Envixer May 4, 2020 A Simple Guide to Writing a Story

A Simple Guide to Writing a Story


If you’re serious about creating a successful game, then you’ll not only need a good story, but good characters that are consistent in their behaviour. That takes planning and a little bit of forethought at the beginning of your writing project.

You’ll also need your story to be told in a way that makes it accessible and understandable. Remember, just because it’s smut doesn’t mean it has to have a shitty story (unless it’s scat smut).

  1. Decide on the rules of your universe. Even if it’s a contemporary mirror of the real world, it’s up to you to determine what is or isn’t possible up front and stick to it. If you want certain rules to be either more relaxed or more strict, that has to be determined up front.
  2. For each character, set up a list of personality traits. Know what they like and dislike. Having these decided up front will help you to write the character’s reactions to situations. This can include phrases that the character will use often, quirks, a description of their fashion sense, and anything else you feel is relevant and fixed about them.
  3. Determine how each character will grow through the timescale of the story, and note down how the bigger events will change their personality, quirks, and other aspects.
  4. Decide on your opening premise and your ending. The steps to reach the ending can be as simple or as complex as you want, and they can change during the writing, but know the beginning and the target.
  5. Write scene outlines for the beginning and end (or endings). This can be anything from a few bullet points to a rough draft with dialogue.
  6. Stay flexible. Sometimes inspiration will run away with you. Don’t be afraid to retcon any of the above to fit another facet in, but don’t break the rules of your universe.
  7. The language used for screen and games is different from novel language. Screen language needs to be concise and dramatic. People on television and in movies do not talk the same way as people in real life. Read your lines out loud before you settle on them. If you have to pause for breath, the line is too long.
  8. Grammar and punctuation. Learn it. If you don’t know English very well and you want your game to be in English, then get an editor involved. A friend doing proofreading isn’t enough, especially if you can’t re-check their work and know why they’ve made changes.

Writing a story quickly and effectively is all about planning. If you get the planning right, then you’ll be able to have fun without running the risk of jumping the shark, or getting stuck without an ending. Writing is the best way to get better at writing, so I recommend writing as often as possible.

If you want to get deeper into the mechanics of a successful story, then read “The Anatomy of Story” by John Truby. All this and more is in that book.

More than anything, believe in your story and create characters that you would like to meet (and punch in the face, in the case of your antagonists). A well crafted character will be able to carry a story that isn’t all that strong, while a weak character will kill the strongest stories.


Envixer

Writer and developer. Plus, I play with virtual dolls.

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timepants
timepants
6 months ago

Honestly, Save the Cat, a book long considered the “bible” of Hollywood 3-act structure screenwriting is quite useful for producing most pieces of creative writing. I still use some lessons from it when I’m conceptualizing everything from scenes to characters to overall plot beats. Even if you’re not a big fan of 3-act story structure, it’s still a useful tool with good advice.

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