Sterling's Guide to a Good Story

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Art Studio' started by Sterling, Apr 2, 2011.

Apr 2, 2011
  1. Sterling
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    Member Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

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    Sterling's Guide to a Good Story

    Beginners, Intermediates, and full Novelists.









    I've been a GBAtemp member for quite some time now. Back in the earlier days of my membership I was known for being a writer. I wouldn't have called myself good, or even passable but write I did. In those days I had issues with insomnia and I had a lot of trouble falling asleep. I wrote until I felt tired and it wasn't unusual to put 300 or more words into a blog. Eventually it turned into a relatively long story. Since then, I've been honing my skills and I've decided to try and give some experience back to the community. Well, here's my best shot at some advice to make each and every one of you better writers.


    Coming up with the content.

    The backbone of every story.








    What I've learned about writing a good story is that sometimes the story isn't straight forward. Sometimes it twists and turns and can get confusing for both the reader and the author. So, if you have trouble keeping your story coherent and easy to follow, then you should try to consolidate your ideas. In other words, "Brainstorming". Brainstorming is the art of releasing ideas and thoughts in quick bursts, and using the basic structure and ideals as fodder for your story. This gives you the inspiration you need to make your story interesting. Brainstorming is a way to give your thoughts proper release. This is the most basic tool in any writers' toolbox. I will do my best to help you understand and properly use brainstorming.


    Brainstorming - Refinement



    Separation of sentences and paragraphs.

    The organs of a good story.








    Alright, so you've got your outline. You have that pen and paper, and you're ready to write a kick ass story. Well, you're wrong! We still have to discuss the organization of your story. When it comes down to the bits, it'll separate the great from the mediocre. You see, while a good concept and an organized outline make up the skeleton of your story, the real inner workings are made up of the words. If these words aren't properly organized, then the organs are just scrambled sacs of meat.

    • Always indent your paragraphs. It keeps things simple so the reader knows there is a break in the story. If you are unable to indent, then a larger than usual capital letter at the beginning of a paragraph adds a bit of flair, and style. Although, just a double break can make the paragraph easy to discern.
    • Make sure each paragraph is easy to read. Long sentences and large paragraphs can make reading a chore.
    • Grammar and spelling and proper vocabulary for your target audience are the most fundamental elements to a good story. It's what separates the word doodles from the actual works of art. If your audience cannot understand what you are trying to convey, then you will have failed as a writer.


    Peer evaluation.

    The doctors of the text.








    As a person, I'm prone to mistakes simply because I'm human. One person alone isn't much parity, but when you add your peers into the mix, consistency and redundancy skyrockets. Many people will catch multiple mistakes that would slip by that single person. So, as an aspiring writer, it is your duty to help your peers out. Besides, you never know when that regard in your work turns out to show that you're a retard (its only one letter).


    Tips and tricks to make sure your beautiful story has no blemishes.

    A story may work well, but it must be attractive and ready to party.







    • A good music playlist can do wonders for a mentally blocked writer. Just load it up and go to town.
    • Inspiration can come from anywhere. The sky, food, music, and believe it or not family vacations.
    • If someone poops on your work, just clean it off. Just because someone doesn't like it, doesn't mean that you can't continue to improve it.
    • Fresh air is just as important as paper cuts. Don't be reclusive, get out there and be with the outside world.
    • Forums like GBAtemp are good places to receive feedback on your ventures. Just don't feed the trolls.


    User Submitted Content

    Hell yeah, people are paying attention to me.









    Shinigami357
    If you see any mistakes in this guide, don't hesitate to point them out. Also, if you wish to add to this guide, shoot me a P.M. with what you wish to be shown.
    *Format credit seems to go to Densetsu9000, but I added my own flair.
     


  2. Narayan

    Member Narayan desu~

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    good guide. will help a lot of people. i only found out about having an outline for the flow of the story when i was trying to write chapter 2 of my story. it still has a lot of flaws, my story i mean.

    but i didn't have much a hard time writing the first paragraph. it's mostly the details that i find a bit hard to express.
     
  3. boktor666

    Member boktor666 Gbatemp's official Solar Boy™ Is Back!

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    tnx for this Argentum Vir, I guess this will help me alot.

    Off topic: Btw, do you actually play Guild Wars or something?
     
  4. Sterling
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    Member Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

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    I used to, but I haven't in awhile.
     
  5. Shockwind

    Member Shockwind GBATemp's Official The Last of Us Fan

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    Wow, that one will help a lot and can help others have a good story! Thanks for that and for making this topic! [​IMG]
     
  6. KingdomBlade

    Member KingdomBlade Blade v3+ (I R SHMEXY)

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    Thanks. It could help me with my book. (already started on 2 chapters but it's my secret project no one knows about [​IMG] )
     
  7. Ikki

    Member Ikki GBATemp's grumpy panda.

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    I read "Guide to a Cool Story" and I thought you were trolling, morning isn't nice to me.

    That's a really good guide, really. Might come back and check it out again when I need to write or feel like writing something.
     
  8. Sterling
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    Member Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

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    I have to admit, I laughed. I thought that was funny because I just read it that way myself.
     
  9. CherrySkitty

    Member CherrySkitty GBAtemp Regular

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    Sticky Sticky Sticky [​IMG]
     
  10. Shinigami357

    Member Shinigami357 Current "give a fuck" level: Honey Badger

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    I'm actually in the middle of writing a "novel" (a story, in any sense)and I find that you make good points. I think you should add something about finding the "focus" of the story. Some stories are centered on the storyline, some are more on the character(s), and others are centered on a topic, for example. Then there's POV, which is largely a choice between the "outside narrator" and a first-person viewpoint (there is the lesser-used "shifting consciousness" though, where different characters tell different parts of the story). Oh and the best piece of advice to anyone writing their own stories: enjoy it.

    Cheers!
     
  11. Shockwind

    Member Shockwind GBATemp's Official The Last of Us Fan

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    Don't bump it! [​IMG]
    Yup. The guide that you shared to us really helped a lot. I'm gonna write a story next week and I'm gonna apply your guide to make it better. [​IMG]
    Hmm... Maybe this should be stickied. [​IMG]
     
  12. Sterling
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    Member Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

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    Good luck with your story. Many writers start off without raw talent. They find their own way. If this is going to be stickied, it will happen only if the mods deem it so.
     
  13. Shockwind

    Member Shockwind GBATemp's Official The Last of Us Fan

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    Thanks! [​IMG] I don't know if the mods will sticky this if they after they saw this thread. [​IMG]
     
  14. Shinigami357

    Member Shinigami357 Current "give a fuck" level: Honey Badger

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    Ok, I'm back with a some more advice. Hope these can help.

    1. Don't plagiarize - My favorite author said that most writers start out by making stories (mostly in their heads) that basically mirrors the stories we have read or watched. However, a writer should always write their own stories, because that is the point of writing.

    2. Don't just follow the "in" thing - Personally, I am getting sick and tired of all the "supernatural being falls in love with humans" genre that seems to have come out of nowhere ever since twilight destroyed the horror icon that is the vampire. Please, for your own sake, write something that means something to you, a story that is yours, rather than going along with what's popular. In fact, props to the next writer who starts a decent trend in future novels.

    3. Take what works; discard/fix what doesn't - Part of a writer's responsibility is to make sure their story works as a whole. If certain parts or aspects of it work to drag the whole thing down without contributing anything, then you should edit it out or find a way to make it fit in with the rest of the working parts.

    4. Write for your audience - Writer's more-or-less have the story in their head; writing is a way to convey it to another person. Unless you burn your manuscripts and bury the ashes or encrypt all your documents and then give yourself amnesia, chances are people will find out you've written a story and they will want to read it. Hell, you might even want your story published (props to you). So always remember that when you are writing, you do it for your audience. That being said, never (I repeat: NEVER) sacrifice your story just to please your audience..

    Cheers! [​IMG]
     
  15. Sterling
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    Member Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

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  16. Shinigami357

    Member Shinigami357 Current "give a fuck" level: Honey Badger

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    Just one thing to add this time, though it's rather long...

    5. Understand your story and write it as such - This might sound a bit profound or confusing, but allow me to explain.

    If you are writing horror, for example, don't write

    He saw a monster in the shadows.[/p]

    Instead write something like

    He saw a multi-headed, scorpion-tailed creature snarling at him from the shadows.[/p]

    Because horror as a genre concentrates more on the characters, creatures (if there are any) and the unknown coupled with a story that serves to scare, concentrate on these aspects. Because that's how horror stories work.

    If it's sci-fi instead of

    There was a lot of radiation.[/p]

    write something like

    There was over 9000 units of radiation according to the geiger counter.[/p]

    Since sci-fi, while not entirely factual, still focuses more on facts, figures and a sense of "can that happen?".

    I think you get the point. Of course, don't go overboard. Moderation is key.


    PS
    Of course, if you are writing a story in a hybrid genre (or a new genre altogether) then it is up for you to decide how exactly to write it.

    PPS
    Sorry, couldn't resist the meme urge. Chill!

    PPPS
    Just noticed I wrote writer's instead of writers at the beginning of number 4... Shame on me.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Shinigami357

    Member Shinigami357 Current "give a fuck" level: Honey Badger

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    To celebrate Sterling's recent name change, here's another tip

    6. Read a lot - Reading expands your horizons, your knowledge and it stimulates the brain. Writers with the dreaded writer's block sometimes turn to reading (prose unlocks the story sometimes). Also, you never know if an obscure idea or fact is the key to making the story flow.
    The other thing about reading is it exposes you to different writers. You might find someone whose style and advice you agree with. This will help you learn a lot. Just remember, don't plagiarize, and you'll be fine.
     
  18. Sterling
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    Member Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

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    Alright guys, I have completely rewritten the Guide.
     
  19. KingdomBlade

    Member KingdomBlade Blade v3+ (I R SHMEXY)

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    Why is this in the Review section?
     
  20. Shockwind

    Member Shockwind GBATemp's Official The Last of Us Fan

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    "GBAtemp Reviews and Guides"

    This is a guide, y'know?
     

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