No feedback

Created: 2020-03-16 16:28

Last Modified: 2020-03-16 18:17

Well, I'm going to guess that judging by the number of downloads I've seen, and getting nothing back in the way of feedback, my writing or my storytelling style isn't wowing anyone. While every writer dreams of getting adoration and fan mail on the first go, I also know that getting good at something requires sucking at it first.

My first read through of the Iliad in Epub form was cringeworthy. I had typos. Some of the links didn't work on mobile versions of the book. And I had forgotten to back out an awful draft for the ending of Chapter 2. Or... even end Chapter 2 for that matter.

I was working under a self-imposed deadline of "RELEASE... RELEASE NOW." In hindsight, that was a mistake. Ok, in foresight that should also have been a mistake. I did learn quite a bit about the difficulties in posting ebooks online. And getting the word out. The fact I did have some downloads brings me some hope.

I'm not thrilled with the results of the Epub format. I find myself copying and pasting a lot of text to string together alternate story lines. And even then, I find my story branching possibilities are limited. I'd be better off just writing one good story, and telling it in novel format.

So, for my next exercise I will developing a simple branching story engine that can run on my website. Through all of my efforts I was dying to have some state.

For ePub I emulated a Choose-Your-Own adventure format. The story was a block of text, and at the end of the text I would offer the reader several links to follow. Those different links tell the story, but by taking the reader through a different part of the ship, or have them interact with a different set of characters. No matter which path you selected, you ended up at the same final chapter.

It was a first draft, and an effort to go through the process.

I ended up cutting an pasting a lot of text, and then reworking it to allow any of the branches to deliver the same basic facts. While that did wonders for my word count, I am not happy with the result.

The problem is that the chapters are entirely too long to make someone read and re-read multiple times. One approach would be to simply write each branch as a complete story, and thus a reader wouldn't have to read the other branches. But at the same time, why bother? If I want to tell the story through multiple viewpoints, just write the story from multiple viewpoints. And save on having to re-present the exposition over and over again.

And I would be in good company. Lord of the Rings is written in this style. Tom Clancy novels are often written in this style. They are third person narration, and I'd probably stick with first person narration and just clarify when we've switched heads. Which, again, is not unique. War of the Worlds is written in precisely this format. The narrator switches as the starting narrator shifts the conversation to the accounts of other individuals.

I would probably just shift the characters every chapter, and leave it up to the reader to understand ... "Oh wait... He is a She now, and is thinking and behaving completely differently." And, like everything in art, even this has been done. Usually badly.

Or... or I could re-look at an interactive story engine.