Monthly Issue - January
Written by Praise
When it comes to amazing style, fabulous directing, and breathtaking stories, All Hallow’s contest winner Andy Dre accomplishes those with ease! His stories such as Small Towns, which has generated over twenty-five thousand reads and his newest tale The Shifter, have captivated audiences such as myself and many other influential authors. Not to mention his incredible personality, his work ethic and artistic skills will make you fall in love with his work instantly. Andy brings a new style to episode that so many readers have been desperate for and I truly recommend reading his stories. With that being said, I hope you all consider reading his stories. WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!
His first and most famous story Small Towns, tells the story of a mundane and boring town affected by a string of unusual deaths. The story starts off with you, playing the main character as well as you best friend Sky wandering around town on your eighteenth birthday when you truly begin to realize how strange and jaded your town is. A sudden outburst from your old history teacher startles you and your best friend, forcing you into a conversation about leaving the town. Later, you return home only to find a surprise party your mother had thrown. Hours later, a news report is shown on TV telling the story of the death of Vivian Miller, this obviously changing the atmosphere of the entire party. When you and your friend decide to settle in, a frightening scream wakes you up in the night, so you immediately decide to investigate the scream. The noise takes you to Ms. McGlauve’s home, the strange woman who had been staring at you earlier. When you step into her home to investigate you notice the entire room covered in weird markings, and the dead body of Ms. McGlauve. The tale begins to take off from there with several twists and turns further captivating you into the frightening thriller. Overall this proves to be a fantastic story.
Andy’s next and newest story is titled The Shifter, and it tells the story of three families of shape shifters on a battling over territory. This story follows Blake, a sarcastic, hot-headed shapeshifter of the Colton family visiting her friend Peyton Acer, a fellow shapeshifter of the rival family on his birthday. Blake shifts into one of the guards in order to get in to see her friend. When Blake reaches his room she is surprised to see Ainsley, Peyton’s cocky, immature brother pretending to be him. Ainsley’s threats to Blake forces her to leave the Acer home. While attempting to sneak back into her home Blake runs into Val, her security guard who begins to prosecute her on where she was. Val sends Blake away to see her sister, Morgan, only to then find that her father had fallen sick and had left Morgan taking the lead of the family affairs. The sequence of events following that consist of constant arguing between Blake and Morgan and the affairs consisting all three families. Overall, the story has taken a fabulous turn and has become my personal favorite Andy Dre story.
Andy has continued to captivate audiences with his fantastic writing and directing. He shows and inspires all authors that any story of any genre deserves recognition. You can find him on Instagram on @andydreepisode where I’m sure he’ll appreciate any kind messages you have to send to him! Once again I hope you all consider checking him out, and a special thanks to Andy for allowing me to write this commentary. This is Praise logging off and I’ll see you in our next issue!
Monthly Issue - January
Written by Mae
Fireworks, festivities, celebrations, resolutions, and most of all: NEW YEARS! This special time of year is all about new beginnings and fresh starts. "The Lovely One" by @emily.loreign fits perfectly with this theme. This beautiful and heart-warming story is about an exchange student who makes a courageous decision to leave her hometown in Germany and venture out into America. The author of the story, Emily, has drawn on her own personal experience from when she was an exchange student which makes this story so unique. Emily has converted her classic story into ink also, so people can read whichever style they personally prefer. In the classic version the main character's name is Emily Loreign - however, in the ink version you can pick out your name and customize how you look.
“The Lovely One *CLASSIC*" starts off with Emily living in a host family’s house. A host family is “a family consisting of at least one parent and one child under the age of 18 that invites a pair from a foreign country for a specified period of time”. In other words, a host family is a guardian for a certain amount of time. Emily lives with a host family who is harsh and puts Emily into labor, making her do many chores.
During her time in America, Emily meets many new people. Her acquaintance (but becomes her friend), Breana, is a very outgoing girl who loves to have fun. Emily also meets Paul. He is a cold hearted person and did not speak much when you first meet him. But, as time passed, his relationship with Emily grew. Paul turned into a sweet, caring, and a respectful gentle man. Now, we cannot forget Jon. He is a party animal and is very outgoing, which adds a little spice in the story! Mrs. Japan is the host mother. She personally gets on my nerves. She used Emily as a house cleaner, while her real daughter gets treated like a princess. She made Emily work for four hours straight doing gardening outside. Lastly, the real daughter of the host Mom, Candy. Candy may seem to be rude at times, but when you want some real advice, then she would be perfect. Candy is as sweet as candy!
What makes this story so unique is the fact that “The Lovely One” is based on real occurrences. Yes, many stories have real life events, but this story sounds believable and true. The other stories sound too good to be true. Another way what makes this story so fantastic is Emily lets you customise your own character and other characters. Furthermore, you are able to change your hair, makeup, and outfits. My absolute favourite part of this story is the diversity that is included. If you do not know what diversity means; diversity means different nationalities, skin tone, etc.
Next, Emily made your choice actually count towards your story outcome. Her choices have a huge impact in the story. For an example, one choice given was to tell Mrs. Japan the truth about a party or to lie. The readers get to a valuable say on what path they want to see the story take, thus resulting in different outcomes for the readers.. Various authors do not make as many choices as this, which is why it is a very special story.
If you like stories that are romantic, full of drama and yet still amusing - I am positive that you will love this story! If you do not like ink you could read the classic and visa versa. I would personally rate this story a 10/10 and can’t wait to see what Emily comes up with next!
Monthly Issue - January
Conducted by Aurianna
“New Year, New ‘Art’ Style, Classic - Obsolete?”
Greetings everyone! I hope that you’ve all had a wonderful start to the new year. I’m sure that many of you have caught up with Episode’s latest secret project that was unveiled near the end of last year. Indeed, I am talking about Pretty Little Liars, or PLL for short.The release of the Episode version of the TV show (loosely based on the book by Sara Shepard) received a lot of hype and an overall positive response from the Episode community. It is the first Episode feature story written completely in the new style, which in actuality is not quite new at all.
Why do I say that?
Well, for starters, we have seen this “new” style in the story Mean Girls. The main protagonists from the movie were Episodified in this style while other characters, which are new to the story were created using the Ink Style, including our own customizable character. So you see, the release of this ‘Art’ style is not technically new. It has existed for quite a while and has most likely been in the infantile developmental stage while the Episode team works on developing the Ink style - the core style of the Demi Lovato stories, for which they received massive support and good feedbacks from the community. Thus, it makes sense for them to focus more on developing this style - clothes & animations - than on advancing the ‘Art’ or Classic style.
Indeed, the ‘Art’ style is far from novel. The story PLL, however, brings several notable new elements to Episode feature stories, aside from the fact that it is not a fusion of existing styles. Readers can now customize their own character in the ‘Art’ style; gone is the contrast between the animations of their character (and additional new characters) with that of the characters from the show, and thus there is more fluidity in the story due to the absence of this incongruence. However, I noticed that the animations, though quite natural and human-like, seem to be languid in nature in comparison to its peers: the exuberant Ink and highly-diverse Classic.
Additionally, I love the fact that the style confers the most humanlike avatar out of all the three styles that the Episode team has created. But, I was very disappointed when they excluded several distinct skin colors when there are three similar shades that were included for the customization. I was appalled to find that Asians (who live in the biggest continent in the world) have to forsake their true colour in order to play/read the story. It felt like a big slap in the face for those people who were left out, and it considerably reduced my enjoyment of and engagement with the story, of which the genre/theme is a welcome change from the norms.
It was refreshing and gratifying to have a new story that is not fixated on the bad boy theme or the romance/drama genre, like many current well-written Episode feature stories. Despite it being a teen drama, the story boasts a plot that is driven by mysterious riddles and elevated by new thrilling sounds and visual effects. This PLL story has renewed my hope of Episode venturing beyond their comfort zone with regard to storylines, simultaneously creating stories with improved quality of writing. Nevertheless, with the release and relatively positive response to the story and the ‘Art’ style, this sense of hope is overshadowed by another dire premonitory feeling - the slow but imminent death of the Classic style.
Many of you might not be bothered by this but it is a matter of concern for me and other Episodians who enjoy writing and reading in Classic. Personally, I love the comprehensive list of Classic animations and their execution, which I find exhibits the best balance between the “new” style and Ink. The characters do not appear to be caffeine-deprived (as is the case with ‘Art’ style) or high on caffeine (exemplified by Ink animations). Furthermore, there are a multitude of stories written in Classic with unique storylines and good writing, which I feel that Episode is trying to emulate with the release of PLL. These are stories with depth, well thought-out plots, and are not particularly mainstream, which seem to fall into the category of ‘Hidden Gems’ when it should shine like a true gem and be promoted more often on the app.
Episode had stopped updating the Classic style for years now. Their promotion of stories in Ink style has moved readers (subconsciously or not) to abandon it in favour of Ink, rendering many beautifully-written and engaging Classic stories in neglect. Consequently, many writers become demotivated to continue their Classic stories due to the lack of support or appreciation for their work. Now, with the announcement of the impending cessation on the updates for Ink, will it suffer the same fate as Classic? Will the new year bring stress on writers to quickly complete their Ink stories before the ‘Art’ style become available on the Writer Portal, in fear of their stories becoming “irrelevant”? And will that have any effect on their quality of writing?
On that note, I shall end with this gentle reminder that I feel Episode readers and (occasionally) writers forget: the importance of content and quality writing. Indeed, Episode offers us with the opportunity to create visual stories using three unique styles - Classic, Ink, ‘Art’ (future). They are the tools with which we can bring our characters and our story alive in 2-Dimension. In essence, they are the exterior component and should not be used as a deciding factor on whether a story is worth the read. Everyone has his/her own preferences and the Epy Awards Team respects that. But it is such a shame when such emphasis on new/hip/trendy wrappers (ie. styles) leads one to forget what really matters - the interior: the story, particularly if it is used as a concession to produce subpar stories. Allowing this preference to dictate one’s reading material also leads readers to miss many great stories written in other styles.
Embrace the new, but never at the expense of self-regression in terms of one’s growth in writing/reading. After all, a new year gives us another chance for personal growth - to be a better version of ourselves. Let’s halt this inherent penchant for certain styles from evolving into something that limits our reading material and us, as readers and/or writers.
Monthly Issue: August
Conducted by Aurianna
The Epy Awards Team would like to congratulate Michelle, one of the many talented winners of the October Writing Contest. Her story ‘All Hallows: The Curfew’ was a truly outstanding, well-written piece and we could not be happier to see her receive recognition by the Episode Team themselves. Check out this interview with the talented author, whose winning entry is in a class of it’s own.
When did you join the Episode community and when did you start writing on Episode?
I joined the episode community gradually. I was reading on the app for a few months before I finally decided that “Hey, I could write a story too!”. So, I created an account, logged onto the portal, realized I had to figure out how the coding and I gave up. It wasn’t long before I realized I had a story to tell, and gave it another shot, which was sometime around May 2015. I officially joined the Instagram and forums community in late fall 2015/early winter 2016.
What was the first story you wrote and what/who inspired you to write it?
Oh my goodness, my first story was the worst! I was reading the same romance stories over and over again, and decided that I wanted to write one too! It was inspired by my relationship with my high school boyfriend. In all honesty, the story was really my own life story and I had used ALL of the classic clichés: song choices, project partners, even a pregnancy (spoiler!). Sometime in March 2016, I released the first three episodes of the story I actually wanted to tell: Hideout.
What stories have you written so far and which of them is your favourite / the most that you are proud of?
So far, other than my first story (which we won’t speak of), I have published Hideout, Summer Fling: A Stab at Love, and All Hallows: The Curfew. I love all of my stories, but Hideout will always be my baby.
Is there a particular genre that you feel you write best and are more inclined to read?
You know what, I don’t know if there is. I guess drama suits me because it can really encompass a lot of different plots, and my writing often doesn’t fit cleanly into one genre or another but my version of drama (as in, Hideout) is pretty different from the stories that are trending in the drama section! I’ll read basically anything.
What are 3 of your favourite stories to read on Episode?
I remember coming across Solidus: Unity by Kay Elle on the forums, and it completely blew my mind. I had also started reading Dripping Mascara (DM) shortly after returning home from a two-month graduation trip, and it gave me an anchor during a big time of change. If DM was Gen’s best gift to me, her recommendation for Ross’s World On a String was a close second.
What about novels? What/who are your all-time favourite books/author?
I don’t read nearly as much as I used to, and that makes me sad. I grew up on Harry Potter though. My mother read me the first three books before I even knew how to read, and then we used to go to the release parties together to get the new books. She’d let me read first, then I would give it to her. For Deathly Hallows, we actually bought two copies so she wouldn’t have to wait the 12 hours it took me to finish! And for the record, Prisoner of Azkaban is my favourite.
What was your inspiration for the storyline of your All Hallows entry - The Curfew ?
There were a few things that inspired me. I was trying to think of ‘scary’ things, and realized that the scariest story is actually real-life stories of sexual violence. When I’m walking alone at night, I’m not afraid of witches, I’m afraid of predators. I also wanted to go into myth, and set the story somewhere I was familiar with. I wanted to put a lot of myself and my own experiences in, and I wanted to experiment with tackling one BIG topic through a fictional narrative. It all just kind of came together into the plot.
Would you say that your love for learning history influenced the plot?
Not consciously, but I think my love for history will always manifest in what I do. When I talk about politics (my second love) I often delve into Cold War rhetoric. I just can’t help it. I have some Irish ancestry and was in Ireland last fall, so that contributed. I think in very early versions, I had thought about setting the whole plot in the 19th century, but later decided to move to the present and only include a short backstory for the ‘three brothers’.
Your stories often have elements of societal issues. Do you consciously try to include them from the start or were they more like afterthought additions to your story?
Hideout was definitely a conscious effort. For The Curfew, I had intended the societal issues to be more hidden. I have always loved allegory and I wanted to see if I could pull that off. As it turns out, I can’t. Ha! I wanted the women’s issues to be much subtler than they actually turned out, but I just couldn’t help it. After live streaming with some readers on YouNow, I did find out that some of my attempt at allegory did stay subtle, such as the meaning behind Naomi and Mara. Maybe too subtle… no one got it!
Out of all of the characters that you’ve created, whom do you identify with the most and why?
I purposely created Patricia to be very similar to myself, albeit a younger version of myself. Cael is based off of my own best friend (which I never told him. Oops). I also connect with Louise from Hideout. Both characters are women who gravitate more towards friendships with men than that with women, and often have a hard time situating themselves both in a male and a female sphere. Both women see the appeal of female friends, even crave it sometimes, but ultimately feel most comfortable around men. Patricia joining Beatrice’s group (I named them the Harpies in my play-throughs) and figuring out her voice within the group, is very similar to my own struggle with identifying as a feminist (which I am).
What are your hobbies besides writing and reading?
I am a bit of a travel fanatic. It’s a big joke in my family, I’m not home much longer than a month before I’m off again somewhere. Sometimes it’s another Canadian city, sometimes it’s a different country, sometimes a different continent. I went to Ireland for a weekend last year, it was amazing. I’d do it again. Other than that, I absolutely love hiking. Last year I got to hike the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, a four-day hike through the Peruvian Andes. It was amazing
If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Haha, I swear I didn’t read this before answering the last question. My next trip will be to Southeast Asia: Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. My favourite countries I’ve visited so far are Costa Rica, New Zealand, Peru, Chile, Ireland, France, and Italy. Someday I will go back to Europe and visit the eastern countries (Hungary!) and also Scandinavia. Also, I am absolutely DYING to go to Australia but it’s so far away!
Have you ever thought of writing your own story before Episode?
Hideout, which I am still very slowly working on, was actually meant to be a Wattpad story. I was having such a hard time sitting down and sorting out the plot that I decided to adapt it for Episode first. Once I’ve finished it, I hope I’m motivated enough to transfer it onto Wattpad.
If you could go back in time to your teenage self, what advice would you give yourself?
Teen Michelle, CHILL OUT. Oh my goodness I just thought everything was AWFUL. I have met so many amazing friends (best friends!) since I was an angsty teen. I had an absolute blast doing my undergraduate degree in Montreal; I was involved in so many amazing projects and had so many incredible experiences that teenage me would not have ever imagined. Just goes to show, life is unexpected.
What advice would you like to give to new writers who aspire to write horror/thriller stories with such depth and originality as yours?
Something I struggled with in The Curfew, and also in Hideout, was not being too “preachy”. There is a difference between sharing your opinion through a creative outlet, and trying to indoctrinate people to your way of thinking. I don’t even know how well I’ve managed to do this but it is something to be aware of. As with other kinds of stories, keep a sense of realism, and make your characters flawed! Symbolism is so cool, especially when it is incorporated in horrors/thrillers because you can pretty easily disguise societal problems as physical manifestations, such as a monster or a particularly nasty antagonist.
Monthly Issue: August
Conducted by Arden C.
The theme for this edition is “Campfire Ring” and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love cooler weather, ghost stories, and fellowship around a campfire? We thought the perfect author to interview this month was none other than Jade I., author of the horror/thriller story "Don't Sleep!" We think she is seriously awesome and are so excited to share this author interview with you!
1. How old are you?
2. How long have you been writing on Episode?
3. What inspired you to write "Don't Sleep!"?
4. I know that you've recently been made a Director's Apprentice for Episode. Congratulations! What do you enjoy most it so far?
5. What are your top 3 favorite Episode stories of all time?
6. What is your biggest pet peeve?
7. You have written some incredibly captivating stories in several different genres. Which genre is your favorite to write?
8. What do you do for a living?
9. Name your favorite hobbies outside of writing.
10. Do you have any advice for writers who are delving into the horror/thriller genre?
11. Who is your celebrity crush?
12. We all know of your love for Chipotle, but what is your favorite type of food other than burritos?
13. Have you been working on any new stories?
14. Which of your stories has been your favorite to write?
15. What are your favorite and least favorite things about being an Episode author?
Monthly Issue: August
Written by Praise O.
Hello Episodians! It’s Praise O. here, and I would love to share some tips with you! I understand that a large chunk of the community enjoy and write horror and thriller stories, but that can get difficult to pull off. One of the hardest parts about writing horror on episode is making it scary! We are obviously limited in this area due to several issues with copyright and the guidelines, so I decided to help out! Here are three ways to make your horror or thriller story scarier!
There you have it guys!
Three tips to making your horror story more impactful and well written.
Monthly Issue: August
Written by Ani K.
Pumpkin spice, golden leaves, and the sense of something strange in the air; fall has arrived, and with it comes dozens of All Hallows contest entries for Episodians to enjoy (if you’re into horror, that is.) One such story is All Hallows: Valor Woods by Angie S. (@btosofficial). Her story has garnered thousands of readers, many of which have uploaded screenshots to their Instagram story detailing which characters they managed to keep alive. Warning: spoilers ahead!
The story begins with the MC running from a pale, menacing figure. We are left to contemplate this puzzling scene as the story switches to the past, during some sort of party where we are introduced to each character. We have Nikki and Mikki, two sisters with opposite personalities and colorful hair; Simon, an Asian skater (bonus points for diversity) who loves streaking; Carter, the MC’s best friend who never misses an opportunity to flirt; Louise, who gets all her info from Google; and finally, Prince, the rich, irritating guy who comes up with the bright idea to spend a night in Valor Woods. Needless to say, that was a very bad idea, and it’s up to you to make sure everyone, including yourself, gets out alive.
Valor Woods is unique because the reader is put in control of not only the character’s choices, but their lives, as well. Featuring creepy music, haunting backgrounds, and a spine-chilling plot, it’s no wonder Valor Woods is such a hit. The characters are relatable and likable (well, except for Mikki, some would argue), and you also have the choice to customize your own character- which is becoming increasingly popular among readers who desire a more immersive experience in Episode stories. Interesting spot directing is also an important aspect of Valor Woods: the author combines impactful storytelling with effectively placed characters, which makes for an experience that is hard to find in most Episode stories.
Valor Woods is an example of masterful storytelling combined with eye-catching spot directing. Such a combination is becoming increasingly attractive to readers- they want to be interested in the story, but if the visuals are wonky or boring, it’s not likely they’ll stick around much longer. However, Valor Woods hits a home run on both points. Throughout my first read-through of the story, the plot was never boring or uninteresting to me; the spot directing inspired me to work harder in my own stories. The characters were relatable and their dialogue was well-written. I never rolled my eyes at a cheesy or misspelled comment- rather, I found myself laughing at loud at some of the characters’ witty/generally humorous comments!
Another element which makes Valor Woods successful is it’s impactful choices. Many readers complain of not having enough choices while they read, or that the choices don’t make as big an effect on the plot as they’d wish. Valor Woods never runs into that problem; the reader makes literal life-or-death decisions that drastically affect the outcome of the story. This sets Valor Woods apart from many of the stories populating the Episode app and is what makes the story so worthy of being one of the winners of the All Hallows contest. Valor Wood’s impactful choices also draw the reader in; if the reader feels like they’re taking an active part in the story and that their choices matter, they’re more likely to keep reading and their interest will be piqued.
If you’re looking for a story that has a unique plot not commonly found in Episode, with flawless spot directing and interesting characters, take a look at All Hallows: Valor Woods- you won’t be disappointed. You might check behind your shoulder a few times in case Jonathan Valor decides to pop up right behind you...but you won’t be bored. Personally, I’m excited for whatever Angie S. comes up with next! I know her storytelling and expert spot directing will make for many other great stories.
Epy Wired is a monthly publication, initiated by the Epy Awards Management Team and Magazine Team of 2017.