Newbie - Pointers for a good story

bui123

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Hey guys, I'm new to this (amazing that I even made it here) so no hard times please !

I'm starting my major work right now with the planning and whatnot but I wanted to have a few opinions beforehand on what a "good" story is.

So, what makes a good story good?
 

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*The writing-seriously, think of the difference between a good and bad novel. It may have an awesome idea but will fall flat if the actual calibre of the writing is not good. It is crucial to not neglect the detail in EE2. (This is why drafting/editing is important)).
*Well planned, things link together in a nice way-your reader wants to go "ohhhh, I remember that from earlier"
*Different things can serve as hooks into story, the plot, the characters, the historical detailing etc.
 

jtearle1

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My plan is to take a really strong thesis statement (comment about something) and make it the focus of the work.
So, I start with an idea, say "Autism is a trait not a flaw" then I attempt to weave that (Subtly!) throughout my work.
Then it's just about writing well. Draft lots, change your ideas, document everything in your progress diary. :)
 

funstudy

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Textual integrity- i.e. a motif that links the whole story together is really nice, also grammar and spelling have to be immaculate for a major work, and come up with a question which you are trying to answer in your major work e.g. What is unrequited love....etc.etc. Also just a tip; get your major work draft done in the summer holidays!
 

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Don't have too much dialogue. Show us, don't tell us! And try to make dialogue natural, not stilted. That's gross.
 

Blue Suede

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You think so? I know people who love to live off a book with heaps of dialogue and others who prefer major descriptions.

How do you know when dialogue is natural or stilted? Is it those moments when you are completely lost in the story you lose consciousness of what you're even writing anymore? Haha

Thank you for the advice
C'mon bui, I know you're new, but learn to use quotes. Just click on the bottom right of someone's post where it says 'Reply With Quote' and then we'll all know who you're trying to respond to. If you want to reply to multiple people, click the button that looks like "+ for all the posts you want to reply to, then on the last one click Reply With Quote and you'll be able to reply to all without posting a billion times.

Stilted dialogue is really obvious. Have a look at Twilight as compared to LOTR and you'll find quite a difference. Alternately, try recording people having a conversation and listen to that when you write to try and get a feel of the types of words people actually use, and how they phrase them. Sure, get lost in writing the story, but when it comes to editing, be real about it and make the necessary changes.
 

bui123

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Haha sorry, I've deleted all posts.

Fair enough, I'll give it a go and see how it goes.

Thanks again.

C'mon bui, I know you're new, but learn to use quotes. Just click on the bottom right of someone's post where it says 'Reply With Quote' and then we'll all know who you're trying to respond to. If you want to reply to multiple people, click the button that looks like "+ for all the posts you want to reply to, then on the last one click Reply With Quote and you'll be able to reply to all without posting a billion times.

Stilted dialogue is really obvious. Have a look at Twilight as compared to LOTR and you'll find quite a difference. Alternately, try recording people having a conversation and listen to that when you write to try and get a feel of the types of words people actually use, and how they phrase them. Sure, get lost in writing the story, but when it comes to editing, be real about it and make the necessary changes.
 

Shadowdude

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What makes a story good? Quality.


But remember, quality is a subjective thing - so you might have a comparatively terrible storytelling capability, but if the story is good - then people will like it. Apparently Twilight, and 50 Shades of Grey is in this 'genre'-esque thing...


More seriously, I just want to be entertained when I read. Write something you want to read because you'll be reading over it hundreds of times literally as you edit it throughout the year, and if you don't want to read it - question yourself on who does.


In EX2, they look for quality of storytelling and English though - pretty much. And then any themes or motifs are explained in your Reflection Statement, which will boost or deduct from your mark as the marker sees how those themes and motifs are applied in your work, for instance.

Also make sure you have no spelling mistakes, and your punctuation is a-ok and everything.
 

bui123

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Do you also prefer more detail over dialogue? Or are you somewhere in the middle with an even mix?

Do you think the commonly written stories such as illnesses and etc. have a chance of being a good story? I know it all matters on how you deliver the storyline and message itself, but some of my english teachers familiar with the marking scheme of Ex2 say the commonly written topics are the ones where markers are a little less drawn into.

*The writing-seriously, think of the difference between a good and bad novel. It may have an awesome idea but will fall flat if the actual calibre of the writing is not good. It is crucial to not neglect the detail in EE2. (This is why drafting/editing is important)).
*Well planned, things link together in a nice way-your reader wants to go "ohhhh, I remember that from earlier"
*Different things can serve as hooks into story, the plot, the characters, the historical detailing etc.
 

bui123

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Haha, looks like we're rivals :p
In my opinion, it seems like such illnesses are always a good starting point, however the only disadvantage is that it is a commonly spoken topic. I too wanted to write about a person suffering but my teacher had challenged my reasons and now i'm contemplating again on what to write.

Note: it was added that even though you may choose a common topic, how you execute it is what matters :)

Good luck!

My plan is to take a really strong thesis statement (comment about something) and make it the focus of the work.
So, I start with an idea, say "Autism is a trait not a flaw" then I attempt to weave that (Subtly!) throughout my work.
Then it's just about writing well. Draft lots, change your ideas, document everything in your progress diary. :)
 

bui123

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You pose a very interesting thought...

Yes, sadly quality is a very subjective thing as I have offered to some friends and teachers my ideas and some give me the blank look while others are intrigued to know my ending (unless they're just being good friends/teachers lol) :( I read 50 shades of grey, quite good in my opinion but in the words of my friend, "it was poorly written".

What do you think is more important; writing something interesting or writing something with little interest but a lot of value?

That is quite scary as careless mistakes is common, especially if after 6000-8000 words it's appears as if all the words have been scrambled.

Thank you for the advice!

What makes a story good? Quality.


But remember, quality is a subjective thing - so you might have a comparatively terrible storytelling capability, but if the story is good - then people will like it. Apparently Twilight, and 50 Shades of Grey is in this 'genre'-esque thing...


More seriously, I just want to be entertained when I read. Write something you want to read because you'll be reading over it hundreds of times literally as you edit it throughout the year, and if you don't want to read it - question yourself on who does.


In EX2, they look for quality of storytelling and English though - pretty much. And then any themes or motifs are explained in your Reflection Statement, which will boost or deduct from your mark as the marker sees how those themes and motifs are applied in your work, for instance.

Also make sure you have no spelling mistakes, and your punctuation is a-ok and everything.
 

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Do you also prefer more detail over dialogue? Or are you somewhere in the middle with an even mix?

Do you think the commonly written stories such as illnesses and etc. have a chance of being a good story? I know it all matters on how you deliver the storyline and message itself, but some of my english teachers familiar with the marking scheme of Ex2 say the commonly written topics are the ones where markers are a little less drawn into.
I'd say my biggest thing with dialogue as you will fall into a trap if you don't actually practice reading it out with people so it sounds authentic. I had to change the dialogue in mine tonnes whilst editing because all the characters sounded way too much the same, many were much too formal. Also a trap with dialogue is writers use it as a way to information dump, where people randomly rattle off way more of their life story than is probable in real life.

You should be able to weave detail through the use of description, thoughts, dialogue etc. and not rely on one to drive it all across.
 

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Also a trap with dialogue is writers use it as a way to information dump, where people randomly rattle off way more of their life story than is probable in real life.
Hey, my brother Peter, how do you feel now that your wife of three years that you met at the Pizza Hut where you both work has left you?
 

ClockworkSoldier

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On the vein of characters:

Each character must have a different personality. I know LHS covered this briefly, but too many times I've read a story and each character has sounded like a different version of the same person.

Try and construct your characters away from your story then implement them once you've got them smoothed out. It'll allow a much more fluid dynamic throughout the story and also assist immensely with natural sounding dialogue.

When I'm writing, I tend to "speak" in my character's "voice" and write that down. I feel like I have multiple personality disorder while I'm doing it, but my dialogue is the one thing that constantly gets good feedback.

Each of my characters feel like 'real people', like I actually know them - and my god does it help.
 

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Hahah multiple personality disorder... that's funny.

That's fair enough. However, if one character becomes TOO different, do you think that would ruin the story?

On another note. I'm finding it hard to find my textual integrity. Im not sure about everyone else, but I for starters wanted to compose a story because, well, I just like writing stories. A lot of people seem to write stories that have so much meaning and purpose to them. Coincidentally, those were the ones I read in the Showcase books.

Im uncertain whether all stories have integrity and it just takes time for the composer to notice it, or some stories just bluntly, dont hold any value at all.

What do you think?

On the vein of characters:

Each character must have a different personality. I know LHS covered this briefly, but too many times I've read a story and each character has sounded like a different version of the same person.

Try and construct your characters away from your story then implement them once you've got them smoothed out. It'll allow a much more fluid dynamic throughout the story and also assist immensely with natural sounding dialogue.

When I'm writing, I tend to "speak" in my character's "voice" and write that down. I feel like I have multiple personality disorder while I'm doing it, but my dialogue is the one thing that constantly gets good feedback.

Each of my characters feel like 'real people', like I actually know them - and my god does it help.
 

ClockworkSoldier

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Hahah multiple personality disorder... that's funny.

That's fair enough. However, if one character becomes TOO different, do you think that would ruin the story?

On another note. I'm finding it hard to find my textual integrity. Im not sure about everyone else, but I for starters wanted to compose a story because, well, I just like writing stories. A lot of people seem to write stories that have so much meaning and purpose to them. Coincidentally, those were the ones I read in the Showcase books.

Im uncertain whether all stories have integrity and it just takes time for the composer to notice it, or some stories just bluntly, dont hold any value at all.

What do you think?
On the contrary, I think it can make a story.

A massively different character can create tension, joy, conflict, cool detachment or whatever you like. They could be an unlikely friend, a foe, a simple ally, someone who the main character doesn't like/trust but must stick with to get a job done (similar to Riddick - Chronicles of Riddick).

A wildly different personality can add a layer of depth - you can use them to expose your main character's flaws etc… You get my point lol. If all the characters are 'different versions of the same person', it can get pretty dull.

Every story has purpose - to tell a story. You need to figure out exactly where you want the story to go and what you want the audience to feel while reading it. Your subject matter needs to be something that interests you; your writing will reflect that and draw people in. (I believe) The meaning and purpose of a story comes from the passion with which you write it.

Find a subject matter that you're enthusiastic to write about and the rest should follow. Just don't let passion get in the way of coherence, which seems to happen often.
 
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Hahah multiple personality disorder... that's funny.

That's fair enough. However, if one character becomes TOO different, do you think that would ruin the story?

On another note. I'm finding it hard to find my textual integrity. Im not sure about everyone else, but I for starters wanted to compose a story because, well, I just like writing stories. A lot of people seem to write stories that have so much meaning and purpose to them. Coincidentally, those were the ones I read in the Showcase books.

Im uncertain whether all stories have integrity and it just takes time for the composer to notice it, or some stories just bluntly, dont hold any value at all.

What do you think?
I'd say you shouldn't worry too much about your story being "deep", the trap with that is ending up with a major work that has so many deep motifs etc. but lacks in writing substance. (Trap I fell in with mine tbh) You may feel the pressure to do it whilst reading the Showcases. If you write a good story/stories, you should find it easier at the end to analyse it in your reflection statement than straight out trying to cram all symbolic devices in at the cost of the writing.

And yes, drastically different characters can be great. I for one regret that my antagonist was not more diverse to my protagonist. I wanted reader to hate my antagonist but it didn't really play out haha.
 

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