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

Wow very helpful and inspiring thread.
Thank you!

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i agree on almost all of this. and you have givin me a a few things to change before i punlished my new story

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I would love to hear on the things u didn’t agree :slight_smile: zero sarcasm btw. Really interested

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most of it i do. i myself like to use the the exit format. and i never thought about naming the outfits i just say 1 2 and 3. i usally dont have more.

also i love your backgrounds

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Welp, you can use exit command if you don’t have a lot of characters, or if your directing is basic. Nothing wrong with that. I’m more into advanced, so I talk about it more.
Also. If you have 3 outfit choices, it’s fine with naming them like this. But if you actually give them descriptive names it’s a) looks more professional, like you actually care about details and b) it’s not time consuming to do it.
And thnx :slight_smile:

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Hello fellas.
Today I will cover a few more things, some of you might find interesting.


Background characters
You’d be surprised how many writers avoid it.
This is a really time-consuming process, but it makes scenes look more dynamic. I read some stories where writers don’t put BG characters, and to be honest I didn’t notice it until later episodes. When it is like this every time, just talking characters on the screen, scenes start to feel empty.
Effect is worth the effort.


Filter use
This feature is present for quite some time already, but I think it’s not appreciated enough.
I happened to read stories, where writers show flashbacks, but don’t put any kind of filter, or at least transition between scenes. This can be very confusing.
Besides this point, the filter can be a very nice visual complement to the scene. For instance, in my story most of the scenes happen in “nowadays”, but there are some scenes from the past (17th century), so for these ones I use the filter. It helps to distinguish times.
What can be done besides using filters, if none suits your story? Try to use overlays as filters.
For the same story I, for example, used simple white (around 15-20% transparent) overlay, as a filter for dreams. With the overlay, used as a filter, you have one more advantage, as you can place some characters behind the filter, and some in front.
Guide How to Fade Characters
How to Use Filters


Non-instant zooms

Now, we’ve talked about the importance of zooms.
What is one of the things that you can do bad with zooms?
Placing non-instant zooms through all the conversation
Sometimes I feel like some writers don’t know that you can put instant zoom Just in case @zoom on xx xx to xx% in 0.
Why is it bad? Welp, for starters it’s annoying as f*ck. Second thing. If the conversation takes more than a few phrases, and you’re using non-instant zooms, it makes pauses between phrases too big and makes these conversations less realistic.


Secondary characters customization
Just a note, a few sometimes forget. Always add a short description to any secondary character’s customization. No need to write a 10 line synopsis, but a short description will work.


Naming background characters
Well, it is clear, you don’t have to name BG characters if they don’t speak at all. But if they say at least one phrase - just write some random name. This is one of these little things, that might seem insignificant, but they show your “professionalism”.


Using forward/at_camera animations

If your story isn’t built around the 4th-wall-breaking-concept - don’t use these animations. These animations are either for this concept or for author’s introductions :confounded:. End of discussion.


Next time I will cover realism and execution of some common plot ideas .


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Great thread

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Oh shit

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:DDDD what?

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I use the author notes at the end of every episode… shit shit shit TIME TO REWRITE!!

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You don’t have to. As I said, some of my points are subjective. It’s just something for writers to think about :slight_smile: You might agree or disagree. This is just my perspective on this thing.

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Ok this is my new favourite thread :heart_eyes:
I’d like to add something if I may …

LONG. INTROS :skull:

I appreciate the time and effort that has gone into making these art pieces and overlay animations. But :weary: I just wanna read the story. Long intros reallyyyyy put me off :grimacing: I’d like to know how all yous feel about it :woman_shrugging:t2:
Sometimes when a story has been updated I get excited then I think ‘oh. That intro though’ :neutral_face::joy: is it just me? :rofl:

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I will write about it in tomorrow’s post, thanks for suggestion :smiley: it’s gonna be especially fun, cause I have like 30 sec long intro in my story :rofl:

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Oh no. Not the intro. I love my intro. :disappointed_relieved: :hushed:

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My fav thing is my outro! Some people know it…

add this on the top! It might get lost! Great points! :smile:

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I’m adding links to new comments in the bottom of the original post :slight_smile:

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Good morning folks. Or afternoon/evening.
I’m in the especially mean and cranky mood today, so take it into account when reading this post.

Today I wanted to discuss some plot lines, and common mistakes writers do, when working with these plotlines.
@Jade.epi brought up an interesting subject - intros, so I’ll dig into it at first.


Intros

First of all - I love intros
Now, what I consider to be an intro to the story.

I don’t consider the chain of splashes and splash-like-warning-overlays-sequence as an intro.

Splashes are splashes. They are important, I won’t argue. But when you make a chain of splashes and warnings as an over-30-seconds-sequence… Readers will cringe, after the 1st/2nd episode. What might work, is to put long sequence in the first episode, then make them much shorter in upcoming series.
There is one story called “Lovely One”, the one in the featured stories. It does exactly it. Long-ass splash sequence. Usually when I start the new chapter, and I know it has this long “intro”, I just put my phone away for a minute, cause it bores me to death. Once I actually fell asleep in this situation.

Now to the real intros

Why I love intros? Cause I love getting an “I’m-watching-a-movie” feeling while reading a story. This is the reason why I love intros and hate author’s introductions.
I distinguish two kinds of intros (write in the comments if you think there are more).

Cover Intro
The simplest you can do. Just upload cover as a background, add some cool text overlays, small animation and voila - you have a decent short intro. The only problem I see sometimes with these intros is the low-artistic quality of covers.

Animated-Intros

So it’s a chain of characters-actions + use of overlays, to show the atmosphere of the series.
I didn’t actually see this kind of intros until maybe Summer of 2018.
If you saw “My Physcho” story - writer uses an animated intro.
If you want you can check intro for my story below, and share, would you find it annoying to see it every episode?

Animated Intro

https://www.instagram.com/p/BpxZpEqltMR/?utm_source=ig_web_button_share_sheet

The intro to my story is around 30-35 seconds.
While going through proofreading I was asking people, would they find it annoying to see it every episode. No one said yes, but again, there weren’t many people, so maybe I was just lucky.
As a middle ground, taking into account that part of readers will find it annoying, I could’ve added the choice to skip the intro or watch it.
Why I didn’t do it? Few reasons.
First one is simple pride. I was making it for 3 or 4 days, so I will make you watch it :smiley:
Second. As I said earlier, I love getting an “I’m-watching-a-movie” feeling while reading a story. And when doing my stories, I want the reader to have the same feeling.

I personally consider animated intros to be far less annoying than splash-warning-intros because although they are repetitive, they have some action, which might be entertaining (depending on the intro).


Now to the more serious subjects, that has nothing to do with the directing, but all with the plot and its execution.

Common problem which may be present in every kind of plot.

I call it "I don’t know what I’m writing about, but it seems to be cool, so who cares"

Why did I stop reading stories about gangs, police officers, prison guards and many more?

Because most of the writers have no idea what these subjects are about.

Here are some things I noticed in recent story reviews I made, that instantly caught my attention and made me a) dislike the story and b) look more closely into other unrealistic details.

  • Combining prison and police station facilities.
    The author wanted the MC to be able to talk to prisoners, as well working at the police station. Who needs realism, when you can adjust it to fit your plot much easier, amirite?
  • MC changes 7 (!) foster houses and was abused in every foster family.
    OK. You want your character to be miserable. But put some logic into it, don’t go with the most absurd option.

I don’t say you have to be a prison guard or a criminal, or a foster kid to write about these subjects. Not at all. But if you really care about your story, and want it to be suitable not only for people who might be underage, and may not have this knowledge about certain things at the moment but also for an older audience - do research on the subject. How you can do research? Forums with real people describing their job routine, movies, thematic TV series, even Wikipedia. It may be exhausting. But this research might give you additional ideas on how to execute your plot more interesting.

Now, this applies not only to certain jobs but also to certain character’s personalities.

Let’s begin with one of my favorite type of character - PHYCHO.
I will put a quote from my recent review, where the author tried to show MC as a psycho.

I love psychos. But I don’t think you have a clear understanding what psychos are like. There are so many interesting sociopath characters in movies and TV series - Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal series, Killgrave in Jessica Jones (excellent sociopath villain), Joker, Loki in Avengers. All of them are villains - but they are very likable. Because they have some sort of motives, even if these motives are crazy, they have them, and they have this charming side. This is what MC lacks. And it’s hard to read when you don’t like MC. She just goes around talking trash, laughing and telling how she loves killing. I think you should watch some examples of how the psycho villain might look like, and then rework your concept.

Now, this is actually a very complicated character concept, if you’re not studying psychiatry, but it’s still possible.
It’s important to understand how to show your character not only to show it realistic but to create an interesting character. MC doesn’t necessarily have to be good, but it has to be interesting.

There is a difference between psychopath and sociopath.

DISCLAIMER A little education moment.

Psychopathy is mostly a congenital issue, that mostly has to do with the genetic problems or problems with the brain development.
I would say that psychopath is the smart sociopath. They can build visually strong relationships, get friends and family. From the outside, they look pretty normal, even charming. But mostly they aren’t able to build an emotional connection with anyone. That means they won’t feel sorry for the bad things that they do. They just aren’t able to be sympathetic. But they tend to do everything, to keep this “normal” facade, and if intervened in criminal activity - they are doing their best to keep a low profile.
Some popular culture psychopath references - Dexter (“Dexter” TV series), Patrick Bateman (“American Psycho” movie), Hannibal Lecter (“Hannibal” TV series). If you saw them, you might’ve noticed, that while sticking to their “bad side”, they do everything they can to keep their life visually ordinary. And note that psychopaths don’t necessarily kill people. As an example - Sherlock Holmes (Benadryl Cunningscratch TV series), which is discussable.

Now a bit about sociopaths.

Sociopathic behavior mostly is the result of a traumatic childhood experience, physical, emotional or sexual violence. While just like psychopaths, a sociopath has problems with building an emotional connection, they can build it with certain people. Another thing that distinguishes a psychopath from a sociopath is that sociopath have problems with emotion control. When performing a crime, they act impulsively and thoughtlessly. They are easy to anger, to freak out, which is fraught with a flash of violence.
It doesn’t mean that their behavior is completely chaotic and lacks any reason. It all depends on the cause of sociopathy. To explore this question, I advise you to read some specific books or articles, as I’m not able to provide correct information further than this.
Some popular culture sociopath references - Joker (“Batman” movie), Alex (“Clockwork Orange” book and movie), Joffrey Baratheon (“Game of Thrones” TV series), Killgrave (“Jessica Jones” TV series).

To summarize this type of character use in the stories.
You can use both of these types as an MC or Love Interest.
Just remember about these differences, and build thoughtful character picture.


This turned out to be longer and more specific than I intended to do. Also a bit chaotic, but I hope it was useful, at least for some of you.
Tomorrow I will continue on the character development subject.


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Good afternoon guys.
I had a couple of very eventful days in regards to Episode stories and community.

Like @kheyrwrites with her thread. Honestly, this is the best thing I’ve read in a while. Why? Well, directing is awful, grammar and punctuation are remarkable because I really haven’t seen anything like this before. Story glorifies murder, physical abuse, trafficking, and other crap. And still, I haven’t had that much fun like ever. What are the other reasons that make this story a gem? It’s elevating to absolute everything wrong that you can do with your story.

Importance of breakfast

Continuing on gang stories.
Contrary to this story romanticizing gang/murder/physical abuse, I finally read a story that doesn’t do it! Shoutout to @LilDevil :joy:

I mean it. The story actually shows gang members as bad people, and there won’t be a happy ending for them (at least I was promised that).


This thread slowly is turning into a blue study thread, and I’m not sure if anyone is reading it still :smiley: But I enjoy listening to myself, so bear with me.

Why is it so wrong to write gang stories, where criminals are glorified and get their happy ending?

Because they don’t have their happy ending IRL? I don’t think so. Some actually might.

I think that when you are reading a story, especially if it contains a lot of episodes, you can get attached to MC to the point, where it can actually change your perspective on some things.

We have a lot of bad-boy stories, where crappy behavior is justified with troubled past, and this type of stories is kinda very similar with gang stories because they ignite the thought that you can change someone with the power of your love.

You can change someone with the power of your love…
You can’t. People don’t really change. Of course, our opinions are being shaped over time, and we adjust our behavior depending on the person, but still. It is more likely to justify your poor behavior using points that will work with different persons than to actually change your ways.

So when MC ends up with the bad boy, who was fooling around, lying, being disrespectful to her and others - be sure, he will stay the same. That means I don’t mind MC ending with the bad boy or gangster but show it realistically. How MC will suffer in these relationships. :smiling_imp: I can assure you it with my personal love experience with bad boys. Nothing good comes out of this, except for some excitement.

Someone might say: why does it matter to you? It’s just a fictional story.
Yeah. A fictional story. But it doesn’t mean it has no effect on someone’s mind. Young girls reading these stories, slowly get a subconscious thought that bad boys are fun, that you can change them because you are soooo special. Wet school girl’s fantasies. So when authors like MJ (yep, I’m totally pointing a finger), who is obv older than 18, and write stories like Chain Reaction, I wanna metaphorically slap them in da face. This is total sociopathy - when you treat everyone like trash but have some “special” people that you treat like property, and it is perceived as “care and love”.

Now, it is kinda in our instincts to find bad boys attractive. It is pure psychology. But it doesn’t mean we can’t think with our brain.

The author of the first mentioned story probably has some deep fucked up psychological problems, because I can’t imagine a person in their right mind writing a love story, when MC is being beaten by the love interest, and having sex in the next scene.
Everyone has their own fetishes. I just don’t think Episode platform is the right thing for it. Download porn os something…


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Hi, is it okay if I use some of your background for my story

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