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things you should and shouldn't do when writing stories

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#41 Opwiz   Members   -  Reputation: 293

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 04:14 PM

Some good principles for designing any story:

Aristotelian Unity - Do not put redundancy in your design. Never use a bigger setting or longer amount of time than necessary. Never have two characters or objects that serve the same purpose. Smaller settings and more compact timelines make for a more intense story, and unique characers and objects which serve multiple functions are more interesting and memorable.

Main Character/Impact Character Complementarity - Most stories will have a main character and another character who has the most impact on the first character because the two characters have either opposite goals, or opposite methods for trying to achieve the same goal. In any story one of these characters should be forced by the plot to change their goal/approch, while the other character remains steadfast in their goal/approach. This is how you as a writer present a moral about what people should do or how they should do it to your audience. The character who changes does not necessarily have to be changing from the 'wrong way' to the 'right way'; a story with an unhappy ending suggests that the steadfast character was wrong and too stubborn or blind to change, and the dynamic character got dragged down too by not being strong-willed or faithful enough.

For Every Element, Include Its Opposite - If you want to talk about one character with a particular virtue/flaw/trait, you need to have another character with the opposite trait to contrast them with. If you want to show how a society is too ritualistic/individualistic/frivolous/stodgy/whatever, you need to show either a misfit individual or group within that society, or an alternate society, which has the opposite trait. Plot events too should generally be symmetrical or circular: a 'leaving home' scene somewhere in the story suggests a 'coming home' scene elsewhere, a fight scene is balanced by a brooding scene, a clever plan by its accidental mis-execution, a mystery by its solution, etc.

Register: Consistency and Variation - Your register (word choice) and tone should be consistent throughout a story and for each character, but each character's way of speaking should be different from the other characters' and the narrator's.

Control Focus With Detail vs. Ambiguity - Some of us prefer a lot of detail, some of us very little; nevertheless, you need to use both in your writing to direct your audience's attention to the important elements of the story. If you make everything detailed your audience will be bored because you are not asking them to use their imaginations; if you make everything ambiguous your audience will be confused, which again leads to boredom because they have no foundation on which to base their imaginative guesswork. Either make the setting ambiguous and the main character and plot clearly detailed, or make the setting detailed and the character motivations and plot ambiguous, and the audience's attention and suspense will be focused on figuring out what the detailed parts imply about the ambiguous parts.

[Edited by - sunandshadow on December 7, 2004 5:24:16 AM]

 

Really like this write-up. Good job.



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#42 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 5058

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 04:40 PM

Thank you. smile.png I was just writing about Aristotle's theories of unity and other stuff in the article I'm working on. Intending to get to the main character/impact character topic later, but I'm going in chronological order and I need to make my way through the early and mid 1900s before I get to recent stuff.

Phone game idea available free to someone who will develop it (Alphadoku game - the only existing phone game of this type is both for windows phone only and awful. PM for details.)


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me. I also love pet-breeding games.


#43 PosthasteGames   Members   -  Reputation: 123

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 09:08 AM

Unusual and untraditional themes/focus/story

 

Original Anti-cliche characters. Unsexified female characters

 

Cinematic


"Woud you rather make a game with a preliminary originality, or a game that shocks the people and maybe even politicians?" - Posthaste Games


#44 ferrous   Members   -  Reputation: 2146

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 07:30 PM

Oh, something I would recommend, especially when writing game stories, is taking a look at Anita Sarkeesian's Tropes vs Women in Video Games youtube videos.  She goes over a lot of common tropes that seem to hit the game industry over and over, even with smaller studios and indie games.

 

Damsel in Distress seems to be an ever recurring theme, as well as girl character whose only defining trait is that she's a girl.



#45 RealityFails   Members   -  Reputation: 155

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 12:35 PM

I really enjoyed reading the first posts which were written almost 10 years ago and I can say 100% I've edited my story many times to come up with better ideas and I ask myself 100's questions so I'm not left with plot holes. Thank you guys!



#46 Writers Block   Members   -  Reputation: 135

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Posted 13 February 2014 - 10:12 AM

Wow, I was supprised how long it is since I responded to this. Always good when a thread resurfaces; we get the opportunity to see if what we wrote bears any resemblance to what we now think. I'm ok with what I wrote. :)


Writer's Block

#47 KingOfTheNoobs   Members   -  Reputation: 219

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 09:53 PM

In regard to what you said about working with a team, I don't think you are right. It is always good to have somebody to work with. While one idea might sound fantastic to you, another person might be able to see the flaws in it and help you rework it until it is the best it can be.







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