Poll: You think it's helpful?

25 vote(s) since January 19, 2011 at 6:30 PM

  • Yes, it may help me with my storywriting. (13) (52%)
  • Yes, though I likely won't use it. (5) (20%)
  • It looks good, but i'm not reading all that. (3) (12%)
  • No, I don't need a guide. I'm talented as is. (1) (4%)
  • No, this guide did not help me at all. (0) (0%)
  • No. I don't write. (3) (12%)
 Topic: Coolidger's guide to storywriting/WoN library

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  Posted on January 19, 2011 at 6:30 PM
11 thumbs up
Coolidger, Fugitive

Contribution: 119 (98 + 21)
Joined: February 16, 2010

So, you want to write a story, but you don’t know where to start? Perhaps you are having troubles developing characters, or writing something you're satisfied with? Maybe you're not getting enough viewers?
I am here to give my advice on writing the difference between a novel, and a great novel.

Who the hell are you, and why should we take your advice?
I’m not the most experienced, or the most talented writer on the planet. Probably not even on the forums. I do have my share fair of experience and competitive writing victories, both in and outside of the boards. I’ve been writing for seven years now, winning school and city story competitions for my works. I’ve also given much advice as I like to critique others on their works. I’ll put some of my personal writing tips into this topic.

What is a story?
A story can be any type of written plotline. Any genre, any level of fantasy or realism you want. Complete freedom in writing your very own story, characters, plot twists, scenes. Whatever you want.

Where should I start?
Before you start writing any first draft, or before you even pick up a pen, the most important thing for any successful story is coming up with a unique plotline. The plotline is the backbone to your story. You don’t want it to be something that’s already been done. You need to be original. Let your imagination run free and think of what you want to write about. Then, summarize the main basis of your story into one plot. Here’s an example:

”Ace detectives investigate bridge causing many to suicide without reason”

This was the thesis for my Suicide Bridge story. Try to avoid using character names when coming up with your thesis. Say your main character is a circus performer. “The circus performer learns the hidden secrets of the circus industry”, using what she is instead of her actual name. This way you know where your character should start.

The next part of the guide will be what you should be doing after you come up with your one sentence summary. I’ll divide it into four sections. The plotting, the first draft, the second draft and the typed draft.

Probably the most important part, and where your story starts. Think of what your plotline is, and what kinds of characters you need. Firstly, develop your main character (s). Don’t do more then 3 to start, until after your timeline is done. Come up with every little thing about your character. What they look like, their personality traits, their beliefs, their past, their ties to your other characters, and in some cases, their inhuman abilities, such as if your character is a superhero.

These descriptions should be in depth. Everything from hair and eye colour, height and weight, skin tone, religion. Make an in depth past that made your character who they are. Also, when giving your characters personality, it’s okay to give them more then one emotions. That’s natural as humans. However, don’t make their personality all over the place. Try to base it off 2-4 emotions that they are most known for. You want to give your character actual character, not just some all over the place generic character that no one understands who they’re supposed to be.

After your finished creating your main protagonists, it’s time to make a plotline. You already have what your story is mainly about, but it needs smaller details. Things that build up to your climax, possible plot twists your audience doesn’t see coming, good build up of your characters. Your characters should be liked by the audience. If the audience doesn’t care about your characters, why would they care about what happens to them in the story. You can make them likeable by making characters that the audience might relate to, giving your characters good comic relief lines, or creative lines, or possibly putting your character in constant struggle and near death experiences until your readers feel sorry for them. In pretty much every genre of fictional stories, there needs to be a struggle your characters go through.

Make a timeline, and plot all of your important parts in the story. Make sure to give a good build up to your climax, or make something unexpected happen to make your story worth reading. Make sure to add only big events. How many there are depends on the length of your story, but there should be at least 4. Smaller and less important scenes can be filled in later.

Next, create your support characters. Give them smaller descriptions then your main characters. Looks, personality traits and ties to other characters are the most important things here, but you can give them a past as well if you wish.

The last step is creating your world. It can be fictional, or based in real places. If you base them in real places, you should have a small idea of what those places are like. Laws, important landmarks, people and country beliefs, as well as climate are important factors. The same for if your creating a fictional world, all these should be factors you think of. What is the weather like? Is your world populated, or on the brink of destruction? How technologically advanced is your world? Are there special rules to the way your world works? What are some important places, like ruins, towns, mountains where big events take places. These are all things you should think of when creating your setting. Remember a time period as well.
The original Melon Lord.

  Posted on January 19, 2011 at 6:30 PM
Coolidger, Fugitive

Contribution: 119 (98 + 21)
Joined: February 16, 2010
First draft
The most difficult part of writing a story, is actually writing it. Coming up with a plotline, a setting and some characters should take you some time. I won’t put a specific time because some of us are faster then others, and sometimes you get a random great idea and things start flowing nicely from there. You should at least take some time to make sure you’ve covered most points of your story before you actually start writing.

I lied. There are two more important steps before you begin writing. Deciding which perspective to use, and deciding what genre(s) your story will fall under. The genre is easier, as it should fall in with what plotline you’ve written. However that’s not always the case. You may be planning on writing a story about a man who has to steal to survive in life. You could make it a tragedy on how hard his life is, or a thrilling action book about his adventures stealing and nearly getting caught or killed. It could be a mystery if you wrote if from two point of views. You could write a two part story, the first part about the thief stealing until he got caught, and then the detectives side of the story of how they found him. You could even turn it into a comedy if your main character fails at stealing and embarrasses himself. It’s completely up to you. For the complete list of genres, scroll down the guide a bit.

The other part is the perspective of the written story. Are you writing it in third person, of first person? First person is where the story is explained through the eyes of a character, usually the main character. More often then not, you will be using past tense here, similar to a diary. Lines like “I turned and darted away as fast as my legs would carry me” or “The chocolate cake tasted rather strange. Suddenly, I felt my throat begin to crackle, and my vision became blurry”. The other perspective is third person, where your telling the story as a third party narrator. You tell the events like someone who is watching the entire thing unfold, using lines like “Jim couldn’t hold his bladder any longer. He dashed for the nearest washroom, shoving his way through the customers in his path. When he arrived, he found it was already in use, and the door was locked”.

Now that you’ve figured out what your going to write about, and how you’re going to write it, it’s time to finally sit down and begin writing. You may type your first draft if you wish. Some people gather more ideas using pen/pencil and paper, while others are more creative when typing. It’s whatever you feel most comfortable with.

Your writing style is your own, and completely up to you, but I’ll give you some tips that can help. It’s very important to have a good opening to your story. Catch the readers interest right off the bat, but don’t reveal too much. Make it interesting and suspenseful, and make your reader want to continue reading. Catching a readers attention is often the hardest part. With all the stories out there, people will often flip through one, read the first paragraph and decide if they want to read more from there. Your opening paragraph should be well written, and should have an interesting opening line.

Build up your characters. I told you to give them a past. Find a way to express it to the viewers. You can use the prologue for this, or you can slowly have that character reveal his or her past as the story progresses. Often in stories like this, their past is key to something bigger. Also, build up your characters and make them likeable. Have them do something cool, have them relate to the audience. Comic relief characters are often well received as well.

Build up suspense to important parts, especially when your story takes a big turn. This is very important. Far too many times I’ve seen a crucial scene to the story get ruined because it had to feel, no suspense. The difference sounds something like this.

Ex. 1: “I was dancing with my girlfriend. Then, everyone started screaming. I turned around, and I saw zombies.”

That didn’t feel very important. Give it more emotion. Any natural human would feel something there, whether it be fear, or anger at the zombies for ruining his dance, or sadness. Make him feel something, and describe it, especially if the story is first person.

Ex 2: “I was dancing with my girlfriend. The prom night was going perfect, nothing could have ruined such a perfect night.

I spoke too soon.

Suddenly, I heard some screams from some kids in the back of the gym, and those screams became louder. My ears started to ring, and Tracey looked at me confused. We both looked back to see what the panic was. We were confused. All we saw was a large group of teenagers running towards us in a frenzy, screaming in panic. What were they running from, I wondered. Did I really want to find out?

”I don’t have a good feeling, I think I’m gonna go Ron. Thank you for the wonderful evening.” She kissed me cheek and quickly darted for the gym exit with the rest of the kids.

”Great,” I said to myself. Way to ruin a great night. I decided to stay and see what the fuss was about, seeing as how it ruined my high school prom.

I wish I never stayed. The most horrific scene I had ever seen in my life. Staring about 30 feet across from me, was a zombie.”

As you can see, a little more descriptive, a little more dragged on. Everything should be built to that one point where it’s revealed what exactly the panic is about. This was only a small example. In most cases, try being even more suspenseful, dramatic and emotional then this.

When you write your second draft, your copying the first. Don’t just copy and paste it though. Read an copy it, piece by piece. Often you’ll find that something sounds a little odd and you could use different words for better flow. Try switching some of your sentences if you start sounding repetitive and using the same words, or use more creative words. Finally, do the same one last time, reading through it. Make sure to proofread, and if you have Microsoft Word, use spellcheck to go through it.
The original Melon Lord.

  Posted on January 19, 2011 at 6:31 PM
Coolidger, Fugitive

Contribution: 119 (98 + 21)
Joined: February 16, 2010
Other tips:
-If you get stuck while writing your first draft, take a break and try again later. Many writers hit walls. The best thing you can do is take a break and try again when you regain your motivation.

-Use plot twists, dramatic tragedies and comic relief to keep your readers interested.

-Never ever put a timeline on your story unless you’ve finished. Rushing your story to get it finished at a specific time will make it sloppy.

-Write about something you want to write about. Something you like. That’s why writing personal stories is easier then writing school essays. Because you want to do it.

-You can base your characters off others, or real life people you know. However, add some of your own qualities too. Don’t completely steal another character.

-Motivation for plotlines can come at unexpected times, and from unexpected places. That’s often how stories start. I’ve gotten my plotline ideas from original dreams I’ve had before.

-Motivation can also come from real events you’ve experienced. Lots of people base their characters off of people they know.

-Find your strength, whether it be writing love or battle scenes, being descriptive and dragging things out. You should find your stronger point.

-The sky is the limit. Be creative, let your imagination run free. Nothing is too over the limit. Look at Alice in Wonderland.

-Feel your stories more then you think about them. Once you start getting into a flow, things should start going naturally from there. Often times when I get a rhythm, I stop thinking deeply and let my conscience take over, and the pen gets moving.

-Study from others. Read successful novels, and see how the big authors do it. Getting a better feel for successful novels can help you write better.

-Very important to learn to take constructive criticism. The more you can take in and learn from your mistakes, the better you will become.

-If you have any helpful tips of your own, tell me and I’ll add it to the list.
The original Melon Lord.

  Posted on January 19, 2011 at 6:31 PM
Coolidger, Fugitive

Contribution: 119 (98 + 21)
Joined: February 16, 2010
Types of writing:

Picture book: One you likely won’t post over WoN, picture books use short and easy to read sentences with pictures illustrating the scenes.

Novel: A multiple chapter story with 80000+ words.

Short story: Usually about 2000+ words, depending on what it’s about.

Fictional: A made up story. Not real.

Non-fiction: Not really considered a story anymore, a book on facts about something. True things.

Biographies: Written about someones life, also contains true events.

Poetry: Used to create imagery or express feeling, poems are more structured, often written in verses.

Folktales: Stories that have been passed down from generation to generation. Some are real, some are myth.

Genres of stories:

Romantic: A lovers quarrel. Can be between two characters, or sometimes a love triangle between multiple characters creating struggle. Romantic stories often make it hard for the two lovers to be together, a things come between them. You can either have your lovers together at the beginning, and have them go through struggles to stay together, or you can have them go through struggle together and slowly fall in love, and express it at the ending.

Tragedy: Romantic stories can turn into these if lovers don’t end up together in the end. A book often revolving around a devastating event that happens to the characters. Can be about a war, someone dieing, or some other sad misfortune.

Horror: A book with frightening scenes used to scare the user. It can have paranormal antagonists, such as vampires and werewolves. It can also just be normal, such as a horror about a natural disaster happening to someone, a horror about a psycho murderer, or a horror about a frightening past event (such as The Holocaust).

Adventure: Your main character goes on a life changing adventure. Whether to save his job, someone he/she loves, or even the entire world, the person sets out on this adventure to save something or someone important. Often met with struggle along the way.

Sci-fi: A story about possible future events. Often has very advanced technology such as robots. Can also be a story that takes place in outer space.

Fantasy: A fantasy world. Things that happen are often paranormal and impossible. A completely imaginative world. Often has unique creatures.

Fairytales: Short stories often to children. Similar to fantasy, often starts with the “once upon a time” opening.

Mystery: Often has the main characters trying to solve a case. Usually has lots of suspence and big plot twists.

Comedy: A book meant to make the reader laugh. Often displays characters doing funny things, or multiple comedic characters. It can also have awkward yet funny situations.

Important terms in writing:

Protagonist: The main character(s), or hero(es) of the story.
Antagonist: The villain(s) of the story.
Plot: The main storyline, a pattern of events.
Setting: The place a story is happening.
Character: A person in the story.
Dialogue: Two character speaking to each other.
Monologue: One character giving a speech by himself.
Flashback: Describing an earlier event from the story.
Genre: A type of literature.
Myth: A story that explains a past legend.
Narrator: A character that explains what is happening in the story.
Rhyme: Repetition of similar sounding words.
The original Melon Lord.

  Posted on January 19, 2011 at 6:31 PM
Coolidger, Fugitive

Contribution: 119 (98 + 21)
Joined: February 16, 2010
Reserved for the WoN Library Critique sections, in which I will post links to stories posted on WoN, along with critiquing and rating it. If you'd like your story in the library, send me a pm with the link.
The original Melon Lord.

  Posted on January 19, 2011 at 6:31 PM
Coolidger, Fugitive

Contribution: 119 (98 + 21)
Joined: February 16, 2010
One more reserve for more library stories.

Also, I need a banner for the WoN Library section. If you can make banners, please send me a pm and we'll talk, and you will be given credit if your works are used.
The original Melon Lord.

  Posted on January 19, 2011 at 6:32 PM
Coolidger, Fugitive

Contribution: 119 (98 + 21)
Joined: February 16, 2010
If you need any more advice on storywriting, you can send me a pm with your question or problem, and I will be glad to assist.

Also, if you can think of anything else that I should add to this to make it more helpful for aspiring writers, again, the inbox is open.

Special thank-you's
- To both Ariana and Ashley (Purples), who are two of the most talented writers I know, and continue to be my inspiration.

- To Kevin (Hime), who taught me alot of techniques I still use to this day.

- To the person who made the top banner. I apologize for forgetting who it was, because it's been buried in my collection for so long.

More to come
The original Melon Lord.

  Posted on January 19, 2011 at 6:34 PM
Shadow2991, The Ambitious Savior

Contribution: 135 (121 + 14)
Joined: February 17, 2010
reserved .. waiting
1st .. ^_^

EDIT: wow alot of stuff ... looks great .. keep doing the great work
N-A Profile - S-A Profile

?@#!*%$ Amazin' Sig by fallen_angel
  Posted on January 19, 2011 at 8:06 PM
rurudo66, Hunter of Hanto

Contribution: 1,476 (1,274 + 202)
Joined: April 12, 2010
Wow, nice guide. After I make a showcase for the Land of Demons I'll pm you the link. Also, this should definitely be stickied.
Epicurus wrote:

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Marcus wrote:

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

  Posted on January 19, 2011 at 10:49 PM
mrhardy12, The Manipulative Tactician of the Ancients

Contribution: 259 (220 + 39)
Joined: March 23, 2010
Could you link my showcase here? I'm itching to get more people reading and commenting, but I can't get any pageviews...

Plus, my stories are kind of long. And I'd also like a review from you, if that's OK.
Made my avatar myself. :D
And yes, I'm male. I just like Terra Branford a lot.
We need parody characters on WoN. Who's with me!?! XD
Click on this text (or the line directly above it) to see why.
  Posted on January 19, 2011 at 10:56 PM
SirDark, The inexperienced Recruit

Contribution: 10 (10 + 0)
Joined: January 14, 2011
This is great and could help alot of new writers such as myself. Thank you.
Call me Darkeh
  Posted on January 19, 2011 at 10:57 PM
Coolidger, Fugitive

Contribution: 119 (98 + 21)
Joined: February 16, 2010
I would be glad to post & critique both of your stories as soon as I get the library section started. The only thing i'm waiting for now is a banned I could use for it. Once I get that, i'll start adding to it.
The original Melon Lord.

  Posted on January 20, 2011 at 6:04 PM
1 thumbs up
Yuki, Medic

Contribution: 102 (70 + 32)
Joined: February 17, 2010
Nice one, this is great. Helped me a lot considering I am a fairly new writer.

How long did this take to write?

Anyways, good job.
●○ мagna ѕнιyaYυкι ○● ѕιηcє 2007 ●○ ιηтєямє∂ιαтє νƒχ'єя ○●

Just to confirm: I'm not some "Yukigaaru" fan or anything nor an impersonator. I've been called Yuki (either because it's my username or because it's my nickname) since roughly the start of 2007. I play N-A and most known to post on N-B which is why my name here is "Yuki". If I had known at the time of making my account, there was a mod called Yukigaaru, I would have used a different name.
  Posted on January 20, 2011 at 11:52 PM
Coolidger, Fugitive

Contribution: 119 (98 + 21)
Joined: February 16, 2010
Yuki wrote:

Nice one, this is great. Helped me a lot considering I am a fairly new writer.

How long did this take to write?

Anyways, good job.

Erm, only about 20 minutes to be honest. I'm pretty fast when I start getting on a roll.

Thank you for your kind words, sir.
The original Melon Lord.

  Posted on January 20, 2011 at 11:56 PM
Lorddallas, The inexperienced Kid of the Military

Contribution: 31 (29 + 2)
Joined: February 16, 2010
I'll be glad to make your banner.Pm will be sent soon.And I'm gonna be making a writing showcase sometime this weekend i'll link it when im done :)