Story Writing Class - Video Series

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Tome571, Apr 11, 2016.

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  1. Tome571

    Tome571 Veteran Veteran

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    Hey everyone! 


    I started a thread on Reddit to gauge some interest in building your story from the ground up. This was the original post there - 


    "Hey everyone, I was doing some brainstorming on some things I could do to give back to the community.


    Most of my experience has been in writing - I am a musician/songwriter/lyricist for the last 20+ years, I have done multiple short stories. It all translates really well into RPGmaker project creation.


    The biggest issues people have, are stalling on a project, because they don't know what they want to happen next, or they aren't making progress. Other times, it is because they aren't happy with the direction of the project, and it is too much work to go back and start over.


    If you use proper story writing, and have the end in mind when you start your project, it makes it VERY easy to keep moving.


    Does anyone think learning how to do this type of project approach would help them? How long would you commit to in order to learn? A half hour presentation? A 1 hour Skype call? 3 hours?


    Upvote if it is something that you would even find interest in, so that I can continue to pursue something like this, or just let it die.


    Thanks!"


    I did get a fair number of upvotes and some comments saying that there were some people that would be interested in doing/seeing something like this. After some pondering, I thought maybe doing a recording or two of a Skype call that could be turned into a video series, to really be able to teach others how to build a project from the ground up, so you have the end in mind and feel like your story has a direction. It is very exciting to continue building your project when you know where it is going to go next! 


    I think I am on the planning stage for taking this idea to the next step. I want your thoughts!


    How long do you think the videos should be? Base it on a time/length, or break into sections?


    How in-depth should we go into the mechanics of the story crafting? For Example: Do you need background on what characters/conflict/resolution are? How deep should I go on explaining these? 


    What else would you want to know about this rarely talked about subject? Other than showing an example of actually building a story from the ground up (which I intend to do, when I find a suitable volunteer!), what else would help you understand how you can adjust the real "meat and potatoes" of your project, and really get the desired "feelings" from the audience?


    Thanks for the help!
     
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  2. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I think all of the things you mentioned are pretty good, and given my passion for making games (and my awareness of my own struggles to easily write good narrative) this is something that I'd happily spend lots of time watching (at least a few hours, up to an entire weekly series of videos if you wanted to make it) if it was serving up really helpful stuff.


    I agree with your read on some of the biggest issues in storymaking for games - a creator doesn't know where to go next, or has trouble coming up with content for the "middle parts" of their story, or the things they introduce into the "game" part of the story (mission objectives, etc.) end up diverting too much from their "narrative" vision.


    I can't speak for everyone, but I learned the basics of rising/falling action, types of conflict, etc. in elementary school and my instinct is that most people know what these things are, so if you do cover it I'd hope it would be along the way as brief refreshers.  I'd be much more interested - because this is what's rarely taught in school - to learn how to write powerfully.  How to write dialogue that illuminates the characters and the world they're in.  How to weave in all of the background info and history that's in the creator's mind but usually finds a place in a boring intro cutscene or equally boring books scattered throughout the world.  How to leave the audience wondering what will happen next, yet have things make perfect sense looking back.  How to convey motives and emotion without flat-out telling the audience what they are.  How to create a story that lives and breathes and could only be because of its characters instead of just cramming a group of characters into a plot.  I'd love to listen to any good writer's take on these topics, because they are tough and really valuable skills to learn for anyone who wants to make an RPG!


    There are a lot of game-specific topics you could touch on, too, if game-makers are truly your intended audience.  Games have less total words with which to communicate, and the player is expecting to be kept busy and active the whole way through.  So I'd love to hear some advice about making the gameplay (and other factors like visual environment) work for the narrative instead of just alongside it.  Additionally, some tips about how to keep mood and logic consistent between gameplay and narrative, and make the player feel like they're part and parcel of the same experience, would be absolutely awesome.


    Please keep us updated on your presentation or series, if you do make it I would love to see it!
     
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  3. Tome571

    Tome571 Veteran Veteran

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    Awesome feedback/thoughts! 


    At this point, I had only considered making a series on setting up the narrative for the storyline, and how to make an idea really turn into something concrete that will allow you to have direction and plot as you made your project. Adding in dialogue tips and some other advice on environmental factors (visuals, music selection, etc.) to help craft the story as well is a very good thought! 


    How to write powerfully certainly includes those factors - dialogue, environmentals, and a well setup plotline. Maybe having additional series to really narrow in on these areas would be another great addition. To have effective story creation, these are the details that you fill in after you come up with the plot/characters, so it would make sense to have a series or two after the original idea to get into more details. 


    I appreciate your input, and I can't wait to get started on the series. I really think a lot of people don't know where to start on one of the biggest aspects (if not THE biggest) of their game. The characters are a great example, as you mentioned. How do I make this person who I want them to be, and make sense in the story, instead of just adding another face because we need a healer in the party? 


    I'll keep you posted on when the series gets started!


    Thanks again!
     
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  4. LaFlibuste

    LaFlibuste Veteran Veteran

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    This sounds very, very interesting! Although I personally would prefer if it were a written guide or whatever. I seriously hate video guides with a passion. It sounds so interesting that maybe I could go through the trouble of watching a few minutes, maybe an hour, tops, but just thinking about it makes me want to give up on it already. I do realize it's much less work to produce a video series than it is writing a well-thought-out, comprehensive guide, but it's much more work watching it than reading it. Plus, I think the written media might be better at conveying how to, you know, write properly.

    But hey, knock yourself out and do videos if you'd prefer, I know lots of people prefer videos and it would likely be very appreciated by lots of community members. Maybe I'm just too old-school, I dunno.
     
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  5. Tome571

    Tome571 Veteran Veteran

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    I had considered doing a written guide as well. There are already a lot of good and great writing guides for story writing out there. After considering that, I decided it would be more helpful to actually demonstrate the steps and process in action, so people could apply to their own projects. The idea sort of evolved into taking someone who has an idea or some thoughts of what they want to do with a project, and through dialogue and explaining some "why" and "how", we craft their idea into a solid story, with great direction and characters and conflicts that make sense.


    Instead of just a written guide of how to write better stories, I wanted to really demonstrate how to take an idea, use specific steps to turn it into something concrete, and something the writer would be proud of, and motivated by. By being motivated and excited to make the story unfold as a project, it really keeps you moving forward. The videos would feel less like a normal video series, and more like a conversation on how some volunteer gets to take their idea and turn it into something that they are really envisioning, with me as their guide. 


    I could compile some solid points and steps that I use and explain it all in words as well. For what I had envisioned, I thought the demonstration would be far more helpful for most. There is no harm in doing both!


    Thanks for the insight!
     
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  6. Menos

    Menos Veteran Veteran

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    One existing resource that you might want to consider is Brandon Sanderson's lecture series:


    https://www.youtube.com/user/WriteAboutDragons/featured


    It's a moderately well-known class taught by a bestselling author, all available online, so it was the first thing I thought of when I saw the thread title. Having said that, your focus seems to be somewhat different, and there's definitely more room for videos on the subject. Just wanted to provide this in case it would help your process any in terms of what's already out there.
     
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