Photo by Andrea P. Coan

Published on 25 May, 2020 by Kyla R.

So… This has been requested a whole bunch. Not only through direct messages but basically four times every Instagram live I do. So I thought it was best to make a list of my tips so that I could send everyone who asked to this post. Let’s get started!

Don’t Compare Yourself, At Least Not Too Much

This is harder said than done. We all do it whether we want to or not. And I’m in no way saying you shouldn’t compare yourself to other people at all. Sometimes, that’s what gives you an extra push. If you realize someone else has more reads and started at the same time as you, see what they’re doing that you aren’t. See if you want to do that same thing! And if not, stick to what you’re doing and you’ll improve to that level in no time.

Remember that even if someone started at the same time as you, they may have had more practice, focus on a different genre, posted more often, posted in chunks, etc. There are so many reasons that make certain people more popular because all of us are different. Even if you copied someone’s exact update schedule and did everything in a similar manner, it doesn’t guarantee you anything.

This is one of the reasons why I don’t celebrate many milestones. For me, hitting one million was crazy. It took a really long time and was really slow after 600,000. And then in no time, I hit 2 million, and then 2.5 million. It goes up all the time too. And I’m not saying this to brag and I don’t hide it to “be humble,” but rather I don’t mention it so that people can like me for me or a story, not the fact that I have “lots of reads”. Even when people say that I do, I remember how many others have that amount and even more. While I am extremely fortunate and have more reads than many, I’m not the best, and I will always acknowledge that!

Practice, Practice, Practice

Remember to be kind to critics. I haven’t always been the best with this one. Not necessarily because I disagree with things they say, but because some people say it so rudely. So try to stick with the type of author you wish to be when you get criticism.

I know that so many people bring up the importance of practice in basically everything, but it’s especially relevant for writing in the Episode community! The portal is challenging to use, the coding is difficult to get the hang of, and finding backgrounds, customization, and all that jazz is even more irritating. There’s a lot more to writing an Episode story that many people don’t understand. If you are lucky enough to be part of the payment program one day, the money is nice, but the hours that it took to get there were not all sunshine and rainbows, I promise.

Invest in Your Story/Career

One thing I always mention to new authors is being willing to invest in your stories. Whether that be art for your cover, working on updating your social media, whatever. In particular, I always recommend saving money so that you’re able to buy a decent cover for you story. You can get some for free from artists you may not like as much or just an edit as well. I’m not saying these are bad, because they aren’t. But I myself didn’t like the art I was seeing when it came to free art. And it’s extra unlikely someone skilled will give you art for free, especially if you don’t have a following or monetary incentive.

My advice is slightly discouraging for those younger authors. I get why, but it doesn’t change my advice! I am here to tell you guys the truth. You need to be eighteen (I believe) to be part of the payment program. If you don’t have a bank account, debit card, or a job, I’m not sure if this is for you. When I was sixteen, I already had all three of these things. So when I was eighteen and first started writing on Episode, I was able to make an investment in my future as a writer and I will always stand behind it. There are many authors on Episode that didn’t stick around long enough to get the reads they wanted, and I don’t want that to be you.

Make Your Brand

How do you want to be recognized? There are many authors known for so many different things, and you need to keep this in mind when starting. Do you want to be the author who hates on other authors? The one who only writes stories about pregnant teenagers? Only romantic comedies? This is your choice! And it’s important that you keep it in mind.

This is where Instagram plays a large role. Being friends (and finding friends) in the community not only makes being in the community more fun, but also allows you to network quite a bit. It’s likely that your friends will try to read your story and share it, just like you would hopefully do for those friends. And the more shares your story gets, the more likely people will read it! Readers love recommendations from authors and other readers.

Hate is Everywhere

Note: The top one is for sure one of my rudest and most irritating fanmail. If something like this spread (just a btw) it would be considered libel!

It’s true. Especially if you’re younger, and even if you’re not, if you aren’t good with handling hate and criticism (whether warranted or not) then this career/hobby may not be it for you. It takes some getting used to, but I was lucky enough to write on Wattpad and a site named Quotev far before Episode. I was accustomed to hate mail and responding to it (if necessarily) or ignoring it. I don’t want to recommend that you write in the Episode community if you don’t think you can handle it, because even though who think they can, can’t handle it very well (including me).

I want you to know what you’re getting into and prepare for it. For example, short chapters or writing about basically anything. You can and likely will get backlash (especially as your story gets higher and more popular in the ranks) for anything and everything. Just be prepared! But don’t let it discourage you either. 🙂

Also! Check out my Ko-Fi link on the welcome page or HERE! I have opened up donations for those of you able and willing to donate. I’m a regular university student taking on a good amount of debt, so truly anything helps!

Remember, if you ever have any questions and requests, feel free to send me a DM on Instagram or leave a comment down below. If you have requests, follow my Instagram and submit it when I ask for requests on my story!  Not all my article posts are to be Episode Interactive related.

As always, I recommend all of Joseph Evan’s tutorials and DaraMarie’s templates for starting help. As I always mention, the forums are your best friend! Unless your question specifically asks for help regarding this article, please do not contact me about it!

Published on 20 April 2020 by Kyla R.

Keep in mind that I do not own the Episode Interactive portal and the screenshots, while my own personal work, are not necessarily my property. They are used for educational purposes only.

Hey everyone! This week’s top request was the point system! This will be a bit of a short post, but remember that I’m always here to help if you want to send in a message or comment below.

Remember that no one just hopped onto Episode and got the hang of this! I have only just recently become acquainted with the point system, and I don’t typically use gains. The point system is similar to gains and can, in a way, be used as a substitute, which I will explain later in another post where I talk about gains! Now, let’s get started!

What is the Point System?

Long story short, the point system is a system inside of the episode interactive portal that pulls on a set number of points that you, as the author, decide on through choices and such! Ever wondered how you got points with your favorite love interest or supposedly got “points” for different actions?

Fun fact, this was originally to be better implemented in Filthy Royals. I decided against it because many of my readers were taken aback when I said they would not choose their ending love interest. If you have read Filthy Royals, an example of this system was when you were told if you were a good queen or not by the people in season 2. Based on your previous actions (which I sneakily did not mention were using the system), you were told a specific outcome.

Why would I want to use the Point System?

Lots of readers enjoy more complex coding and not necessarily always advanced directing. A point system allows for a better-customized feel for your readers as their own choices make a difference.

Using it or not, of course, is your choice. Lots of stories do not use this system or the gains system, but it does help your story get something extra cool in it!

How is this System like Gains?

Most simply before actually discussing the code, the coding between the coding system remembers the reader’s choices in a remarkably similar fashion to the point system, just without needing an individual character that the points are attached to.
I personally make characters with names that I don’t even use, such as “ALEXANDERSHEALTH” instead of making gains, but gains are an extra step more natural.

How do I Implement this System Initially?

First, you will need characters that exist in your story. Feel free to make new ones so long as they don’t give you any coding error codes.

Below are the general templates for the point system with the name YOU.

@YOU =0
@YOU =1
@YOU +1
@YOU -1

The templates above show ways of either adding points or already setting points. All numbers such as 1 and 0 can be changed to any number, positive or negative! Within a certain choice that you decide on, you will need to add in the code needed to add the points to the system (on its own line as well).

How do I Pull on the Point System for More Interactivity?

Now that you know how to add points… Now what? Now you can recall the points! There’s a reason we implemented the system… Right? If you’re smart (unlike me initially), you will keep a note of how many points you made possible for each character. This will be necessary if you ever decide to put coding at the end of your chapters to let people know how many points they have!

If you want to use your points, you will need to use if-then format! Let’s say you want to have the reader obtain a prize if they obtained over 4 points. How would you use the point system for this? Easy! But be careful and be specific.

CHARACTER>1 means only if they have over 1 point. The same goes for CHARACTER<1, meaning only under 1 point. CHARACTER=1 means they have exactly 1 point. Be careful with your coding and try it out yourself before hitting publish! Now, back to the example!

if (YOU>4) {
Congratulations, you get a prize!
} else {
You didn’t get the prize!

OR if you want it to lead to a certain label…

if (YOU>4) {
goto WINS
} else {
goto LOSES

In this case, we can make individual points to let them know how many points they have. Let’s say you’ve only offered 3 points up to that point in the story.

if (YOU=0) {
You have zero points.
} elif (YOU=1) {
You have one point.
} elif (YOU=2) {
You have two points.
} elif (YOU=3) {
You have three points.

That’s how you would show the number of points they have amassed!

An example of how I used the point system myself is shown below, with more points being added to Liliac after being told you were good or bad!

Note: When authors put “Calculating Points…” this is a manual addition! Points are always in the system, and this is actually just a cute preference to let people know that they’re about to be told their points or to raise suspicion!

Remember, if you ever have any questions and requests, feel free to send me a DM on Instagram or leave a comment down below. If you have requests, follow my Instagram and submit it when I ask for requests on my story!  Not all my article posts are to be Episode Interactive related.

As always, I recommend all of Joseph Evan’s tutorials and DaraMarie’s templates for starting help. As I always mention, the forums are your best friend! Read more about gains and the point system if you’re still confused.  Unless your question specifically asks for help regarding this article, please do not contact me about it!

Published on 6 April 2020 by Kyla R.

Keep in mind that I do not own the Episode Interactive portal and the screenshots, while my own personal work, are not necessarily my property. They are used for educational purposes only.

Hey everyone! My first request for Episode Interactive help series was to explain how to use overlays and what they are! So here we go!

What are overlays?

Overlays work somewhat like characters in the way that they can cover other characters and overlays and must be added into a scene! You can either provide your own through the episode portal.

How do I pick out overlays?

Episode already has a large variety to choose from when it comes to both backgrounds and overlays, even though it’s something not exactly what you were looking for. All you need to do is log onto the episode interactive portal, hit “Art Catalog” and then “Overlays.” That’s it! You can search for specific overlays if you are searching for something specific, otherwise you can look through them all! Tags are also available for organization purposes.

Can I get/choose my own?

To provide your own personal overlay, be sure that it has no background (if that’s what’s desired). Just go to the art catalog, overlays, and then uploaded to your account.

From here, you will have the image below shown.

From here, you can hit the blue “Select Image” button and choose the overlay from your computer! I recommend having PDFs or PNGs because jpgs and jpegs do not work for the upload. “Your image must be PNG and below 1MB.” You can, however, change the type of file through converters online as well as the size if necessary!

The size, once already appeared on your screen doesn’t matter since you can scale it up or down in the actual portal. Just be sure it looks like you wanted it to! All you need to do from there is name it something, check the box that says you agree that the content is original to you (there cannot be any names or labels or else it will be denied!) and hit the red upload button! That’s it!

Okay but…how do I introduce them in my story?

Don’t fret! This is basically the easiest part…once you get used to coding. So listen carefully and always troubleshoot before asking questions! In this example, I will be showing a screenshot image of my own work. Below is a screenshot of my simple intro before every episode with the use of a cover background and overlays.

Key Notes: The only overlay I am using in this code is the one labeled “FILTHYROYALSNEW”. INT.NEWCOVER3 is simply a background.

You can introduce an overlay in several ways. First, I will go over the way I typically do it.

My way: When you are starting a scene that will be utilizing overlays, add it in the form of INT./EXT. BACKGROUNDNAME with OVERLAYNAME

An example of this is shown in the image above where it says “INT.NEWCOVER3 with FILTHYROYALSNEW” where FILTHYROYALSNEW is the overlay name and INT.NEWCOVER3 is my background name.

Another way: At any point of your coding simply write in the template of “@overlay OVERLAYNAME create” that’s it! Your overlay is now set in the scene.

Great! Now it’s introduced. Let’s continue onto the fun stuff!

What’s Opacity?

Opacity is the transparency of your overlay. Want it barely visible? You want your value closer to 0. Completely visible? You want the value at 1. The opacity scale ranges from 0-1. That’s it!

When I write in my overlays, I typically want them to already be set in the scene at full opacity or I will introduce them later. If I decide to introduce them later, I typically code @overlay OVERLAYNAME opacity 0 in 0, which tells the coding mechanism to make sure the overlay is invisible from the second it appears in the background. This is shown in my screenshot at &overlay FILTHYROYALSNEW opacity 0 in 0.

If you want the overlay to fade in from seemingly “nothing,” you may code @overlay OVERLAYNAME opacity 1 in 3, which will show up as the overlay fading in from nothing to the full opacity in 3 seconds. You can do the same for fade away as @overlay OVERLAYNAME opacity 0 in 3.

What about if I want to change the size? Where is it?

Want to change the size of your overlay? Is it too large or too small? My best tip is to use and utilize your preview screen to its maximum potential. The preview screen can be brought up by clicking on the “Preview” orange/yellow button on the top right of any episode chapter you open up, given that it has no errors.

See that “@overlay FILTHYROYALSNEW shifts to x y in zone 1”? Ignore all those funky numbers before my overlay name, it’s just due to the preview!

After selecting preview, your screen should appear. What now? On the right side you have several “buttons.” Click on spot directing! Next, be sure that you are focusing on the overlay by pressing “change overlay.” Below the preview screen, there should be some coding you are able to copy below, which should say your overlay name!

After this, the left bottom will have many different buttons. In regards to scaling, the top button from the bottom left should say Switch Tool: Move. This will be shown when you are scaling things. You can drag and drop on your actual overlay in this case, which for me was this table! It will get smaller and larger depending on which way you move your mouse.

Similarly, tap on the switch tool button and click it. It should now display, Switch Tool: Scale. Move your overlay around with your mouse!

Note: Be careful and be sure that your overlay is in the correct zone that you want it to be. If not, you may not see it and may have to watch the coding given under your preview screen to find it. Make sure that your characters are behind or in front of the layer you have placed your overlay in as well, as this will affect your scenes.

Remember, if you ever have any questions and requests, feel free to send me a DM on Instagram or leave a comment down below. Not all my article posts are to be Episode Interactive related.

As always, I recommend all of Joseph Evan’s tutorials and DaraMarie’s templates for starting help. Unless your question specifically asks for help regarding this article, please do not contact me about it!

Published on 22 December, 2019 by Kyla R.

So you’ve heard the term “Interactive Writer” thrown around some people’s LinkedIn profiles and resumes. But what exactly is an interactive writer, and is it for you? In this post today, I am going to discuss a particular app in the appstore that is called Episode Interactive, and what it is like writing on it.

Interactive writing refers to writing that is unlike traditional writing. There are several components that are similar in both traditional and interactive writing, but just because you are experienced in novel writing, does not mean interactive writing is a fit for you and vice-versa.

  1. Judging a book by its cover.
  2. Descriptions aren’t always necessary.
  3. Visualization and directing is key.
  4. Implementation of choices.
  5. Social Media interaction.
  6. Know your audience.
  7. #Trending.

“Aspiring authors, get this through your head. Cover art serves one purpose, and one purpose only, to get potential customers interested long enough to pick up the book to read the back cover blurb. In the internet age that means the thumbnail image needs to be interesting enough to click on. That’s what covers are for.”

Larry Correia

Judging a book by its cover. Don’t lie to me. We’ve all done it. We might not admit it, but we’ve done it. It’s just like what I do when I go clothes shopping. I know what I’m looking for. If something doesn’t catch my eye, I don’t spend another second looking at it. So why would I do any different when it comes to book covers?

On an interactive app, the majority of your audience will be young females, typically very young. They don’t care enough to read the description of your story if you don’t put enough effort in obtaining a nice cover. This is why even when I began writing, my covers were my largest investment. I was no longer willing to edit my own with copyrighted photographs… it was time for the big leagues. And it paid off.

Descriptions aren’t always necessary. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not referring to story descriptions. Those on the other hand— completely necessary. What I mean is in chapter descriptions. When writing novels or short stories, you learn the importance of describing scenes and not only focusing on dialogue. Due to the major part of interactive apps being the inclusion of actual backgrounds, in chapter descriptions are no longer as important. Sometimes, you want to include them, especially in intimate scenes, but not always.

Audiences are young and enjoy stories that are descriptive enough, but not so much description that it’s boring. Keep this in mind!

Visualization and directing is key. Going off of the previous point, descriptions aren’t so important. Now, what is? An incredible plot line with an emphasis on visualization and directing. Donacode is the coding that is used in the writing portal for Episode Interactive Community writers. It’s easy to catch on to, but not easy to master. Those who have been writing with episode for a while have caught onto the tricks and treat it as a second language. Others, don’t see the importance of above-par directing and background choices.

Readers enjoy a professional look when it comes to directing, and it’s obvious to spot a newcomer from seasoned writers. I spent some time reviewing newer stories in my own review book club, and oftentimes, I noted that practice in directing was definitely needed. Spending time learning donacode is worth it in the end.

Implementation of choices. The main focus on applications such as Episode Interactive is “Choose Your Own Adventure.” Writers take this seriously, and it pays off. Having a storyline where choices matter is even better. Some authors make the mistake of writing their stories for themselves. While this seems like a good idea, it may not help your story reach higher ranks. So having no choices and sticking to your original plot line may not win you brownie points with the community.

In such a competitive community such as Episode’s, you want to strive to write like the best. Episode claims that over 2.5 billion episodes have been played to this date and the community holds over 5.5 million creators. Now that’s what I call competition!

“Social media is not a media. The key is to listen, engage, and build relationships.”

David Alston

Social Media Interaction. I myself have found that free marketing is the best marketing. At least this is true for a college student like myself who doesn’t have the money to pay for a real marketing manager for my small episode writing startup. In regard to writers who link to to their social media via the Episode app, almost all link to an Instagram account.

Instagram holds a ginormous Episode community. From authors, readers, reviewers, and editors, the list could go on for ages. This community is a great way to speak word of your story and works. But be careful! Cold messaging authors, especially larger ones, with a link to your story may not end well and may end up in you being blocked.

Know your audience. The community not only holds young female teenagers who enjoy reading stories, but also adult women who write for a profit. And this app doesn’t only apply to females! Although the audience is primarily female, many authors pride themselves in writing a male main character or giving a male choice in many stories.

Some individuals in the community pride themselves on being different and writing in genres that aren’t as popular on the application such as Mystery, Horror, or Comedy. But not as popular does not constitute as not popular. There are many authors with millions of views who focus in the different genres. Some say it’s actually easier to start off in one of these abstract genres as the popular ones such as Romance and Drama are hard to trend in!

#Trending. Trending is where it’s at on these interactive apps. Not only is it preferred by most readers that you update in chunks of at least two chapters at a time, but the algorithms on the app will actually help you in the trending category and in the trending category for your story’s particular genre. The more people that read your story chapters and finish, the higher your rank will go. This is what you want to aim for.

I have only been an interactive writer for a year this January, but during this time, I’ve learned an immense amount about Episode’s social media community and how to succeed on the app. Have you read or written on Episode before? How do my tips compare to your experiences?

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