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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 6th day of Hiding, Yr 22
The Neopian Times Week 122 > Articles > From Poor to Fantastic

From Poor to Fantastic

by laurachan2379

ADVENTURE GENERATOR - Many Neopets users have been heading to the Adventure Generator, creating adventures for others to enjoy. Some make it to the Adventure Spotlight and some reach the Top Forty List, while a few suffer from poor ratings.

Is your adventure one that you hard on but gets a one-star or two-star rating? It's time to unlock the adventure and touch it up. Do your touch-ups it well, and the ratings will soar! But if you're not sure what to do to improve your adventure, this article is a great place to start.

Tip #1: Give your adventure a good name. The more interesting or gripping your title is, the more likely people are going to play it. Here are some examples: Disaster at the Rainbow Pool, Missing: Jhudora, or Attack of the Mutant Grundos (I've never seen these exact titles; I just made them up based on a few I've seen myself). Such titles will probably grip many users to play it. Don't forget that the title isn't everything; the content is even more important. The title is important if you want people to play your haven't been able to remember them at all. People won't remember your adventure's title if it's as long as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Tip #2: Make your adventure long, but don't get carried away. Adventures of different sizes can be seen in the adventure lists. Some have six pages, some have eighteen, some have thirty, and some have a quadrillion-okay, I'm exaggerating that last number. However, the six-page ones tend to have very low ratings, and the long ones… well, it depends on the adventure. One of the top adventures had 106 pages! But overall, it was a good one (I've played it myself). Most of the best adventures tend to have fifteen to thirty pages. But don't make your adventure "loop" too much. Some adventures will take you back to a certain page to try again. There's noting wrong with that, and there are good adventures that do that, but you should put some dead ends in there, too.

Tip #3: Tell what your exit choices are. Out there, there are one-star adventures with exits that aren't even labeled. All they have is "Turn to page 2" and stuff like that. Not a good idea! Always tell your reader what their choices are so they know what they're clicking. But even if you do label them, that doesn't mean you're done. If you are going to tell someone to choose a weapon, give the reader weapon information. Give reasons why or why not to choose a weapon. Try to avoid random adventures.

Examples:

Poor: Choose a weapon: Sword of the Air Faerie, Ice Sword, Sword of Domar, Fire and Ice Blade
Even worse: You get stuck in a battle. This is what happened: Turn to page 2, Turn to page 3, Turn to page 4, Turn to page 5
Far better: You need to choose a weapon. The Sword of the Air Faerie is lightweight and swift, but rather blunt. The Ice Sword is sharp, but it might break. The Sword of Domar is cheap, but its quality isn't good. The Fire and Ice Blade is powerful, but it's a bit awkward to hold.

See what I mean? If you used the first line and the Ice Sword led to a dead end, the reader wouldn't be happy because they don't know why they ended up there, particularly if you just said, "The sword broke and you lost," and they might think, "Well, I didn't know it was going to break!" On the other hand, if you stated why the Ice Sword isn't a good idea, the reader might reflect after clicking and think, "I guess that sword was too fragile. I'll try again."

Also, if you used the second line, you'd definitely get a poor rating! Most people like to know what they're clicking on and what choices they have. Use very little randomness.

Tip #4: Give two or more choices. Make the reader think a little before they click on a choice. Making them have to use common sense isn't a bad idea, but don't make them too predictable. Take a look below:

Not so good: You can continue through the house, or you can run home (Too obvious; running home will most likely lead to a dead end. There are a lot of adventures with that, so go off the beaten road and be creative).
Better: You have two choices: you can head up the clean stairway on your left, which looks unstable, or you can head up the cobwebby but stable staircase on your right (Better, but still predictable).
Terrific: You can do three things: Run below deck for safety, keep an eye on the pirate ship from the crow's nest or alert the captain (You give three not-so-obvious choices: running for safety is a good idea in many cases, keeping an eye on things isn't a bad idea, and alerting someone is usually a good idea, too).

Get the readers thinking! An adventure isn't fun if there are no choices. The worst thing you could do is just give links to the next page all of the time. That's a story, not an adventure.

Tip #5: Always finish your exits. Too obvious? It is, but I've found great adventures where the author accidentally forgot to finish the exit. Oops! Don't let that happen to you. Before you lock your adventure, proofread it. Use the "preview" button, and play your adventure, taking every possible path to make sure no exits are missing. Check your Master List. See the red question marks? That means the page has no exits but isn't a dead end or finish line.

Tip #6: Make sure the text is understandable. Correct your spelling and make sure your grammar is satisfactory. If your spelling is dreadful, the people playing your adventure might get confused. If you notice spelling or grammar errors after you lock it, don't bother to unlock it if the spelling/grammar errors don't make the adventure confusing. The only person who won't be happy is your English teacher.

Example: Mixing up "good" and "fine" or the nonexistent word "funner" and the proper words "more fun" won't affect your adventure too much. Just don't do that for your term paper! However, homonyms/homophones will give a reader trouble. If your character needs to get on a boat, make sure you say, "Time to get on the ferry" and not "Time to get on the Faerie". Where'd the Faerie come from if he/she is at the docks?!?

Tip #7: Plan ahead. Brainstorm your ideas. Make sure you have enough ideas to create an adventure, or you'll find your adventure rather short. But feel free to edit, remove and add to your ideas as you go along.

Tip #8: Do a content check. Does your adventure have an interesting plot? Would you want to play your own adventure? If the answer is no, get rid of the boring bits and revise! Always preview your adventure before you lock it! Make sure you are satisfied with your adventure before it gets locked. If you really want to make sure it's good, test it on a friend at home.

Tip #9: Use a subject that most users would be interested in. Popular topics include which-Faerie-are-you quizzes (We have many of those, but don't let that discourage you from using that idea), Faerie queen quests, conflicts between Illusen and Jhudora, escaping the Snowager and Neositting (Though Neositting doesn't really exist). It's usually a good idea to do Neopets-related stuff. But be original. Think outside the box. If you're stumped, try one of the topics above.

Tip #10: Use dead ends and finish lines correctly. What's the difference? If you didn't figure it out, this is it: dead ends are wrong answers, and finish lines are correct endings. When you come to a dead end, state why that exit led to one (see #3). Try to use only one finish line to make things more challenging. Throw in as many dead ends as you wish, but don't go overboard. I actually have come across an adventure where I couldn't tell whether the page was a dead end or not!

Tip #11: Get rid of those page numbers! Did you just hit the dead end on page 12 and start again? If those page numbers are there, and the dead end on page 12 will appear twice, your reader will know not to click there. Spring a surprise on them! So get rid of the page numbers. They aren't really necessary anyway.

Tip #12: Remember, there are exceptions to general rules. Just like bringing out the queen too early in chess, there are exceptions to general rules. One or two loops should be fine every so often. A little bit of randomness won't hurt. Putting in page numbers is okay as long as you don't have loops or repetitive dead ends (see #11). Make sure you know what you're doing, however. If you're a chess master like Paul Morphy, you'll know when to take out the queen early (He did that and checkmated his opponent after less that twenty moves-that wasn't luck; Morphy was a chess grandmaster and knew what he was doing). If you're a good adventure writer, you'll know when NOT to take my advice.

Hopefully these tips will give your adventure ratings a good boost. If you still need help, a possible place to look is the Neopian Writers chat board (look for an adventure writer) or you can Neomail me. You can always look at other adventures with high ratings to get ideas. Good luck!


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