Advice from Horse Readers and Writers

Preparation
Read a quest or two. Play a quest for a thread or two. You don't have to follow other quests mark for mark, but getting the feel for what players expect is useful.
Comedy, horror, SoL, action, mystery, etc. Don't juggle too many unless you know you can handle it.
No. Text quests are some of the most beloved quests.
Find a style that allows you to put out drawings fairly quickly. A limited pallete or even black and white is perfectly acceptable.
Take as much time as you like. Play around with characters and ideas. But don't let it become a thing that is forever put off.
Planning
Scrawl down all of your ideas for events, characters, and settings. You'll want to remember them later.
Make sure your plotline is loosely defined. Somewhere along the line your players will push off your carefully laid rails, you need to be able to handle that.
Sure, have a mechanic pulled from here or an idea from there, but make sure everything has your own flair to it. If you take something make it your own.
Either keep on a schedule or inform your thread of when the next session will be.
The Draw General is a good place to ask what people thinks of your drawings.
Open worlds are not an excuse to foist everything onto the players. Even if the world is their oyster you need to give them things to react to. Characters, events, situations, whatever. Blank canvases are boring.
Mechanics
Use them if you want, they're better suited to comedy over serious quests. The /tg/ dice roller does not work on /mlp/. This can be fixed with the dice script.
Many players prefer that mechanics not be visible for immersion reasons. Which also gives QMs the ability to fudge rolls however they like whenever they want. However, as long as you establish visibility early on you can do it either way.
Remember that actions should modify the results. It should be harder to fail with a good plan than with a bad plan.
Make it clear from early on that you're doing this.
Characters
Stereotypes are usually boring. While they can work in some contexts a character will generally need other traits to keep them interesting.
Having a character start as a stereotype isn't inherently a bad thing. But make sure they develop somewhere along the line.
Quite frankly, it's better to keep it in “I grew up on X, I liked doing X on my childhood so I am relatively good at it”. Develop them as the quest develops.
A blank slate isn't an excuse to let the players handle all characterization. If you use a blank slate then you need to make sure to take the players' direction from characterization and then continue it even when they stop. A blank slate MC should no longer be blank very quickly.
Use whatever races you want canon or otherwise, but establish early on whether you're going to have non-canon races. If all you've seen are unicorns, pegasus, and earth ponies a satyr will be jarring.
Questing
Your players will completely ignore or not understand what you're trying to spell out for them.
Your players will see right through everything you're trying to hide or your clever plot trick immediately.
Be prepared for your players to take a right at your plot and head into the wastes. That disposable NPC character? Prepare for them to marry it.
Finding out that the last several choices were irrelevant because you were going to force a certain result is one of the most frustrating things you can do to your players.
Don't give an option you're not willing to back up.
Establish the rules early and firmly. If your quest is somewhat on rails, make sure that's clear. If you set up an exception to a rule, make sure it's fully explained.
Railroading isn't bad. Being caught is bad. Forcing a railroad is bad.
Prompts are some of the most important bits about your quest. There are three kinds of prompts, Strong, Weak, and Non-prompts. You want to have as many Strong prompts and no non-prompts.
  • Strong Prompts: Your players have distinct things to react to or goals to accomplish for the next post.
  • Weak Prompts: You left off without any real direction or much to go off of.
  • Non-prompts: "Next", "Continue", "Well what now?" This is commonly the result of the MC having just completed an action and the next most logical paragraph to be another character doing something.
  • Technical
    Putting Quest or CYOA in your subject allows it to be easily searched or filtered.
    If you're going to be away for 2+ days tell your thread so your players will let it die. Threads don't need to stay up eternally.
    Have as little meta talk as possible during your sessions. Meta arguments with players are immersion breaking. Wait until your session is done.
    Having a name when running a session or discussing your quest adds clarity to the conversation.
    Much like having 'Quest' or 'CYOA' it allows easier searching and archiving.
    Use Dropbox, Drive, OneDrive, or Mega to back up your notes/art folder automatically. It negates any issue with switching computers whether willingly or unwillingly.
    You can post them elsewhere (imgur, dropbox, etc) and link them.
    Archive
    Report it. It'll be added if avaliable.
    If you want to keep your archive clean, when you aren't posting a story post then change your name slightly, the archive works by name/trip matching. Otherwise report them.
    The archive provides a few tools. The format is anonpone.pineapplecomputing.com/{storyname}/{toolname} (anonpone.pineapplecomputing.com/anotherday/latest):
  • /latest - Redirects to the latest thread, either on 4chan or on the FoolFukka archive.
  • /first and /last - Brings up the first and last threads respectively.
  • /fanart - A localized spot for you or others to upload fanart and references, making it easier for collection or for other people to draw your characters.
  • /atom - An ATOM RSS feed.
  • The archive is hosted by Amm. He'll add it when he feels it's appropriate, which is usually after a few sessions to make sure you're going to keep going.
    Post in CYOA Discussion or use the contact page. I try to answer most of the questions I get.
    This archive works for any 4chan or 8chan board from /mlp/ to /trash/ to /pone/ to /qu/.

    Update: Multiple posts within 5 minutes of each other are counted as 1 update. If there is a 3+ hour gap between two updates the second is considered a new session. This is calculated based off of the last five threads of a quest.

    Add 'cyoa' to your stream channel tags and you'll appear on the top bar. Add the url for a quest to the tags to be displayed in relation to the quest. So in Alchemy Quest's case he should add 'alchemy'. This isn't just for QMs, it's for CYOA artists and streamers in general.

    Final Note

    Not everyone is bound to succeed, but that does not mean you should not try. No one is sure that their idea will take off and become something larger. No one knows what direction their story will go. No one knows how they will deal with the people who criticise their work, or the people who praise it.

    You could have a plan. You could write out every conceivable choice that your players might make down to the "T". You could map out the entire world and all of its tribes, citites, monsters and mountains. You could have the most thrilling, interesting and lovable story to tell.

    But you can't know unless you try.
    You might fail, and it might really hurt.
    But one failure doesn't mean that you will always fail.
    And one success doesn't guarentee continued success.
    But if you don't try, you'll never acheive anything.
    Not everyone is bound to succeed, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.

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