enterpride, The Dramatist
Some tips that work for me:
- Start with a premise. For me, that's some question I want to answer while writing. For Treatise, I wanted to discover how grief would cement itself in a generally unstable baron. Now I'm writing a sci-fi about humans that have bargained with the devil to reclaim their home. My question is more in how they will do it, and how far they're willing to go in overcoming the boundaries. Both in-depth and straightforward at the same time.
- Read. Read storygames on the site to both get a feel of what works and what doesn't. Read books to discover which styles you like, what topics draw your interest, what character works for you. The more you write, the more you get a 'second way' of reading that's more analytical. Don't overdo that and suck the pleasure out of reading. Almost everything has been done before. The art lies in the mixing and the rebranding of used components, and to give the package your own flair.
- Don't plan too long. Most ideas die after the two-week mark or the first phase of planning everything out. People are getting bogged down in the minutiae of their world or the tiniest of characters. Personally, I think everything is secondary to the concept I want to explore. As long as that first premise is intriguing, the rest will fall in place during writing. Allow yourself to be free to write yourself into different bends that you initially didn't plan out. I like to explore the question during the writing, improvising everything as I do, based on some vague thoughts I had during my daily commute. The uncertainty gives me the motivation to continue.
- Don't rewrite... too much. I am a big fan of rewriting, but do it with purpose. After writing a scene, I'll go over it the session after in order to change words and sentences. They're usually small changes mainly to do with the flow. I'll read the scene out loud (well not really that loud, I'm not a nutcase) and change sentences where I need faster or slower tempo. Significant/total rewrites should be reserved until you're far ahead in the story itself. For example, when you feel a particular plot needs more substance or there isn't enough foreshadowing. Think of it this way. Writing a story is a journey to the 100%, does rewriting give a substantial enough of a boon to warrant you not progressing towards the end?
- Love dialogue. Ever notice how much smoother the reading is of scenes that carry themselves through dialogue over dry descriptions? It's a quick, easy, and secret trick (and experts hate it)!
- Think in plot, world, and characters. Try to further at least two of these three in every scene you write. These three pillars are what makes a story. Go back to your premise. Is it plot-heavy? Is it world-heavy? Is it character-heavy? Let that reflect in the scenes you'll be writing.
- Have fun. At the end of the day, writing is a hobby. If you aren't having fun, why are you doing it? You're better of working if you don't, or at least look for a better hobby. This ties directly to the writing itself. If you yourself aren't enthusiastic about your work, why would anyone else be?
- Just write. You have a story to tell and it's up to you to tell it. Don't get over-attached to that one golden storyline. In a few years or even months, you'll have moved on to other things. It's better to do it roughly now and finish later than to leave it undone because you overthought everything and became too scared to do it.
A contest entry for Bucky's year's end contest: choose your own prompt II.
Play as Lord Robert, the baron of Rivellon, at the lowest point of his life. He's cheated on by his wife, betrayed by his liege and filled to the brim with a turmoil of conflicting emotions.
How does his life end?
Like Aeneas, we had been cast out of our home. We searched the galaxy for a new home, and like him, we found it and made it our own. We struggled and were battered by the harsh conditions. But now, both ready and willing. we will eclipse the legends of old.
Now we fight to reclaim what is ours.
An epistolary novel containing the desperate pleas of a sole father. How will he reach safety in a city ripe for rebellion?
An entry to Mizal's Tiny 'topias Jam.
Where a lot more little bite-sized stories are -and will be- shared by a lot more authors.
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Uh, on second thought, this makes that question clear.
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There’s been almost no intermezzo this time, so look at the glorious lineup of today without any grumbling! This last piece contains Mystic_Warrior, ApprenticePortentous, Starbourne, and AnimalAlien.
On an unrelated note, some entries have already started to trickle in, making this research completely irrelevant. But because I want to finish this anyway, I’m going to ignore all the actual evidence of competence and live in my own little fantasy world where I am still the best news source in CYS. What a happy world that is. Also, to keep up immersion for the actual workings of this contest, this edition will be more rushed, much like most of our entries' endings.
Alright without further ado, let’s start with @Mystic_Warrior.
Mys is another newcomer with a generic name, leaving me biting the dust full of frustration as only kinky clothes show up on my search. Don’t ask. So let’s start with the profile itself.
A member since mid-2019, Mys has acquired a whopping 232 pointless points performing the most valued act of rating the stories. It’s only trumped by the even more valued act of writing reviews, which is sadly too revealing for our Mystic Warrior.
All shade and distasteful begging for feedback aside, Mys has been relatively quiet on the site before jumping into the contest. With only seven posts, the only real sign of activity has been asking for a mentor and the one writing piece during the corona jam. No, not the forced version all of us mortals participated in; Mys was crazy enough to put her work into the voluntary version, and that says a lot about her work ethic. Oh, she’s Asian too. I guess that backs it up.
By the way, did that mentorship program actually work out?
That brings us to the dreaded profile picture search. It’s another mystical element, where my search turns up a lot of false positives. It seems to be a picture used in a lot of advertising for both coaching, spirituality, woman’s empowerment, and Dutch movie nights. Sadly the latter ones are all outdated.
All in all, I expect Mys to turn in something large, a sudden avalanche of words to back up her mystical image. Maybe something to do with dreaming? I’m not willing to make any sure bets about that yet, but I’m ready to bet it’ll be grand.
So Potter did not make a good showing in his introduction. Full of young hope and dashing enthusiasm, he jumped into the breach, ready for any challenge, but not reading what that challenge actually entailed. Before that, he also exclaimed he was a hairy furry. So the only thing left is to pray and hope God eventually grants this man his salvation.
Don’t invest. Enough said.
Starbourne is another freshie whose blood will pave the wave for the worthy to ascend, clearly warning which route not to take. The sad truth is that his story is not an unusual one. Full of enthusiasm, he wanted to enter both contests late with a single story. It’d be the chosen one:
One story to rule them all
one story to find them
One story to bring them all
and in the darkness bind them
However, only a week later, he came in, begging the judge to accept a measly nine hundred words. Repeated. Fast forward another week, and very trustworthy sources tell me Star has given up completely. Instead of shining brightly, Star descended into a dead black dwarf
Don’t invest. Enough said.
It’s Anim’s third account on the site, and I’ve got to say, I’m glad she isn’t using vonkittycat anymore. Here's her old profile for anyone wondering: the cursed account, woooooooooo!
As the name suggests, she’s a reformed warrior cat and hopefully has left the feline in the dark corners of her memory. Well, it can be forgiven. It’s that awkward period in your life you want to forget as soon as possible, only to be reminded of the cringe by helpful people like me.
Sadly something of the atrocious style still stuck, as she’s rocking a gif as profile picture. So. Much. Movement. I don’t like it.
Alright, so three accounts and six years on the site. In the meantime, there’ve been a shockingly low amount of ratings and published stories, making me fear for the worst.
In any case, she likes aliens and sci-fi. So a jungle entry will probably draw heavy influence from those two concepts. It’d be interesting to read about thought out astrobiology, but sadly I’ve surmised from reliable sources Anim voluntarily prefers SHAME(!) to actually finishing her piece, calling in something trivial as 'liking' her story as an excuse. It's bullshit, and everyone knows it: all writers hate their work.
Don’t invest. Enough said.
Oh, Ace remains Ace, and Ford won’t write anything. They’re as special as special gets. I think I got all of the entrants now.
Although Ace probably will put in his rushed piece. Maybe invest.
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