Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Storium

#Writing Can Be All #Fun & #Games . . .

storium - online storytelling game Anyone who’s been following this blog should be able to tell that the title of this post must have an interpretation beyond those words’ surface meanings

Those who may be reading one of my posts for the first time may wonder about my mental condition since writing can often be anything but fun and games

So, I must quickly reference a past post—Storium — The Online Storytelling Game.

When I wrote that post, nearly two years ago, Storium was still in Beta and looking for support on Kickstarter.

Recently, Storium opened up to the public.

Even though it’s evolution over two years has turned it into an even better storytelling medium, my descriptions from that past post are good enough to let you know enough to, perhaps, go check it out:

“Have you ever played a game and had it turn into a story? 

“Have you ever read a story and felt like it was a game?

“How about playing a game that actually helps you and few other folks write a story?”

O.K., there’s the basic concept

Then, I went back into my blogging history concerning storytelling and games:

I’ve blogged before about how stories and games can interact:

The Fiction Game

“Is fiction just a game authors play with readers?”

Writing & Games ~ Sometimes It’s Hard To Tell Which Is Which…

“…when you’re writing, it can sometimes seem like you’re in a game with your characters and you’re not sure who’s going to win…”

Games for Writers ( or, really, anyone :-)

“If you want to write your best you need to be your best; and, if well-selected games can help you be your best, what are you waiting for?”

Then, there was their own description of Storium:

“Storium is a new kind of online game where you and your friends tell any story you can imagine, together.”

“Stories are part of what makes us human.”

“They’re all around us, from books and movies to TV and video games.”

“Experiencing a good story can be one of life’s great pleasures. But telling your own can be even more fun!”

“Storium uses familiar game concepts inspired by card games, role-playing games, video games, and more.”

“In each Storium game, one player is the narrator [though, now, the narrator role can rotate amongst the players], and everyone else takes on the role of a character in the story.”

“The narrator creates dramatic challenges for the other players to overcome.”

“In doing so, they move the story forward in a new direction.”

“Everyone gets their turn at telling the story.”

And, I must include their Bullet Points:

“What makes Storium special?

* Total freedom: You decide what happens in your story.
* Multiplayer: Write and play with your friends, online.
*Asynchronous: Play at your own pace.
*Worlds: Pre-made playsets that help you tell stories in different settings and styles. [or, make your own World…]
*Something for everyone: You can tell any kind of story you want!”

Then, there’s the actual story that I and a few friends wrote with Storium

We all had real life interfere with the game so it does end abruptly :-)

Storium is free (with paid upgrades available), it’s fun, and it just might turn you into a writer (or, if you’ve already jumped off the cliff, make you a better writer…)

“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”

~ Muriel Rukeyser

And, here’s the Team behind Storium.

Now, a video to Show & Tell :-)

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Helping Youth Write Stories Through A Game :-)

“OH, My! Storytelling is much too serious to be taught through games!” Storium

That last sentence is from a character I created, in a story I might write, who has overblown ideas about the “sanctity” of stories…

Certainly, storytelling is Important; but, if a game can help youth learn the subtleties of telling a story, Bring On The Game!

I’ve written before about Storium—“It turns creative writing into a multiplayer game and lets you tell any story that you can imagine.”

If you want to try playing Storium <— take that link :-)

I’ve been playing a game in Storium—writing a story in Storium—with two friendswriter and publisher, Ali Noel Vyain, and author Jane Watson.

Storium is still in Beta and very soon to be in Gamma—fully-developed—with hundreds of pre-sturctured story-games to play-tell; and, fully customizable to play-tell whatever you and your friends can imagine…

And, most-excitedly, they are in beta-testing with a version for youth—Storium for Schools.

From a recent email update from the Storium Team:

“ENnie and Origin Award-winning game designer Leonard Balsera has joined our team as project manager for Storium for Schools. As one of the designers of Evil Hat Productions’ popular and respected Fate roleplaying system, Lenny has seen first-hand the power of games to inspire players of all ages, including those in the classroom. He’s passionate about Storium’s educational potential. In fact, it was Lenny who convinced us to “go for it” and make education one of our areas of focus.”

“Under Lenny’s guidance, we’ve just completed our first official trial of Storium in the classroom! Nearly 100 students at Manor New Technology High School (located just outside Austin, Texas) recently played Storium as a part of their sophomore World Civilizations class. Through gameplay and storytelling they internalized and demonstrated what they had learned about ancient river valley cultures.”

Check out what the youth who played-wrote have to say :-)

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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Author Interview ~ Ali Noel Vyain – Part Two

Image courtesy of Ali Noel Vyain

This is my 1,000th post and I’m glad we can celebrate the accomplishment of writing over 350,000 words with a second  interview with an author and publisher friend—someone I was always glad to have at events on Book Island in Second Life and have recently been hanging out with at the Cafe on Writers’ Island.

I interviewed her two years ago and I’m glad she’s agreed to another interview.


So good to have you back, Ali! Let’s start with what your current plans are for the publishing house known as The Moon Publishing?

I’m fazing out the publishing house—no more publishing other people’s books and focus more on my books and the monthly magazine. I no longer do book printing because too many people complained and I couldn’t fix every little thing they didn’t like. Basically, I’ve had readers try to tell me how to run my publishing house and tell me I should run it like the traditional publishers do. I will not do that. Printing is expensive and a waste of time anymore. We have digital and I do realize that many people aren’t making the switch for various reasons. However, I don’t think many people will continue to buy the printed books. It will mainly be the people who like vinyl records. Plus any printed books I sell do cost much more than their digital counterparts. I know many readers do not know that fact.

What are your plans for the monthly magazine known as The Moon?

I’ve found a money-free way to distribute it as an ebook. I no longer offer any subscriptions and there is a free issue anyone can download. I’m trying to keep the little cultural icon alive and see what new interest will be generated. So far, there still isn’t much, but that may change in a year or so.

Where are your books and magazines available?

I upload everything to Smashwords first, then once the books are approved for the premium catalogue, Smashwords distributes to everyone else, except for Amazon. Last I heard, Smashwords doesn’t distribute to Amazon right away because there is not bulk upload. I know that can change soon and that’s fine as long as I don’t have to deal directly with Amazon. The magazine doesn’t go to all the stores because I don’t assign ISBNs to it. It has an ISSN and it seems silly to me to add a book number to it. That means Apple and Kobo won’t get the magazine.

Why don’t you upload the books directly to Amazon?

It’s too much work and I have to babysit the sales on Amazon. Oftentimes, books don’t sell on Amazon as well as I need them to. My books don’t tend to sell on Amazon at all. I do get sales from Apple, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, and various other stores. I don’t want to give up sales from other stores. Amazon also wants to sell both the ebook and printed books together. That’s unrealistic when many people just prefer one book format over another. Besides, then they won’t allow me to sell the ebooks at a rate which will allow me to pay royalties to the writers or even allow me to earn any money. Amazon has really made it hard to sell books and earn even a small pittance. My other complaint is that Amazon will not allow me to give anything away for free. I still think one free promo book and one free magazine are the best way to generate interest and more sales down the road.

What do you think of publishing now, Ali?

I think publishing has become a war zone. I don’t feel like taking sides or joining in with the fighting at all. I’d rather back off and be self published. I don’t think many of the readers know and understand what is happening. I doubt they can see the whole picture as the publishers tend to be invisible to them. Readers usually only see the writers. I know writers who don’t even know what’s going on either. It’s sad, but I think we all need to keep up with what is currently happening as it can affect us all in different ways. I am also tired that readers and writers think they can tell me how to run my own my publishing house. If they feel that way, then I think they should run their own publishing houses and leave me alone.

Since you and I, along with the Owner of Writers’ Island, have been writing together at Storium, would you share your experience with it?

Storium has been fun. I haven’t played any role playing games before, so it’s a whole new experience for me. I find it interesting that we’ve lost three players and those of us who are left are still at it and we also all met in Second Life. It is fun to be creative with other people and see how we can mesh our characters and their backgrounds together. Sometimes I can’t wait to see what you and Jane will post next.

What are you currently working on, Ali?

I’m in the middle of trying to write and release at least a hundred books into the world. I have three which need to be edited. One has been giving me problems, but I think with the next pass, it should be much better. The next book released will probably be The Colonies of Earth (Venus): In Men’s Shadows, followed by The Guardian Series: The Formation of the Guardians, and The Violet Series: The Water Nymph.

What kinds of promotional work do you do for your writing?

I have a new website,, which is devoted to my writing and a little about me. I don’t use much in the way of social media and certainly not everyday. I have been creating character pinups using The Sims as starters. Then I have to finish them in Gimp. I upload the graphics to the Character Pinups page on my site and also to Pinterest. When I release new books, I will add the covers and link to Smashwords, where the ebooks will be available. I may announce the book release on my various social media sites as well.

I have also written blog articles, but I don’t do it all the time. Typically, I don’t post anything unless I have something to write about. Then I schedule the posts to appear on Mondays, as Monday is the moon’s day. Right now there is a series of blog posts coming out for September. I may continue to write more that will also cover October.

Do you have a writing ritual?

I don’t have a set time to do anything. Currently I have an open schedule, which allows me to set up any appointments I may need. I try to get myself to work on the writing in some form or at least do something promotional. After several days, though, I find I need to just let myself play and goof off or else I will get too stressed. I do have a tendency to work too much and then play too much. I’m still trying to find my balance.

Unfortunately, this could change as I probably should have a part time job to help cover basic expenses. I do plan on growing as much variety of food as I can so I can keep my food bill down as low as possible. I’m still learning how to do that and it will probably have to be indoors in a small horizontal space. It’s not impossible and it’s certainly doable.

And, finally, Ali, why do you write?

It’s like breathing. When I don’t write, I feel like something important is missing from my life. Writing, or any creative work, helps to keep me calm. I find that I don’t want to scream or yell or lose my temper when I keep up with the writing. My life is frustrating enough with the way things currently are and I’m tired of getting blamed for things I have no control over.

Thank you, Ali, so much, for taking the time for another interview :-)

O.K., folks, time to ask Ali a question or two in the Comments…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Last Chance To Get In The Game !

Forging The FutureAre you a woman who writes and/or games?

Want to take part in a mission to another star-system and help write a story along the way?

I’m the Narrator for a story-game called Forging The Future.

I have 4 out of 5 crew members (players) signed-up.

I have room for one female character-player.

Be aware, this game is open on another site so, even if you applied swiftly, applications may be closed ( or, I may decide to add an additional crew member :-)

To find out more about the game and how to get in, check out my past post, Let The Game Begin!

By the way, I usually don’t post here on Saturdays
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
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* Google Author Page

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Help Me Tell A Story

Ever wanted to write a story?

Storytelling Game

Image courtesy of Eduardo Siqueira Filho ~

Ever thought you couldn’t do it?

Well, there’s a new game that helps folks tell stories :-)

I’ve written three posts, so far, about it:

Storium — The Online Storytelling Game

Games, Life, and Storytelling

Let The Game Begin!

That last one has the details about the first Story/Game I’ve created with Storium and how you can be one of the Character/Players in Forging The Future :-)

That’s all I’ll say about it for now since, if you like games or you want to take a go at telling a story, you can check out those posts

One last note :  I’m looking for players in a couple other places as well, so act fast—the Story/Game might start this weekend………
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

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