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Young Writers Society
General Storybook Discussion
How to Create a SB Challenge
Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:13 pm
What is a SB Challenge? Why should I make one?
Storybook Challenges, or SB Challenges for short, are pretty straightforward: They're challenges made for your Storybook. Finishing those challenges will award points that go towards winning badges. You can learn more about them here:
Storybook Badges and Challenges
Now, why? Well, these are a wonderful tool. They are a wonderful tool to keep the Storybook running and offer incentives for your participants in the form of badges. Storybook Challenges are also a nice template to push the plot forward as well. There are more reasons to create SB Challenges than there are not to! And if you need any help, simply PM @Omnom or another member of the SB Crew. They would be more than willing to help out!
How do you start making a SB Challenge? What goes into a good SB Challenge?
There's an official template for making a SB Challenge, below:
This is a basis for your Challenge, and you can change or add what you'd like, as long as you have these base-lines. They're all pretty straightforward!
- Who's in your Storybook/who do you want to do this challenge!
- What Storybook is this challenge for?
- What's your challenge?
- How many posts do your challenged adventurers have to complete this? It can be a total number of posts (like 10 posts in total) or per-person-posts (like 1/2 posts per person)
Remember that every challenge expires on a default of 30 days
- How many credits are you awarding for this challenge? Keep it a max of six, and remember that the more credits you offer, the harder the challenge should be! If you give six credits for writing 100 words, I'll frown at you.
Now that the basics are out of the way, here's what I like to focus on when I start making a Challenge.
What's the Endgame?
The first thing I think about when writing a SB Challenge is "What do I want to accomplish through this challenge?" Basically, I want to figure out what I want to challenge my writers to before I even start writing. It's extremely helpful if it's flowing naturally with the arc of your Storybook. If my characters and writers are in a pretty silent moment and in between huge fights, I wouldn't challenge them to get into a bar fight, and I wouldn't challenge them to think of something from their past if they were in the middle of a boss fight!
Pushing the Plot Forward
Storybooks are hard to manage plot-wise, especially if you have large casts. Some Dungeon Masters let the plot unfold naturally, but most generally have a direction they wish to follow and guide their participants in. Storybook Challenges are a perfect tool to use when guiding the plot along, while still allowing writers the freedom to write how they'd like.
Pushing the Writers
What's a Storybook Challenge without a challenge? Use this opportunity to push your writers out of their comfort zones. No need to make it mandatory, but if they do, reward them with extra credits.
Knowing your Storybook
If your Storybook is just starting out, without characters made, you wouldn't make a Challenge about fight scenes! It's important to know what state your Storybook is in when creating your challenge. If it's in the very beginning, your challenge may simply be to make their characters. If it's in the first few posts, your challenge may be to interact with the other characters. If you're fifty thousand words into the Storybook, your challenge may focus completely on the individual. All of these are completely okay!
Difficulty isn't Everything!
I know that "Challenges" is in the name, but not all of your Challenges have to be, well, challenging. Sometimes, simple tasks are important to keep a Storybook chugging along smoothly when some of your writers are in a slump. Don't be afraid to have simple challenges with pretty easy-to-obtain rewards. After all, while you want to be challenging, having fun is more important!
Involving your Writers
Something that truly helps with keeping a Storybook alive and healthy is involving your writers. The more you involve them, the more they feel tuned in with the goings on of the Storybook. Write together, develop the plot together, and make your Storybook Challenge together. It's a fun surprise if they don't know what's going on, but that's not something you should strive to achieve every time.
How to make it unique to your SB
Like I mentioned above, the SB Challenges template is just that: a template. Making a SB Challenge engaging and interesting gives more incentive for your participants to involve themselves more. If your Storybook is a fantasy, perhaps make it a scroll or a prophecy. If your Storybook is a futuristic one, perhaps make it a hologram or an audio recording or a call for help. There's so many ways to use Storybook Challenges and so many directions to take it in. Making the Challenges can be a fun Challenge for yourself.
Also, pretty it up! Make it engaging to read and look at. I personally love banners, but if that's not your game, there's still a ton of formatting you can use to make your SB Challenge more visually appealing and engaging.
The Big Book of YWS Codes
is the go to place for all your formatting questions.
Individual Challenges vs. Storybook Challenges
When you get more in depth with your Challenges, something to explore is the distinction between Individual Challenges and SB Challenges (which an in between in Group Challenges) and what they offer for your particular Storybook.
Individual Challenges are specific challenges for a certain character. Doing these require more work on you, the person making the challenge, as you must make each challenge unique for every character you have in the Storybook. However, this works well in providing each writer with a specific incentive to write again. This also works well if you're not trying to push the plot forward too much.
Storybook Challenges are the main type of challenges you'll see. These are often vague and are meant to push the story along in general terms. Sometimes there can be a specific goal in mind that the Storybook as a whole must work together to complete. These are a staple in challenges, but they lack the personality of the individual challenges and can often cause a couple of writers to lag behind, especially if they don't get any inspiration from your challenge.
Group Challenges are a sweet mixture of Storybook Challenges and Individual Challenges, but require some maneuvering in terms of plot. The idea here is to split your characters into several groups and center the challenge around those groups. These groups can be as small as two or as large as half the Storybook or more. But, this idea is to push the writers into new situations with a cast of characters they might not be used to writing with.
All in all, I recommend a mixture of these type of Challenges, and to experiment with what works for you. All three of these types (and there are sub-types within these) have their pros and cons. The ideal SB Challenge would implement all three of these in some kind of extent. The importance here is to know your writers and your Storybook, and to cater your Challenge to that.
And that's everything! If you have any questions or comments, please reply! I hope you'll be able to join me for workshops in the future!
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Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:18 pm
"What are words if you really don't mean them when you say them?"
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"The only time you look in your neighbor's bowl is to make sure that they have enough. You don't look in your neighbor's bowl to see if you have as much as them."
— Louis C.K.
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