Let's Learn from Each Other's Stories!

Same! This story kind of reminds me of The Walking Dead (game version) and all the issues the characters went through. And you’re right, I bet the management will have some kind of evil secret, like how in The Rain (awesome show, btw) there was a group just like that. Let’s just say it didn’t end well, haha!

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Hi!
Story title: The Key Holder
Author Name: Goji
Genre: Drama
Description: Max is living with guilt. Riley is living with anger. What will happen when fate brought them together? Will they be each other’s key holder?
What would you like us to focus on? — Progress/flow of the story and dialogues. If possible, I would also love to hear about anything you think that I need to improve/change.

Thank you so much! :slight_smile:

2 Likes

I love the Walking Dead game series! While I was reading Viral, I started thinking based on events that happened in TWD. I have a bad feeling about the church group just like I did with the ranch/farm in episode 2 of TWD. I’m not going to assume anything, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out to be a shift place.

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IKR! Also, I love the TWD game series, too! The church group is suspicious to say the least.

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Hi, thank you for your review! It’s really thorough and helpful :smiley:
Unfortunately, the knife thing is more to do with Episode not having an animation for a character holding a knife and walking, but thank you for pointing out the characters zooming to their spots & the introduction!

Also, the Powerpuff Girls thing was a total accident, but I see it - personality-wise, I think Kashvi is most like Bubbles, lol.

Also I’m glad to see you two enjoyed the story and are dicussing episode 3 :joy:

2 Likes

Story Title: Between me and the sea
Author: @Bertha

Chapters read: 4

Description

First Impressions

After reading the description, I think it’s pretty good. Although I think the last line could be removed or changed because it sorts of decelerates the sort of mood of the description. First sentence, you get hit with character gets drowned. Second sentence, you get the main plot of the sister trying to find justice for her little brother. Third sentence gives a little twist with the police focusing on her as the prime suspect.

That helps build tension, and it gives more insight into how dire her situation is. The problem is when it goes to the last sentence of find love, find clues, and the responsible. For the sentences before, we get a more personal outlook of the plot and the conflict. You could change the sentence into the features or style you have in the story like CC, LL, or LGBTQ+.

Here’s an example of a possible description.

Matthew was drowned, and Ana has to find the person responsible. The investigation heats up. All signs link up to Ana, turning her into the new prime suspect in Matthew’s death.

Introduction

Thoughts

I think if there’s anything like mature topics or subjects in your story, you should put a warning splash just in case. You could also add a sound splash and a highly interactive splash, so people know there’s sound, and they need to tap slowly.

When I was viewing the first episode, I liked how we see Ana return back to where it happened, and you can tell the pain she’s feeling. The thing is I think you could cut the sentence before the flashback that tells that her brother died. We have a solid foundation of knowledge because of the description. The description tells us what happened to Matthew, so we know he’s dead.

I was slightly confused during the flashback around the time Matthew called out for help. I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but I found it weird how Ana didn’t try to move or try to help him in any way. I was like did she seriously just let him die like that? Then I realized it was future Ana reminiscing about the scene. It might be better if during the flashback, we could see Ana desperate to save her brother, and she tries to get to him, but it’s too late. We could see her shock, her terror, and all of her emotions spill out at that very moment. That gives us more sympathy for her.

When we transition into the present day, you could have the narrator say how many days, months, weeks, and years later the event is taking place after the scene shown. Let’s say Matthew’s death happened 3 days ago. You could have the narrator say 3 days later when the scene in Ana’s caravan takes place.

Grammar

Thoughts

I noticed this reoccuring thing where is was replaced by it’s. There was some grammar mistakes. I recommend getting a proofreader or using a grammar check before publishing an episode. There’s some nice proofreaders and beta readers who’ll help you with grammar, spelling mistakes, and sentence clarity.

This is just a side note, but I felt like the sentences where Ana was saying that she must do this thing felt awkward. I think having one sentence starting off with “I must” sounds good, but it was kind of repeating a lot. It kind of made Ana’s dialogue sound slightly stiff to me. You could substitue I must with I have to and I need to.

Transitions

Thoughts

This transitions felt smooth for the most part. At times, it was kind of awkward, especially with the music. Try to decrease the volume levels of music through commands like volume music 0 2000.

There is something that I’ll explain further in the directing section, but I’ll say it here as it ties to transitions. Characters pop in right after the scene transitions when they should already be in the scene.

Here’s a really good thread done by cece_hunter involving directing that goes in depth with directing as well as transitions.

HOW TO: Make your directing better than average

There’s also plently of good directing and transition threads and websites like Dara Amarie’s websie, Apes’ threads, and JemU776.

Directing

Thoughts

I like the use of overlays that let us know who we’re playing as. It reminds me of games like Until Dawn and Man of Medan. It makes me wonder how many characters we’re going to be able to play. From what I can tell, it’s at least 6 playable characters in the story. I’ll explain the multiple playable characters under characters as well as provide extra insight in extra notes.

Characters pop into the scene during the earlier episodes. This distrupts the flow of the episode, and it makes it look like the characters teleported in. Make sure you’re using the right fading command and use & for character spots. It helps it look more realistic and the scene flows better.

Incorporate more zooms to help give a better feel for the scene, especially in conversations. In some conversations, there’s zooms, but in others, there’s not that many. You should also use zoom on x y in 0 for conversations to make it go more smoothly.

Characters sometimes slide to their locations. For example, in I think the last episode, Chase slid over Jessica to get to his spot. You can avoid this through giving him a set amount of time to walk.

For the most part, speechbubbles are in good spots, and they are attatched to the character that is speaking. There’s times where it’s not attached to the character speaking, so make sure it gets placed on the speaker.

In addition, try to make sure characters don’t talk over each other. This happens a lot with loop animations. Here’s a good thread by JemU776 about it.

HOW TO: Use Thought Bubbles + Have Characters talk while doing an animation

Dialogue

Thoughts

I already mention the speechbubble thing earlier under the directing section. As for dialogue, I think it’s good, although it could be improved. For example, I felt kind of weird with scenes like the Noah scene in his room. I think maybe that was the only scene where I was kind of confused about pretty much everything in it. I’ll explain it more under extra notes.

I feel like there could be more show and don’t tell. In the first caravan scene, Raven states they’re Ana’s best friend. In another scene, Noah is like Ana is their friend to Jessica. I get Trevor asking for Ana’s friends’ names because he doesn’t know them personally. It would be more beneficial if you give us hints through dialogue of their worry towards Ana and how recluse Ana has become. Ana is essentially the MC, but I’m not sure if she has any real personality based on her dialogue.

Characters

Thoughts

There’s a lot of characters, so I’ll try to keep things short and focus on the more prominent characters so far, which is a lot.

Ana - I sympathize with her, but I feel like there’s no real connection formed with her throughout the episodes. We don’t get all that much context except for her motivation to find her brother’s killer. The only thing we really know about her is that she wants justice for Matthew, but we don’t know her relationship with him. Was it strained before the anniversary? Was it very close? Was she protective of Matthew? What was she doing before his death? What was she planning on doing before everything that transpired? She has the chance to be something more than just a grieving sister. You can do it based on choices. Maybe she becomes more like a vigilante and does more risky things like breaking and entering. Or maybe she abides by the law and tries to collect evidence more ethically.

Raven/Ray - I don’t have that much opinion on either of them. It just felt like there was nothing else to their personality or character except for how they felt about Ana.

Trevor - Probably my favorite character so far because he’s a detective, and he’s also pretty cool. At first, I thought he was going to be a LI for some reason, even though there was no CC for him. I feel like he’s willing to conduct the investigation, and he seems mature enough.

Noah - I don’t know how I really feel about him, but he seems like he’s not the most pleasant person to hang out with. If what Jessica says is true, then that makes me feel suspicious of him. I don’t know, but I think he might be the one who drowned Matthew. It’s just a theory, but that’s my feeling.

Jessica - I feel bad for Jessica, but I also don’t at the same time. Like I feel bad about how Noah is treating her, but I also feel like she’s not really making her situation any better. It just seems like she’s moreso an one note character who’s obsessed with Noah, who isn’t that much of a good guy.

Caleb - I haven’t really formed on an opinion on him except that he feels bad about not being there for Matthew. I’m mainly confused with his relationship with Jessica. Like has she called him up before to hook up? He seems like a nice guy, and he’s so far one of the more complex characters in the story.

Morgan - I don’t have an opinion on Morgan because there’s been little screen time with her. I think the fact there’s a choice for her to keep quiet makes me more suspicious of her. Like why would she keep quiet about something like that unless she’s ashamed or she’s hiding something?

Extra Notes

Extras
  • I timed how long each episode took me to read. This is just a rough estimate, so take it with a grain of salt.
    Episode Times
    Episode 1: 11 minutes and 38 seconds
    Episode 2: 10 minutes and 1 second
    Episode 3: 5 minutes and 53 seconds
    Episode 4: I forgot to time for episode 4, but it felt shorter than episode 2.
    There’s a steep drop off in time from episode 2 to episode 3. You could insert episode 4 into episode 3 to make it longer. It’s good to keep consistent length of time in episodes, so readers are able to adjust to the story. If the lengths bounce up and down, it might make it harder for some readers to be fully immersed if the chapters are all over the place.

  • It looks like the preferences for dating didn’t entirely code all the way. I’m doing a second playthrough of the story, and I decided to put just guys this time. Then Raven showed up instead of Ray during the scene with the first clue. I played up to episode 4, and Ray was there just like he was in the playthrough with no specific gender preference. Raven was also in the video, even though I selected the male romance options only for the second playtrhough.

  • The premise is promising with the multiple perspectives and hidden mystery. Make sure every scene has a purpose for being there, and not just filler. The one scene that I’m mainly talking about is the scene involving Noah and Jessica. I found it kind of ruined the flow of the episode mainly because I wondered what was the purpose of this scene.

  • My main suspect right now is Noah, although I don’t trust Ana or Morgan. That’s the vibes I’m getting.

I hope this wasn’t too harsh and helpful in some way. If you have any questions or need some clarification, just ask. I should have come out with this earlier a few hours ago, but I was being lazy. Anyway, your story has a lot of potential. Keep up the good work! :blush:

2 Likes

I’ll probably do a revised version of the review to give more insight and be more detailed when I have the time and enough tickets.

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This is just amazing!!! :astonished: I don’t have words to thank you enough!! It’s very professional and helps me out a lot! :pleading_face::heart: Thank you so so so much!!! :heart_eyes::heart:

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You’re welcome! I’m glad it’s helping you. :slightly_smiling_face:

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So so much! Thank you!!! There are things that I just can’t see like I didn’t know the sexuality choice didn’t work, I have to check that out. And things like the characters appearing out of nowhere in the scene.
Thanks a lot!!! :heart_eyes::heart_eyes::heart_eyes:

1 Like

Your original review was so insightful and useful already!!! A revised version would be great, but don’t stress yourself about it, since I’m tweaking Episode 1 and working on Episode 4 at the moment, so nothing has changed yet :smiley:

1 Like

STORY REVIEWED - Between me and the sea by @Bertha

Description: This story narrates how Ana’s little brother Matthew was drowned to death during their parent’s wedding. Even though everybody was present in the crime scene, nobody saw anything. The police closed the case considering it a suicide or just an accident. Ana dosen’t buy it, so she’ll try to find clues by herself. Things get complicated when Ana becomes the first suspects of a private investigator her parents hired. Fin love, find clues, and, find the responsible.

Episodes read: 3

Below, anyone can reply to this review to continue the discussion on Bertha’s story. You can give advice, tips, or mention something that I forgot to discuss!

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JADE’S ADVICE

This advice can be applied to the author’s story and your very own story!

DESCRIPTION:

Bertha’s description is long.

Too long.

Episode descriptions are supposed to be short, sweet, and simple. Remember, this is an Episode story, not a real book. Which means descriptions should not basically tell the entire plot of the story. Readers will automatically lose interest if they have to read anything that’s too long. Think of it as a major Episode turn off.

I did notice that your description on the app is much shorter than the one you gave me.

Let’s check it out:

Matthew was drowned by someone. His sister Ana has to find the guilty. Things become complicated when Ana becomes the principal suspect. Find love, clues, and the responsible.

Now, there are several issues with this description that I can spot already.

The first problem is that this description is boring.
Instead of hooking the reader in, the description is very bland. It just states what happened and what’s going to happen. A story with a flat description is very telling to the reader on how the rest of the story is going to be written. Let’s just say that a description will either pull a potential reader in or deter them from even giving your story a chance.

The second issue is that the description isn’t exactly correct. Ana doesn’t have to find her brother’s killer, she feels obligated to do so. From what I can tell from the story, Ana feels as though the police suck at their job, so she has to do the job herself.

If you’re going to write a description, please accurately portray what is going to occur in the story.

Also, it’s not necessary to have a description detailing the plot of the story. You can have a short and juicy one-liner to pull a reader in!

Here are two examples of intriguing descriptions/teasers for Bertha’s story:

  1. She can’t stop thinking about that night. What had happened to her dear, sweet brother. The cold, frothy waters that he’d died in. The cries for help that she failed to act upon. It haunts her. She knows that his death wasn’t an accident—and she’s going to figure out how it happened.

Even if it kills her.

  1. Avenging the death of your brother isn’t an ideal thing to have on your bucket list. But, hey, since anyone else won’t do it, why not you?

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COVER:

I recommend looking through different art shops to help you improve on your cover. Although many people claim that they look past the cover and try and give the story a shot, most times it’s very difficult to look past covers of lower quality and many people will skip over your story.

Covers don’t necessarily need to have a bunch of well-edited characters posing in every which way, it can also take a simple approach as well. Simple covers can pique curiosity in readers, especially when many covers on Episode look the exact same.

Also, FONT.

FONTING IS IMPORTANT. DON’T HAVE A BEAUTIFUL COVER AND NASTY RED COMIC SANS FONT MESSING UP THE MOOD OF THE ART PIECE. I CANNOT STRESS HOW IMPORTANT FONT TRULY IS. Let’s just say bad font really irritates me.

There are awesome free font websites that you can download from. Just be careful of the font creator’s terms and conditions!

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TITLE:

“Between me and the sea”.

The title isn’t properly capitalized. For titles, you need to capitalize all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinate conjunctions. (Thanks, Google!)

If you’re confused about how to properly capitalize a title, there are plenty of free, accessible online resources to take a look at!

“Between Me and the Sea” is the correct version of Bertha’s title.

================

INTRODUCTION AND PLOT HOLES:

The introduction is conflicting.

Below, the spoiler alert is mostly for the author’s reading. But if you don’t mind having the guts of this story being spilled out to you, then go ahead and read it! This is for the author to be aware of the major plot holes she has in the story. It may even help others become aware of their very own plot holes.

SPOILER ALERT: At the beginning of Bertha’s story, the main character Ana has a terrifying flashback to when her brother died. She states how she heard her brother’s cries for help, but couldn’t do anything about it. But then she claims that her brother was killed by someone, yet she doesn’t know who. If she could watch her brother climb up the cliff and saw him at the top… Wouldn’t she also be able to spot the killer as well? This is just something to think about.

Also, apparently at the end of chapter one, Ana texts Raven that she found a video of her brother’s death… Wasn’t she there? Didn’t she see her brother atop the cliff? This honestly is confusing to me. I suggest re-outlining your plot because, in all honesty, the first episode made little to no sense to me.

The second episode is even more confusing… Now, Morgan is the one recording the party, why would she focus on Ana’s younger brother? For so long, too. It genuinely doesn’t make sense to me. It doesn’t seem very realistic. Who cares about Ana’s younger brother running down the beach? The main point was to focus on Mr. and Mrs. Field’s wedding. Instead of the camerawoman purposely focusing on Matthew, I feel as though the catch of the death should be much more accidental. Also, Matthew isn’t even shown falling in the shot. So how could Ana say that she found a video of her brother’s death?

Somehow, all of these “clues” are making Ana’s first flashback even more confusing. Ana claims that the hair she sees in the video is a clue. Why is Ana so confident that a chunk of hair is a clue. It’s just hair. It could be anyone looking out at the sea. Why does she think it’s the hair of her brother’s killer? This doesn’t make sense.

When Morgan goes to Mr. and Mrs. Field’s house, I chose the choice to confess. Morgan claims to have left Matthew alone, but in the last episode, she was recording Matthew and Victor playing together. Which would mean she was watching them… I could keep going on and on about the issues I’ve noticed, but I think this is enough for now.

Let’s just say there are so many plot holes that even the reader can clearly realize certain problems in the storyline. The random switches in POV don’t help either.

The reader doesn’t know what you, the writer, knows. You need to clarify what is going on otherwise us readers will become very confused.

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CHOICES:

At the beginning of the second episode, there’s a choice where we get to question Ana’s parents. I was only able to choose one question before the story moved onwards.

Also, it feels as though these choices have no real impact on the story.

When Raven asks Ana whether she’d tell the police of the clue she found, both choices lead to Raven saying, “just kidding!” and both of the characters sitting awkwardly. Don’t bother adding choices if they are just there to make it seem as if the reader is making an impactful decision. That’s just annoying.

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DIALOGUE:

There are a few spelling and punctuation mistakes here and there. Get beta readers to help you out with this.

The dialogue isn’t bad, but it isn’t good either. It can even be a bit repetitive. Overall, good job on this part.

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FOCUSING IN: LENGTH, ATTENTION-GRABBERS, AND DIRECTING

LENGTH:

The first episode is extremely short. The second and third episodes are very short as well. Maybe the coding took up perhaps hundreds or thousands of lines of code, but you have to be aware of how the reader sees the story. We can’t see the lines of code you sweated over, we can only see the outcome.

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ATTENTION-GRABBERS:

There aren’t any.

I noticed that you tried to add a cliffhanger for the ending of each episode. But… the cliffhangers weren’t very interesting and oftentimes the story ended very abruptly.

Try looking through books, films, and t.v shows for help on how to make an appealing cliffhanger or ending to an episode/chapter.

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SPOT DIRECTING:

In the second episode, when Raven and Ana are on the computer, they’re on top of the desk overlay, not behind it.

Overall, the spot directing could be worse. It’s pretty decent.

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CHARACTERS:

Ana:
She’s completely obsessed with the death of her brother. That’s literally all she is. Obsessed.

Raven:
Cares about Ana but yells at her??? Why??? I’m confused??? It seems a bit strange the way she loves Ana and then yells at her to get over her dead brother so that she can get better.

Trevor:
Policeman who hates his police chief and wants to work on a real case?!?! As if the murder of a child isn’t a good enough case for him to work on.

Noah:
Noah seems to be hard-headed but concerned for Ana. He seems to have a temper. Honestly, the only scene I’ve seen of Noah is him yelling at his GF(?) about how worried he is about Ana and then proceeding to strip naked while making out with his GF and then went to have sex. Why…

Totally “WTF” moment for me.

Caleb:
I know nothing about Caleb except he cares about Matthew and out of the country during the wedding.

These characters all seem a bit flat and one-dimensional to me. I suggest rewriting some of their flaws and backstories.

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PACING AND POVS:

The pacing is off.
I feel as though it’s simultaneously rushed and too slow. The episodes are abruptly cut off which causes readers to feel disoriented, and on top of that, you switch through POVs too quickly. So many characters being quickly introduced and then never appearing again… My brain felt like it was on fire.

The POVs are confusing. Sometimes you forget to switch POVs which makes it seem as though we’re still in someone else’s head, but… not??? Writing stories in POVs can be difficult. Which is why many of us authors choose not to do that in the first place. Writing POVs could ruin the tone of the story or give away important information, which is often why authors opt-out of writing in that particular way.

I suggest looking over your work again. Please.

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WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS STORY?

  • Creating appealing descriptions will raise the chances a reader will click on your story and give it a shot. Try writing several different teasers and choose the one you like best for your story! It gives you a variety of choices to choose from.
  • Covers are important. It’s the first thing someone sees about your story and first impressions are everything.
  • When working with advanced directing, make sure it works properly. There are plenty of people on the forums who would love to beta read your story. Make sure there are little to no issues before publishing your story!
  • Writing well in 3rd person is very, very tricky. That’s why most stories choose 1st person. Have beta readers look over your story to see if the writing is confusing!
  • If you plan to have a story that focuses on different POVs, please, for the love of God, do NOT have 6+ characters you’re focusing on individually. POVs means that you’ll be focusing on the inner thoughts of that particular character. Be careful with POVs, because if you fail to do it correctly, nothing will make sense.
  • Speling is very important. if You fail 2 spell rite, then ur stry wil sem lazi and unfinshd.
  • Outline, outline, and OUTLINE AGAIN. Please. PLeAse. Outline your plots before writing. You will find so many plot holes and be able to fix them before publishing.
  • Having flat dialogue is boooring. Spice it up! Again, I suggest reading through Cookie’s tips, tricks, and advice thread, because it is extremely useful.

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I hope this advice helped both the author and other community members reading this. Check out this story and tell me what you think!

3 Likes

Ohh, I didn’t even realize that Raven could become a Ray and vise versa! And true, @Bertha‘s story does have a lot of potential.

2 Likes

Thank you so so much for this, thank you for your time! I didn’t notice all these plotholes but now that you say it, you are right, I gotta really work on this… Thank you!!
The first scene (the flashback) was a “memory” her mind made-up, she wasn’t present and she didn’t see her brother die, but it’s true that I didn’t really explained that, I have to give more context, right, thanks!
The descriptions you made are amazing! Do you mind if I take them as models??
Also, I’ve been working with others covers myself and artists and this is an exemple, do you think it’s better?


Again, thank you so so much for making me see all these errors :sweat_smile: I’ll get to it :muscle: :muscle: thank you so so much! I don’t have enough words!!

3 Likes

I think it looks and has better quality than the one before. I like the saturation of colors and how Ana is the focal point of the cover. Since she’s the biggest one, and she’s at the forefront, it shows how we should be focused on the character of Ana. She’s essentially the foundation of the whole story.

2 Likes

Yes! Thank you so so much! I’m going to put you both at the credits of the end of the chapters, you were so much help! Is that okay?? :heart:

2 Likes

You’re welcome! It’s okay if you want to put me in the credits. I don’t mind either way. :slightly_smiling_face:

2 Likes

I didn’t do a female only playthrough, so I’m not sure if it happens there. All I know is that for the mixed preference, it’s consistently Raven. For the male route though, it’s Ray, but then it switches when he’s supposed to be the one in the scene with Ana. That’s when Ray becomes Raven.

I think an important part of doing an Episode story is ensuring all romance routes are like functional and working. I’ve noticed how people often experience issues with choosing their LI to be female in a lot of stories, including featured ones. I honestly think it’s harder to do coding with different versions of the same character. That’s why I decide to just make different characters with different genders to avoid the hassle.

2 Likes

No problem!

I was worried that my review was a bit too harsh, but I’m glad it helped you out. You can use my examples and you don’t have to credit me. I think they fit in with your story!

Also, that cover is much better. I think it’s a way higher quality than the last ones. One suggestion is that I recommend having the outfits signify something about the parts they play in the story. Something subtle, like having the dead brother wear mostly black (representing death) and the main character wearing something like pale yellow or pink to represent hope or whatever. You don’t have to do that, I just think it’ll add a little extra oomph to the overall story. But it’s not important, haha!

And you don’t have to credit me at the end of your story chapters, but if it makes you feel better, go ahead!

Happy writing! :DD

2 Likes

Yes, I’m working on that, I just figured that the if elif and else don’t work with overlays :sweat_smile:

1 Like