Bye Episode: It’s Been a Long Road

Episode Goodbye

So, some of you might already know that I’m no longer on the Episode Forums or the app. This was a sudden thing that I didn’t expect to happen at all and it was actually devastating to me. I lost access to all of my stories. They won’t let me write. I can’t speak on the forums. I can’t even read stories anymore! So I feel as though I need to clear up some misconceptions that I’ve seen floating around and tell my side of the story now that the dust has cleared and they’ve ignored my emails.

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been fighting for me for the past few days. I really appreciate that you’re keeping my memory on the forums alive and I sincerely hope that you won’t all forget about me. As much as I was blunt, opinionated and passionate, I was always willing to help everyone with their stories and I hope to continue doing so. It’s just going to happen in a different capacity now. So with all that in mind, I’ve decided to create an FAQ that will (hopefully) explain everything that happened, what I did and how I’m going to proceed from here. If you know anyone who’s confused, please send them this link to clear things up.

Read moreBye Episode: It’s Been a Long Road

Trans Women on Episode: The New Update

Trans Women on Episode Update - Episode Logo on Trans Flag

Last Thursday, Episode introduced a new update that allows us to create trans women using the binary male body type. That’s great news for a lot of people out there for many reasons! As well as giving us more freedom to represent trans women, Episode has also given us the ability to represent drag queens, nonbinary people and cis men who like to wear “feminine” clothing. This is a massive leap forward, in my eyes! But with all of this progress, I think it’s time that we sat down to talk about how to represent trans women on Episode the right way.

Now, I’m just a cis woman. I’m not an authority on trans representation or how it feels to be a trans person. I’m just an ally with a little bit of influence and a lot of hope for this new update. I am, by no means, trying to speak over any of the trans people out there who want to comment on the issue. However, as a cis woman, I can see and understand the mistakes that cis people make when trying to represent trans women on Episode. I made many of them myself once upon a time! I probably still make many now. All we can do is learn and grow. Make sure you listen to as many trans people as you can on the issue. Use me as a starting point. Don’t just stick to cis people like me.

I’m also choosing to stick to trans women in this post. That’s because I hope there’s another update in the future aimed at representation for trans men! So with that in mind, let’s jump right in. Here are some of the things that I think need to be said about the new update.

Read moreTrans Women on Episode: The New Update

How to Write LGBTQ Characters Well

LGBTQ Pride - How to Write LGBTQ Characters Well

With this weekend being the start of Pride month, I think it’s a great idea to talk about how we can write our LGBTQ characters well. 2019 is a great time to broaden your horizons and write about a new group of people. There have been talks about representation and how we can write good minority characters! That means that there are more resources for you to look at than ever before! The LGBTQ community always needs allies to help them get their voice heard!

But let’s be honest: writing LGBTQ characters can be a daunting task. As with any other kind of minority group, it seems like people are judging your characters more! Plus the LGBTQ community makes a big deal out of representation, right? You might want to do things right, but it can feel like everyone’s working against you. I get that! But it doesn’t have to be like that! You don’t have to be so stressed. LGBTQ people don’t need to be so different from straight, cis people, really. You just have to make sure that you put some thought and care into how you present them and the messages you give off.

That still sounds scary, right? Well, don’t worry! I’m here to help you! I’m starting a whole series of posts to guide you through making your LGBTQ characters awesome! You won’t feel so lost by the end! Here is a great guide to writing LGBTQ characters well.

Read moreHow to Write LGBTQ Characters Well

Things All New Episode Writers Should Know

Things All New Episode Writers Should Know

So you’re a new Episode writer? Awesome! Episode is a great platform to start writing on. You have the chance to build your audience and show them your story in a fun, visual way that could hook anyone. But there are many things you need to know as an Episode writer. You seem it’s not all fun and games. Well, it’s mostly fun and games, but it’s going to take you a lot of hard work. Writing for Episode is a challenge! You’re going to have to develop a whole range of skills to do well on the app.

So I’ve put together a list of things I wish I had known when I chose to become an Episode writer. They might seem quite scary at first, but don’t worry! You don’t need to learn all of these off by heart before you so much as type a word on the portal. Of course not! It’s just a good idea to have some of the big things in your mind so that you don’t spend a lot of very confused months wondering how you’re even supposed to do this Episode thing. So just keep these things in mind when you start. Keep coming back to this list if it will help you! Bookmark it! Just make sure that you have a good idea of what it means to be an Episode author and you’ll be off to a great start!

Read moreThings All New Episode Writers Should Know

How to Use The Narrator in Interactive Stories

Narrator Focuses the Story

Whether you’re writing on Episode, Chapters or Tap by Wattpad, the chances are that you’re going to need to use a narrator at some point in the story. In fact, they can be one of the most important parts of the writing process! They’re definitely a character in their own right! So it’s important to know how to use them well. Your reader is going to be spending a lot of time with them, after all! It would be silly not to put some thought into how you’re writing that all-important character and whether there could be a better way to go about it.

But after all the time I spent and Google searches I did for this blog post, I can safely say that there’s not a lot out there to help you figure out how to make your narrator work. People speak about how they’re used in books and the different types you can have, but very few dedicate their time to explaining how to go about making each one work. Especially on apps like Episode! Interactive stories are so new as mediums that it’s very hard to find much info on how to write well at all.

That’s where I come in. As an Episode and Chapters author myself, I’ve spent a lot of my time experimenting to find out what works and what doesn’t. So keep reading and I’ll let you in on what works, what doesn’t and how you can choose the best narrator for your story.

Read moreHow to Use The Narrator in Interactive Stories

Diversity: Changing Your Language Helps Your Story

You Can Improve Your Diversity by Changing Your Language

If you’re like me, you might have spent a lot of your time wondering how you can make your stories more diverse. Sometimes the task might seem so impossible! There are so many things that you have to think about in order to make people happy with your story that it might seem like it will never happen. Believe me, I get it! But there are small things that you can do to make diversity that much easier for you. One of them that I thought of recently was changing the language we use when we’re speaking about diversity. You see, language can help us change our attitudes about certain things. If we shift the way that we speak about diversity, we can change the way to think about it and treat it in our stories. That’s going to help us so much!

No, I’m not here to police you or tell you to stop using the words you want to. This isn’t about forcing you to speak about diversity in a certain way. Sure, language can help us to change and grow as writers, especially when it comes to diversity. That doesn’t mean someone’s bad or wrong if they don’t use language in this way, though. We shouldn’t shame people who are trying! This is about helping yourself, not hating others. If you use language in a productive way, people will (hopefully) understand and respond to the way you see diversity and we can have helpful talks about how we can grow and improve as writers.

So stick around! Here are my suggestions on how you can change up your language to make your diversity come more naturally to you. If we can change the way people think about diversity, we can make the discussion a healthy one!

Read moreDiversity: Changing Your Language Helps Your Story

How to Make Your Bad Boys Good Characters

How to Make Your Bad Boys Good Characters - Bad Boy Cover

As much as I’d love to say “throw them all out and have some more rounded characters”, I have to admit that bad boys have an appeal with readers that we just can’t ignore. Some people like mystery! And most bad boys, at the very least, pretend to be mysterious. They’re tough and broody, which intrigues so many of the young fangirls out there. They’re also really easy to write! I mean, you barely need to think about their character. The trope does all the work for you!

But that doesn’t mean you should let the trope do all the work. You see, most bad boys are lazy characters. They’re thrown together because the writer knows they’ll do well whether they’re developed or not. And many fans will come flocking, ready to defend the bad boy and his actions to the ends of the earth. But you don’t need to be like that! Bad boys may give you easy reads, but you don’t need to make them simple, 2D characters! One of the biggest problems with bad boys is how they’re handled. They don’t often grow or change. No one calls them out for their actions. Worst of all, they give the main character (MC) so much emotional abuse that goes unchecked. Not the nicest thing to promote in the world. So we should challenge it!

But how can we start doing that? Well, stick around and I’ll show you how to turn your bland boys into complex characters.

Side note: I’ll be using “him” to talk about the bad boy and “her” to talk about the MC just to keep things simple. However, this could be swapped. There can also be a bad boy/girl and nonbinary people in LGBTQ stories.

Read moreHow to Make Your Bad Boys Good Characters

The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Great Plot

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Great Plots

All stories need a great plot. The plot and the characters make the story, so they’re two things that you need to get right. There’s no way that you can have a good story without them! If your characters are bad, then it doesn’t matter how good your plot is. You won’t have anyone there to pull it off well enough. If the plot isn’t the best, then your amazing characters will have nothing interesting to do. So there’s a lot to think about in your writing! How do you know that you’re doing both right? And what even makes a good character or plot, anyway?

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Great Plots

Well, let’s have a look at plots, then. There’s so much that goes into making a great plot! It can seem quite overwhelming if I’m honest with you! You need to think about beginnings, middles and ends and everything in between. What makes the end of a plot good, anyway? And how do you even begin to tie them together? There are so many questions that you’re almost expected to know the answers to already.

Well, I’m here to tell you that there’s nothing wrong with not knowing the answers yet. That’s where I come in! I’ll break the story down bit by bit, so you can have a real look at the most important things to consider in your plot. I’ll break the big plot question into short bite-sized chunks so that you can digest it all easier. So sit back and relax! It might seem like too much, but we’ve got this!

Read moreThe Ultimate Guide to Writing a Great Plot

What Sells on Episode?

If you tap into the romance genre, you can sell as well as Episode

If you want to write something that will get lots of views, you’re not alone. Yes, some people might call it selling out, but I beg to differ! It is fair enough if you spend time thinking about your readers and what you can do to make them happy. After all, who wouldn’t want to get reads for all of their hard work? So all of you authors probably want to know what sells on Episode. I mean, there’s no harm in knowing! Even if you decide that making popular stories isn’t for you, it is great to know your competition.

To be honest, I don’t even see it as selling out if you add a few tropes that you know will get attention. You just need to make sure that you care more about making a story you love. It’s only selling out if you let your money-making needs take over the plot and quality of what you make. It’s all about taking some of the story points that sell and making something new and unique that hasn’t been done before. I’ve spoken about “the same, but different” in my post on writing Episode stories, and this is the best way to do it. Make stories that people will recognise, but make them new and fresh!

So sit back and relax. It doesn’t matter if you end up using these selling points or not! Knowing the things that sell helps you to use them and avoid them. If you’re keen on building your audience, you could start with a story full of cliches, then move onto something more you once you have loyal readers. You can always learn something from the popular stuff in stories if you keep your eyes open.

Read moreWhat Sells on Episode?

How To Write Diversity Well

Diversity can be a really hard thing to add to your story. It’s stressful! If you’re anything like me a few years ago, you’re worried that you’ll do it all wrong and people will hate your story. Or maybe they’ll even hate you! When you say this to other people, they might shrug you off and claim you’re being silly, but your concerns are 100% fair. I’m here to tell you that it’s normal to worry about diversity. In fact, with the way people on the internet can act sometimes, I’d be surprised if you weren’t scared!

But you don’t really have anything to worry about. Diversity has become this big, scary word, but what we mean by it is pretty simple. I think it’s a pretty bad term because it makes it seem like minorities need to be added to a story. It makes minorities seem weird or other, which is the exact opposite of what diversity should be doing. It’s about connecting people, not making them feel further apart! So many many people bite their nails about representation that it makes me feel like we’ve gone about this in the wrong way. Until we come up with something better, though, we’re stuck with what we’ve got.

It’s about time that someone gives you some proper, easy-to-follow tips on how to make your casts diverse. That’s what I’m going to try my best to do! So sit tight and relax. It’s a lot easier than you’d think!

Read moreHow To Write Diversity Well

Episode Writers: How to Get Story Reads

On Episode, promoting your story is a lot harder than it seems. Episode doesn’t do much to help their less known authors, so it’s down to us to make sure that we spread the word. That’s fine! At least it means we’re all in the same boat. But then how do some authors get so big while some amazing stories get lost in the shadows?

There are thousands of stories on Episode and it’s your job to stand out among the crowd. Woah. Crazy, right? No wonder there are so many amazing stories that never get the reads they should! How is one person supposed to stand out in a crowd of thousands when they have no help at all? Well, I’m here to tell you that it is possible. It will take you some work, but if you’re passionate about seeing the results, you can do it.

While I can’t promise you that I will make you popular, I can say that these are the best strategies for getting there. It’s all down to you and your story if they work. Stick around and I’ll introduce you to the Episode beast and show you how you can slay it for good.

Read moreEpisode Writers: How to Get Story Reads

How To Start Writing Episode Stories

So you’re new to the whole Episode writing thing, huh? Awesome! Writing for Episode can be a great experience if you do it well. It is also really confusing when you first start, though. Despite the hundreds of Google Docs that Episode gives us, knowing where to start can be one of the hardest parts of writing for the app. They really throw you in the deep end, don’t they? You have to learn to code, write a story and build up your own audience. It’s enough to make anyone stop!

But don’t quit yet! We’ve all been there. We all know what it’s like to stress about the coding and get it all wrong. I remember when I started, I couldn’t figure out how to code in dress choices and it stressed me out so much! I ended up abandoning my story for about 6 months — and that’s where it stands right now. My first story is a sad little mess that hasn’t been opened since 2016. It was stressful, but it was a learning curve, too.

So now here I am with 210k reads — a respectable number — and packed with advice that I wish people had given me. Follow these steps and you’ll have a lot better time as a newbie writer than a lot of the people who came before you.

Read moreHow To Start Writing Episode Stories

To CC or Not to CC: The Middle Ground

Recently, I wrote a post about when and how to use CC in your stories. It was really well-received, but many people on the forums were left with a question: are there really only two options? Is it really bad to have stories that use CC where the MC has a very distinct personality? Is there a way to give people the custom options they want and keep your image? Of course! While my initial post is a really good starting point, there are other ways that you can use CC in your stories to keep your readers happy.

There is a middle ground. In fact, there are many different ways that you can reach a compromise between what you want and what your readers want. You aren’t stuck with the reader character or the original character! However, these choices are a lot more difficult to get right. So, it is crucial that you have a good understanding of what CC is good for.

I will be giving you options to use throughout this post. If you haven’t already checked out the first post in this series, I suggest you do that now, though. It’s full of helpful tips on how to keep your readers happy, and what people look for in stories.

Read moreTo CC or Not to CC: The Middle Ground

How To Use Gem Choices Well

Gem choices have always gained a lot of criticism, and I know why! I was one of the people who hated the idea when they put them in featured stories, and you can bet that I was angry when they were added to community stories. It was a real worry to me that people would overuse them or use them badly. I thought they’d be treated as a way to get into the Writer’s Payments section as soon as possible and screw over the reader. I didn’t think that community writers could handle it.

Well, I can be wrong. I was definitely wrong about this one! In fact, it turns out that the Episode team sucks at using gem choices, while loads of the community authors use them well. Typical Episode. They teach one thing and preach another! So I’ve changed my mind about gem choices after seeing them used well in stories like The Infected. Lots of authors are using them well, and I really can’t complain.

There is still the chance that you could abuse gem choices, though. If you’re using them as a means to an end (to get into the Writer’s Payments), the chances are that you’re using them wrong. If you think about them and use them with care, there’s no reason why they can’t be a great bonus to your story! So sit back and I’ll give you some ways to use them well!

Read moreHow To Use Gem Choices Well

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