WatchNon-threaded

Forums » Writing Workshop » Read Thread

Toss around ideas and brainstorm your story.

Your approach to story writing, research, choices?

25 days ago
So I'm sure this has been discussed many a time, but I'm bored at work awaiting Navision -> Json file mappings so I figured I may as well resurrect the forum a little bit.

So, how do you approach writing your story? Do you carefully plan everything out, making tons of notes and only then write? Do you wing it completely? Or something in between?

Do you do any "real life" research about the stuff you're writing about? Not every story needs a ton of research put into it, of course, such as fantasy, but you can always attempt to make stuff more realistic by investigating the plausibility of the events you're writing about.

I've got a similar question about the way you plan out your choices? What is your preferred branching choice? How do you write out the paths, do one completely then move on to the next or write them alternatively? (Paradox need not respond to this part).

Finally, why do you think your approach to all of these things is the best? I am assuming, of course, that you think your approach is the best, otherwise you probably wouldn't be doing it lol.

Examples provided would be appreciated (I'll be putting them in brackets).

Personally, the story I'm writing right now for the religion/mythology contest went like this:

>See contest being held
>Decide on the general topic I'm going to write about (slavic mythology aka prequel to my other story)
>Do about two hours worth of research into the slavic mythology using any resources available (both online and the actual books I have). This included cross checking dates and events of the 6th and 7th century to make the dates and locations fit in with real life events (the Slavic migration into Byzantium lands in the late 6th and early 7th century).
>Bookmark most of the useful resources and write down the mythological beings/gods I want to have appear in my story
>Decide how this story is going to fit in with my previous one (very loosely), and how many references there will be.
>Having decided on the general topic I consider my main character, his name, personality and skills (he will be a slavic shaman interested in religion).
>Very loosely decide the general plot (he'll pick the god he wants to worship, and spread his word).
>Start writing an action scene at the start, to draw the reader into the story. I find this part is very important (strong intro).
>End up writing 1984 words before I can stop myself.

As for the branching choice, both of my previous stories were "gauntlet style" with possible different endings. I chose those because writing out one high quality path is better than half-assing five imo. Well, that and also writing death scenes is always amazing and hilarious.

Of course, writing out five high quality paths would be the best, but I'm only human and not Endmaster. There's not a lot of time for these contests.

That said, I am going to attempt having multiple major paths this time, though the result will probably not end up the best.

Finally, every page I write, I proofread along the way, several times. Then I go through them all when I finish a "part" of the story. I find proofreading very relaxing and important.

Your approach to story writing, research, choices?

24 days ago

Varies wildly on the story, and the time of my life, so I apologize in advance for the detailed answer.  This is what you get for asking authors to talk about themselves.

- I started off with the strategy of just beginning to write and seeing where it goes.  For my troubles, I have nearly a foot of one-page story beginnings and brainstorms.  In these, usually I had an idea I liked, or a character I liked, but I really had no idea where I was going, and would inevitably get bored.  There were a couple exceptions to this rule, but only a couple, and they usually involved comparatively more long-term planning than the others.

- I wrote a lot of short stories in middle school.  For these, I usually knew where the story was going, roughly, but would change and refine it a lot while writing.

- My first serious writing project, a novella for eighth grade creative writing class, I roughly planned out beginning to end.  I refined the ending to fit better with its themes, but stuck mostly to the plan.

- My longest project, a 270-something written page behemoth, I wrote in real time:  On September 3rd, I would write events that took place roughly around September 3rd.  This was fantastic for my productivity, but this story was a hot mess with no plot.

- I frequently come up with detailed brainstorms and ideas I have no plan to seriously write in the near future.  This is just for fun, and I don't consider it serious "writing".

- Capture the Flag and Diplomat I first planned out every choice on a google spreadsheet.  This was subject to a lot of change; Diplomat originally had 8 paths instead of the final 5, but what I did keep stayed relatively true to the plan.

- My game-like stories (Ruins of Anzar and Secrets of the Crag) I plan first, I already knew the contents of each area and the overall plot before I started coding.

- The non-cyoa story I'm currently working on, I'm brainstorming and writing non-linearly.  I'll just add a note or occasionally write a scene anywhere in the timeline, wherever I feel like it.  The story arc is planned in a lot of detail, but I haven't begun seriously writing.

In conclusion:  My initial instinct was to "just write", but I find the more I plan in advance, the better it goes.  Editing is also a big part of my process.

*

For research, I'll just google something whenever it occurs to me.  Nothing really formal.  Often I end up writing stories about things I already know, rather than the other way around.

Yeah, I usually write one path all the way through, then write all the "death" endings for it, and then move on to the next one.  Sometimes I jump around if I feel like it.

You've probably heard this before, but I don't think there's a "best" approach.  Just whatever works best for an individual person.  It's going to be different for everyone.

Yeah, strong intro is a BIG deal.

*

For the mythology content, I'm sort of planning on going the "Avoid research by writing about something I already know" route.  I'm already familiar with a lot of greek mythology, so I'll probably work with what I know there, and research to fill in the gaps.  (This might be subject to change, since I entered 5 minutes ago).

*

My most successful stories (i.e. the ones on this site) start with a simple concept, and end with a simple execution, where I cut out as much extra ideas and work as I can.  Virtually every story I've published on this site was originally plotted to be at least twice as long, but I pruned it down once I realized how long it was actually going to be.  This is important for my stamina as a writer, and the stamina of readers.

My favorite ideas generally come from a concept for an interesting scene, dynamic, or situation, or several of these strung together.  Everything else, plot, characters, setting, I build around these central concepts.  Don't think I've published anything like this here, except maybe my entry to the Agreena.

Your approach to story writing, research, choices?

24 days ago
When I get an idea, I usually take a day to turn it over in my head to see whether I like it or not. Then I wing it.

For treatise, I winged it completely with absolutely zero forethought or idea in mind except the message of the scene I was currently writing.

For Brimstone, I effectively winged it except I put down some ideas of hell first. The idea actually started with the ending and the location, and everything else was just to get to that point: spoiler, I didn't even get close to 50% to that ending. I also often relistened to parts of this audiodrama to get into that feel. https://youtu.be/zUIDnDrETHY

For the rest I just said fuck it and wrote whatever I felt like.

Guess there's that Sci fu world too but gtg

Your approach to story writing, research, choices?

24 days ago

My writing style is very 'moment' based. I'll have characters and I'll want them to go through certain things. For example my 'Angel' series of short stories I've published here. One major scene I wanted was to have a fallen angel choke slam someone. The rest of that was making it happen and the reaction.

Most of my research is remembering something then looking to see to how I could apply it. Like I could go oh yeah I want a mythical horse in this, doesn't Celtic mythology have something like that? 

I actually don't recommend my method, it just works for me. I wish I could sit down and fully plan but I just can't.

Your approach to story writing, research, choices?

24 days ago
Ask, and you shall receive answers. Not good answers, those cost money, but answers.

>So, how do you approach writing your story? Do you carefully plan everything out, making tons of notes and only then write? Do you wing it completely? Or something in between?

It depends. Sometimes I plan everything, then start writing. Sometimes I start writing and see where the adventure takes me!

>Do you do any "real life" research about the stuff you're writing about?

I don’t often write about real life. I guess I do a little when it comes to places so that if anyone knows the place I’m writing about, it would make a little sense.

>What is your preferred branching choice? How do you write out the paths, do one completely then move on to the next or write them alternatively? (Paradox need not respond to this part).

It depends. I have written the entire structure of the story with just numbers and pathways, then gone back to write the story and choices. I have written the entire story from start to finish, then gone back and inserted choices here. I have built an entire world, then gone back and populated it here. I have done an entire story as a massive branch and bottleneck where every single choice heads back to one ending here.

>Finally, why do you think your approach to all of these things is the best?

It depends on what I’m doing and why I’m writing that one particular story. Contests are an entirely different monster because they have deadlines that force me to realize there is an ending to the story. Without that deadline, my stories have gone on forever.

For this contest, I first figure out how much time I have before the deadline. I overlay that with what’s going on in my life (hey, I could be doing stuff). That lets me know how many days I have available to write. Then I start writing out the branching of the story. Right now I’m on a branch and bottleneck kick, but I think this story is going to really be much more gauntlet (with lots of dead bodies along the way). I know how many days I can write, which will direct me to how many pages I can write. Then I write the gauntlet using numbers to represent the pages. Once I have the list of all the pages and branches, I can start deciding what goes in the choice spots. This one is a little different with the gauntlet, so I might not come up with too many choices beforehand. I may have to write a dozen pages before I really know where the choices will end up. Also, at this point, I have a strong idea in my head of the general story. I know it’s going to include a cult, I know the main character is an idiot. I know the main character is going to end up in the cult, even though he doesn’t want to. Then, much of the main story will be exploring the cult, trying not to die, and trying to figure out how to escape (or not escape and just enjoy your time with the Addrerall).