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 How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)

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Alder
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PostSubject: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:04 pm

Introduction
So you’re thinking of writing a story. You’ve got a rough idea of the main characters and you’re sure of maybe the direction you want the plot to go in. Maybe you’ve decided you want it to be set in the Slender Man Mythos or the wider Fear Mythos. Maybe you’ve already started, and are chugging along without really knowing where all this is going to end. Maybe you’ve mapped out a lot of the plot, but are having trouble with making it really pop.

Well worry not, kiddo, uncle Alder is here to help, and give his advice, derived from years of writing, and two decades of being an over-analytical media soak. Here’s my advice on how to plot and structure a story, and fill it with well-done characters, to the point where it can genuinely be called “good”. (“Great” comes with time and practice, and no guide can teach you it; it’s about experience, understanding and intuition.) And this is all just advice. It’s what works for me. It's also, by the end of it, basically going to be a free creative writing course. This is going to be big. But honestly, there's only so many ways it can be screwed up. I hope it serves as a useful resource. I also hope it makes your mythos works suck less, because Jesus Christ, you guys.


Last edited by Alder on Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:04 am; edited 2 times in total
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Alder
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:12 pm

Part 1: Planning

Don’t groan. This takes time, and requires you to put in a lot of imagination before even starting, but it’s the difference between a blog with a bunch of good ideas and a cohesive, rewarding narrative. Too many people in this mythos advocate diving straight in and writing as inspiration comes to you over planning and preparation. Most of those people’s blogs work as episodic pieces, but they don’t work so well as an overall narrative, and the idea that it’s a greater creative achievement to let the plot flow freely from you in real time is hippie nonsense. Making stuff up on the fly is not only easier to integrate into the narrative if you have a plan to hook it onto, but the creative springboard of a plan can actually result in making better stuff up as you go, since you have something to build upon. Planning will also dramatically increase your writing speed, because you won’t be making stuff up while you’re writing. You’ll know what you’re there to write and you can get on with it, all the while looking forward to writing the cooler stuff you have lined up ahead. There ARE some people who can genuinely generate a good story on the fly, but even then, if you’re that good, you’d be even better with planning.

(Plus, chances are you’re not actually that good. People overestimate themselves as a rule. If you tell a group of people that almost all of them will be normal except for some who are special and better, most people will assume they’re in that special group. Don’t fall into this trap, it’s laziness and it’ll almost certainly result in a worse story. Assume you suck and take the necessary precautions to counter that suckage.)

So let’s talk.

Story and Plot

Spoiler:
 

Characters in detail

Spoiler:
 

Setting, and its relation to the Protagonist and the Antagonist.

Spoiler:
 

Structure and pacing

Spoiler:
 

Conclusion.
FUCKING PLAN YOU DISTENDED GAPING ASSHOLE. I know that some of you are impatient and want to go create, but what you create will almost certainly be not as good as it could be. Instead, take an evening to plan, to put together something you've taken time and care over, and make it something that you're prepared for.

Next time: writing style!


Last edited by Alder on Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:03 am; edited 3 times in total
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Illyrias_Acolyte
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:36 pm

I wish I could award a billion win points for this. Holy crap, so many writers, and not just Fear Mythos ones, could benefit from this. Of course, this is all mutable if you know what you're doing, and playing around with Freytag's Pyramid is fun, but there is no one who couldn't use a refresher course in the basics.
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Alder
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:32 am

That's very generous of you! Yeah, there's a million guides on here about "advice for slenderwriters" but I figured that we could use a guide to storytelling 101 as well, that's non-specific and can be used for other stuff.

And yeah, the great thing about writing is that once you get the underlying systems of what's going on when you write or read a story, basically all the rules become something you can abandon if you like. You can rearrange the framework, fuck with structure, and ultimately write however you want.

"Are you saying I can dodge bullets?"

"I'm saying that when you're ready, you won't have to."
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ramenninja13
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:43 pm

I will use this! Very Happy You are amazing for making this. It deserves (in the words of one of a favorite youtuber) "the highest of fives!" I'll be refering back to this whenever I have to write Smile Thank you so much!
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Omega
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:16 pm

Very useful guide for beginning writers. Too many people get into slenderblogs without realizing that while writing something may be easy, writing something good is a lot of hard work.
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ExorcistGamer
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:34 pm

Yeah, what the others said. Very useful guide for anyone of any level really.

Nice touch on adding this bit too:

Alder wrote:

And yeah, the great thing about writing is that once you get the underlying systems of what's going on when you write or read a story, basically all the rules become something you can abandon if you like. You can rearrange the framework, fuck with structure, and ultimately write however you want.

Nice work on this Alder, the rest should be good too.
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Tue Jul 10, 2012 6:17 pm

Omega wrote:
Very useful guide for beginning writers. Too many people get into slenderblogs without realizing that while writing something may be easy, writing something good is a lot of hard work.
One of my friends and fellow writers often used to tell me that writing was easy, to which I'd always respond "If you think writing is easy, then you're doing it wrong".
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Wed Jul 11, 2012 12:38 pm

There might be a slight wait for the next part - I've picked up a writing project that needs doing ASAP, as well as some Slederblog writing to do..
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:27 pm

Thanks making this topic. As with many others, I'm working on a Slender blog as well, and was looking for advice.
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Zetto1995
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:34 pm

Thanks a million for this man, This is going to be a big help for the fear blog I plan on making.
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:05 pm

If no one minds, I think I'll share some advice for newer writers, as well. I can sum it up in one simple sentence, and Alder already did touch on this in the introduction post.

Do not expect your first work to be the best thing that has ever existed.

It doesn't matter how much time you've sunk into it, odds are that your first ever book, Slenderblog, or whatever it is you've written will not be the best of its kind to exist.

I'm not saying that you shouldn't go ahead and try, however; make it the best that you possibly can, then go back a few months later and see how you can improve it. Practice your editing skills and see if you can improve your writing like that.

It helped me out a hell of a lot. You guys should have seen the first fanfic I ever did; I still shudder in disgust.

Don't be afraid to grab a dictionary and/or a thesaurus if you need a more concise or appropriate word, and don't be afraid to get a little long-winded. Be descriptive, but never use a word you don't know. And nothing is ever so good that it can't be improved!
Example: The Slender Man used its tentacles to grab Joey.
Revised Example: The faceless being lashed out with its shadowy tendrils, intent on wrapping them around the young man frozen in fear.
Re-Revised Example: The faceless man towered over Joey. The young boy's face held fear, and his limbs felt too heavy to move as the man's back burst open, a plethora of tentacles writhing forth from it. The tendrils of shadow launched themselves at Joey, intent on lashing around him to make certain that he was unable to move.

Just remember: work hard and never give up, and one day you could write the next Harry Potter. Just don't tell Rowling that I said that; I loved those books.
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:24 am

I've been pretty busy/sick/in Rome for a little while, so this has been held up but part II should be up soon.
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Lucas Auraelius
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:21 pm

This is really awesome. I made my series go through a few hard rewrites after reading this, and it's all the better for it.
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Alder
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Mon Aug 06, 2012 7:04 pm

Lucas Auraelius wrote:
This is really awesome. I made my series go through a few hard rewrites after reading this, and it's all the better for it.

Glad to hear it. If I can do even a little bit to improve amateur writing on the interwebs, all is worthwile Razz
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PostSubject: Re: How to write a good story (and how that applies to a slender verse work)   Today at 9:54 pm

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