Which Story Format?

You're ready to write your story. You have a great plot idea, or an exciting or fun topic,  and want to share it, so you click on "Write a New Story" and you're faced with some choices. 

You will see two boxes.  On the left - the default - you will see Add-Venture.  On the right is Linear.

Here are some things to help you decide which one you want.

Add-Venture.  The best way to use it

This is perfect for fiction stories for which you have an opening chapter planned, but could follow many different paths, and go in different directions.  Great for Fantasy, Adventure, Thrillers, and lots of other genres.  I would suggest having a look round and finding an AddVenture format story with lots of branches.  Start with the opening chapter, and follow one of the branches, carrying on until you reach the last branch in the sequence.  Then, go back to the first chapter again, and follow another branch.  It's fun.  The storyline will be entirely different in each sequence of branches.  You may find, if you have read ALL the branches in the story, that you can write a branch which you are able to link to a branch in another sequence.

For example:

Opening: John and Mary set off on a quest

Branch 1: a) John and Mary meet the Munchmonster - b) The Munchmonster eats Mary. c) John is heartbroken but carries on

Branch 2: a) John and Mary meet Dave, who joins them. b) Mary and Dave become best buddies.  c) Mary has a wild night of passion with Dave and the two run off together.

You could link branch 2c  back to Branch 1c - John is heartbroken but carries on.

See?  One set of branches does not need to have anything in common, story-wise, with any other, except for the initial opener, and its characters.  In fact, it's much more interesting if the different branches veer off down  different alleyways, because that way, your story can become three, or five, or fifty different ones!   One story which has used this format extremely well is "Along The Railroad Tracks", started by Accept_Chaos.  There are many other great AddVenture stories too.

Linear

The best thing about Linear Stories is that you have the ability to allow authors to choose their own chapter titles or not.  It means that the next person can surprise you with the direction they take you story, or you can hint at where you want it to go, with the title you tack on the end.  Of course, some people will surprise you anyway, by interpreting your nominated chapter title in an unexpected way.  I love it when this happens. 

The other thing about Linear Stories is that they are much easier to follow!

One more thing: If you do start either type of story where you have to choose the following chapter or branch title, try to avoid entitling branches or chapters  "next chapter" or "Branch one", "Branch two", etc. because, nine times out of ten, people will not add to it, and your story will die very quickly and join the purgatory state which is "Orphaned Stories".  Give a snappy, inviting, or intriguing chapter or branch title, or a good alternative is to write the next bit of dialogue.  Imagine one which would hook you.  Would you rather add to: "Branch Two"  or "The Purple People Eater Drove Off in the Red Fire Truck"?   Sorry - that's a bit of an "in-joke".  Stick around for a while and you'll eventually find out why...

The End

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