so I created this thread to inform you, and let you throw these kinds of questions at me, and (if you feel like you have to) try to convince me to stop. Another thing is that my Winter Vacation will soon be over, and my courseworkload hasn't been very gratious the last few semesters so, even though I may stop for months, you can know where I was headed, and perhaps even continue my work.
Long-story short, I was recommended this site many times throughout its history, wrote a couple episodes, and always left it thinking, "Wow! that's great! I can't wait to get back to it tomorrow!" only to realize that, when tomorrow came, I no longer remembered the name, address, etc.
As for what I think I'm doing, I'm basically trying to bring the several branches closer together by having one flow into the other; after all, if the reader passed up on an option before, what's to say he won't want to have our heroes explore it later? I believe that if you've been reading and enjoying the story for a long while, you're more likely to want to add something when you reach its end (or are unhappy with the options given) so the story should basically keep going as long as possible, and the easiest way to do that is to have it flow into itself. (Yes, this includes two options that later have an option in common)
For more details, here's a run-down of the threads I'm extending (or have extended during these weeks) and what I have in mind for them. I've been working mainly with the
- Go left > Follow the dog > Free the damsel, who refuses to wear bandages > Find the abandoned marketplace
The ghost in the crag
(The thread that begins with the pool of swirling water )
When I got here, only options 2 and 4 existed, option 4 leading to a ghost. I noticed that, once Astra and Fred agreed to help the ghost, the story was basically the same, regardless of if they had rope or not. I also devised several ways of getting them from the other options to agreeing to help ghost (since it is, after all, the same pool in all cases) leaving several attention-grabbing branching-offs along the way.
However, once they do agree to help the ghost, I think the reader should have the same number of options, regardless of if Fred brought a rope or not. I therefore aim to have both branches ultimately reach the same episodes, for each of the possible outcomes. The outcomes I see are, to put it simply:
- Fred, Astra, and Velus leave safely, having finished helping the ghost
- Fred, Astra and Velus leave safely, leaving the ghost behind (at which point I attempt to give the option to follow the ghost to episode 88455)
- Fred, Astra and Velus leave safely, taking the ghost with them
- Fred and Velus are separated from Astra (so far because they have a fallout, or because Astra gets swept away by the current)
- Astra dies, proving the idea really was too dangerous after all
- Astra comes back as a ghost
- Astra the ghost goes with Fred and Velus, and they leave the original ghost behind
- Astra the ghost and the original ghost go with Fred and Velus
- (The option where Astra decides to stay with the ghost  is considered "Fred and Velus continue without Astra")
- Fred and Velus continue without Astra, taking the original ghost with them
- Fred and Velus continue without Astra, leaving the original ghost behind (the original ghost may potentially stay with Astra-the-ghost)
- Astra comes back as a ghost
The funny "afterlife" subsequence was basically something I made because I wanted to bring Astra back as a ghost when she died, but wasn't sure all readers would accept that idea, and it would make having the-branches-that-end-the-whole-sequence end by flowing into an already-existing storyline, harder to come by.
That strange noise
(The thread that begins when Velus hears something coming towards them )
I created this whole branch (from Knight Random's option in 25022) basically out of the following concept: Sick of ghosts? Here's your chance to change the heroes' focus entirely!
I provided several escapes along the "ghost in the crag" thread towards this... up to a point; once Astra descends, you're basically stuck with the ghost theme.
The "It was a bear!" option attempts to save a long-forgotten character from episode 82 (Go left > run away from the bear > return to get your stuff).
The "It was a giant!" option is mainly a follow-up of the branching-off (The ghost in the crag) where Fred suggests the swirling pool is a giagantic toilet.
The "It was the dragon!" option attempts to finally have them meet the dragon in this thread
and the "It was a... man?" option uses Belboz of The Right Passage fame.
As Ib seemed to grasp, this whole branch is very light-hearted. The reader wanted a break? Well, here they have it! What better break than one where they can laugh?
The most promising branch seems to be the one where Belboz appears. I hope to have this eventually flow into the one that starts when they find a little girl in the abandoned marketplace  but this also requires expanding that branch quite a bit.
(The thread that begins as a consequence of Astra's death in the crag )
This branch starts by making extensive use of the thread I call "Fred the Reincarnation Assistant" (42053). From there, your choices are to follow Fred the Assistant, or to follow Astra's reincarnation(s). Astra's reincarnations are, to put it simply, one big joke. They're basically filling in holes here and there by putting Astra's spirit in them.
There are two branches that I might expand seriously here.
The first is the well-known "Astra the Fox" branch (which, if I'm not mistaken, is also the one known as "As the fur flies"). I flow into it with the "Ever since I was little, I've thought foxes were cute" episode. Here, the fact that Astra is called a victim of Minestus is an irony because she has actually chosen this fate, but can't remember having done so.
What I want to do with this branch is basically take all the dangling paths near its beginning, and make those that can flow into the main "happily ever after, now let's destroy the crystallic" line, do so. The others, I hope to be able to merge into one and leave it hanging, though that may not be possible.
The second branch is one I created, which I call "Astra the mouse" (it begins with episode 88783). Astra, as a mouse, runs into a cat. Techincally, this cat is the reader (referred to always as "you") but she is convinced that it is a reincarnation of Fred, and will not rest until the cat agrees with her. I don't know where I'm taking this, though.
Despite appearances, the "Astra's childhood" thread (beginning with episode 88650) is really just for laughs. Whenever I find or write something that references Astra's youth, I intend on making it have happened here. The thing is, since she's trying to do things differently, we can intentionally have contradictions, and point them out for the fun of it.
Astra the djinn
(The thread that begins when Astra is sucked into the lamp )
I couldn't help but notice that in this thread, everyone seemed to contently follow the path of "Oh, Astra is now a genie, let's have her speak like genies speak, and look for an explanation later." I therefore extended Lots42's episode (which was the opposed alternative) as far as I could. This basically meant having Astra gain magic powers and (if freed) require the help of a wizard. I chose a wizard that I thought had basically been forgotten since he was mentioned in Episode 42 (no reference to Douglas Adams intended) since the other wizards seemed to be too... well-developed.
I also went down the other branch and noticed that JH's extension to the story had specified Fred asked something, but had not specified what. I then created Episode 47270 and had some fun with the wording of the question.
I really have no idea where I'm taking this last thread, since (because no matter what, we must deal with the fact that Astra now has magical powers) I can't make it flow neatly into any existing story, and have the reader follow an already-created branch. This will probably start expanding linearly at some time, similar to the "Astra the fox lived happily ever after, now let's destroy the crystallic" story.