One and Three-Eighths

The following post is a short story intended to work through a concept I thought of for a character that will appear in a potential sequel to my current WIP. I’m not 100% sure at this point if I’ll do a sequel, though I am leaning that way. And the character that I want to play around with this technique with isn’t in the current WIP. So this is more of a me trying things out story than anything else. It might be good. It might not. But I want the idea on paper, so to speak.


It was serendipity, really. That song popping up when it did. I hadn’t been thinking about the song…about you. Not recently at least. Sure, you’d crossed my mind that day. You always do. I’d even talked to you. But right when things seemed their bleakest, you were there for me in musical spirit.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had anything serious. Or even serious enough to consider calling it serious. I hate how there are labels that need put to things. Boyfriend this. Girlfriend that. I just want it to be what it is sometimes. You know?

You can’t hear this. I mean, I could come tell you all of this. It wouldn’t be that hard. Through the main lobby, down the east hallway, then you’re the third door on the left. I’ve been there enough. It’s not that hard to remember, though it’s not like you’ve had many visitors to test that theory. I wonder where your mom and dad are. I hope your dad’s doing alright. You’ve always talked so fondly of him.

No. You can’t hear it. Not yet. I’m not ready. You’re not ready. And that’s the most critical piece of this. I can be ready for as long as I need to be. I can be ready to tell you for the rest of your life. But if you’re not ready, it’s all for nothing. And you’re too important for this all to be for nothing.

My sister says I can’t screw this up. Not again. I mean, it’d be the first time screwing things up with you. I don’t even want to think about that.

There’s a plan. And it’s a good plan. I know it is. She’s always been a good planner. And this will save everyone and everything. There’ll be stability and calm. Instead of having chaos, we can relax. We. Me and her. You and me. You. And me.

I want that.

You’re not ready though. You’ve been through a lot. You’re not even ready for her plan. We’ll get you there. I have full confidence in my abilities to ensure that you’re ready for my sister’s plan. We’ve made sure that people were ready before. You will be ready in time

You’re just hurt now. And that’s okay. You’ve lost so much in the past year. I know you’ll come through it stronger though. We’ll get there together.

I can’t open the door though. You’re so close. The song gave me so much hope. But I can’t see you. Can’t hold you. Can’t be there for you in the way you need most.

I hate this plan. It’s easy to play the long game when you’re immortal.

What Pro Wrestling Finisher Would Each Three Houses Character Use?

I’m not quite to the point where I’m ready to proclaim the second Monday of each month Shitpost Mondays yet. That said, I really enjoy how weird some of the stuff I’ve been able to write — and that I have planned for the future for these posts — has been.

Back in early February, I came across a tweet that greatly amused me. I’ve shared the tweet, as well as my reaction to it, below.

As someone who is both a fan of pro wrestling and of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, this seemed like a natural crossover for me. What better way to do some insane theorycrafting than to try to think through what as many of the Three Houses characters would use for finishing maneuvers as I can.

In an effort to keep this post from getting absolutely insane, I’ve chosen to group this post by the type of finishing move being used. The groups I’ve divided the moves into are strikes, submissions, aerial/high-risk moves, throws, and other. Since the DLC came out between when I started writing this post and when I finished writing it, I’ve included the six DLC characters. Minor spoilers ahead, but I’ve tried to keep the spoilers to personality spoilers rather than story spoilers where I can. That said, there are a few characters1Jeritza, Edelgard, Yuri, Rhea, Hapi where story spoilers are unavoidable.

As a quick note, I’ve tried to link out to video of as many of the moves as I can, where possible. That said, I wasn’t able to find short videos just showing the move in all cases, so I did one of two things (typically).

  • Found a short video with just the move in it
  • Found a compilation video of the move being done several times

There were a couple of moves I couldn’t find good videos of, so if someone has one of those, I’ll happily link it.

Strikes

One of the most basic wrestling — or more generically, fighting — finishing maneuvers is a strike of some kind, be that a punch, a kick, a knee, an elbow, or whatever. Considering the existence of the Brawler and War Master classes, it’s not shocking that a lot of our characters fall into this category. This includes all four of the characters who are heavily implied to use one or both of these classes, Raphael (KO Punch), Caspar (a short arm elbow based on Wade Barrett’s Bullhammer), Alois (a discus clothesline)2You may also notice that, where possible, I have linked videos of wrestlers using these moves on Dolph Ziggler. This is because when Ziggler takes nearly any move, it always looks like his soul is leaving his body., and Balthus (the Superman punch). This grouping also includes another character with a boon to their brawling stat, Felix, though he strikes me as more of a kicker than a puncher, meaning he gets a Buzzsaw Kick as a finisher.

This group also contains three characters that fancy themselves to be concepts of nobility in various ways. Two of them — Ferdinand and Lorenz — get finishers inspired by William Regal as a result, using the Knee Trembler and a brass knuckled-aided punch, respectively. Yuri is more of the ‘he’s an asshole, but he’s our asshole’ type, but he’s also willing to betray people, so he gets the Backstabber.

This leaves us with two of the more curious inclusions in this category, Annette and Bernadetta. Annette is a bit more straight-forward, as though she’s a magic machine in-game, she’s not afraid to mix things up in hand-to-hand combat. That said, she needs to rely more on her speed and dexterity than her raw strength, so a running corner high knee makes sense for her. As for Bernadetta, her supports with Felix reveal that she’s incredibly good at disarming people when she’s afraid. I imagine this to look something like a gamengiri — a kick that relies on misdirection and surprise as much as anything else.

Submissions

The goal of a submission move is to get your opponent to give up, pass out, or otherwise be unable to continue due to a concentrated focus of pain on one (or more) parts of their body. The comic linked at the top of this post shows Ingrid performing a cross-armbar on Felix and what looks like a kneeling version of a Sharpshooter. Based on that, I’d give her Edge’s version of the move, a kneeling, inverted sharpshooter, as a finisher, as the knee to the legs seems consistent with Ingrid’s capability for inflicting pain.

As for some of the others in this category, it’s a bit of a mix between characters whose finisher ties in with their personality and/or class line, as well as characters I think it’d be hilarious to use submissions. In the former category, you have direct personality fits in the form of Hubert (Ankle Lock), Byleth (Dragon Sleeper)3Technically it’s not a Dragon Sleeper until :40 into that video, but it’s the clearest video of a good one I could find., and Jeritza (Hell’s Gate). Additionally, I could see Shamir (Bow and Arrow Hold due to her sniper gimmick), Seteth (Peruvian Necktie because he’s a weirdly sadistic dude), and Hanneman (Bear Hug because he’s old fashioned) also busting out submissions.

This brings us to the final three characters in this category — Ignatz, Mercedes, and Marianne. In one of Ignatz support conversations with Petra, we learn that not only does Ignatz need glasses, he’s almost blind without them. This led to a lot of I can’t see you/you can’t see me jokes in my head, so Ignatz gets John Cena’s STF finisher. Mercedes gets the lone amateur wrestling move in this category, with a guillotine pin/submission as her finisher (aka a Twister in MMA). Finally, I gave Marianne the crossface4Ignore Michael Cole calling the move wrong. as her finisher, as it’s been long associated with quiet, brutal wrestlers — a trope I could see Marianne fulfilling easily.

Aerial/High-Risk Moves

Considering how many characters in Fire Emblem: Three Houses are subjected to the horrors of war and of losing close friends, this is a group that’s decidedly low-risk. That said, I see this group as being the group willing to do things with style and flair because it suits them, or because they’re very finessed fighters. Mostly. That said, two quick notable exceptions here. Both Edelgard and Hilda, who would be very risk-prone and stylish, respectively, both appear in the next category. It’s more of a personality choice in both cases.

First off in this category, we have those characters who would take to the top rope because of their athleticism, style, or both. In that vein, we have Petra — who would absolutely do something insane like a Shooting Star Press or Starship Pain — as well as Claude with a 450 Splash, Dorothea with a Moonsault, Ashe with a smooth elbow drop, and Anna with Val Venis’ Money Shot. Manuela would try to be in this category as well, but her diving headbutt is more of a drunkenly fall off the top rope than anything else. Finally, a character with as much power as Rhea needs something suitably violent, hence going with a top rope Poisonrana.

Throws

Aside from the strike, throw/drop/slam based moves are the largest group of professional wrestling finishers in existence. Rather than split them into their own individual categories, I’ve grouped all of them together for sake of organization in this post. That said, we’ll take a look at them in two groups, suplex moves and other throws.

I personally see three of our characters having some variation of the suplex as their finisher. Paying homage to her love of fish, Flayn would end matches with a Fisherman’s Suplex, while Constance would use the Perfectplex5You’re going to want to watch that one on mute. The music is horrid.. For those trying to argue that’s literally the same move, you’re right. But because Curt Henning did it, it was perfect. And Constance does have a bit of a Mr. Perfect vibe to her, so I’m going to roll with it. Speaking of rolling, I would absolutely see Leonie finishing matches with the Hat Trick, aka a triple rolling German Suplex, both as a show of strength and as a way to show off to Jeralt.

Next, we have four characters that would have absolutely brutal looking finishers. Dimitri’s love of breaking necks is best given a nod to with a two-handed chokeslam, as an actual neck snap is dangerous. Similarly, Gilbert would use a chokeslam backbreaker, because he’s secretly scary. Dedue, meanwhile, doesn’t need to scare you. But if he NEEDS to bring you harm, what better way to do that than a gorilla press spinebuster?6Horrid video quality, but you get the point. The gorilla press would be terrifying enough at his height, never mind getting hit with the spinebuster after. We’ve also got Edelgard in this group. I originally had her doing a bridging Northern Lights Suplex, as when it’s hit well, it’s the most beautiful wresting move to watch, full stop. But considering Edelgard’s ending in one of the routes, the One-Winged Angel seems most fitting.

We end this group with three characters whose moves are still throws, but don’t fit in one of the previous categories neatly. Considering Sylvain is always fighting for the attention and affection of the ladyfolk around Garreg Mach, an inverted atomic drop seems like it’s a good way to help him in his plans. Hilda strikes me as some who would have a swift and brutal looking finisher, but wouldn’t want to get bloody in the process, hence going with a snap DDT. As for Catherine, the wielder of Thunderbrand would have a devastating finisher, so I went with the nastiest looking move I could think of, the Burning Hammer.

Other

Even with all of that written in the previous three sections, there are still four characters whose finishing maneuvers (in my mind) wouldn’t fit into one of the above categories. The simplest of these is Cyril, who would likely use the O’Connor Roll to try to finish off those bigger than him. Linhardt is lazy but brilliant, so he’d likely use a move that would trick his opponent into doing something dumb. The best example of this may well be the Lady of the Lake, hence picking that for him.

Lysithea’s finisher requires a bit of trickery too. She’d likely try to have her opponent put her in the Giant Swing, as she’s still a kid at heart and would find it fun. That said, the second her opponent makes fun of her for it, she’d turn the tables and use it on them. Finally, Hapi’s entire thing in the game is that she can summon evil monsters with just a sigh. That certainly sounds like all of her matches will end via outside interference.

 

My Pokemon Gym: Dark

Welcome to the eleventh iteration of the My Pokemon Gym series. If you’re new to this series, I take a Pokemon type then build out my team of six Pokemon of that type as if I were the gym leader. Here are the rules:

  1. I can’t use legendary/mythical Pokemon
  2. I can’t reuse Pokemon I’ve used in previous gyms in this series.
  3. Forms of the same Pokémon can be reused, provided they have different typing. For example, if I used Rattata in a Normal gym team, I could use Alolan Rattata in a Dark gym team.

Want to read my other My Pokemon Gym posts? Go read the Fighting, Ice, Psychic, Grass, Dragon, Fairy, Electric, Bug, Fire, Flying, Normal, and Ghost type posts when you’re done here. All images courtesy pokemondb.net unless otherwise stated.

Liepard

While I’ve made a concerted effort to use the Sword/Shield movepools for Pokemon that are available in those games in my last two posts, I am choosing to ignore that with Liepard. The main reason? Sword/Shield gets rid of Liepard’s most iconic move, Assist. For those unaware, a Pokemon using Assist will use a random move that one of the other Pokemon in your party knows. Considering the moves the rest of the Pokemon on this team know, this could yield hilarious results. Or it could do nothing. That’s the beauty of Assist. It’s Metronome with a pre-selected movepool. My Liepard also runs Fake Out for Normal Gem/Unburden boosting shenanigans, as well as Aerial Ace and Hone Claws because I needed four moves.

Ability: Unburden
Item: Normal Gem
Moves: Fake Out, Assist, Aerial Ace, Hone Claws

Umbreon

Speaking of Pokemon whose movepools Sword/Shield screwed up, why can’t Umbreon learn Toxic anymore? Granted, I worked around it in this case. But it’s the quintessential stalling Pokemon. What’s Umbreon without Toxic? I honestly can’t remember how Last Resort works with the combination of Rest and Sleep Talk, and most of my normal Pokemon sites were no help. In the event this set wouldn’t work in reality, just mentally replace Last Resort with Foul Play.

Ability: Inner Focus
Item: Leftovers
Moves: Last Resort, Confuse Ray, Rest, Sleep Talk

Cacturne

An older cousin of mine introduced me to Pokemon via Red/Blue. That said, it wasn’t until the Gen IV games that I was knowledgeable enough about Pokemon to be able to beat him. The Pokemon I ended up beating him with? Iron Ball Cacturne with Fling. I took out his next to last Pokemon (which wasn’t weak to Dark) with Fling, then won because his Psychic type couldn’t hit me. I recognize I likely got lucky. But you know what? Luck is good enough to make this team. Plus Cacturne’s design is hilarious to me.

Ability: Water Absorb
Item: Iron Ball
Moves: Spiky Shield, Power-Up Punch, Fling, Foul Play

Shiftry

For those unaware, Seedot has one of my favorite shiny sprites in all of the Pokemon series. Because of this, I wanted to make sure I found a way to feature it or its evolution on either this team or the Grass type team. It fit better onto this team, particularly thanks to its synergy with the next Pokemon this list. The goal here is to get Sunny Day up and maybe get a Solar Blade off once I do. That said, I know that Shiftry isn’t the powerhouse of this team. If worse comes to worst, a sneaky Explosion will do some damage to my opponent, but Shiftry is helper Pokemon on this team.

Ability: Chlorophyll
Item: Focus Sash
Moves: Solar Blade, Throat Chop, Sunny Day, Explosion

Incineroar

Another Pokemon whose potential Gen VIII moveset we’re ignoring, though not quite for the same reasons. I love Incineroar’s unique Z-move, Malicious Moonsault. I’m going to ignore the fact that Incineroar is actually doing a 450 splash instead of the moonsault. It’s just an awesome move. I love the pro wrestling vibe Incineroar has, plus it comes from arguably the cutest starter form ever.

Ability: Intimidate
Item: Incinium-Z
Moves: Darkest Lariat, Drain Punch, Blaze Kick, Body Slam

Alolan Muk

I want to give full credit to my brother-in-law for causing me to love Alolan Muk as much as I do. When we would battle doubles, he would use Muk with an Air Balloon and a Power of Alchemy set that had a goal of inheriting the Levitate ability from its partner Rotom when it died. The set worked beautifully and caused several hilarious disconnects when playing online. While Power of Alchemy has no use in singles battles, I paid homage to the rest of his set here, replacing his preferred Poison Jab with extra coverage in the form of Hidden Power Grass.

Ability: Poison Touch
Item: Air Balloon
Moves: Knock Off, Stockpile, Hidden Power Grass, Rock Slide

Mathematically Analyzing “Creep” by Stone Temple Pilots

Last month, when I wrote about some of the changes I was making to my blog this year, I stated how I likely wouldn’t do a post on the final week of each month unless I had something really good or really interesting that I wanted to write about. Thanks to noted physics and cat expert Gregory Gbur on Twitter, I’ve been provided an idea that fits exactly that premise. Before I get to the idea, I’d like to mention that you should pick up his book, Falling Felines and Fundamental Physics, as it combines cats and science. You literally don’t need anything else in a book.

I’ve been a big fan of Stone Temple Pilots — and more specifically, the work of their late lead singer, Scott Weiland — for as long as I can remember. One of the few songs guaranteed to make me happy in most any circumstances is STP’s song “Big Bang Baby“. Another one of Weiland’s projects, Velvet Revolver, provided the background music for the final segment of my college radio show in the form of “Sucker Train Blues“. And the STP ballad “Atlanta” is one of my favorite songs ever, full stop.

In the above tweet though, we’re meant to explore the mathematical implications of the narrator of the song “Creep“, the third single released off of the band’s 1992 album, Core. For those unfamilar with the lyrics, I’ll link out to them here. That said, the line in the song that caused this question goes as follows.

“Well I’m half the man I used to be.”

The line itself is repeated 16 times in the song which should, in theory, make this a pretty simple answer. That said, I believe that there are several potential answers here, thanks in large part to how you choose to view the song from a philosophical standpoint. In this post, I’m going to examine both the mathematical and philosophical answers to drskyskull’s question in an effort to determine what the actual answer to this question is. I’d like to thank math nerd Katie Nevitt for her assistance in double checking my math in this post, as well as her help in firming up some of the scenarios laid out below. With that, we must ask —

What fraction of a man is Scott Weiland by the end of “Creep”?

Straight Forward Answers

1/65536

Let’s begin with one of the two obvious mathematical answers to this question. Within the song, Weiland says he’s half the man he used to be a total of 16 times. Treating this like radioactive half-life, we assume that the first time he says it, Weiland is literally one-half of the man he used to be. The next time, he’s one-quarter of the man he used to be. This continues until the 16th time of decay, at which point he would be 1/65536 the man he used to be. A CDC study conducted from 2011-2014 found that the average American male weighs 195.8 pounds. 1/65536th of that would be approximately .0029 pounds, or about 1.315 grams. That’s about one and one-third paper clips worth of human left.

Semantic Answers

1/2

Let’s go with another fairly obvious answer as the first of our semantics-based answers. As a teen and early-twenty something who was a bit too emo for his own good, I think there’s a chance Weiland is lamenting the same loss of the same half of himself over and over. If this is the case, there’s not a ton of math to be done here. Weiland is merely half the man he used to be. We can easily depict this by the magicians’ trick where they saw a man or woman in half (vertically in this case), and then not put them back together afterward.

1/128 to 1/65536 (variable)

Though Weiland states he’s half the man he used to be sixteen times in the song, there is a bit of a difference as to how each of those times is presented. For seven of those times, there’s no follow up directly to that line. This leads me to believe that he has become half of the man he used to be seven times for sure, which would make him 1/128th the man he used to be. Going once again off of the assumption that the average human male weighs 195.8 pounds, this would mean that Weiland weighs approximately 1.5 pounds at this stage — roughly the equivalent to three-quarters of a pineapple.

As for the other nine times Weiland delivers the line, it is stated thusly.

I’m half the man I used to be
This I feel as the dawn
It fades to gray

The way the lyrics are worded lead me to believe that in these nine instances, the feeling of being half of a man that he once was is temporary (and regular) as a sunrise. If this feeling is treated as an additional half-life to Weiland’s loss of manhood, he’d be down to 1/256 of the man he used to be. That said, the lyrics don’t tell us enough to be confident as to whether this is a one-off loss and reconstitution or whether we must treat each of the losses as individual, cumulative half-lives. As such, I think there’s a possibility that at his best Weiland is 1/128th the man he used to be, though at his lower points, you could argue he’s anywhere from 1/256th to 1/65536th the man he used to be.

99/6553600

As Katie and I were combing through the lyrics of “Creep”, there was a line that stuck out to both of us that could potentially throw a wrench into these calculations.

Take time with a wounded hand
‘Cause it likes to heal

Unfortunately, Weiland doesn’t give any additional clarification on the severity of the hand injury in question here. For ease of calculation, we’re going to make a worst-case scenario assumption and say that the wounded hand is actually the full loss of that hand. And it is just one hand, as it’s singular in the lyrics. One study conducted found that the average surface area of the hand can be best estimated to be approximately 1% of the total body. Meanwhile, a different study found that a hand weighs a little over 0.57% of the average human’s body weight…though I found that particular study dubious because every time I tried to access the place that wrote it directly, my computer kept throwing security risk errors. So let’s go with the 1% number for ease of math and not giving my computer a virus.

Let’s take our initial mathematical calculation and say that Weiland is 1/65536th the man he used to be by the end of the song. We’ll then take away 1% of his body weight further from there, which leaves us with the incredibly unwieldy fraction of 99/6553600ths of the man he used to be. At this point, things are just getting silly. We must go further.

Other Possible Answers

1/1

At no point in the song does Weiland state that he isn’t a whole man at the end of the song. All he says is that he’s half of the man he used to be. We cannot prove that Weiland wasn’t singing about Voltron, as Weiland sadly passed away in 2015 from a drug overdose. That said, unless the song is being sung by a sentient portion of pineapple or floating vocal cords, I feel pretty good in saying that the singer of the song is, in fact, a whole person.

This begs the question then — just how many men was Weiland at the beginning of the song? If we go the lamenting of loss route I mentioned before, this would imply that he was two people at the start of the song. Despite my searching the internet, I couldn’t find any record of Scott Weiland having absorbed a twin in the womb, so I think this option is safe to rule out.

By this logic, you would think that the implication that Weiland was 65,536 men at the beginning of the song is equally unlikely, math, biology, and the universe as we currently understand it would all seem to agree with that statement. But my counterargument to that is this: I don’t care. We cannot disprove that Weiland was not part of a hive mind.

That said, I believe the most likely way to end the song as a whole man for Weiland goes back to the point we addressed in the last section of this post, that of the wounded hand. We’ll again assume that the loss of the wounded hand is literal, if only because of the imagery surrounding it. Though the loss of a hand would cause a loss of mass from the human body, as well as one percent of the surface area, it would be incorrect to assume that the loss of a limb would make anyone less of a human. We can then assume that Weiland is mourning the loss of his hand, but I want to assure him that he’s still a whole man to us.

Conclusion

With all of these factors considered, exactly what fraction of a man is Scott Weiland by the end of “Creep”? Mathematically, I think the answer is pretty simple. He’s 1/65536th the man he used to be. But if you dissect the lyrics and consider exactly what’s being said throughout the song, I think the answer is much less clear. I’m personally in the hive mind camp, but your mileage may vary. Regardless of how you look at it, just go listen to some STP.

The Pros and Cons of Writing Your Own Choose Your Own Adventure Story on Twitter

In mid-December of last year, I had what I felt like was a brilliant idea. I was going to write a choose your own adventure story using Twitter polls. It seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, I’d watched the talented Joe Sondow start an awesome story thread about a raccoon. And I was at a bit of a creative standstill writing-wise. So I figured why not try it. But I needed validation because I was admittedly frustrated with how my writing was going at that point, hence leading off with a Twitter poll.

Ten points to the one person who understood the stop, go, Pennzoil reference. The story started in the very next tweet in that thread, so if you want to go read the story before finishing this post (as there will be light spoilers), click that tweet. I’ll wait.

Now that you’re back (or for those who never clicked away), I want to lead off by saying that there are several other awesome interactive choose your own adventure stories out there. I wasn’t made aware of them until after I had started mine. That said, once you’re done reading this post, I’d encourage you to check out the following CYOA story threads.

I’ve professed my love for choose your own adventure stories in the past on this blog. It’s part of what makes the Fire Emblem series appeal to me so much, particularly in its more recent iterations. I’ve played my fair share of visual novel games in my life because I love the style so much. I even went as far as to turn one of my short stories into a special reward for my patrons last year. Side note, if you want in on cool patron rewards, go support me. But that’s not the point of this post.

After two-plus months of working on this story (and still more coming), I have some thoughts on the pro and cons of choosing to write a choose your own adventure story via Twitter. Please note that this list may change in the future, as the story itself is still incomplete at time both of me writing the post (January) and of when this post is going up (February)1Normally I’d try to shift my posting schedule to make this more accommodating to when I’m actually writing the post, but keeping a more limited blogging schedule is one of my goals this year. It’s still early enough in the year that I really don’t want to fuck that up..

Pro – There’s interaction to drive (and inspire) your story

I want to lead off with a point that might go without saying, though it wasn’t something that was initially obvious to me upon starting to write my story. When I started my story thread, I fully went in expecting 3-4 people to participate in the story. On good days. It had been my experience with a lot of Twitter stuff I’d done in the past. And the first few polls did start out like that.

Eventually though, the story started to get some traction. And people started getting really excited about certain things in the story. One of the throwaway characters I wrote into the story’s introductory section, Jeff, ends up showing up again later because of how frequently people commented about him. This all despite the fact that he wasn’t supposed to appear again at all after early in the story. It’s a feeling really similar to when I published my 2011 NaNoWriMo project chapter by chapter as I wrote it on my blog. The interaction is amazing.

Con – You can’t flesh out the whole story on Twitter

Let’s take a look at one of the choices that appears very early in the story to help explain this concept.

Ignore the typo in the choices2Also ignore the leading tweet posted above it. The way mid-thread tweets post on WordPress is arguably my biggest pet peeve about the platform. Well, that and a lack of natively supported footnoting in the free version of WordPress. But I digress.. There are four different options in this poll, with three of them getting fairly equal support. In an ideal CYOA storyline, each reader/player would be able to make their choice and progress down the path based on that choice rather than having to be stuck on what the majority voted.

It wouldn’t have mattered in that poll specifically. It’s early enough in the story that the basic plan I had for each of the four options was essentially the same. But as the story gets closer to ending, there are some major decisions that will get made that will have a massive impact on the possible endings available in the story. The fact that I won’t be able to play all of those out on Twitter is a bit saddening. Granted, that means I may well have a Twine project on my hands down the line. But that’s neither here nor there.

Pro – It’s a great way to do a CYOA story — even with limited planning

I went into writing my CYOA story with zero planning. Hell, for the first six or seven polls, I was just making up choices with no plan in mind as to what would happen if people picked the answer in question. Weirdly, that didn’t stop the story from working. I’m sure part of that was because it was still very much in an introductory section of the story. But it was kind of nice to write a story without being overwhelmed by whatever was coming next in the plot. For a little while.

Con – That whole limited planning thing caught up with me quick

Right around day four or five of writing, I realized that in order to keep people engaged in the story, I really needed to come up with a plan. That’s not to say I necessarily needed to come up with the whole choose your own adventure story right then, but I did need to have more structure than what I had at that point. Over the next week or so, I came up with the basic shell of where I wanted to go with the story once it ended. Unlike a typical story, however, I couldn’t just come up with one ended. I took some time and thought about where all the story could potentially go and realized that if the story was told in all of its logical iterations, it’d have six distinct endings. If I truly built out the story in full, there could even be a potential seventh ending, though fortunately my voters made caused that outcome to not be needed.

 

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