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Deep Question (I have returned)

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At last, after all these centuries... Nevermind. Anyways, what do you guys think makes a good story in general - does it have to do with writing style, length, plot depth, etc...

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Original post by Cangor
Anyways, what do you guys think makes a good story in general - does it have to do with writing style, length, plot depth, etc...
Yes.

Certainly all of these. Good characters, driving story, relationships, emotions. Sure. Pretty much anything and everything.

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I adhere to a principle in all my art, storywriting and concepts; that everything has to be justified somehow. It just doesn't bode well to put in something into a story "just cause", everything that happens happens for a reason, and that should carry over to whatever you're doing. This is something you can find in some of the most successful pieces of media in our time (books, games, movies, etc.). So I think all these elements mentioned by you-- Cangor-- and by Avatar God easily have a place in a story and can make (or break) a good story.

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A good story should be like a jigsaw puzzle. No pieces missing, and no extra pieces that appear to belong to a totally different puzzle. And if there's a point where you really can't figure out how it's supposed to fit together, that should be made obvious by one of the characters not understanding it either. If something's going to not make sense, it should be made obvious that this was intentional, rather than from the writer not having any idea what he was doing. If your stereotypical boring geeky businessman's going to go on a rampage and kill 30 nuns, SOMEONE ought to notice and wonder wtf happened.

Apart from that, just about anything coherent can be a good story...if you make it your own, instead of just a cheap imitation of a cheap imitation of nothing. Put a piece of your soul in it, and chances are your revenge story won't be a photocopy of everyone else's revenge story.

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Original post by onyxflame
A good story should be like a jigsaw puzzle. No pieces missing, and no extra pieces that appear to belong to a totally different puzzle. And if there's a point where you really can't figure out how it's supposed to fit together, that should be made obvious by one of the characters not understanding it either. If something's going to not make sense, it should be made obvious that this was intentional, rather than from the writer not having any idea what he was doing.


I agree, to a large extent. But ignorance can be a planned part of a story. The author must be all-seeing, all-knowing. (That's how I usually work, though I've written some stories well without knowing much more than my characters--or actually, a good deal less. It's an interesting experience.) The reader / player doesn't need all the details.

Still, if you leave something out, you should know exactly why you are doing so and the possibilities that would fill that void. Or you might leave out the method by which some goal is reached because it isn't important.

The best thing, I think, is to write a complete story in the first draft. Painfully complete. You don't have to insert every detail you invent into the narrative, but you should certainly note it down. Then edit the story to remove whatever you think doesn't contribute to the narrative. (Of course, you want to remember everything, even the original form once you've altered it. That's one strength of writing with a computer.) A third edit will add back in anything that isn't in the second draft that you or an independent observer thinks should be there.

Or is that just too much work? I haven't actually tried it that way before. Probably there's a balance somewhere that results in a story that's almost as good, or better, but doesn't take as much effort.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Oh, of course. I'm not saying you have to find all the pieces at once, that'd be boring. But think about working a jigsaw puzzle. You know what piece *has* to go in a certain place, but you can't find it for a while. Maybe because it doesn't look exactly like you thought it would, maybe because it was right in front of your nose and you didn't notice. (Or maybe because it was covered up by 20 other pieces, but that's where the metaphor breaks down because a game story like that would be too confusing to play through. :P)

And, I think I write my best stories when I just start writing and find out what happens at the same time everyone else does. This is, of course, providing I ever actually finish them. :P

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