I’ve been an episode reader FOREVER & just recently decided to try my hand at writing & believe me when I imagined it being way easier than it is. I am in no way an expert on coding or even close lol, but I wanted to start a thread on things I’ve learned so far that have made being a new writer so much easier. Feel free to post your own tips & things most people might not think of!
•SPEECH BUBBLE PLACEMENT MATTERS! - I’ve seen so many new stories lately where a new character’s name will appear & they start talking but the speech bubble is still attached to the character next to them. I totally understand as it took me a while to even realize they could be adjusted. Anyhow, leaving all the bubbles in once spot makes it super confusing to anyone trying to follow the storyline, so using the speech bubble helper to move the bubbles to the right character is definitely a must.
•S-p-e-l-l c-h-e-c-k. Even if you need to hire a proofreader/spellchecker or send your story out to close friends before you publish, it’s extremely frustrating when every other word is grammatically incorrect (unless you’re the type of reader that doesn’t notice this type of thing, which in that case go right on ahead lol). I just feel that if your story has too many errors it can become distracting.
•Don’t let people waste their passes. I know adding things like customization templates or choices or different branches is a lot of coding, but if you’re a new writer & you’re going to dedicate an entire first chapter solely to giving readers the ability to customize 50 characters, chances are a lot of them may not stick around to keep reading. I know first chapters are free but even if you use a 2nd chapter to do this or waste time on templates it’s just taking passes away at this point.
•Playing parts of your story back in the previewer or on the app helps a TON. Sometimes you may write a scene that looks perfect to you in code (I’ve already been there), but this isn’t always the case when you playback the episode. Maybe it’s because I’m new, but I’ve already done this a million times, & when I play back the scene an overlay isn’t working or an overlay isn’t tappable or a choice branch doesn’t lead anywhere, etc. Re-reading is important so that people reading your story don’t get stuck or confused!
•Try to think outside the box. With the insane amount of writers on episode, certain stories are extremely overused. I understand that some things just “sell” better or are popular, but coming up with a super unique and original idea will really make your story stand out, especially if you’re new & really looking to up your reader count! Certain stories like “Counting Sheep”, “The Enchantment Thief”, “The Infected”, or “Galactic Game” are just a few ideas of super unique story ideas that ended up becoming favorites of mine & really sticking with me because they were fun & new.
•Spice things up. This can be hard to do, especially if you just started out. It’s hard getting down all the different ways you can turn characters, cut to different zones & show different angles & perspectives, etc, but it’s a nice change visually vs reading a story where everything remains stagnant. Brownie points for adding things like tappable overlays, timed + premium choices, custom backgrounds, mini games, etc. These types of things can see pretty daunting at first but there’s always outlets to help you! Watching YouTube videos & searching for ideas on here was a huge help in coding things like this for me.
•Building up a storyline. I know it can be frustrating starting out & wanting nothing more than to already have your stories published! But it really makes a difference spending the time to put in the extra effort to make them read seamlessly. Adding cliffhangers at the end of chapters is super helpful to keeping readers hooked! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read stories where by chapter 2 the LI is already in love with the MC & by chapter 4 they’re planning their wedding. (To me at least), it’s always more interesting reading about the build up of romance, drama, etc rather than throwing all your ideas into the first few chapters. Not to mention it makes for a longer story & gives you the chance to gain more readers!
•Think of your story like a movie. When you watch movies & the camera focuses on one character talking, what are the other characters/background characters doing? They’re sitting on their phones. They’re laughing. They’re talking to each other. Sometimes I read stories where when one character is talking, every other character is just standing there. Literally. Just. Standing. & I feel like this is a tactic that may be easily overlooked by new readers, & while it can be exhausting trying to make every single background character look like they’re doing something in every scene, it definitely makes a huge difference to not just have them standing there staring blankly around.
Anyways that’s about all I can think of right now. The biggest thing I’ve learned is to play around & watch your scenes from every angle! Imagine new viewpoints & perspectives, play around with weather & sounds & filters. Do things as simple as animating words when your characters speak. There are so many cool things to learn on episode & help you become a better writer!