Oh boy. The first time I saw the Episode app, it was on Google Play as I was searching for games. The first story I read was Demi Lovato, and I seriously enjoyed it. The more I explored the app, I came across user stories, and this intrigued me. Writing on Episode is not the same as writing a story on a Word doc or Wattpad. It requires a lot of dialogue, and that is exactly the reason I wanted to start writing. I created a writing account and I didn’t check it for two months, but eventually, I had the courage to look for videos on how to direct stories. That’s when I came across Joseph Evans’s videos. I think a lot of writers start using his videos. He is very helpful.
After three weeks, I was ready to publish my story. I was so excited to share it but figured out while I was doing read for a read that my customization template was messed up and I needed to fix it. I decided right there and then, I needed to plan my story out first and figure out what I wanted each chapter to accomplish. This really helped me keep my plot going. The directing for me was super hard. I had to do it little by little, and to this day I don’t think I am a fabulous director or writer, but I have some knowledge of what to do, and I think the best way to learn is to keep trying.
It has been a bit over a year since I started writing on the Episode Interactive platform, and I came to realize there’re 5 things I wish I would have known before I started writing on Episode.
5 things I wish I knew before I started writing
- Reads: Oh my gosh reads. I need everyone who is thinking about writing on here to just take a second and think about why you want to write. If your answer is fame, please take a moment to come up with another goal. Getting reads is hard. You need to be persistent and always promote your story. Don’t be annoying about it, but try to post on at least one forum a day. Unless you’re super lucky or Episode notices you, getting 1000 reads in one week is hard. The first 1000 reads are exciting and every milestone you reach will encourage you to continue. I beg every author to stop obsessing over reads. I know everyone wants their hard work to be noticed and to be applauded but you have to notice that you come first. Write for you.
- Readers: I touched a bit about readers above, but yes. Some readers are not the nicest of individuals, but don’t let them discourage you. Keep writing for you and you will be pleased with the result. Some readers also feel the need to go beyond what is appropriate and suggest that you add or delete certain parts of your story, don’t give in. This is your story, write it how you planned it. That doesn’t mean don’t listen to your readers because you should. They are the ones supporting you but don’t make drastic changes to your plot, because you are forced. Change your plot only because you want to. Readers are also demanding as hell. They want chapter right away, but don’t let them intimidate you. This your hobby, make sure all your priorities are taken care of.
- Guidelines: The guidelines are very confusing and at times very hypocritical. One author can get away with something while others might not. The app censors a lot of things, so don’t expect to curse like a sailor and get away with it. You must also minimize sexual scenes. Very confusing, and I think paying attention to the guidelines is good. For example, they will approve some backgrounds and reject some while giving you little to zero explanation. I have seen stories with questionable plots such as “falling in love with my brother” “falling for my stepdad” and those stories that promote incest are completely acceptable while words like moan can get your story banned. It can very frustrating as an author, but rules are rules.
- Directing: Directing is the most frustrating for those who aren’t good with codes. It takes a long time to master, and I personally feel no one can truly master it. With new stuff coming out weekly, you must be adaptable and learn new codes. Again, if you keep writing you will get the hang of it, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Most of the people in the community are nice.
- Time: Writing an Episode story doesn’t take one hour. If you think writing takes time, watch how long it will take you to actually direct. It takes twice as long, and the readers don’t see it. Branching, choices, everything takes a lot of time, so make sure you have the time to take on this kind of project.
That’s all the tips I have for new writers. Writing on Episode can be fun, and the community is really sweet well for the most part anyway, but you need to make sure that this is what you really want. This isn’t just writing. A big part of Episode is the idea of “Show instead of tell“. This is very different from people who are used to writing on Wattpad or other writing sites. If writing is your passion, but you don’t like directing maybe wait until Spotlight is released. I encourage everyone to at least try writing on here. It is a very fun experience. Don’t get discouraged and keep writing for you. The reads will come on their own.
Remember to always have fun!