this is a mental condition of its own which hasn’t been carried off well. I’m not saying that you have done that, just that this is how it could come across to some readers.

  • There’s a delay before the mother leaves, both characters are basically standing idle and it just feels like it’s an awkward pause.

  • We read the phone conversation from Jules’s end of the phone, which, as we are playing as the MC, doesn’t fit. If you want Jules to be seen, try a split-screen, as it’s not logical to have us essentially playing a scene from her POV randomly. Also, the MC’s dialogue is from a speech bubble on the phone, in other words, pointing at Jules, which makes it appear she’s speaking. To avoid confusion, I suggest the dialogue of the person on the other end of the call, being placed in a named narration bubble.

  • Jules is laughing and the phone has gone before the MC says her last line, remember to give the illusion the phone conversation hasn’t ended, have the phone still visible for the last line.

  • The MC’s scale size with the guy who has the stereo appears off. He looks drastically bigger than her, especially as he’s running away.

  • A lack of transitions here, makes it appear that no time has passed, and that makes the MC’s appearance come across almost instant.

  • Remember to scale characters to the right size to fit with their background. Jules is far too large for the window seat.

  • Again, speech bubbles are messy, too far from characters etc, they’re standing in default positions which makes them seem uncomfortably far apart.

  • Their conversation is very unnatural, it’s awkward and clumsy and feels like they don’t know each other. She’s asking what she normally does etc, which isn’t normal for best friends.

  • The random scene after she suggests they watch a movie is completely surprising. There’s no warm-up to this or transition, it just appears which took me by complete surprise and feels like it doesn’t belong. I assume it’s the movie playing, but that needs to be shown, not just sprung up out of nowhere. Also, the default characters and character outfits used here will lose you some readership as it’s lazy directing for most people, not changing appearances and clothes on default characters is highly noticeable. You’ve also used the same background the MC was walking in at the beginning, which isn’t advisable here because it puts the movie world into the MC’s world.

  • Speech bubbles are over the characters’ faces once we get back to MC and Jules.

  • They randomly say how it’s late and they should go to bed and then that’s that, they say goodnight and it’s over… for starters, why isn’t the MC going home? That was never mentioned, then there’s no action, there’s no conversation, they don’t talk about why the MC is against the “sappy” ending etc.

I usually charge for proofreading etc as I go into detail, and given that this is long enough, I won’t continue with the next two episodes, because I really think that this story needs more work. I’m not trying to be harsh or deter you from continuing, because I think that you can absolutely improve on it. But I think you’ve sort of jumped onto the contest, and pushed out a story without really thinking through what you want it to tell. There are a lot of improvements which need to be made here, but it can be done, and you have time to do all of them. Unfortunately, this first episode doesn’t have much going for it at the moment, I generally think that if a scene doesn’t add to the story, then cut it, and to be quite honest, so far, none of your scenes add to the story. But they should so work on the scenes one by one. Think, what do I want to show in this scene, then once you’ve decided on that, then you can get to work making sure you show it!

For example: Take their bedroom scene with the movie at the end (it’s freshest in my memory as I write this)… If I wanted to use this scene to show their differences, like how the MC struggled with her feelings when faced with shows of affection between two women, but her friend was completely okay with it, then I would highlight that with their conversation and interaction etc.

So, perhaps start with this being a sleepover, and maybe they change into pj’s and MC walks in on Jules selecting a movie, she tells her the title and MC is instantly a little awkward, Jules could pick up on that and ask if that’s okay. (This would be a great time to show the MC’s discomfort at being put on the spot and show her struggle with how anxious she becomes. Because the MC would want Jules to be happy, this could be shown by her pushing through and allowing her to watch it.) We could see Jules watching tv, blissfully unaware of MC’s struggle to contain her own emotions, as the MC reaches her breaking point and switches off the tv, we’d realise she has a limit, and what that is. That would then bring up a chance for Jules to talk to her about why she doesn’t like sappy scenes and touch on the character’s sexuality etc. They could have a little heart to heart, laying the groundwork for their relationship in the future.

Hopefully, this helps. DO NOT BE DISCOURAGED!!! Just because there’s work to be done, doesn’t mean you can’t ace it. It just helps to have points to reference for improvement. I’ve tried to be as clear as I can be, but if anything is unclear, let me know and I’ll try to rephrase it :smiley:

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True! :blush:

Thank you! This was all very helpful I appreciate it. I can say though things do make more sense in the next 2 episodes! I’ll work on these suggestions :blush:

Yes, that was a subtle point that I was trying to make within my responses.

Because I’ve seen a couple of people on Instagram stating that they intend to enter the contest and write about “anxiety”. And neither of them have it… so I was just thinking to myself: “I’m sure Tory said you’re only supposed to write about your own experience. Hence why the contest is called: Own Voices.”

So I’m not looking forward to reading those stories and seeing how the people who don’t or have never experienced anxiety, will undoubtedly portray it wrongly. It’s actually quite insulting that some people assume it’ll be “easy” to write about, because in their eyes it’s not such a big deal.

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You’re welcome, happy to help.

If that’s the case, then that’s great, however, with respect, if your first episode is lacking, then people won’t move on to episodes 2 & 3 Best of luck with your story! :slight_smile:

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I started to re-read it and I noticed you put CC which is fine of course but you used an old template.

I would change it to the new one since there aren’t many features available in the old one😁

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Okay :+1: thank you for letting me know

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As someone in the mental health field, it’s important to remember that something as general as GAD manifests itself very differently in people. When diagnosed, clinicians use the DSM, which has a whole host of potential symptoms and someone only has to have a certain number to receive a diagnosis, hence why there are so many different manifestations. Even the symptoms themselves can present differently. GAD and MDD are the two most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses because their symptomatology is fairly broad and can manifest in so many different ways. There are also more specific anxiety disorders like social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, separation anxiety disoder, and panic disorders. Even PTSD is sometimes categorized as a type of anxiety disorder, albeit it’s a bit more nuanced. Hope this helps!

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I would be open to reviewing your story! If you’d like, here’s the link to mine if you wanna check it out and review as well, but no pressure: Episode Writer Portal

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