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.