Okay, here I go. So, I’ve been on episode and the forums for quite a while now and it’s been great, I’m still learning about new things when it comes to making stories and I’m trying to build up the confidence to put my stories out there and let people see them even if they might not always HIT. I have had criticism about my stories before, this has helped me to want to try to do better when I make them and I thank all of those wonderful people who have helped me in that regard. I am a perfectionist, always have been and I beat myself up about things I probably shouldn’t and I second guess myself A LOT. That is also why it is taking me so long to put out a story again and it has also made me get rid of previous stories because I felt that they weren’t good enough and people would not like or want to read them. Even when I might be doing well I tell myself that I’m not and I need to do better. (I feel a little embarrassed about even saying that tbh.) I feel embarrassed about my old stories and even the new ones to come but I’m slowly trying to build up the confidence to not be. So, yeah, thanks for reading my Ted Talk. (I really hope this makes sense.)
Criticism can be so hard to take. I am also a perfectionist and completely feel the constant self-guessing.
My Rant (Hope you don't mind)
On Instagram, I’ve requested quite a few reviews, and the first review was like an 81/100, but what got me was the fact they told me I had no diversity when there were maybe 5 non-POC characters compared to like 20 POC characters, (especially them telling me I had no Asian characters when the LI is asian-american and two other characters are Philipino and Arab). But I couldn’t correct them or I’d be considered disrespectful. I did comment that . They also told me I have no LGBTQIA characters, wich also made me mad because only like 5 of the characters are cis-het.
THE SAME PERSON did a review weeks later by a different episode group, and they gave me a LOWER grade on my diversity despite me clearly stating my character’s ethnicities, sexualities, and pronouns. This feels so unessisary, I shouldn’t have had to do that, but also I couldn’t.
I also have asked people of certain ethnic groups to see if my episode characters look like the ethnic group they are part of- and that’s how I created the characters, so obviously I got frustrated when people still thought I had no diversity. I was kinda at a loss for things to do, after I voiced who the characters were and made sure they looked the part. And I hate that I had to use stereotypes or nobody would be able to tell.
That’s my little rant about how hard taking criticism. Especially when you don’t see what they do. I’m so sorry if I went off topic lmao-
I know it’s embarrassing, and sometimes no matter how hard you try people will still say things. And I’m glad you’ve met people to help you! Don’t be embarrassed, you got this
Ooh, I’ve felt the same way since 2020! I hope I can gain the confidence and stop being so hard on myself too so I can finally publish my story!
No, that’s perfectly fine, that must’ve been so frustrating for you, I’m so sorry. Thanks for replying and encouraging words though. Would love to read your story, if you could link it that’d be awesome. (I need some new stuff to read anyways XD)
I feel you. Hey, if it helps, you can publish it and link it to me when you’re done. (ONLY IF YOU WANT TO) I can give you a some feedback, don’t worry, I’m not harsh person or anything and I understand if you make any errors or anything in like coding and stuff COS I understand it, coding and getting things right is A STRUGGLE out here.
Maybe I’ll let you be a beta reader before I publish the first 10 or so episodes!
Okay, no problem
I’ve felt the same way and I felt discouraged to keep on writing after reading some opinions on what makes a good story. But what helped me a lot was to constantly remind myself that the majority of readers don’t use the forum and that the majority of readers who enjoy a story will silently enjoy reading it. You’ll never know they liked it.
Art and coding is so hard to get done in the first place it’s almost impossible to learn without criticizes though. And I get it, I’m a damn perfectionist too and it sucks. I’m here for ya girl. You need a shoulder to cry on? Gotchu. Need a mob to take down a hater? There for ya. Need a perfectly written story? I still suck too but I understand you boo!
I get super embarrassed about my stories, and i’m a major perfectionist too. Outside of episode, I uploaded a few stories i’ve written on the internet just to delete them like a couple hours later after obsessively ruminating about all the flaws in it
It helps going into writing with the expectation that you story is GONNA be horribly bad. There’s a lot of “bad” authors out there who published novels and many people have fallen in love with their work despite it. I strive to be like that.
I feel that honestly. I’ve never published, only put in all the work to later give up on it because I lost hope in myself. This time around is the first time I believe I’ll actually get anywhere with a story. Let’s all have hope for each other !! Goodluck!!
One hard pill to swallow is that you can’t please everyone.
some rant of my own
Majority of my readers, both solo and collab, are just story enjoyers and have nothing much to say, but my co-author for my collab had received some what I believe is complete BS of a review.
I don’t remember the details anymore since it was forever ago, but it goes along the line of “slow pacing” and “bad world building”.
Slow pacing? Seriously? How fast do you want a high school story to advance? Two episodes and we’re in Mars?
Bad world building? How the hell are we supposed to tell the story then? Do you really want us to dump information about everything right off the bat? Do you even read the story at all?
What fumed me so much was how she never gave any solid examples from the story that supports her criticism. I knew the speech bubble was off, a lot of reviewers gave me that same feedback, but not this one. Just “the story is bad”, no “how to improve” or whatsoever.
Because she couldn’t figure out what went wrong, my co-author struggled with that review for some time. I was confused at first too, but when I read what she wrote, I knew this is either a troll or doesn’t have a life. I don’t understand why she has to be mean, but I hope that wherever she is right now, she’s proud of herself.
There will be someone who hates your story regardless. Currently my solo project has 700 reads, however I believe there are 400 more that started my story but didn’t finish. My 1st episode has a completion rate of 26%, meaning 74 readers out of every 100 hated my story at first sight
Personally, I look up to the data to probably have an existential crisis not really, but just to understand how’s my story doing. I used to be that “not expecting much” type of author and keep doing my own stuff, coding, finding assets alike, then I started to become confident with my story. Not because I believe everyone would like my story, but because I know for one fact: this is my story, it’s the work of my heart and everything I put into it.
It did come from my readers and my co-author who checked out my story whilst I was busy coding. I just realized something back then: I didn’t write just so I can get admired by everyone.
You called me out.
Okay, for your rant, I feel this. Reviews can be so confusing. Like they’ll say that they’re disappointed that you don’t actually get to romance the LI when the story literally isn’t a romance, it’s a mystery. The LI is just a very important figure until a certain point, and I tell them that.
I’m not going to lie I have two long first chapters, but I did tell the readers and it’s because I want to get the story established because everything about my story, the concept, the genre, even, I completely made up. It takes establishing and good stories have backstories to them.
Currently I have 121 reads and 107 gems but the completion rate for episode 1 is 64%. I owe that for r4rs and reviews who have to read them.
The worst part? I just wrote chapter 5 and it is absolutely mind-blowing to me. Like I’m genuinely in love with chapter 5. It’s so cool. And nobody will get to that because I have a different format than other episodes.
I will try to read your story in spare time, istg it’s good, I’ve seen stuff on it
Seriously? From where? I wanna know
There are a few ways it’s different, one of them being the romance agenda doesn’t take place in the first 10 or so chapters. It’s not weird for regular novels to have slow burn or no romance at all in the beginning, but for an episode it’s rlly weird.
- Just around the forums
Mini-Rant on "diversity"
The whole diversity thing is always going to be nitpicked. You will probably never do enough and there’s always going to be people who are like “omg the mc is white- who cares that every other person is a POC with real personality, identities and cultural/religious references- the mc is still white so you clearly don’t want to represent POCs!”
Do I think there’s a lack of true diversity in stories? Of course.
Do I like seeing token characters added for the sake of calling a story diverse? No.
Do I think that people who want more representation should write their own story? Yes, I love reading stories through the eyes of other cultures/religions.
No matter how much effort you put into adding diverse casts, views, etc., someone will always say it’s not enough.
Ex: My first (and only) story on the app features a Dominican/Italian mixed MC, a Korean American best friend who isn’t a “yas queen let’s go clubbing” character, and a Mexican American sort-of LI.
Fanmail: why only limited CEC? You authors love excluding people of color. we do read also
Oh and the work-bestie and the CEO are both African American. and the bg characters are varying between POCs and a handful of white characters. I think only 2 white people had dialogue at all so and ALL of my other fanmail were Latinas/Latinos thanking me for putting their religion, language and culture into a story.
Do your best to add real diversity and remember to write your story the way you see it.
There will always be people who think you haven’t done enough, you haven’t added enough, etc. and they are entitled to their opinion.
I get it, it’s really hard to have the confidence to put your story out there and receive criticism. This is what I’ve learned: Write for you. Write a story YOU want to see.
You can’t stop people from being critical but you can choose how you react and accept/refuse that criticism. And my best advice is take the constructive critiques and really think about them before getting offended. When someone says " I like the story but your coding is a little sloppy". Take that as I should get more beta readers/proofreaders who will pay attention to my coding to find the frozen characters, odd breaks/transitions, sliding characters etc" and work more on developing your coding.
If someone says “omfg I hate everything you’re a terrible writer and your characters are hella ugly” either don’t respond or thank them for their opinion and wish them well. Those people are giving unhelpful, rude and obnoxious and shouldn’t occupy any space in your head.
You can’t know what’s going to happen until you put it out there. For my first story I told my beta/friend that I’d be happy to get to 100 reads because I didn’t think people would like a story with a lack of gangs, drinking, s*x, clubs, etc. But I bit the bullet, pressed the publish button and promoted my story all over the forums. My story ended up being on a shelf and has over 19K reads ( I moved on and stopped promoting it lol) but my fanmail for the most part (excluding the one example in my mini rant) was overwhelmingly supportive and kind.
Do YOUR best, write for YOU, and remember that we all have room for improvement I hope you do put your story out there and I hope that it is met with success Sometimes you just have to make yourself push through your worries and just do it
Tools for success:
Have several episodes done prior to release (so you can release on a schedule instead of rushing content.)
Get beta readers/ proofreaders a few weeks to a month before you release (gives you time to work on whatever they point out before publishing.)
Make a social media (a lot of people use instagram) dedicated to your writing where you can promote and interact with your readers).
Promote your story everywhere and on any thread asking for stories to read etc (if it fits the asked genre) and even if you get a 81/100 points in a review, they put your story out to a larger audience. Think about the reasons why you got a lower score and decide if you want to change or leave the “problem”. You don’t have to take every piece of advice, but it’s important to give them real consideration.
Even more ranting-
With the diversity, it gets so frusterating. My MC is a POC, her mom is African American and her dad is white. One LI is a white British man, one LI that’s a japanese-american man, and one LI that’s a pacific islander woman, but ik a lot of people will think she’s African American .(the girl hasn’t been introduced and won’t be for a bit for story purposes.)
I also have secret agents in my story because the MC is an agent. There is one white agent. One. Her husband, also an agent and seen more frequently, is filipino, there is a Samoan man and a African American person that are the main agents as well. 2 of them are men, and one of them is panromantic, one of them is gay. The other agent identifies as non-binary and has a wife. The morgue worker the agents work the most with is Arab.
The only other white characters, really, are the MC’s family members on her dad’s side of the family, wich is considerably bigger then her mom’s side, because now the only person on her mom’s side is her half sister, who is an asexual lesbian African American woman.
Ik a lot of that didn’t make sense but for some reason after telling this to someone who gave me a 2/10 for diversity (by reading the first chapter that barely has any characters), they gave me a whole different review on a different account, the SAME person, and still said my diversity was a 2/5. Wich is better. But still man, still.
Also, additionally, plus-sized diversity. I don’t have too many plus-sized characters. I have three of them that are significant-ish. Obviously there are lots of plus-sized background characters, but it’s not like i could make them agents, wich are the majority of the characters, because of the limited outfits for plus-sized characters. Justice for plus-sized clothing, please!
But i love when reviews help me with directing or grammar mistakes. Those kind of things i want to know about and fix.
My CC is limited, the player can’t choose the character’s skin colors, eye colors or hair colors and the only person they can put afro-textured hair on is Eva, the MC, because she’s the only customizable black character. People get so pressed that I don’t let them change skintone and stuff.
I’m so sorry I’m ranting sm on this forum about diversity lmao
I agree, there isn’t enough clothes and stuff for plus sized characters like, what’s up with that?
My reaction to this:
I’m sick of these types of statements. Seriously, it rolls my eyes to Mars.
If a story takes place in America, of course majority of the casts are gonna be white! If you want Asian-character dense story, maybe consider ones that take place in Seoul? New Delhi? Or even Manila if you want to.
Plus, there are probably a thousand ethnicities out there. I’m telling a story, not showcasing every type of person out there
Soo… Trying to stay in topic here, and here’s another tip: take a break. It gets exhausting to write and to keep up with reader demands, so just do things at your pace, and don’t force yourself into overdrive. You gotta be cool to be creative, at least, that works for me