If there's something I missed, an answer that could use some revising/expansion upon, or a question you think should be included, then PM me and I'll add something in about it. For the time being, the OELVN Wiki
already has some essays that can answer some of these questions.Note: If all else fails, don't be afraid to talk with others about your story. Input from other people can be helpful to you in order to understand what your audience might expect to see and what they would like to see. Discussion is almost an all-purpose solution and a useful tool to get back on track.Table of Contents (use Ctrl+F to and enter the number of the topic you're looking for to jump to it)
1. How do I begin writing a story?1. How do I begin writing a story?
2. What defines a deep and developed protagonist?
3. What kinds of side characters should I make and how many should I have?
4. How do I name my story and characters?
5. How do I end my story?
6. How do I overcome writer’s block?/How do I continue my story if I can't find a good way out?
7. I have this great idea, but is it good enough to write on?
8. Should I avoid stereotypes and clichés?
9. Is writing a VN/KN different from conventional writing?
10. How do I "expand" on an idea?
11. How can I get to know/understand my characters better?
12. I want to write, but I have no clue what to write about.
Simple: just start with an idea you know you can work with. If you haven't written a story before, you should probably start out with something small. Once you have a basic idea down, toy around with the possibilities and find out who your characters are, what’s going to happen, and how it'll all turn out. As always, follow the basic narrative structure: Exposition, Rising Action, Climax, Falling Action, Resolution (If you need a refresher on what each part is exactly, refer to the Wikipedia article
). Once you know where you're headed, go ahead and start typing!2. What defines a deep and developed protagonist?
A well-developed protagonist is one that readers can sympathize with and has a personal history that will likely explain his or her actions throughout the course of the story. A successfully well-written protagonist will probably leave a greater impact on the reader than a bland, uninteresting one. Oftentimes a protagonist will be "dynamic;" in other words, he or she will change somehow during the course in the story. It is up to the writer if the protagonist is a blank slate (no personality) or has a set personality.3. What kinds of side characters should I make and how many should I have?
Protip: only have as many characters as the story absolutely dictates. Ideally, each character should be unique from the others and serve a purpose; if an existing character can fulfill the same function and/or two characters are alike, you can combine the two characters into one. Side characters exist to either aid or oppose the protagonist and move the narrative forward.4. How do I name my story and characters?
There are several methods of naming your creations, and sometimes the best ones will present itself along with your ideas or at unexpected moments when you least expect it. For those of you who want a systematic way to thinking up of a good name for your story, look back on the core ideas, moods, or themes you want to focus on and see if you can find a name that suits it; if that’s not enough, discussing it with others can help you as well. Likewise, naming a character follows a similar vein. Find a name that you think matches a character’s personality, or discuss names with others.5. How do I end my story?
This may sometimes be the hardest part of writing a story- ending it. Really, the way you end the story is entirely up to you. If the conclusion does not come naturally to you as you write, ask yourself these questions:
- Should my protagonist achieve his or her goal?
- Has my protagonist learned anything throughout the story?
- What has my protagonist gained or lost- spiritually, physically, or both- during the course of the events?
- What is the mood of my story after the climax and what mood do I want after the end?
- What sort of impact do I want to leave on the audience?
Again, if this still does not help you, discussing possible endings with others (preferably your team if you have one, as you do not want to spoil your story for your audience even before it is completed) may help.6. How do I overcome writer’s block?/How do I continue my story if I can't find a good way out?
Nearly, if not all, writers have experienced a time when it seems that the inspiration to write has disappeared. This is normal, but quite understandingly frustrating. There are several methods to deal with and get rid of writer's block:
7. I have this great idea, but is it good enough to write on?
- Go over what you have of your story so far from the eyes of the reader. Follow the plot and see where you were going as the author, then figure out what direction the story should head next.
- Relax! Stop writing and go on a short hiatus to clear your mind. Come back a few days later and see if your muse has returned.
- (If working with a VN engine) Work on another part of your project such as the visuals or programming if possible.
- (If writing a branching VN) Work on a different scenario or outcome.
- Read and play other works here. Perhaps you'll find your inspiration again.
This really depends on what idea that is. Chances are if you
want to read that type of story, then probably someone else would like to as well. If you only recently got the idea, try expanding upon it and see where it goes; if you can follow it and can write it, then by all means start writing! As always, you can talk with others about the basic premise without spoilers and see how many people are interested in your idea.8. Should I avoid stereotypes and clichés?
The common answer is yes. Keep in mind that stereotypes are often based in real life, so it may be difficult to avoid one without bumping into another. As for clichés, a wide audience will be familiar with them; whether this is a good thing or not depends on who that audience is. A common method of escaping stereotypes and clichés is to "invert" it, or to betray the expectations of the reader and therefore surprise them with something new.9. Is writing a VN/KN different from conventional writing?
Somewhat, considering that a VN/KN will likely focus more on dialogue and the interactions between characters. Most of the time the visuals will clear the need to describe the current setting and actions of characters, but you are still free to write about them if you wish. To sum it up, you should see the VN format as being similar to writing a play with character dialogue and scene directions.10. How do I "build up" on an idea?
Letting the idea toss around in your mind will often gather a lot of mass, but some of those excess things may not be usable in the long run. To organize your thoughts, you can take a piece of paper and draw a flowchart or open up a program that will let you do something similar. A few questions you can ask yourself to propel your story forward are:
- What is my protagonist trying to achieve?
- What is the conflict my protagonist is dealing with?
- What events will take place during the course of the story?
- What will my protagonist do to overcome these obstacles?
This flowchart will act as your guide when you need to know where to go next in your story. Not everything you get down in the planning stage will be absolute and concrete, as you may have to change a few things as you work and set these ideas into motion. 11. How can I get to know/understand my characters better?
You'll find it hard to continue your story if you cannot understand the thinking processes of your characters; you'll also have difficulty recognizing them if they act out-of-character. To avoid this, it's a definite must to write down their basic information, history, and personalities. After that's done, try typing up a part with them in it to see what they do and how they interact with other characters. If you're unsatisfied with how they act, the time to change them is now. Soon you'll know your characters as if they were old friends of yours 12. I want to write, but I have no clue what to write about.
That's a real shame, then
In all honesty, a creative mind should have no problem brainstorming an idea; the problem lies within finding an idea that's worth writing about. It takes time to stumble upon a good one by yourself, and you'll likely get a flood of plot bunnies by talking to other people or reading someone else's stuff. You can go to the Ideas Dump
thread and sift through a few, or use a generator until you find a viable plot to work with.