Tips, tricks & discussions: How to make your story better

It’s amzing! :star_struck:
You should watch it, it one of the best Marvel shows on Netflix, although Season 1 is slow.

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Right after re-watching GoT :joy:

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:rofl:

I need to get this thread tattooed on my arm honestly. I get sick of making the same mistakes, and this thread is like my medicine (kinda corny but whatever). I love every one of your points especially the one of how to not make MC a slut/using love triangles. There’s a lot of things I didn’t know that I now do because of this thread, and I’d like to say, thank you for your time.
.

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Duuude :joy::joy::joy::joy:
Anyway, yeah, I’m just glad it is helpful.

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I didn’t even plan on writing today, but I blame u people, saying how u like this thread. Curses.


How to slay dialogues/monologues


Give a voice to your character

Imagine walking on the street, and asking for directions. Ask 5 or 10 different people, and you will get a different answer every time, maybe not in terms of reply content, but in a way, it’s told.
Even the “I don’t know,” answers will probably be different, even in a bit,
“Sorry, dunno.”
“No idea, man.”
“Get a map, moron.”

So the question is how does your character talk? Your speech is affected by various things:

  • Your location - maybe your character is originally from France? Or the UK? Or some other part of your country, or state, where some kind of accent is used.
    I have a couple of characters in my story that came from other countries, or culture. To recreate their accent, I just look on the Internet about their speech specifics, some catchphrases, words etc.
    spike
  • Educational level - now, here I don’t mean just what kind of education your character has. Your character might’ve read a lot of books all his/her life, and this affects your speech maturity a lot. So think about it - what kind of education your character has, was he/she a bright student (cause the fact you finished uni, doesn’t mean your speech is well rounded), does he/she read books, or maybe watch Kardashians?
  • Age - like, is your character, like, a total teenager, or maybe a senior, who’s using a lot of anachronism words.
    giles
  • Personality - is your character nervous, cold, flirty or simply rude?
  • Your character’s relationship with the person she’s speaking with
    No one speaks to their boss as they speak to their husband or wife etc.
  • Your character’s attitude toward the conversation topic. Maybe he/she is very passionate about the subject Like @NelidaU about Texas, or maybe they don’t want to talk about the subject at all and will try to tune it down.
  • Mood - maybe your character is pissed, or tired or very happy.

All these things simultaneously affect your speech, so always think about them and analyze before writing dialogues.

Seems like a lot to take into account? There are certain ways to make it less complicated:

  • First of all get in the habit of listening to how people talk. Just take a look around and take notes on how everyone’s way of speaking is different. This might give you some ideas on how to make your own characters speak.
  • Get to know your characters well. And here we go again to the fact that you NEED to write character questionnaires.
  • Once you have a clear vision of your characters - play out their conversations in your head. This is a kind of practice. Just put your characters in some kind of situation in your head and play the dialogue.
  • Clean it up. Good dialogue is not always the same as the way people really speak. Repeat that a couple of times and change if necessary.

How to not bore your character with dialogues


Now some things I noticed in reviewed stories, that make a bad dialogue.

  • A lot of unnecessary details
    In real life, we talk about a lot of unnecessary crap, but we are more invested since it is our life. It works much more different in stories, and especially in Episode stories. If your dialogue doesn’t contain important information or something that shows the essence of the character - you don’t need it.
  • Amy Schumer syndrome
    At least that’s how I call it. When authors try to make their dialogues funny and witty and forget that they’re writing a story, not a stand-up monologue. It’s fine to put a couple of jokes into dialogue, but when you make a complete dialogue made from jokes and “witty” comebacks only - it’s just doesn’t work. And it’s a legit thing, I’ve seen it in a way too many stories.
  • Superficial dialogues
    By this, I mean dialogues, that seem to have zero personalization in them. Characters just say very common phrases, that doesn’t show any character trait.
    For example, you can answer differently on a question “Do you like tea?”
    "No, I don’t." or "I’m indifferent to tea really, though I sometimes have it to be sociable."
    It’s fine to keep short occasionally, but when it’s too often, or even always - the whole story gets kinda dull and boring. Little details matter.
    spike2
  • Cut dialogue in the right moment
    Now let’s check this example.How we tend to have dialogues in real life:

SHE: “Um, my car broke down and I left it on my work’s parking lot.”
HE: “I’ll take care of it.”
SHE: “You will? Great.”
HE: “Yeah, well, I’ll try.”
SHE: “Okay, great, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.”
HE: “Anyway, I should get back to making dinner.”
SHE: “Okay, then, talk to you later. And thanks again for the help.”
HE: “That’s nothing. All right. Got to go.”
SHE: “See you.”
HE: “Right, on Saturday.”
SHE: “That’s right. We’ll be there at six.”
HE: “Okay, see you then.”

If you do it this way, the reader is likely to stop reading, if he’s still awake. Learn to cut short, while grabbing the essence of dialogue.


When to write dialogue/monologue and when to sum it up?


It makes sense to write dialogues/monologues in case you want:

  • To let the reader hear your character’s thoughts - basically, monologue.
    I feel like this thing is kinda abused in many Episode stories, and used a lot by some lazy authors, that prefer to write a 200-word essay instead of building a scene/flashback/memory using visuals. No need to show every possible thought. Write ones that show us character’s personality, or maybe a sense of humor on some occasions.
  • When a conversation is a key event in the story. Basically, if your characters are chatting about the weather while they’re sitting in the cafe, that might just be background. But if your story’s about a teenager pregnant by bad boy vampire gang leader, the conversation where the guy proposes marriage/abort is probably a critical event that will change the direction of the story and must be present.
    YXpg
  • As background, to set a scene - in tiny quantities. These dialogues might be a preparation for a more important part of the dialogue. Or. They could lack in the subject while showing important emotions. Like ex-lovers meeting for the first time in 5 years, and being really awkward and having a meaningless convo.

In other cases, it is best to just sum it up with narration.


What NOT to do in dialogues.

  • Information stuffing
    “Hey, is that your mother friend’s cousin Peter, who dropped out of college to become a porn movie director, causing your father to have a stroke and diabetes?”
  • Excessive babbling
    “Like, I was, you know. Like. Right. Okay, well. Um. What’s that? Right. Anyway.”
    xander
  • Putting YOUR words in your character’s mouth
    “My mom called me a hoe because I have a sugar daddy, which made me cry because I’m an independent woman and still the victim of gender stereotypes.”

Hope you don’t need any explanation why these approaches suck but feel free to ask.


Summary

  • Give each of your characters a different way of speaking
    Play out possible dialogues taking into account your character personality as part of the practice.

  • Know when to use dialogue
    If it’s an important conversation, your readers will want to read it for themselves.

  • Know when to cut it
    If a character talks for an hour about how his phone broke down, you can’t include the whole speech in your story. Instead, you can summarize it really short, without boring your reader.

  • Feel free to mix dialogue and summary
    You can mix a few lines of monologue into a conversation to give readers the insight into your character’s thoughts. Just don’t put too many monologue lines, and make sure visuals stay at least a tiny bit dynamic, not just 2 characters standing in idle animations.
    xander2

  • Use animations.
    Often, people don’t express what’s on their mind directly. Instead, they hint at it in other ways. If a guy is attracted to some girl, he might not come out and say to her, “I like you” Instead, he might become shy and awkward around her. The best dialogue often has two levels, what characters are saying on the surface, and what they really mean.

  • Use pauses
    Pauses in a conversation can be as expressive as what is said out loud. You don’t talk non-stop yourself. We think about what other people say, before saying something (mostly). During a pause, you can show the characters’ body language (aka animation) or what’s happening around them.

  • Trim the unnecessary
    Real-life conversation contains a lot of polite filler, false starts, and repetition. If you include all of this in your written dialogue, it can get boring. Instead, you can include just enough to give the realistic dialogue, then cut the rest.

  • Don’t pile on distracting dialogue tags
    Dialogue tags such as, “he whined,” “she commanded,” or “he queried”. This is not a book or Wattpad story. It’s Episode. We have animations for this stuff. And yes, I totally saw it being used in some stories.



:vulcan_salute:
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Another thing you basically touched on about dialogue, in a story, small talk in the plague. Avoid it at all costs. Just like Cookie’s examples, all this small talk…even if you want to communicate that the characters are doing small talk for lack of chemistry or maybe the character is supposed to be uninteresting or two characters are incompatible, DO NOT WRITE THAT SHIT ALL OUT! Bad, bad, bad. Communicate it in other ways, like…

Talking animations, thought bubble: “All this small talk, when will it end?” And then it ends because no one wants to read that meaningless nonsense. No one. Literally no one. You could be the boringest boring broad of Boringville, and you still won’t want that.

Dialogue is special, because it doesn’t have to be written perfectly all the time. As people don’t always speak perfectly in their language, they interject, they speak in fragments, DON’T BE too obsessed about making sure the dialogue is perfect English because it feels less natural sometimes.

For an example, “Time to make breakfast,” is technically a fragment, but totally normal for someone to say right? It is missing a verb, though. In perfect English, this should be, “It is time to make breakfast.” Depending on the character, they might always talk in perfect English like this, so it really also comes down to the fact that YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE CHARACTER YOU’RE WRITING FOR!

In order to help you figure out if your dialogue is good, a good thing to do (albeit maybe embarrassing sometimes LOL), say the dialogue out loud and see how it sounds to you. If it don’t sound right, make it right.

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This is a good point.

I write this way a lot in convos, and after I get my story proofread, they usually correct it :smiley:

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Indeed ^^ Total exception for dialogues, because of how people speak. However, if you are a’narratin’, you better watch ya dang grammar! >.>

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Recently I made a review on Episode story Bad Girl Boss and I’d say I enjoyed it (not the story, just reviewing it).

Do you want me to do another review on Episode story?

  • Tots, Trash 'em.
  • Bish, please don’t.
  • Dunno, I’m here accidentally.

0 voters

If you want, then which story?

  • “The Kiss List” cuz I hate u, so suffer bish.
  • “A Little More Me”
  • “My First Everything”
  • “Living With My Crush”
  • “Instant Princess”
  • “Back And Forth”
  • “Falling For The Dolan Twins”
  • “Troublemaker”
  • “Matchmaker”
  • “Kill My Love”
  • “My Teacher My Gangster”
  • “Venomous”
  • “The Player”
  • “Vampire Kiss”
  • “Rich Witches”
  • “Bad Boy Bachelor”
  • “Bad Boy Bachelor Island”
  • “Real Hollywood”

0 voters

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I was sorta torn between “Here accidentally” and “tots” because kinda both? :thinking: Eh…

Anyways. I just want you to do A Little More Me because I think that one is worst. X’DDDD OF THE ONES I’VE READ

Not impressive exactly, because I’ve read like…three of the stories up there X’DDDD

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@NelidaU I thought u’r gonna go for Instant Princess, just to make me cringe :DDDD

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No…best if we just don’t give it anymore recognition. That trash should just…cease. I mean, I seen the screenshots XI

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Yeah. I started reading, and actually liked, but then they started going with all the political crap dialogues and I was done.

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“Wage gap! Rah rah rah!” - Fucking kill me, please.

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The new stories are very trashy, but Bad Boy Bachelor is kinda funny, so you might like it maybe. If you want to suffer, start with My First Everything :joy:

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@fcukforcookies, you forgot It Starts With A Bra, it’s a classic!

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:smiley: sry. I was reading it, so decided not to include these stories, I’ve read until at least half.

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Thank you! I’ve bookmarked this thread! :heart::heart:

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Short post on the choices.


Choices. Thoughts and prayers. high five for dramatic title


I’m might be not the most reliable person when talking about choices in Episode.
Why? Because I’m completely fine with the story without choices.
So while I totally appreciate the author’s effort in making choices, point system etc., I am totally fine with no choices at all. So we established that.

Here’s a TOP 5 LIST of choices authors do, that I hate with all the fibers of my soul (?)

Do you think I have a soul?

  • Nope. No way. Nonono. :neutral_face:
  • I really want to believe it. :pleading_face:
  • Of course, you have, Cookie. :woozy_face:

0 voters

The top is aligned with my hate level.

5

  • Choices for secondary characters. :expressionless:
    I really don’t get why people do them. And yes, I know, sometimes we have more than one MC, and it’s totally fine. But why would you make choices for secondary characters? First of all, I don’t know them enough to care, or to understand the perks of some choices. Secondly, choices are meant to connect you more with the MC. Why would you do it for secondary characters? If we have MC/MCs, we play as him/her/them, it is legit to have power over them. Why would you give that power for secondary characters? They are supposed to act indifferently.

4

  • Choice with no meaning. :unamused:
    It’s fine to add choices that won’t matter in a long run. You can add conversation choices (where the only difference would be dialogue line or two) to show MC’s personality, as well as other character’s personalities. But when you give me a choice on freaking food… I don’t care if you give me ten options choices on coffee/latte/tea with vodka if the only difference would be my character saying it while ordering in a cafe. Well, if u want to include it - work a bit more, change some dialogue lines at least, to show some reactions.

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  • Choice without a context. :angry:
    This pisses me off when putting with the point system. You introduce to me some characters, let’s say. They have an ordinary convo, and you put a choice on being rude or nice. Why do you make me pick something, with no information on characters, possible situation consequences - this is just either beyond idiotic or beyond evil. Now I don’t mean that I have to know the possible consequences on every choice, no. What I mean, is that the reader should know enough information to have some idea about possible consequences, or reasons to act according to each choice’s option.
    Very exaggerated example.
    Story starts. I see my character, maybe 16yo. Her parents argue, and I have no backstory on them or my attitude. And suddenly one of them asks - decide who do you want to live with, and this is an impactful choice. This is the choice, that won’t be driven by any of reader’s opinions, impressions etc., just a guess.

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  • Tricky choice. :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:
    For example, the author gives me a choice to go or not to go on a date. Let’s say I hate the prick and decide not to go. And… I STILL HAVE TO GO! Like what the hell dude? Why do you give me a choice to screw me over, when I pick an option u were too lazy to code? My hate is so strong for this, that I exit the story, regardless of my love for it. Cheaters don’t deserve a second chance, may it be your gf/bf or an Episode story writer.

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Yeah, I kinda have only 4 things to mention, but TOP 5 sounds way cooler, than TOP 4. Top 4… how lame is that?


That’s all I could think of :smiley: Take it or leave it.


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