Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
CaptainVG

what is a good story?

This topic is 2471 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Why is it that most of the times I write a story comments say that its rushed, not well fleshed out? How long does it take to make a good story?(Ridiculous I know but still).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
It depends on the story. It can be anything from decades to years to months to days. That's just the writing part of the story, the whole thing from start (when you first think of the idea) to finish (when you finally complete writing it) can take substantially longer.

If people say your story seems rushed and not fleshed out then chances are it's because it isn't fleshed out and was rushed. Rushed tends to mean that the idea doesn't seem to have been thought out very well, there's a lot of "oh it just happened like this because it did" style moments. Fleshed out tends to mean that the idea is bare, there nothing to it apart from the key points of the story.

If you can give a few examples of your work I could be more specific with why people would comment like this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ok here's one.

Cross Patch

Story:When war was struck between PenninHall and Kerlome, many have lost their lives and families but won wars and brought peace. When peace was made in Pennin Hall and Kerlome People were well raised but not all of them as many were left as orphans or lost their families. Soon this sadness created hatred to all and are known as pirates. They steal gold from town to town,room to room and bar to bar. Rums were served for free whenever pirates were on the way.Soon when more pirates approached across seas and lands, war between Kerlome and PenninHall struck again.




Meanwhile a young man wakes up in an island noticing himself unconscious. A ghost with no name calls in Heold and tells him to find a boat to set sail.This is where our adventure begins.....




[font="Arial, sans-serif"]Story:Setin Gadcarnet city, Max FeuJack a detective is requested to arrive at the old torn out Limber Park.[/font]

[font="Arial, sans-serif"]Hethen finds out that a group of gypsys are living in that park. Hopun the head of the gypsys explains the case to Max that Yado believes this myth can destroy their entire lives and every single villager begins to believe him and are very frightened. According to the myth this park is haunted and anyone who stayed there would be punished and he proves this by stating that his wife and his son have died.They can’t evacuate because according to their laws if one of them were right, then that someone must take over the tribe which he will refuse because Yado is a very cunning man with greed and power and where ever they stayed the police pushed them out.[/font]

[font="Arial, sans-serif"]After hearing all of this Max begins to solve the case. But how?[/font]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yeah, that's definitely rushed and not fleshed out. You are "telling instead of showing", which is a widely-discussed problem you can probably google. What you are writing is something like a history or a summary rather than a story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think I'll write a little into that topic here since it's usually not explained well beyond "show, don't tell", even if you Google it.

All writing should be engaging. Realize that reading is an active process. A key strategy of engagement is to treat the reader as an active participant and a lot of basic tools of engagement are centered around this.


First the basic idea. Spose I write:

A man stuck his head out the door, glanced around till he caught sight of Mister Coffee's mouth and said, "No smoking here, asshole!" Coffee blew a cloud in his face.[/quote]

From this we can, if we so please, construct a literal narrative; a man smells smoke. He leans out to search for it, and instructs the smoke to stop. (He does not like smoke.) The smoker refuses, rudely.

But when I rewrite it like that, it's very flat. Don't write flat.

But it's not strictly about showing & telling, as one can do all sorts of things. Take this sentence from Monday or Tuesday:

Lazy and indifferent the heron returns; the sky veils her stars; then bares them.[/quote]

The first part, "lazy and indifferent", relates to the short as a whole and I won't go into that. The latter, however, can mean nothing at all until you start interpreting it. My first thought was the mental image of stars vanishing and reappearing as the heron flies past, occluding them, but then that wouldn't make sense. The sky veiled the stars. And when does it do that? Daytime.

"The sky veils her stars; then bares them" can be interpreted as de-romanticizing the passage of time; day and night is just some thing that happens.

Or something.

You can also do this as the level of the whole work. If one wrote a crime novel, but it's really about campaign finance reform, than she's treating the reader as an active participant. Go and do likewise.

How long is another matter. I've written things that entertained people in hours, and generally try to get a laugh whenever I can IRL and to do that you have to work with seconds. But when getting into it, I've twice taken about a month to write a ~2000 word story and about three months to write a ~125000 story. What's the function? Lord knows; simple fact is you need time to think things over and that doesn't correlate in any simple manner with what you're writing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Subject: what is a good story?
2. Why is it that most of the times I write a story comments say that its rushed, not well fleshed out?
3. How long does it take to make a good story?

1. Your subject line doesn't match with what you wrote in your post. As an aspiring writer, you need to work harder to match title with content, to organize your thinking and subject focus. A good idea is to write the content first, then write the summary/title/subject line afterwards.
2. Most likely because your stories were missing detail, or had loose ends.
3. As long as it takes. Don't start a timer when you write; just don't publish it until you've proofread your stuff thoroughly and are satisfied that it's ready.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I'll write a little into that topic here since it's usually not explained well beyond "show, don't tell", even if you Google it.

All writing should be engaging. Realize that reading is an active process. A key strategy of engagement is to treat the reader as an active participant and a lot of basic tools of engagement are centered around this.


First the basic idea. Spose I write:

A man stuck his head out the door, glanced around till he caught sight of Mister Coffee's mouth and said, "No smoking here, asshole!" Coffee blew a cloud in his face.


From this we can, if we so please, construct a literal narrative; a man smells smoke. He leans out to search for it, and instructs the smoke to stop. (He does not like smoke.) The smoker refuses, rudely.

But when I rewrite it like that, it's very flat. Don't write flat.

But it's not strictly about showing & telling, as one can do all sorts of things. Take this sentence from Monday or Tuesday:

Lazy and indifferent the heron returns; the sky veils her stars; then bares them.[/quote]

The first part, "lazy and indifferent", relates to the short as a whole and I won't go into that. The latter, however, can mean nothing at all until you start interpreting it. My first thought was the mental image of stars vanishing and reappearing as the heron flies past, occluding them, but then that wouldn't make sense. The sky veiled the stars. And when does it do that? Daytime.

"The sky veils her stars; then bares them" can be interpreted as de-romanticizing the passage of time; day and night is just some thing that happens.

Or something.

You can also do this as the level of the whole work. If one wrote a crime novel, but it's really about campaign finance reform, than she's treating the reader as an active participant. Go and do likewise.

How long is another matter. I've written things that entertained people in hours, and generally try to get a laugh whenever I can IRL and to do that you have to work with seconds. But when getting into it, I've twice taken about a month to write a ~2000 word story and about three months to write a ~125000 story. What's the function? Lord knows; simple fact is you need time to think things over and that doesn't correlate in any simple manner with what you're writing.
[/quote]

So you mean like this?

In a far off cliff lies a sword that is said to wield magical powers owned by a sorcerer.

something like that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


So you mean like this?

In a far off cliff lies a sword that is said to wield magical powers owned by a sorcerer.

something like that?




You're still telling, not showing. A sentence like that is a summary. There may be a time and a place for brief summary depending on style, but it should be used sparingly. For instance, fable and fairy tale are often told using a "telling" style. "Once upon a time there lived..." But even in a telling style, appropriate detail can make all the difference. You don't want to just lay out the story as a set of facts. You want to skillfully weave figurative language, detail, description, etc... to construct something that delivers the facts and events of the tale but that is also a pleasure to read.

"In a far off cliff lies a sword that is said to wield magical powers owned by a sorcerer." -- Sure, we now know there is a sword somewhere in a cliff, owned by a sorcerer. We literally know nothing else about it. What are its powers? Who is the sorcerer? Where is the cliff? Why would a sorcerer need a sword? Why'd he leave it in the cliff? There is nothing in this sentence that engages the mind or imagination. You might as well just write out your weekly shopping list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This might also touch on trust issues. The reader has to believe that there is indeed more. In this case, you can interpret that:

1) A wizard owns a sword
2) He left it on a cliff
3) Some say it has magical powers.

This can be interpreted as a statement about the wizard or as one about the people (who think it has powers) or both or more.

If that was intentional, than yes, you're almost there, but (as seen above and I agree) it's hard to tell if you're actually doing that or if you're just confused. Cultivating trust is important.

Another issue is that basically you made the sentence very roundabout. Modernists like Woolf do this but it's very tricky to do well and very easy to do wrong. As a beginner you're safe adopting business writing tactics for your sentences.

Read here.


To apply that to fiction, make clear, concise statements that can imply more than their face value and don't worry about making engaging word structures. We could write blurbs like:

A sorcerer once owned a sword, but he left it on a cliff somewhere. Some folks say it has magical powers.[/quote]

There's a cliff way out where a sorcerer left his sword. Some say it has magical powers.[/quote]

"There's a sword with magical powers out on some cliff somewhere. They say a wizard left it there."[/quote].

etc. etc. Depending on where one wants to direct attention.

Also mind framing. Whether someone is going to take your sentence at face value or read it as "ha ha, crazy people think there's magic" or what depends a lot on how you've framed the discussion; what's the context? What is one reading about and how does this blurb relate to that? Is this plot about lost artifacts or ignorant villagers or forgetful wizards or something else altogether?

A reader's perception of the context affects how they'll interpret what you write. Blanc saw you as a learner and assumed you're confused. That's context. I could cut and paste that sentence verbatim into another context and it'd have a totally different meaning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I like what Joe and F said very much. But there's even more.

1. The story should make us care about this sword and its location. Who needs the sword, and why, and what makes us care about this person's need for the sword?

2. Try showing us about the sword through dialogue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!