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

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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Yeah, I have to admit, I have a problem with this, while I’m writing story, so thanks for the advice. :slight_smile:

But I’m interested to know what do you think about - well I don’t have a right expression for that - some kind of character “degradation”?
For example, you have one character who is mature and developed, and acts in one way, but under some particular circumstances, the character starts slowly to “change” in some way, starts to behave in way that maybe it’s not common to that specific character? Do you think that’s realistic? And would you think that that character is inconsistent?

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I actually found a hilarious story yesterday that wasn’t bad

Hum…Not sure I understood. Maybe u have some examples from the stories you’ve read?

Without examples. Well, characters can act differently, just like people. But there must be some kind of reason. Like if you remember Harley Quinn, and how Joker slowly changed her (although IMO madness was already there, just covered). It doesn’t happen in one day.
I have a tendency to over-analyze things, and I do the same with my own behavior. For instance, I say something, or do something, or react to something, and after that, I’m starting to think, why did this happen, was I always like this? If not, then when changes started, why? You know? :smiley: Everyone slowly changes, well, maybe not changes, but more like adapts to given conditions.
I’m totally gonna bring a speech from my story now. So everyone (almost) must’ve watched Twilight.

Now it might be a lil hard to talk about her because she is the most shallow damn character I ever had pleasure watching. But regardless. Remember her at the beginning. She was kinda… Nice? Friendly, trying to get along with her dad (the only tolerable character there). After she met Edward (I’ll call him Bling’a’Ding) she started acting like a total idiot - ditching friends (who accepted her from day 1), being a bitch towards her dad. And Bling’a’Ding totally controlled every aspect of their relationship. Making out with her, then accusing her because he lost control, leaving her without discussion. Then she got pregnant with a mutant ninja turtle, who literally broke her from the inside and killed her. Then she became a vamp, but still. She died, she will watch her family deaths. Even when her dad meets her the first time after she became a vamp, you can see how he is crushed, he knows that it’s not her anymore. So yep. She changed her behavior, to adapt in toxic relationship.
Sorry for the long answer, but while writing thought about an example :smiley:

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Besides that though it is really scary how many stories are about gangs and promote it. In my neighborhood gangs and gang violence happens often. Being violent isn’t romantic, it hurts innocent people. I always get frustrated seeing stories like this because it makes young kids think it’s cool to do it.

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Tots. While adults mostly find it funny, and I was literally crying yday out of laughter, the most horrifying thing is that there were admiring comments in the fan mail. I suppose by the same age-kiddos.
But hey. We have Twilight for this kind of shit, just working more subtle.

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I know! While it is funny to us, it is so scary that this is something young girls look at as love. That terrifies me so much

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I don’t have an example, because it’s something I was thinking about and what I want to include in my story… :smile:

But you basically answered me with the Twilight story.
Btw, thanks for explaining the plot, because I’m probably the only person who didn’t watch that movie. :joy:

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Well… Good on you :smiley: I just like to know what I’m trashing. :rofl:

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Bump!

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Thanks for bump :smiley:

Happy New Year everyone.
As I’m still recovering from celebrations, this post will be short.

I accidentally found one comment by @JemU776 that I think makes total sense and can be very helpful to remember.

What is the best way to make readers emotionally attached to characters?

:cookie: for u @JemU776


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@fcukforcookies
I’m not sure if someone asked this before, but what’s the best way to portray a character’s flaw?

For example, in my story (upcoming story, still working on the first episode :sweat_smile:)
my main character’s biggest flaw is her failure to open up to people, I have another character notice this, her love interest, but I don’t bring it up otherwise with the character.

What are other ways to portray a character’s flaw?

(This is kind off topic but I love your review thread, and your reviews! :sweat_smile: I’d love for you to review this story when I finally publish it :smile:)

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I will write post in a few hours. Thanks for ur input :slight_smile:

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Character’s flaws - what, why and how.


“Perfection has one grave defect: it is apt to be dull.”W. Somerset Maugham

Why flaws are important?

It is actually very often we’ve got to meet “sterile” characters in stories. They are just perfect… Well, not necessarily for the reader, but definitely for the writer.

Why is it very important to incorporate inner (not physical) flaws not only for main characters but for secondary as well?

The flaw is one of the main things that make human…well, human.
Flaws add depth and conflict, make the character more real and memorable.

If a character is perfect, then all the conflict in the story is someone else’s fault. The character is the victim of circumstances and just goes with the flow, too often relying on other people help. So many stories with “perfect” characters, that experience drama and bad treatment not because of their own decisions, but just because, for the sake of drama. The character becomes just a static thing in the story, that is being affected by other characters decisions.

Flaws also serve as a sub-plot for the story, that allows creating character development. How can character progress through the story without inner conflict, something to overcome? Flaws lead characters towards degradation and destruction or overcoming these flaws, and becoming a better person. Readers relate to the struggle, and they get an emotional connection with the character, especially if the character succeeds.

Why am I saying that physical imperfections are not flaws?

Because it’s not the physical imperfection that defines character’s actions and emotions. It is how it feels about them. Shame for disability? The regret of some past decisions that led to them? Pride for being different?

Now, this leads us to the thought, that when you choose a flaw, keep in mind that there has to be a reason behind it. Beliefs, traumatic past…
Now. IMO it is better to show the reason behind character’s major flaws because it will make the reader more sympathetic towards MC. The reason grounds the flaw and gives the reader a basis on which to judge it less harshly. It allows the reader to understand why the character is the way he/she is.

You don’t have to explain secondary characters flaws (while it is necessary to give them these flaws), but it’s better than you have this explanation in your head. When you know the reason behind the flaw - you will incorporate these flaws more successful, meaning that character won’t contradict himself, and there will be more logic in his actions/words/emotions. But you also should remember not to make the character be overwhelmed by these flaws.

How to better portray character’s flows

So first of all, don’t just label characters. Use the specifics to show the flaw, dialogues, reactions of other characters and MC own reactions and emotions to display these flaws.
Have him make a different mistake each time because you don’t want to get caught in the loop of similar scenes. It is extremely annoying.
I remember reviewing some story, where the character was positioned as a very independent bad-ass woman. Like, literally positioned, as writers described her precisely in the narration, which is the first thing to turn me off personally because I really enjoy getting to know the character at a reasonable pace. Now, there were put a lot of scenes, where MC interacts with other characters. And every conversation, although was happening with different characters, was written by the exact same scenario - someone scolds MC for being alone (sister, mother, best friends, the waitress in the restaurant (not kidding), and MC yelling at them that she is independent, and don’t need anyone. It was extremely annoying and basically looked silly. Don’t be too blunt when you show these flaws. Put the character in different situations where the flaw can be shown.

What else is important?

Flaw doesn’t mean shit if it doesn’t have any consequences.

In my story, MC has some unresolved problems with the past, that results in a few flaws. She doesn’t like to open up to anyone. While it drives away some people from her because it takes time to get through this shell, this is the thing she can work on, by trying slowly to build the trust, at least for some people. Also, because of the traumatic past, and her inability to open up, she was forced to find a way to deal with her feelings. I decided to go with the drinking problem, as it is kinda common, plus I can portray this problem realistically, because I incorporate my own past into this character, while raising awareness of the consequences this will lead to. I often see how writers portray drinking as a very fun thing to do, but in reality, it can be very ugly, and hard to deal with.

Punish your character for the actions and decisions, that were caused by their flaws. And let them deal with this punishment, either by overcoming them or by sinking even deeper until there’s no point of return.

I suggest adding these questions below, for your major character questionnaire. And remember, that there can easily be more than one flow.


What is the general flaw?

What are the specifics?

What is the cause of this flaw?

What makes it seem reasonable to the character?

What mistakes can the character make because of this flaw?

Do the consequences have an effect on the storyline?

Is the character aware or unaware of the flaw?

What form does the arc take in relation to the flaw?


Thanks @Stargazer54 for the very interesting topic :slight_smile: Enjoyed writing it,


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I decided to re-organize thread a bit, by taking all long comments/monologues into comments, so it is easier for me to manage the thread. OP has all the links to main posts so that you don’t have to scroll thread.


Author’s introductions

Whyyyy? Just why do you do them?
Most of the author’s introductions aren’t even necessary.
First of all, the writer’s introductions break the 4th wall. The fewer distractions you have in your story, the more invested reader will be. It’s like watching a movie or reading a book - reader/viewer wants to forget about reality and get into this amazing story for some time.
Secondly, what is so important you want to tell, that is worth doing it?
That you will let the reader customize a character? Well, tell it at the customization part?
That your first chapters suck, but it will get better? If you know that they suck, why would you publish them?
That your first language isn’t English and you apologize? If you feel such guilt, maybe it’s worth finding a proofreader? Or at least run your script through grammarly.com or smthg? Don’t apologize just because you’re not perfect in something. Just do it the best that you can.
That your story used sound or contains explicit language? Make a splash! Or ask someone to do it.

If the reader will be interested in something about your story, he/she will write you a fanmail!


Customization through Avatar Creator
Why?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that you included customization, but … Avatar creation option is limited. It doesn’t have new hairstyles, lips etc. Get a nicely done customization template! There are so many available! Check @Dara.Amarie thread.


Low-quality backgrounds

I know how hard it is sometimes to find the perfect background.
But I see it so often, that author’s use backgrounds with such a low-quality, that when you zoom on them, they become all blurry and pixely.
What I can suggest?
Well. First of all, use better quality images. :woman_shrugging:
Second. If I need to zoom on background very closely (like above 400-500%) I upload this background part as an overlay. I’m not sure why it is like that, but when you upload images as backgrounds, Episode reset them to some standard quality or something. It doesn’t happen with overlays.


Music and sounds use
There is nothing wrong with NOT using music and sounds in your story. Maybe they aren’t needed.
But if you do. Don not overuse music. I saw a couple of times when authors put music in every scene. Music should complement the scene, not just be there. Constant music all the time is kinda distracting and annoying.
Believe me, there are a lot of readers who read stories with the sound on.


Outfit names
Not that often, but it happens, that I see outfit game in story, and choices are named like “One” or “Outfit 1”. Why I dislike it?
Let’s imagine, you have 4 or 6 or 10 choices. I’m one of those people (and the majority is just like me) who likes to try em all. But when I’m at the 4th/6th/10th option, and I sorta decide what I want to wear, I can’t remember where was the one I liked. So I suggest naming these options the way they would be recognizable like “Denim shorts” or whatever, not just “One”.
Small detail, but easily done, and makes your story a bit more appealing.


Non-talking animations used with dialogue lines
I see it in almost every story!
I get it, sometimes it is hard to find the perfect animation for the specific line.
But when you use wink animations, admire, eyeroll animations with the dialogue lines - a character says something with its mouth basically closed. I donnow about you, but it seriously buggers me. Maybe I’m just too attentive to details, but I surely know I’m not the only one.


Spot commands for background (and main) characters
Yep. It requires some attention and work.
I won’t explain why it is important, because the reason is just the same.
I will post @Dara.Amarie IG post’s screenshot that I find really helpful.

BC positioning


Looped animations
This is a common mistake. which can happen to anyone.
Just remember. If you use looped animation, don’t forget to add @CHARACTER starts some_idle_animation after its dialogue lines, so that when other character starts talking, the first one doesn’t stand with his mouth open.


Frozen faces

Check character faces after all animations. Sometimes they are stuck with a weird face, like after the callout or greet animations. You can always put idle_shiftweight animation after their lines.


Speechbubble positions
Maybe you don’t use them. That’s fine!
But if you started once, you either continue putting speechbubble spot everywhere, or you reset it (@speechbubble reset)


Animation before every dialogue line
This is a basis. Put animations before every dialogue line! It is a must (well, except if you use loop animations).


Use zoom
Use zoom in your stories, especially for conversations that are longer than a few phrases. Zooming on talking character will make the scene more alive and dynamic. If you are not sure how to do it well - check sitcoms or something, and pay attention to camera work. it is just the same.


Exit/enter commands vs. spot commands
I personally stopped using enters and exits commands a long time ago. Spot commands are simply better :woman_shrugging:

Okay, I will explain why.
First of all, well they provide better varriety of spots O_o Simple as that.
Second thing, that is just as important, especially if you place more than 3 characters. Entering and exit commands mess with the layer your character is supposed to be on.

Once I had a problem, where I had a lot of background characters, and MC was walking down the isle. I put her on her place with a spot command, layered her, everything is cool. But when she was running from the isle and I used exit command, her layer changed, and suddenly she appeared to be behind background characters.
Spot commands rule other ones suck ^^


Art scenes
God bless Mette Peleikis, who in my opinion made this art scene thing trendy.
Don’t get me wrong - I love art scenes.
If first, they fit the story, and second - they are decently done.

What I mean by fit the story?
If you want to put art scene in your story bEcAuSe iT’s pReTtY for a couple of seconds - bad news - YOU DON’T NEED IT
Where I think it is appropriate to put art scene?
When there is some kind of intense moment, that doesn’t require a lot of animations but has quite some narration. Got it? Examples… A moment before the kiss? First dance? Someone dying in MC’s arms?
Now about the quality.
I know, I know. A lot of writers sooner or later start doing art. Nothing wrong with that.
And I get it, you made something, you want to share it. But let’s be real honest here - most of the first, and second, and maybe third art things anyone does - kinda suck (mine sucked hard as well). What’s the point of putting the art scene into the story if it looks like a drawing made by 5 yo?


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Nice ^^ I agree vehemently with the instant zoom thing!! I get it sometimes for some kind of effect, but like…the slow pan over here in 1 second…pan over there…pan back. Pan again, pan, pan. I’m just like UGH!! CRINGE LOL

I’d also like to add about character strengths and flaws. Having a “strong” character does not make a character strong in itself. A character needs to have weakness for the character to actually be strong. A character needs to have more personality than “strong character” “good role-model” and that jazz that gets spouted out. The point is to add humanity.

So you can have two characters, one is kind, caring, forgiving, and the other is hardened, cold, etc. If both of them were wronged by someone and they received an apology from someone AND ACCEPTED, the hardened character’s flaws in this situation, the things that we consider not always such good things, makes this character strong. A hell of a lot stronger than the person that you expect will forgive. For that character, forgiveness is easy.

It is much more impressive, likable, and relatable to see this from a character that has to work for their forgiveness.

One of the single most important thing for every character to have is a type of motivation. All characters have goals or an endgame. Sometimes we the authors know, but the character doesn’t. The character has to have drive and motivation, reasons for doing things. If characters are doing things simply because we need them to to progress the plot, it’s a problem ^^

Sometimes, tbh, I like characters that seemingly do things for no other reason than that we make them. The only archetype for these are the “evil for evil’s sake” characters. It depends on you, the writer, if you want to write this character and also depends on the reader if they like the character. It’s all opinion ^^

I’m not much help coding, but I went to college for storytelling, this is my forte ^^

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