How should I make the first episode?

I am making a story where a girl who has no fears and is just odd in a good way. She moves to San Diego (I put Los Angeles in my draft) because they offered her dad a job there. She goes to a new school and a group of people seem a bit ominous.
How should I start the first episode?

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well the main ways to start a story are with:

  • sort of starting from the middle/end in a very surprising moment, then going back to the beginning
  • having a short introduction to character (ie., my name is ____ and i am from ___)
  • starting from the “beginning” of the story, (the day she meets her friends, the day that her dad gets the job, or any day)

most stories start with the MC being late for school and rushing on their first day but there is definitely room for more unique introductions. :blob_hearts:

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you could start by letting the readers re-create the characters or you could just create you as the a character and put it up first to talk about the story

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Thank you I just got an idea!

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no problem! good luck! <3

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Moved to Share Feedback since this is more about story writing than coding. 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. :wink:

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here is a few videos to help.

I would say skip the whole been new in town because that is so overused.

but if its the way you go start with her moveing in, if she moves we dont care about her old home because it wont matter, so dont tell us about it.

and here is some videos there might help

and a video about not what to do

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you listed some of the worst way to start a story. they are all overused clichi used in bad writhing.

first spoiler. second this only work if the author know 100% what is happening in the story, and basically has it written finish. because els there is a pretty good chance that this scene will either not be shown at all or the author will struggle to actually make this scene happen and force it in

an info dump is the fastest way to ruin a story. you dont need to over-explain who people are your readers are not idiots.

also and MC who is late or clumsy is a cheap written character. they make her like that instead of giving them a personality.

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You should start with her backstory like maybe a flashback of her past and bring into the present time.

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If you’re stuck with having the new girl in town how about starting with them unpacking their boxes? It would prevent writing a whole exposition explosion and would bring the character’s traits/personality into view (i.e. Do they find a stuffed Teddy Bear? Do they have posters to put up- if so are they film/band posters or something else?). You could also use this as an opportunity to introduce her parent(s) in a more natural way (they can come in to check in on her, be unpacking stuff of their own or even just chillaxing in the new kitchen).
Also consider how you are going to introduce other characters. Do they meet the main character first at school or do they bump into each other when the main character is exploring the new town’s mall/park/etc?
Keep in mind the length each encounter and scene will take as you don’t want to lose your reader the first scene in because you’ve spent 10 minutes with the dad.

If it helps, I tend to go through a process of writing an episode:

  • Create a rough episode guide (what are the key points/moments? Can you fit more than one in a scene or do you need a separate scene for each?)
  • Start making the early versions of your characters (Sometimes you come across an item of clothing/hairstyle that inspires you to write a personality to go with it, or even add a new character)
  • Write out some rough dialogue with extremely brief direction points on a Word Document/not the actual episode script so you can edit it easily without accidentally messing up any scripting you have done)
  • Start to look at backgrounds/foreground pieces you can use in a scene- Sometimes you spend ages writing a scene out fully and then realise the setting is all wrong/you can write in parts to make the characters feel like they’re in the set rather than it just being a background piece (e.g. if your character describes their bedroom as small, it would probably be best to avoid using the mansion beroom backgrounds etc). If you’re making you’re own that’s fab- just be sure not to put too much work on yourself when there are plenty of wonderful (and free) backgrounds available. You can always insert a stock background for now and then change it to your own later.
  • Smooth out the dialogue- Try to make it sound more natural, as like most first drafts, you won’t always get it perfect first try. Say some pieces of dialogue out loud and make sure it all flows into one another at the right pace. (Also keep in mind the sizes of Episode dialogue boxes- those always get me).
  • Start scripting movements. Even if it’s just staging the characters to move from point a to point b without emotions to the dialogue.
  • Check, double check and triple check your script to make sure it all makes sense and any choices you have added flow naturally back into the story (i.e. a character gets mad at another and then switches to “let’s go to ___” in a happy tone).
  • Finish off characters and remember to check you’ve added them changing costumes/hair/lip colour/etc where applicable.
  • Tada! You now have an episode! Time to start again :sweat_smile:

I hope this helps a little bit, even if it just helps you make your own plan for episode to episode planning.
I sometimes get carried away so I’m sorry if this is too much- once I start typing my hands get possessed! :yum:
I hope your story goes well

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Thank you!

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Np. Just make sure that no matter what, you are writing a story you would want to read yourself <3

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Write out some rough dialogue with extremely brief direction points on a Word Document/not the actual episode script so you can edit it easily without accidentally messing up any scripting you have done)

I do that all the time sometimes i write in my notebook that helps.

I sometimes change the scenes from Google docs and onto my script.

Also take your time on your first chapter

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Agreed! The first 3 episodes are the most important!

I’m glad I’m not the only one with a book for Episode/way too many documents/pages :sweat_smile:

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Lol i have plenty of different scenes on Google docs :joy::joy:

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Hi, fictional writer here!

I want to start off by saying that I 100% respect your opinion and I agree with some of these statements but some of those examples provided can actually help. The information displayed by Penny is great for those who are younger or new to writing episode stories. I don’t agree that these are the “worst ways” but I do agree that they’re the most simplistic and overused. Which isn’t always good, nor bad. With strong writing and directing, this can easily be pulled off.

Some of these are good pointers to starting off something especially a short introduction. I wouldn’t necessarily call something small like: a natural main character introduction, as an ‘over-explaination’ on a character, but instead a simplified preface. Even some of episode’s best writers use this technique. If applied correctly, this can draw the attention of many readers. Now, if you’re not a strong writer, I can see how this could cause conflict considering that an amateur has yet to figure out how to improve their writing skills, technique, and delivery.

A clumsy/late character isn’t a cheaply written character. A cheaply written character is a cheaply written character; meaning that if the character is terribly written, it will reflect negatively on the written story and its author. A clumsy/late character can be fundamental to a story because it’ll cause relations. Making a main protagonist relatable to someone is what episode stands for. Now, this may push away those who find that trait annoying, undesirable, or un-relatable, but it shouldn’t matter because there will always be those who agree and/or disagree with a character’s action and/or traits. It’s up to the writer which audience they want to target.
If there is no depth to a character, the character will lack a personality no matter it’s actions and/or traits. Whether if they’re smart, snobby, clumsy, mean, etc. If the character is poorly written with little to no personable actions or inner monologue, that’s boring and nobody will want to read it. Adding depth and realism to a character isn’t too hard to pull off, but can still be easily failed.

I 100% agree with your statement on spoilers. It’s evident that the author who posted this forum has little to no lead on the progression of their story, considering that they’re asking us to help them start the first episode. Starting the story off from the middle/end of the story won’t be too smart, especially for stories that have not been thoroughly planned out. Thank you for pointing this out.

Sadly, well-written cliches tend to be the stories that do well on episode. However, I agree that writers should be more original with their content. Originality is always a good feeling. For both the provider and the receiver.

@chamoybebe
If you do choose to add cliches in your story, you’re going to have some major competition because majority of Episode’s most read stories and most displayed are filled with cliche writing. This means that many people will be writing the same stuff in similar ways. Your story may be easily overlooked by another story. But also keep in mind, many people are beginning to pull away from the same overused topics. Some of Penny’s suggestions are decent, but also, line123461 makes some pretty good counterarguments. This comes to show there are many different readers who enjoy many different things. There are reader’s that like cliche, there are readers that can’t stand it, and there are those who could care less. It is always up to you, the author, to choose who you’d want to target and what elements you’d want your story to posses. But remember, a well written story with well written characters has an opportunity to do well. Take. Your. Time. On. Those. First. Three. Chapters.
It’ll always be worth it in the end.

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I use do the outfit thing too i need to see it visually on my character

sorry, these were just the ones that i said off the top of my head lol, of course there are others those are just popular ones (should have given more unique ones oops :sweat_smile: )

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Trust me, I hate Cliches with a passion, this story is actually about that looks can be deceiving

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This is the technique I use when writing my chapters:

I always keep in mind that dialogue is so important. You want to add realism to the character’s dialogue and internal monologue. This is important whether you’re writing on a visual interactive software (episode) or simply doing traditional writing.

Considering that Episode has animated characters, descriptions of actions is not necessary (but optional :wink: ). For the first episode, displaying the character’s voice is so important. Having a character do simplistic actions while narrating the depth of what is happening is always a good way to go.

If you choose to start the story off with the moving route, It’ll be evident that the character is moving due to the background animations and props, so you don’t need to address the moving portion of the scene. However, the readers will wonder why the character is moving. Is it because of bullying, climate, local government, a traumatic situation, jobs, etc. This is where you’d give a main protagonist their voice.

I tend to use the ‘NARRATOR (CHARACTER NAME)’ script.
It wouldn’t be realistic to have your character think a narration.
Example:
CHARACTER (idle)
(My family and I move often.)
YIKES

Explain but make it simple, otherwise, there may not be much room for development in the future.

I then incorporate the feelings of the main character. You don’t necessarily have to come out and say how the character feels. Let the animations do that for you. Word choice can also help with displaying a characters emotions, but don’t let that be the only component that presents feeling.

Explain the ‘culture’ within the town/state/country. I know you said Los Angeles, so do some sort of research about what is provided and done in Los Angeles. A lot of people would automatically gravitate towards businesses and fame. But, add more to that. Considering that you told me that you despise Cliche, talk about profundity of life in California, particularly L.A… Talk about club life, social status, diets and foods (veganism is big in California), the homeless population, city quality, Californian values, etc.
This requires some research, especially if you’re not from or have yet to visit the L.A. area, but that’s what writing is all about.

First impressions are always a big deal. Talk about the character’s expectation. This would fit if the very first scene is the car ride to the family’s new home. The characters are driving through the city: What did the characters see that surprised them, what annoyed them, etc.

Keep in mind, L.A. is an overwhelming city. Depending on where the character is from, this may affect how they look at the city. Are they from New York, Chicago, Nashville, Dallas? If so, the city would probably not be as exciting whereas someone from Heber City, Utah, may find it fascinating.

I then ask myself, ‘What is the character’s overall attitude?’
I’m well aware that the protagonist is fearless but there has to be more to her than that. Her fearlessness is a main component, now sub components are a must. Adding a weakness to a character will not only add realistic qualities, but will also give depth. If you want to have realistic characters, there’s going to have to be to realistic characteristics. Maybe she’s fearless but compassionate. Maybe she actually does have a fear, just not a physical one.

Try not to make the introduction too long though. You don’t want the reader to lose interest.

Not that you’ve given a character a voice, story, and depth, you can move on to actual story content for now. However, always keep your options open. Be ready change some stuff around because the further you get in your story and the more you get used to its theme, new and better quality ideas will begin to surface.

Begin dialogue, story build up, and possible conflict.
Conflict is actually what traps a lot of readers. There can be plenty of conflict. The main conflict/main antagonist(s) are the most important. This could be introduced any chapter, but the earlier on, the better. Trust me, if you can incorporate conflict in the first chapters, you’d gain a ton of loyal readers.

Try to keep everything consistent throughout the chapters. Remember the conflict(s)/antagonist(s), character values, other characters, attitudes, traits, etc. Consistency is your best friend. I typically make character charts in google docs. A chart for each character displaying their qualities. Also, what may help is a character planner app.

If you have any questions or need help with anything, let me know!
Good luck with everything and remember: Take your time. Those first 3 chapters are crucial. <3

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