The pains of writing a story...

Moonport

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I'm removing this because I realized it became too personal and that may not be optimal.

Just opening up a new question:

How self-conscious do you feel when writing a story/script for your game?
 
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Llareian

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I was going to respond to what you put up here but I got sidetracked.

Seeking feedback from your audience is great - but it sounds like your roommate is not your audience. There will always be people who aren't going to like your basic premise, no matter what you write. Write what you want to write. Write what you find entertaining. Trying to write anything else is likely to be a recipe for failure.

The hardest part for me to overcome is getting over the first-draft "it's going to be awful" and just WRITING. The funny part is, it usually isn't THAT bad if you let go of your fears. I think it's worse when you think about it in terms of wanting to sell it from the get-go. I haven't thought about my games that way, and I'm WAY less self-conscious of them than I am my novel/story writing. (Um, but I'm not published or anything, so, you know, take my advice with a grain of salt.)
 

mogwai

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I don't even like playing my own games.

I have the writing ability of a cardboard box full of hair.
 

Moonport

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I was going to respond to what you put up here but I got sidetracked.

Seeking feedback from your audience is great - but it sounds like your roommate is not your audience. There will always be people who aren't going to like your basic premise, no matter what you write. Write what you want to write. Write what you find entertaining. Trying to write anything else is likely to be a recipe for failure.

The hardest part for me to overcome is getting over the first-draft "it's going to be awful" and just WRITING. The funny part is, it usually isn't THAT bad if you let go of your fears. I think it's worse when you think about it in terms of wanting to sell it from the get-go. I haven't thought about my games that way, and I'm WAY less self-conscious of them than I am my novel/story writing. (Um, but I'm not published or anything, so, you know, take my advice with a grain of salt.)
Thank you for the advice! It makes me feel much better :D My friend actually said something similar yesterday and I'm realizing you're both right!
As for the actual writing, I too find the it very hard to get past the rough draft. Most of the time I tend to change too much and it's just not that same story anymore. But anytime I actually get into writing (even if it's random stuff) it becomes a load of fun!! I haven't written a complete long story/game script till this day since most of the time I'm just writing segments for group projects, but it's true that when I'm writing I'm thinking more about the story than about the audience :p


I don't even like playing my own games.

I have the writing ability of a cardboard box full of hair.
Me neither! I usually don't like re-reading or revisiting the story I wrote, but sometimes you just can't help it! My teacher makes us pass those sheets around to read our own segments, it's kinda embarrassing because I don't feel up to par with the rest of my classmates lol.
 

HeroLite

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i don't think i'm that bad of a writer. i'm not ultra author man duderino el grande or anything, but you know, my stuff's not the worst out there. my issue is sticking with one idea though, i'm a creativity machine, and my brain shoves like 2000 cool new ideas in my face per day. i need to work on just sticking to one thing, that's my weak spot. :rswt
 

Moonport

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i don't think i'm that bad of a writer. i'm not ultra author man duderino el grande or anything, but you know, my stuff's not the worst out there. my issue is sticking with one idea though, i'm a creativity machine, and my brain shoves like 2000 cool new ideas in my face per day. i need to work on just sticking to one thing, that's my weak spot. :rswt
So true!! There simply isn't enough time to finish writing all of them!
 

OwMeEye

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I'm very relaxed when I'm writing, I feel pretty confident about my writing.

Once upon a time, there was a land, and in that land, there was a sound. The sound lived a happy life ever since it was born to the waterfall's dancing, but, one day, something happened, and then, there was silence.
 

Gin

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I have the writing ability of a cardboard box full of hair.
Is it me, or does anyone else thinks hair in a box is kind of Creepy?!>_>a
You might be very talented in horror creepy games. Have you ever thought of that?:blink:a

As for the actual writing, I too find the it very hard to get past the rough draft. Most of the time I tend to change too much and it's just not that same story anymore...
So how about if you write nothing, and just start making the story as it goes along? Improvisation works wonders some time for lots of people, and with brilliant results.:popcorn:
Anyway, as long as you have fun that is all that matters.:kiss::kiss::kiss:
 

bgillisp

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So how about if you write nothing, and just start making the story as it goes along? Improvisation works wonders some time for lots of people, and with brilliant results.
Or you get my story that was so bad I nuked it by closing it with "And then Aliens invaded." :)

In all seriousness, I think we are all a little self conscious when sharing our stories. The thing to remember is there's always going to be a critic, and I personally find the strongest critics are those who have never written a story themselves.
 

Vox Novus

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Hmm, come to think of it I think I'm more self-conscious about my gameplay in a game than the actual story. Stories and ideas for them come quickly and naturally to me so I don't usually put a lot of myself in the creation of it. I think I put much more of myself into the gameplay designs; the battle systems and etc. The same goes for the artwork to, much more of it of me goes in than the story.
 
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Astel

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I don't think i'm that bad writing... however i'm easily distracted, and lose focus in the story...

http://sketchtoy.com/68006511

Graphical representation of how my stories usually go...
 

mogwai

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@Gin I'm more about inventing new concepts that are so bizarre, they don't qualify as entertaining.
 
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Tai_MT

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I'm going to preface this with: I have never once finished a story or published one.

Keep that in mind going forward with my reply here. It's important. Very important.

Okay, I used to be self-conscious about my writing, but it never really stopped me from doing it. When I was younger (just starting out, in fact), somewhere around age 13 or so... I started writing. Not really super serious writing or anything, I'd never thought of it as anything more than "practice for roleplay". At the time, I was dating across the internet (ah yes, how pathetic I was) and I'd sometimes write things to send to my girlfriend at the time. Not really for feedback, but just to kind of show off me being creative. She'd send things she'd written back to me as well, and we'd make about as much critique as teenagers in love could make without hurting each other's feelings. Which is to say... not much.

Okay, so at 13, I'm just writing random things. Fanfiction mostly. Lots of crossover type stuff. I'd been mixing things like Sailor Moon and Digimon and Pokémon and the like. I sometimes wrote more personal things of a... more adult nature (experimentation, mostly... something I dropped after doing it only a few months since it wasn't really something I enjoyed writing about).

Finally, I hit on a story I just kind of slap-dash together. I think I was... 15? Maybe? My (still) girlfriend online at the time was sick and she requested that I write her "a bedtime story". This is important because it locked me into my writing style and my preferred way of doing the deed. Over the course of the next three and a half hours, I improvised an entire short story for her about a Dragon and a Princess and how she changed his demeanor and in the end, he sacrificed himself for her new husband and her to have the beginning of a wonderful life together. It was my first foray into "bittersweet" endings, and it's something I've enjoyed ever since (both writing and reading, they somehow remind me more of reality than most stories do). I think I managed to cobble the whole story together at some point and put it into a single document (it was spread across 3 and a half hours of text IMs and character limits). I've since lost the story, but I remember most of it. Anyway, I liked putting together stories on the fly like that. No big plans, no outline. No rough draft. Just, stream of consciousness. Just keep going until I couldn't go anymore. Until the story was over. My writing style turned from like this "narrator telling you what's going on" into "something more akin to a conversation". It's definitely a strange writing style that I haven't seen anywhere else (though I doubt I'm the first or only one to use it). But, it keyed me into my particular talents for telling a story.

Okay, so at 15 I've figured out my particular style (which I still didn't have any skill with) and my particular method of writing (which is a lot harder to do with anything I must write that's longer in nature due to time involved). At that point, I was heavy into role playing on message boards and in chat rooms. Just enjoying the human interaction and not really going any further with my writing. It wasn't until I was... 17 or so? Might've been 16. Time flows funny when you get older. Dates and ages kind of scramble together. Anyway! I ran across the first book that ever made me want to be a writer. "Ender's Game". To this day, I can't really tell you what made me want to write after reading it, but the whole book had just entranced me. I consumed the whole thing in three days, giving up even doing homework to read it. I kept coming back to the same question while I read it. "If someone can write like this and it can do that to me, why can't I do that too?".

It occurred to me sometime later that I'd been telling stories my whole life. I'd made games with my LEGOs that my friends would play, complete with stories and dialogue. I did the same when we pretended to play versions of Jurassic Park outside with stick guns and pinecone grenades. I'd hosted several "over the phone" D&D sessions with friends before ever even knowing what D&D was. I'd been telling stories all that time and it had never once occurred me to write them down.

But, first, I needed to know how to do it. How do you write? How do you learn how to tell a compelling story? I had no idea. I'm still not entirely sure. But, what I did was spent the next few years just consuming any book I could get my hands on. In a year, I'd worked my way through most of Stephen King, half a dozen other authors, lots of science fiction, a little bit of fantasy, and some more psychological work. I think I'd ended up reading nearly 200 books in a single year. But, I was learning. I was paying close attention to how these books were drawing me in. I was noting when things they did just didn't work for me. Granted, I'm still learning, but this was the launching point.

At 18, I started writing my first story. A story that seems too big to ever finish, but I keep refining it and keep writing it. It's a story that has its origins in an old roleplay forum I used to frequent with just my (now currently ex) girlfriend and a few of her friends. It's a story that grew beyond my initial character and her initial character. It turned into a world all its own. It's also currently in its twelfth rewrite? Still, I work on that and lots of other side projects all the time. I still use "stream of consciousness" to write. I still don't really bother with "first drafts" or anything, but that's kind of what the point of my rewrites are.

I've found writing storylines for games to actually be a lot easier. Mostly all I've needed to write a story for a game is a basic premise with about a dozen bullet points and then to build the world around which the characters interact. It's much easier than trying to describe everything, than trying to make sure you're using all the right words in any given paragraph. In practice, I need to write little more than dialogue between characters and keep the basics of the main storyline intact somewhere outside the game, so that all that dialogue actually makes internal sense. The downside, however, is that writing for a video game plot or script is a lot more... stilted. I can't just do "stream of consciousness" with it. I can't add in my own unique style of writing it. Characters have their own ways of talking, I have to use their voices all the time, instead of using mine all the time. The downside is that most of the "creativity" of a story written this way is that you're now depending a lot more on visual elements than on what you're actually writing. So, much of what you're trying to convey can be lost in sprite sizes/styles. Or, even in your own incapable art talent (like mine, I can't draw for crap... edit sprites for crap... or anything on the visual side of things) can hinder you immensely.

Now, after that story, I'm going to impart a little bit of advice on you. From an old unpublished and unfished writer who feels his work is usually decent and sometimes amazing... to... well, you seem like you might be new to writing: Just write.

If you need elaboration, here's a bit. You are writing for you. It isn't about finding an audience. Whatever you write, there will be an audience for it. That's just the nature of the world. If you have stories to tell, write them. Tell those stories. Turn them into games. Make them into manuscripts. Just, get your stories out of your head and into a medium. If you can think of nothing else but telling stories, then you are meant to be telling them, so tell them all. If you're as new as I think you are, all you really need is a lot of practice. Critique is really only useful once you've found your preferred method of telling a story (like my conversational type working) and your preferred types of stories. Once you've figured out what kind of writer you want to be (including how you tell stories via script or video games), then critique can and will help you immensely. Until you know, just use other people in the mediums to measure yourself against for the time being. Don't be critical of yourself when you do it, just learn how they did it and then see if you can do anything with that information. But, you also need to practice writing. Spend time writing some short stories, maybe some fanfiction or something. Something short that you can look back on after a bit and see things you can improve on. Then, improve those things. But, just keep writing. You'll need the practice.

So, you write for you. Each thing you write is a story you want to tell as well as practice in doing the writing. Read what you've written out loud to yourself sometimes too. See how the dialogue sounds that way. Things written don't always sound good when said aloud. But, you just write. You tell your stories for you, because they have to get out.

Okay, sorry that was so long and rambling, but I hope it helps a little bit. If not... then feel free to disregard the whole thing. ^_^ I won't be offended, I promise. Find who you are as a writer though, even if you only ever intend to write scripts for video games. You need to find that, it's very important. You can learn to improve after you've found that.
 
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kaukusaki

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I tried writing for a living . I personally don't like mainstream but I can write that way if I choose to (my books tend to cross genre if you're wondering). After a decade of poor sales I figured my writing isn't really *for them* . I have other ways to live and other degrees to use. Just as a novelist waving my English and publishing credentials isn't one of them.

On another note - your writing isn't for everyone. There will always be haters. But keep putting your work out there. You might have a fan out there somewhere....
 
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CannabistGameing

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Write just write, if you like me have a severe disability with the way your brain handle things like writing English write anyway proof readers need employment too. read your writing, change it, let it evolve into something monstrously wonderful no one brain farts master pieces they take work and revision, then let the proof readers polish your grammar, something that actually is hard not to take personally sometimes but you get over it when you don't completely bomb because the world does demand a cretin amount of literacy often time they will show you a way to more effectively get your point across.

And never ever let "you can't write stick" I know i can't write a sentence well i can be entertaining tho, so instead of focusing on can i write this well i focus on can how can i squeeze out the maximum amount of effect despite my poor skills at writing. I leave the organizing it into something well written to the proof readers, which really would piss of my grade 3 English teacher because she was one of those people that insisted if you can't write technically you can't write and spent a lot of time embarrassing me in class for a learning disability, she can eat her words tho because I've been published 2 outta three time's I've tried and have enjoyed more success in life than a English teacher from a small hick downtown will ever see and live in a nicer place overlooking the ocean.

Also the prospect of releasing a game i wrote the text for scares me right down to my soul so many things could be wrong but i will because i know it's easier to do and fail or possibly even succeed my first time, than to sit around doing nothing not succeeding or failing and being one of the millions of people wondering why i am stuck like an idiot and i do hate pointing it out to people but it's their attitude about it that's holds them back not their skills or lack their of. skills come with time they are something you cultivate you could be a savant at something and you will still produce a upwards curve in your skill level. as you go no one starts at the top and some of us don't even have the luxury of starting at the bottom we gotta rip the door open and fight tooth and nail up the elevator of success wielding our skills we honed in the dark like metaphorical cannons during wartime.

also don't mix creative pursuits with your friends and family it's a bit like being some type of outlaw it doesn't go well, ever! even if they like your stuff their is a trap people fall into there and its constantly trying to impress the ones they care about the most with stuff meant to impress people who aren't them and frankly will never be cared about as much as the people that piss you off the most like family.
 

Mister.Right

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And never ever let "you can't write stick" I know i can't write a sentence well i can be entertaining tho, so instead of focusing on can i write this well i focus on can how can i squeeze out the maximum amount of effect despite my poor skills at writing. I leave the organizing it into something well written to the proof readers, which really would piss of my grade 3 English teacher because she was one of those people that insisted if you can't write technically you can't write and spent a lot of time embarrassing me in class for a learning disability, she can eat her words tho because I've been published 2 outta three time's I've tried and have enjoyed more success in life than a English teacher from a small hick downtown will ever see and live in a nicer place overlooking the ocean.
I used to tell a junior college student (a friend's brother) who find learning programming is hard, that unless programming is not your interest otherwise it is only hard at first. Since, human has ability to learn, evolve and adapt, our brains can increase the intelligent neurons, even someone with brain disability, or simply said that person slow and dumb at birth, still can excel or be good at something if he/she keeps learning and practicing it, eventually will surpass the level of gifted person who does not use his brain in the right way (e.g smoke weed, cocaine...etc.) The only thing deter our learning ability is age or time or health, other than that, there is nothing a person can not do and become good at doing something.

You might not be on top because there are gifted people, but does not mean you can't become good. If you want to become a good writer, just keep writing, if you want to become good scripter, just keep coding, if you want to become good artist, just keep drawing. Don't let other discourage you, the people who bully you, laugh at you, think you suck are morons, you will eventually surpass them one day, intelligent people see things in different perspective.
 

Edgre

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@Moonport I haven't started "writing" a game as of yet. At the moment, I'm focusing on just learning the ropes. That said, while I'm taking the time to learn the program/system that is RPGMaker, I'm also brainstorming on ideas/projects I'll want to take on after I'm done with this test/learning project. I have about three ideas (so far) bouncing around my head and I just make notes from time to time on them in my notebook. Paper. Pencil. Simple.

This helps with what we (in the writing community) tend to call plot bunnies. That is the untold ideas that spring up constantly as your working on something else. These distractions (which is what they are) will do what they can to side track you so that you don't actually finish the project you're working on. Especially once you hit the point where the project you're working on gets hard. They all do that at some point. And the fun part (what I call the idea/brainstorming phase where it's all flash and little substance) that's all the easy bits. So, right when the real work gets hard, those tantalizing new ideas become a distraction.

So, for me, the only way to subdue those little demons, is to write them down. Writing it down satisfies the urge to do something new. Also means I don't forget the idea for later, when I'm done with *this* project and want to start on a new one. Then I've got a notebook with more ideas, some of which are partially fleshed out meaning I can take that idea and get cracking quickly.

The only other word of encouragement I can share with everyone here is this: Every author gets to a point in their story where they think: "OMG this is the worst crap in the world, why am I even writing this garbage." All of them. Even your favorite author. While they were writing your favorite book. It's just a natural part of the process. But the pros, they pull themselves up by their bootstraps and carry on. That's just what we have to do too.
 

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