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

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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As I said, they are free to use and you don’t have to give credit.

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how do I make my character enter to the spot I want him to.
Mine just doesn’t work I don’t know what I’m dong wrong but it just won’t enter to the position I want him to
plase help. Thank you! :slight_smile:

Spot use was explained a lot on Forum, so I’ll just refer you to the very nice spot guide.

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Thanks for the shoutout!

You opened a really important discussion here. The number of stories that promotes murder, sexual abuse, and criminal behavior in Episode is increasing and that is terrifying.
Thanks for mentioning my story also, and in regarding of my story I just wanted to explain some things - just to clarify some things - I’m not promoting my story, I just want to explain what is behind it.

First of all, in popular culture, and I mean in a lot of movies, Mafia lifestyle is mentioned as something admirable. For example, my favorite movie is The Godfather and that movie is classic and one of the best that ever made. But, we are forgetting that those are bad people and that behavior is socially unacceptable. In real life, there is nothing appealing about Mafia lifestyle. They are criminals and a lot of innocent people lost their lives because of them

How do I know that? Because, before writing my story I started to read a lot about Sicilian Mafia and their crimes. The list of their victims is long. Civilians, journalists, judges and even children (Giuseppe Di Matteo’s case is just one disturbingly horrible example of what Mafia is capable to do.)

So, a word of advice to all writers who want to write about Mafia - before you start to write this kind of stories, inform yourselves about what you are really writing about and what kind of message you want to send.

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thank you so much!! :heart::raised_hands:t2:

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As I said, I didn’t watch Godfather, but the last mafia themed movie I watched is Legend, about two brothers.
And what I loved, is that main character made me feel conflicted about him. On the one hand, he cares about his brother, and is affectionate towards his wife (?), On the other hand he was really violent and cruel, and with time he was just as cruel to his wife. And the ending, she committed suicide, brothers died in prison. This is the ending mafia, and their supporters deserve. But despite the fact that MC wasn’t a good person, he was very entertaining to watch. And I got my satisfaction with the movie ending :slight_smile:

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Yeah, that’s the spin I like. The Godfather is similar in some things, and in some moments you really can sympathize with them, though they are the bad guys. It’s not all black and white, I can agree.

I read also the autobiography of Pablo Escobar’s son, where he explains that Escobar was a caring father and really devoted to his family, but on the other hand, he was a ruthless monster. But, Escobar justified his crimes by saying that that’s just his job…

Anyway, I don’t want to go off topic, this thread is important, especially for us, writers, because, as I said, we need to think about what message we are sending. Mainly because on this platform the readers are underage, and as you said, this kind of things can have a huge impact on their psychological development.
One of the reasons I started to write gang story is because there are a lot stories with similar plot and unrealistic endings. And the scariest thing is probably the abusive relationships that MCs are in. And you are really doing a great job with pointing that out and explaining how mind of psychopaths and sociopaths is working. I’m just not satisfied with reaction of the writers who make stories like this, or worse, with their lack of the reaction…

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Totally :slight_smile: And the worst part is that a lot of this type of stories are featured. Not just gang thing, but there are many other things, that shouldn’t be glorified.
I was actually thinking about reviewing featured stories, just not sure if it will arouse interest, enough for me to spend time on this thing.

But hey, thanks for taking your time to read, and post your opinion. Good to know that someone is taking her time to bring a better approach to an old concept :slight_smile:

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:laughing: :laughing: I’m gonna make another thread today where we read another. But at the end of it we’ll read a GOOD story to make up for the views we’re giving the shitty ones.

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He he, no problem, thank you for such an insightful approach and creating this thread. :smiley:

About reviewing the featured stories, I would totally encourage you to do it! Just brace yourself for a lot of negative reactions. :joy:

Btw, I enjoy our discussions and I think you have a lot of things to say that can improve our stories and I like how you think, so keep up with the good job. :smiley:

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Another post, because #ArtBlockRagePainAndMisery

One-sided, inconsistent characters and how to avoid it

This is actually a very common problem for authors, especially new ones, and I think I might have the same problem. Welp, I’m not a professional writer, so sorry, not sorry. Anyway, what do I mean by that?

Inconsistent character, in my humblest opinion, is that kind of character, that acts totally different in each/almost each scene/conversation/event. I recently reviewed one story, and I noticed, that character acted completely different in conversations with 3 different guys. Not like, a bit different, but MAJORLY different. Personally, it makes me confused. Like I’m reading a story, I get to know my character, and either I find it fine/tolerable and continue, or not and I quit. If I think that character is fine for me, but then in later scenes she acts like a totally different person… Now that might happen if a character has split personalities (btw, if you know such story, suggest it, really interested). But for regular ones… It makes me think that the author doesn’t have a clear character concept, and just fits its behavior for each scene, without really thinking.

Now one-sided characters. It speaks for itself. Have you ever met a person that is perfect in any way? Or bad in everything? No. Every person has its flaws, and advantages, every person is always conflicted, even if a bit, about what society and relatives wait from him/her and what he/she wants. Behavior dictated by our past, dreams, fears, morals and many more.

Now creating a one-sided character and creating non-consistent one is equally bad IMO.
Why does it happen? Because we don’t have a clear character concept in our head, so we project our mood/plotline/side characters and character acts illogically, if you compare it to previous behavior.

How to create consistent, interesting character

Now let’s imagine you have some character idea. Vague, but that’s fine.
I strongly advise filling character questionnaire for every important character in your story
What is this? Character questionnaire (link is below) is the list of questions you have to answer from your character’s perspective, about its age, name, family, dreams, likes and dislikes, best qualities and worst, its fears and aspirations, what it thinks about religion, sexes and other things.
Yep, it is time-consuming. But it’s totally worth it. When you answer these questions, you imagine this character in your head, almost like it’s a real person, and further, when you’ll be writing its dialogue lines, describing what it feels, you will have more or less a very clear image. And these questionnaires will help you a lot with the plot itself, I can assure you. They will give you more plot ideas, and make your writing better and easier.

Character’s Questionnaire


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Hehe thanks. And I totally love negative reactions :smiley:

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