Author Topic: The nature of stories.  (Read 13933 times)

Boris

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The nature of stories.
« on: April 19, 2006, 02:12:40 am »
I don't know where else to put this, I appologize in advance.

Talking to Deck and rambling at Fyber, I've been doing a lot of thinking about what makes a good, and/or deep, story (Also, I'm depressed from watching all the way though yet another good thing, but thats my problem.)  It turns out for me what makes a good story great is how it uses one group of people or one situation to analyze the whole world around it. I like seeing a little universe built up for me, wheather its fantasy, scifi, a romance, or just a picture of our own world. The people are a little important too, introspection and relationships are important not only to the universe, but to these few individuals a story focuses on.

My question posed to you guys is this:
What aspects do you think contributes to a story being good and/or deep. The kind you just don't want to put down or give up.
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Prox

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Re: The nature of stories.
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2006, 01:58:10 pm »
From a talk by english teacher Chris Drummond, "What makes a good story":

Quote
...If you’ve written a story, you’ll know that it’s good if it has direction and purpose. Your story is strong, and the thoughts and ideas expressed within it are well-connected. These two things give a certain truth to it, which ties it together. A story with truth will be believable. You’ll have confidence in your story. It‘ll feel genuine to you.
Second, your story has to be interesting. Nobody wants to read a boring book, huh? There are two ways to do this. Now, most readers, when they read a story, they tend to focus on the characters. So, how do you make a story interesting? Make the characters interesting. Make them people with feelings, that your readers can identify with. The other way is to have vivid imagery. How many of you have seen that Harry Potter 4 movie? Yeah? Did you like the special effects in that movie? They were something, weren’t they? Anyways, any special-effects technician in the movies can tell you that the human imagination is the most powerful and least expensive special-effects machine that will ever exist. In a book, though, you have to create those dynamic images with words. You have to prompt your reader’s imagination with brilliant descriptions and dialogue. If you have ever read a really good story, it should play out like a movie in your mind.
Now, the next thing. This is, like, a grade school lesson, but it’s an important one. You have to have conflict and resolution. Remember being taught that? Remember the hill? Exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, denouement? Yeah. Every story pretty much needs to have one of those problems which gets worked out. Whether it’s a battle with the forces of evil or a battle within the character's own mind, it needs to be there. Also, don’t think it has to get resolved in a good way. All the resolution of a story means is that the story’s done. Your character could face the problem and be utterly defeated by it, or s/he could come out on top. Also, your conflict and resolution should not be too easy. Your solution shouldn’t be the most obvious and the most insincere. Which brings me back to what I said before, make it genuine. Make it believable.
The next point is the most important one. Love your story. If you don’t like your story, how are your readers going to? Writing isn’t a science. You aren’t on the outside of your story, looking in. You have to be a part of your story. It has to come from you, and you have to care about it. If you can’t do that, you can't like your story, and your readers can't like it if you don't.
And now, the last thing. Write for somebody. Nobody can write a book that everybody’s going to like. Certain kinds of books appeal to certain age groups and the like. Combine the strength of these aspects I’ve mentioned, so that you know they’ll appeal to a certain type of person. Want to write a young adult novel? Pack it with dynamic imagery and let up a little on the deep philosophy. Want to write a book for cynical college folk? Write it the other way around.
Once you’ve finished your book, you believe in it, it’s interesting, you love it, and you know who’s going to read it, you should be able to hold it in your hand, strike a pose and say, ‘This is a good book!’

As for a deep story, I have a few ideas on this'n.

No doubt, a deep story involves lots of heavy philosophy. Explore traditional, human themes. Use a lot of symbolism (like in that one book, where that woman has sex with that guy, and then she eats an egg, yeah. That's symbolism, i guess) But I'd have to say that whatever philosophical meaning you want to put in your story has to be portrayed through your characters, because they're the most important part. Your characters, as they face the conflict in the story's plotline, should be the scion of your underlying message. Their actions and experiences should reflect the philosophy over the course of the book, instead of saying it outright.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2006, 02:09:36 pm by Prox »

MDude

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Re: The nature of stories.
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2006, 03:59:29 pm »
One thing I think makes a good story is when events occur that arn't explained until later. Or when the story follows two characters that rarely if ever interact with each other.

Vito

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Re: The nature of stories.
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2006, 10:26:59 pm »
I'd say a good story is one that's told well, doesn't leave you confused and guessing what heppens next or why something happened without any explanaion. Also likable characters taht you can identify with or recognize as real people you know. Something unexpected is also good, too many times do I see obvious plot twists, but if you can surprise me and it to make sense than thats good.

Jack Dandy

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Re: The nature of stories.
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2006, 12:30:59 am »
I'd say what would make a story good is a good plot very little of the stero typicalness and a dash of comedy here and there.
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FyberOptic

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Re: The nature of stories.
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2006, 01:20:18 am »
I think good characters are probably number one, because if you don't have any particular fondness for'em, then you're probably not gonna care as much when something happens to'em.  If you can really visualize a character and their personality, it lets you fit them into the plot a lot better, no matter how generic it might end up being.

Altzan

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Re: The nature of stories.
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2006, 08:25:44 pm »
A good story, to me, must have:

1) Captivating characters that can either be related to or easily understandable
2) A decent beginning or intro that grabs the reader's attention quickly
3) Well added and accurate descriptions for visualizations
4)A good and well-laid out storyline with humor scattered here and there
5)An amazing climax and resolution
6)Oh, and introduces characters sporadically, not all at once

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HitomiBoy

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Re: The nature of stories.
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2006, 10:04:43 pm »
want a good story?

1) Make characters, bios, maybe a sketch?
2) Make one a chick. Maybe who wears skimpy outfits. Sex sells.
3) Setting. Nothing can happen in nothing.
4) Think of a simple plot. Very simple, but expandable.
5) Expand it.
6) Exciting climax.
7) Love story?
8) ???????
9) PROFIT!

Boris

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Re: The nature of stories.
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2006, 12:35:39 am »
Shit! My idea!
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Joefus

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Re: The nature of stories.
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2006, 10:22:01 pm »
The two things that are most important to a good story for me are:
1) The characters, they don't neccesarily have to be super cool, s/he just has to be accesible to the reader.  I'm gonna use the Dragon Quest 8 Hero as an example here, sure he was a silent and 2D as far as personality goes, but despite this fact, I felt for this guy who all I learned about him was from his actions in cut scenes.

2) The climax point doesn't have to totally flip the world on it's side, shake it around and place it back upside down, but it needs to have something that will inspire the reader onward to the end of it all.

these are my two cents hope they help.