Story Building

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After browsing through a few stories here, I have the feeling many of them are not going to get far. It is easy to come up with a simple idea (eg. a fanatasy of me having sex with Mary Sexapora and her entire family). It can be a totally different mission to finish the story. This article tackles longer stories, ie those in excess of 4000-5000 words. See also Talk:Story_Building.


PLEASE NOTE: Feel free to add or edit if you have ideas or information. If you have a point for discussion, or a comment, or a question, then feel free to put it in the discussion page.


a) A story idea.

Like the aforesaid Mary Sexapora example. You need an idea first. It can be a mission in the fantasy, or a setting in which something will happen, or some experience in your life you believe will interest other people. Critical point is, the idea has to be appealing. An idea about how I fall asleep on the bus in a traffic jam (not even a wet dream) is not going to interest anyone.
I don't write for other people though, I write for myself. If something appeals to me - I write about it. I don't know what others think but I feel that the author must get the feel of the situation rather than what they *think* will interest other people.
Some ideas can morth into great stories (eg how Jack, an unemployed guy living in an inner city, gets to sleep with the sexy Miss USA, who is the daughter of the richest man on earth, and subsequently have sex with her entire family.) Some idea can become a part, or an element, or one of the themes, of a story, but probably not 'big' enough to become the theme of an entire story itself.

--Bingain 01:27, 25 Jun 2005 (EDT)

Things go into the 'hopper' to be retrieved at a later date. Maybe only part of the original story will be used but at least it surfaces again.

--Foxy 04:46, 26 Jun 2005 (EDT)


A story idea is a place where a story can start but it usually isn't the best place to start writing. For a successful story you should think about your idea and then construct the characters that will be implementing it. The characters will end up being the story, if the reader doesn't relate to the characters they will soon become bored and quit reading.

--cmsix

Have an idea of what the ending is going to be, many stories have a good beginning, a meandering middle and then just fade away. It may be basic but the structure should include Start, Middle and End, preferably before pen is put to paper.

--Duke of Ramus 11:08, 30 July 2005 (BST)


b) A theme (or multiple themes).

A theme is not necessary an idea. It can be an idea, or a collection of ideas. It is why you write the story and why people will read your story. Take Al Steiner's "Doing it All Over" as example. The theme is about how the hero will pick another route for his life (and others as well), given a second chance. That is a huge theme. We can have smaller themes. For instance, Peter's wife is not interested in sex, until he manages to get his sisters to join in for a MFFF game, and he realizes his wife will only go wild during multiple-some with guys and gals.
Another example about idea vs theme is an incident in my current story project. The hero has kidney stones. He goes to hospital. Besides the treatment, the doc decides to give him a complete physical exam. Doc asks a pretty female med student to participate, and they both play with the dick and balls of the hero. What's worse is that the med student is a friend of the hero, making it both an exciting and embarrassing experience for the hero. This is an idea. It can be used to compose a short story, but it can't be a theme for a novel length story. I used it as a trigger point in my long story.

c) A plot.

Come on, you know it. You need a plot. It can be very simple or very complicated. It can be a single dimensional plot or a multi-dimensional array. A very simple story about John accidently sees Mary masturbating and decides to give her a hand, turning out he gets much more out of it, will still need an environment to be created, about the the pre- and post- incident relationship between the characters, and how things get triggered.
Often there will be "turning points" somewhere in the story which leads to a favorable (or sad) ending. In the jack example above, the mission (theme) is otherwise impossible without a turning point, like, he finds an alien MC machine, or he saves her life when someone tries to kidnap her. You don't need a turning point if you're going to sleep with your wife/girlfriend, unless she's been in coma for 30 years.

--Bingain


Next should be some type of plot. "This is how I fucked My Mother" is a sort of plot, but it isn't enough of one. Something else needs to be going on. One of the easiest ways to make a sex story unremarkable is to make sex the centerpiece. Another thing that will lose readers for you is to keep on and on with a sex scene. Write your sex scene and then go on to something else. You aren't good enough yet to write page after page of sex scene, because nobody is that good.

--cmsix

If sex is all you write about, you won't do well. It is simply too boring to carry a story. There are only so many ways that tab A can fit into Slot B and nearly everyone that is reading the story is already familiar with all of them. Remember the salesman's motto, "You aren't selling the steak, you're selling the sizzle, and make no mistake, you are selling your story. You might not be getting money for it but you must sell it or you won't be getting any readers either.

--cmsix

I think in terms of an ARC, a plot arc just like a TV show. An example wold be the drama "24" - a big story that would climax right at the end, but each episode was an arc that told a small story advancing the bigger narrative.
Don't be intimidated by a need for a PLOT, break your story up into little arcs before you know it you've provided that plotting.

--WarLord 23:44, 1 Jul 2005 (EDT)

d) Characters.

Characters don't just fuck. They have feelings. That's why they fuck. They have to have personalities. That's why Mary will sleep with you and not with me [cries]. They talk, and they talk like who they are. If it's a story about John's adventure from 8 years old to 30 years old, then his thinkings and personalities will change over time.
Usually all females in our stories are drop dead gorgeous and all guys are hunks. That's fine. But a "beatiful girl" is not going to appeal to anyone, not even if she is blonde. She needs more details for readers to relate, or feel, how pretty she is. Sometimes you don't need to give the exact details. Consider: When Mary takes off her kaftan revealing the bikini she's wearing she gets wolf-whistles from all around -- she can't have lousy figure.

--Bingain

Concentrate on making the characters seem real. For instance, in a mom/son incest story it is normal for the son to refer to his mother as Mom, but it always seems awkward for the mother to refer to him as son, especially if she has his dick in her hand. She's going to call him Billy or Jimmy or whatever she calls him everyday. If she normally refers to him as "son" then you are in a different country and most likely using some other language than English most of the time. Be sure to mention that near the first.

--cmsix

I suggest that a starting point is a preliminary cast list. Not for your readers just for you with notes about who they are, what they look like, and any personal characteristics important to the story.
A bit of time spent writing about your cast members fixs them in your mind and forces you to round out their personality -- all things that improve the narrative
As you add players to your story add them to your cast notes. This listing also aids continuity - if she has blonde hair in chapter one better not run the hero's fingers through her 'auburn tresses' in chapter 6!

--WarLord 14:07, 30 Jun 2005 (EDT)

A cast list is an excellent idea, as WarLord suggested you need to develop a distinct personality for each of your major characters. Is Billy a shy introvert that likes video games and comic books, or is he an extrovert that enjoys playing football and lemon slushies from the quickie mart. What does Sally like to do when she's by herself? (other than Jill off at every opertunity) Is Vernon a bully? a geek? What makes him a bully or a geek. The more details you know about your characters, the easier it will be to bring tham to life for your readers.
Not everyone talks like an english professor. Read your dialog out loud to yourself. If it doesn't sound like how you or your friends (or your kids) talk, then your characters probably will not talk that way either.
Your locations are characters as well. Your readers are trying to watch your story in their heads while they are reading. Details of the environment are crucial to setting the stage, so to speak.

--DarkMystic

e) Setting.

This is about where and when the story should take place. Is it at school, college, office, America, England, Moon, Mars, or some remote galaxy? Is it about something in the past, or the present, or the future? If I'm going to write about a medival knight, it would be stupid for me to write 'he said, "Okay, let's go kick some asses."' The word okay is not invented until 17-18th century, and I don't think medival people talk about kicking asses. If the hero goes to Middle East, he will not hug any female in public, or he'll probably never be able to fondle breasts again. An elevator lobby in USA is a lift lobby in UK. That's why SiFi stories with settings in the future may be easier. You can let your imagination do the driving and don't have to worry about illogical ideas.

--Bingain 23:32, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)

Another thing to pay attention to in the setting elements are the accessories that go with it. Unless you're writing a fetish story exacting details of dress are rarely crucial and are places where critical readers can trip you up. Let's face it, pants can be tricky to take off and if they're just vanishing that's a problem. For critical details of the setting accessories then it's best to try to find a style that makes for the least repetition possible too. Not only does the word "ball gag" incessantly repeating itself get monotonous, but so do excrutiating repetitions of the calibers and details of weaponry, and even the appearances of common characters. Part of this is giving the reader credit, they're fully able to figure out complex situtations without the same words and phrases endlessly repeating themselves. You'll create a tighter story and more importantly you'll be well on your way to "showing, not telling."

--Mistermook

f) Others.

That's another thing. If your story is published on a site that uses a "blurb" presentation to get readers interested, make sure that you proof your blurb. Unless you have a recognizable body of work on the site, a glaring error in the blurb will get you passed over fast. The blurb is the first thing a reader will see and if it is boring or error ridden, it will be the last thing they see too.

--cmsix





In general, I myself follow thees steps:

a) Have an idea, or many ideas.

b) Come up with a theme of the story, including possible codes (MF, mF, orgy, etc).

c) Come up with a plot about how the story will go.

d) Create characters.

e) Create major incidents, and put them together. --Bingain 23:32, 29 Jun 2005 (EDT)