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Soul of a story - The art of lore

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Tutorials' started by Xonok, Nov 26, 2013.

  1. Xonok

    Xonok

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    Introduction

    Nowadays it has become quite relevant for hivers and people in general to be able to write stories.
    However, no one starts out very good at it and many never truly master the art of writing lore.
    This tutorial is meant to help out in that regard.

    1. Grammar


    For a good story, bad grammar can be forgiven. However, more often than not, the first stories a person creates are not good.
    This is acceptable. However, grammar should still be worked on, as it makes it easier to convey your ideas.
    Bad grammar makes the text hard and tiring to read, which means that the reader will not be able to focus on the story.
    That's why you need to make sure your grammar is reasonably good.
    http://www.hiveworkshop.com/forums/miscellaneous-tutorials-456/english-language-156761/

    2. Relatability

    The point of a story is not to convey facts. I'm not saying that facts or hard points are bad, just that they are not the focus.
    When writing a story your focus is to touch the soul of anyone who might read it.

    Imagine a story:
    Once upon a time there was a cute bunny. Then he went psycho and killed everyone. The end.

    I guess you would agree, that this is not a very good story. But why?
    The reason is not that it's short. Stories do not need to be long.
    Basically when a person reads this story, then his mind works somewhat like this:
    There was a cute bunny. (Alright)
    The bunny killed everyone. (What the hell?)

    And that's all that the reader will get.
    There is nothing relatable, except the bunny being cute and even that is nullified by suddenly changing him into a killer.
    This story is simply a bunch of unrelated statements that do not make any sense whatsoever.

    A somewhat better version of this story:
    Once upon a time there was a cute bunny. However, the other animals were jealous and constantly bullied him.
    One day, the bunny got angry at them and accidentally killed them all in a burst of rage.

    It is the same story. It contains the same points as the last one. Yet, it's somehow more relatable. Why?
    Because the events are now somewhat explained, they have a meaning.
    There are also some insights into the mind of the character, which makes the story more logical and understandable.
    Furthermore, there are emotions. It's hinted at, that the bunny didn't actually mean to kill everyone, it was an accident.
    This makes it easier for the reader to connect to the character and find similarities with himself. In this form, the story matters.


    3. Structure

    Every writer can create worlds. However, once the world is created even the creator should follow its rules.
    This is where structure becomes important.

    Many stories follow the three-act structure. This can also be called "2 disasters and an ending", since usually the first 2 acts end with some important event and the last act wraps all the loose ends together.
    However, it is not really necessary to follow this structure. It depends mainly on your own preferences.


    4. Relevance

    This a very common problem in amateur RPG games. The game has a beautiful and well-written story.
    There's also high quality gameplay. Yes, but the story could just as well not exist.

    In order to make the story relevant, you need to tie it into the gameplay.
    This does not mean simply writing it into quest messages and dialogues.
    That is called a text dump and it doesn't make the story more relevant.
    Instead you need to tie the game to its lore, not just the other way around.

    The story has to have noticeable effects on the gameplay.
    It should teach the player to predict events and act against or towards them.

    As an example, you could give the player choices, with somewhat predictable effects on the game world.
    "You see a beautiful sword inside a block of ice and decide to claim it for yourself.
    However, your good friend Muradin says that this place is cursed and so is the sword. Will you take the sword?"

    Then a dialog pops up with 2 choices - Yes/No.
    At this point, the players will ask themselves whether they should do the right thing and leave, or work off of their greed and take the sword.
    Here, the story matters very much, as it can be used to determine what can happen depending on the choice that the player makes.

    There is also one thing about relevance that should be avoided - empty text. In many stories, there are parts of the story that don't really give the reader anything, but simply waste time and space.
    This also applies for names of characters and the story itself. Some stories don't need a name and if there's few characters, then neither do they always need actual names.
    Kurt Vonnegut has once said "For storytelling, make sure what you say does either two things - reveal information or move the plot forward. "


    5. Length - long or short?


    Many people would say, that a good story has to be long. Some others would say, that long stories are tiring.
    In a sense, they are both right.
    My own opinion on this, is that you should never judge a story based on its length.
    Instead, length just means more writing space to show what happened.
    However, this does not mean that any storywriter should just write tons and tons of information and present it as lore.
    That is a text dump, not a story.
    Instead, the story needs to stay engaging and relevant at all times.
    Remember, the point of a story is not to convey facts, but to make the reader immersed.
    Facts can also be conveyed, but it should never be the point of a story.
    The answer to the original question is - Make the story as long as it needs to be, but not one bit longer.

    Other related tutorials:

    http://www.hiveworkshop.com/forums/miscellaneous-tutorials-456/writing-story-165982/
    http://www.hiveworkshop.com/forums/...creative-writing-game-design-tutorial-167911/
    The snowflake method
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
  2. Xonok

    Xonok

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    Feedback is welcome. Also, I am willing to help people with their writing, but not write lore for others.
     
  3. frettory

    frettory

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    #1: No sig. Remove sig.
     
  4. PurgeandFire

    PurgeandFire

    Code Moderator

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    I think this makes some good points. I don't disagree with any of it, and perhaps it will be good to link back to this tutorial whenever I see a poorly made rpg story.

    The examples are nice, and this tutorial is straight to the point (which I like). Approved.
     
  5. Drunken_Jackal

    Drunken_Jackal

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    I have a few things to add:

    Stories don't always need to be relatable, just plausible in the eyes of the audience. Also, make sure your stories follows a consistent set of rules you establish in writing. One way to add a level of emphasis is for the author to break the rule establish by himself in the story. If you want it to make it relatable, make the reader fully understand them.

    Also, structure and storytelling. Stories are good as nothing if you have bad structure and storytelling. Basic stories follow the three-act structure or the Hero's Journey (google it). However, nothing is stopping you from going all Tarantino on it. For storytelling, make sure what you say does either two things - reveal information or move the plot forward.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015
  6. neo_sluf

    neo_sluf

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    Well could you add... Choose a good and story related title


    Because i hate some lore/stories with the title that is not connected...

    FOR EXAMPLE

    Title: The Chicken

    Story

    Long ago there was a chicken walking on the farm then suddenly an evil came out. A hero pig came in. The hero pig saves the day. Then people congrats the pig for saving the day. The people made a statue for the pig and the pig was happy about it.

    What the heck! the title is Chicken but the story is about the pig?.. lol..
     
  7. Xonok

    Xonok

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    I find relatability important, because it's what makes people actually care about the story. Plausibility is still needed too though.
    The second paragraph can be generalized as progress, I guess.
    I'll see if I can add them.

    This depends on the type of story. Some don't need a title at all.
    In any case, it does point out one thing - Relevance. A story shouldn't have things that are there for no reason.