When creating the story...

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When creating the story...

#1 Post by ScarletKnives » Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:49 pm

So, a visual novel is nothing without a plot so; as I will create one; I have several doubts.

My idea is kinda like VNs like Kanon or Clannad; a male lead and 5-6 girls with a route each one and different problems-stories. I have 2 girls more or less developed; and I need to create the rest of them. However, I was thinking to write every girl arc individually; then, I came up with a huge problem: If I do that, the characters can't interact with each other except the MC and the girl; and I don want that since the spark of Key VNs is how the characters bond with each other.

So I need to create all the cast first, but at the same time; without writing, new characters ideas can't come up in my mind. So I'm kinda confused. What should I do?

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Re: When creating the story...

#2 Post by YonYonYon » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:18 pm

The easiest way would be to make only 2-3 girls. More than that is hard to handle.
Or, if you don't want to do that, do what you said helps you - write. But write little spin-offs, not the main story. This way you won't have the pressure to make things perfect or canon
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Re: When creating the story...

#3 Post by Mammon » Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:05 am

If you want to make the girls interact with one another, you can always make them already friends or something alike. You already have two girls developed, take one of those and try to have her have a conversation with another girl. What kind of personality would work well for that exchange of words? For example:

You have a shy girl who doesn't talk a lot, so talking would not go that well with most people. You'll need a girl who's either too impulsive and chatty or one who's bossy and motherly enough to force the conversation forward, both capable of negating the lulls in dialogue that would usually result in shy girl's conversations ending awkwardly. There, shy girl can now have a conversation with someone who isn't you, and the other girl has a purpose. Once you know something like that, add it to shy girl's route. If you can already see the other's personality you can start thinking of her as a LI, but if you don't then you don't have to yet. Let her character develop as a non-LI and get an idea of what she's like. Once you're done with shy girl's route, you probably have an idea of what the other girl's personality will be, asssuming she got enough screen time.

Of course, it's possible to just say 'this many routes, so these tropes, and then I'll develop them.' It might seem easy and well-balanced. The normal one, the shy one, the tsundere, etc etc. I would recommend against this, while it can work and is easy to plan, quite often it will result in at least one or two LI's feeling bland and added in. In harem anime or other shows that have a lot of girls, it becomes painfully obvious that the girl will start to become more and more just her gimmick or a single facet as more girls are added. Adding characters according to what you feel works or the story could use, would work better.

So instead of trying to look at how many girls you want to add, just develop the story and be sure not to make it just scenes between you and your LI. Have there be stories of girls developing their characters without you, of talking, of fluff that isn't just there to be fluff. That will need the other girls to also have a personality, let your writing style and the story develop that character.
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Re: When creating the story...

#4 Post by Didules » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:00 am

I agree with YonYonYon on that point : only make 2/3 girls.
Why would you have to make more? Is this a rule of BxG? If it's a rule you set for yourself but cannot go further because you don't have ideas for more girls, then... it's a weird rule that blocks you.

If you still want more characters, then imagine them as not being in the same group of friends : Girl A & B (the one you figured out) are friends, and the other whose story will strike you later will be parts of another group of friends.

If we look at the diversity of personalities in VN, I always found unlikely they would all be friends and interact with each other on a daily basis :lol:

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Re: When creating the story...

#5 Post by ScarletKnives » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:31 am

Didules wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:00 am
I agree with YonYonYon on that point : only make 2/3 girls.
Why would you have to make more? Is this a rule of BxG? If it's a rule you set for yourself but cannot go further because you don't have ideas for more girls, then... it's a weird rule that blocks you.

If you still want more characters, then imagine them as not being in the same group of friends : Girl A & B (the one you figured out) are friends, and the other whose story will strike you later will be parts of another group of friends.

If we look at the diversity of personalities in VN, I always found unlikely they would all be friends and interact with each other on a daily basis :lol:
Well of course :lol: is not like they will be BFFs, just basic interaction

As for the "why so many girls" question; its mainly because I'm taking Key VNs as inspiration. In Kanon, you have Ayu; Makoto, Mai, the short haired girl I dont remember her name and Nayuki; as well as several secondary characters like Mai's friend; The short haired girl sister; the friend of the hero; etc... and in Clannad you have Nagisa; Kyou; Ryou; Kotomi; Fuko; Tomoyo; the library girl... and of course supporting characters too like Sunohara, etc...

Maybe I'm tackling a chunk too big; but I don't want my story to feel short and bland... if else; Im up to reduce the number of heroines to 4.
Mammon wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 5:05 am
You have a shy girl who doesn't talk a lot, so talking would not go that well with most people. You'll need a girl who's either too impulsive and chatty or one who's bossy and motherly enough to force the conversation forward, both capable of negating the lulls in dialogue that would usually result in shy girl's conversations ending awkwardly. There, shy girl can now have a conversation with someone who isn't you, and the other girl has a purpose. Once you know something like that, add it to shy girl's route. If you can already see the other's personality you can start thinking of her as a LI, but if you don't then you don't have to yet. Let her character develop as a non-LI and get an idea of what she's like. Once you're done with shy girl's route, you probably have an idea of what the other girl's personality will be, asssuming she got enough screen time.

Of course, it's possible to just say 'this many routes, so these tropes, and then I'll develop them.' It might seem easy and well-balanced. The normal one, the shy one, the tsundere, etc etc. I would recommend against this, while it can work and is easy to plan, quite often it will result in at least one or two LI's feeling bland and added in. In harem anime or other shows that have a lot of girls, it becomes painfully obvious that the girl will start to become more and more just her gimmick or a single facet as more girls are added. Adding characters according to what you feel works or the story could use, would work better.
Im fact; I have two girls already; A sporty cheery girl who is also a top lead student; so this makes a lot of people envy her and trying to blackmail her. The other one is the class representant as is a smart, but cold, harsh and distant girl; the truth is she fears to have friends.

But if else, I will try to avoid blunt stereotypes. Even the MC will not be your usual bland, shy boy. :lol:

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Re: When creating the story...

#6 Post by Scribbles » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:00 am

Fewer girls doesn't mean the story will be dull, and you'll learn a TON just making something simple. Just write the story for the two girls, they could be sisters or something and then your character would interact with both of them (think -- Stay! Stay! Democratic People's North Korea) It seems like you're stuck in the planning stage, start doing and see how it all comes together. You'll be able to figure out fairly quickly what you can and cannot handle. The best way to work out how these things will go is to actually start writing them out.
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Re: When creating the story...

#7 Post by Didules » Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:37 pm

Hum, I have to say that using pro VN as a reference to justify 5/6 characters doesn't really seem like a good reason ^^"
Besides... Less characters doesn't mean bland or shorter, that's actually up to the plot, the route, your writing skills, and soooooo many factors XD Trust me, I've made a bland and short VN :lol:

The main thing is, start working on those 2 you already have and see where it leads you, because staying stuck forever because you're putting yourself under the pressure of making something that looks like a pro VN isn't going to lead you anywhere in the end :lol: Whatever you choose to do about the number of character, the thing is, you're stuck and need to get out of it before it drags on forever! Writing on the 2 you already have may make you realize the other characters you need and you'll be able to build on that !

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Re: When creating the story...

#8 Post by ScarletKnives » Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:53 pm

Didules wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:37 pm
Hum, I have to say that using pro VN as a reference to justify 5/6 characters doesn't really seem like a good reason ^^"
Besides... Less characters doesn't mean bland or shorter, that's actually up to the plot, the route, your writing skills, and soooooo many factors XD Trust me, I've made a bland and short VN :lol:

The main thing is, start working on those 2 you already have and see where it leads you, because staying stuck forever because you're putting yourself under the pressure of making something that looks like a pro VN isn't going to lead you anywhere in the end :lol: Whatever you choose to do about the number of character, the thing is, you're stuck and need to get out of it before it drags on forever! Writing on the 2 you already have may make you realize the other characters you need and you'll be able to build on that !
Oh, I see... but one of the problems is I'm lacking of a female lead protagonist since I don't see the actual girls as the main heroine XD

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Re: When creating the story...

#9 Post by gekiganwing » Mon Sep 25, 2017 4:07 pm

ScarletKnives wrote:
Sun Sep 24, 2017 7:49 pm
If I do that, the characters can't interact with each other except the MC and the girl; and I don want that since the spark of Key VNs is how the characters bond with each other.
If non playable characters interact with each other, then it should help make sure that the story doesn't seem to revolve around the protagonist. In other words, if the NPCs have some connections, then they should talk. That said... think about the characters' relationships. Are they friends? Family? Rivals? Enemies?

In Persona 4 Golden, there are some optional scenes in which non playable characters talk to each other. They all live in the same small town, and many of them attend the same school. These scenes didn't exist in the original PS2 version. I thought their addition to Golden made the story seem more fully realized.
ScarletKnives wrote: I will try to avoid blunt stereotypes. Even the MC will not be your usual bland, shy boy.
Think about who your protagonist is, and what he wants. What are his hobbies, interests, and concerns? What are his strengths and weaknesses? What's he like when no one else is around?
Didules wrote: Less characters doesn't mean bland or shorter...
I agree. In Kana Little Sister, there are only two heroines, and the protagonist interacts with maybe a dozen total people. It's one of my all-time favorite visual novels. In A Midsummer Day's Resonance, the protagonist talks with just one love interest. It's a short story, as well as another of my favorite VNs.

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Re: When creating the story...

#10 Post by arisan » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:09 pm

It seems that a large cast (of heroines?) is one of your key objectives, so let's treat that as a necessity.

Given this, I would suggest you start your drafts with the two characters you have. As you write, you'll have other characters that need to crop up along the way. Typically, these would be your minor characters--but you can simply take them and expand on their stories. In this way, you could slowly and organically expand your cast. You'd already have reasons for the different characters to interact, because interaction with another person's story is exactly where they came from.

And you don't have to stick with the first draft. If you want to change things later on, after you've rounded out the cast, you can revisit events and change them, guided by all you've created along the way.

Re: Clannad though (with the caveat that I have only seen the anime and played Kyou's and Kotomi's routes), one of its weaker points in terms of structure is that Tomoya has no real goal and so each route branches off wildly depending on which heroine he chooses. The Drama Club shtick has minimal presence in most routes and feels like a tacked on excuse to get them to interact. One way to solve that is to have a central goal for your main character--what changes depending on the heroine he picks is how he approaches it (and how it turns out). This could help you in developing your MC as well as creating opportunities for the heroines to "spontaneously" interact with each other. Or, as pointed out by gekiganwing, a constrained setting like a small town could also do the trick.
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Re: When creating the story...

#11 Post by ScarletKnives » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:05 pm

Oh... I see :3

So that means I will just write the story in text like a reglar fic-novel right? And when having everything decided and done; rewrite it in VN format I guess.

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Re: When creating the story...

#12 Post by TheJerminator15 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:19 am

I agree heavily with what has been mentioned previously. If your inspiration are Key VNs, however, may I ask exactly of those VNs inspires you? Is it the large cast, the general themes and stories they present, what exactly? A lot of VN writers handle a large cast fairly decently, and one of the suggestions I could give you if you do decide to stick with the larger cast is to have very little common route and branch the routes very early. Games like Tsukihime and Katawa Shoujo do this quite well. It allows multiple girls to continue to interact with each other (be it on a friendly or hostile basis) but because you're locked in very early it helps to have that heavy narrative focus on the developing relationship and dynamic between the main character and whichever girl's route it is. This also ties into the point arisan raises, the drama club was just a big contrivance to get all the girls together and Tomoya doesn't really have a goal because it's too focused on bringing them all together to have the fun little harem moments and comedy.

Also keep in mind that not every girl or character needs a tragic backstory. It could be something as simple as a talented writer who has achieved recognition struggling to free themselves from the creative box their previos works and subsequent fanbase has forced them into, to a simple story of helping someone with their confidence issues. Not every girl needs to be a bright, bubbly heart of gold who's hiding the fact she's depressed her parents died in a horrific accident etc. You get the point.

A smaller cast doesn't mean it's more bland. Kana Little Sister destroyed me for a while after only two playthroughs and that only has two heroines (I really should finish that game soon) because the writing (whilst I dislike the style itself) was pretty well done and had a laser focus on the relationships that needed developing.

You also say you have a trouble finding a main girl. There doesn't need to be a main girl. Fans will gravitate towards one naturally, you don' have to force it by putting a massive amount of focus on one girl. In a game all about pursuing multiple women that only damages the narrative strength because one girl has much more reason than all the others to fall in love. Clannad did it well, but that was only because Clannad reversed the set up by having an extra route focus on the main girl after they started dating. Even then, other fan favourites got an After Story route as well later down the line. Having a "main girl" sounds like you're trying to completely emulate the Japanese style of romance visual novels without ebing aware of the pitfalls that can produce.

The problem with VN MCs in general isn't that they're shy, indecisive etc. It's that they typically lack any actual characterisation, those traits are just byproducts of that to pad the story until you can choose which girl to date. Define your MC first and foremost. If you have any more questions feel free to message me or reply.
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Re: When creating the story...

#13 Post by ScarletKnives » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:00 pm

TheJerminator15 wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:19 am
I agree heavily with what has been mentioned previously. If your inspiration are Key VNs, however, may I ask exactly of those VNs inspires you? Is it the large cast, the general themes and stories they present, what exactly? A lot of VN writers handle a large cast fairly decently, and one of the suggestions I could give you if you do decide to stick with the larger cast is to have very little common route and branch the routes very early. Games like Tsukihime and Katawa Shoujo do this quite well. It allows multiple girls to continue to interact with each other (be it on a friendly or hostile basis) but because you're locked in very early it helps to have that heavy narrative focus on the developing relationship and dynamic between the main character and whichever girl's route it is. This also ties into the point arisan raises, the drama club was just a big contrivance to get all the girls together and Tomoya doesn't really have a goal because it's too focused on bringing them all together to have the fun little harem moments and comedy.
I would say their stories; it captivated me every single of them. But well, Im new to creating VNs, so, mistakes will be made XD.
Also keep in mind that not every girl or character needs a tragic backstory. It could be something as simple as a talented writer who has achieved recognition struggling to free themselves from the creative box their previos works and subsequent fanbase has forced them into, to a simple story of helping someone with their confidence issues. Not every girl needs to be a bright, bubbly heart of gold who's hiding the fact she's depressed her parents died in a horrific accident etc. You get the point.
Of course; I don't want extreme melodramatic routes that feels so out of the plot. I'm sticking with more normal problems (one of the girls I hace created is dealing with envy from others; and the other one is afraid of making friends or being close to someone; as well as showing her feelings)
A smaller cast doesn't mean it's more bland. Kana Little Sister destroyed me for a while after only two playthroughs and that only has two heroines (I really should finish that game soon) because the writing (whilst I dislike the style itself) was pretty well done and had a laser focus on the relationships that needed developing.
Yeah, I changed my mind, I started with 6 girls on mind, but for now, 3 or 4 feels more easy to tackle; still, there will be some secondary characters (like the friend of the hero; who will be a key for the first girl I have mentioned)
You also say you have a trouble finding a main girl. There doesn't need to be a main girl. Fans will gravitate towards one naturally, you don' have to force it by putting a massive amount of focus on one girl. In a game all about pursuing multiple women that only damages the narrative strength because one girl has much more reason than all the others to fall in love. Clannad did it well, but that was only because Clannad reversed the set up by having an extra route focus on the main girl after they started dating. Even then, other fan favourites got an After Story route as well later down the line. Having a "main girl" sounds like you're trying to completely emulate the Japanese style of romance visual novels without ebing aware of the pitfalls that can produce.
I guess you have a point here. I will try to treat every girl equally.
The problem with VN MCs in general isn't that they're shy, indecisive etc. It's that they typically lack any actual characterisation, those traits are just byproducts of that to pad the story until you can choose which girl to date. Define your MC first and foremost. If you have any more questions feel free to message me or reply.
Yeah, the MC is a vital key. I'm thinking on starting to write the story as being adviced to do that on here; and a lot of questions regarding the MC are getting on the way; like:

Is he living alone; or with someone?
As the story is set in Japan; a 16 years old boy can live alone in the first place?
And why he lives alone in the first place?
If he is living with someone; it is his family; or with other relatives?
If its his family; how many members they have?
If he lives with relatives; who are they?
He has a friendship with a potential route girl? (like, a classmate or his childhood friend)

As you can see, more and more questions keeps popping on :lol:

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Re: When creating the story...

#14 Post by 磯七ラスミ » Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:35 am

If you are still accepting suggestions, you could make first character relations starting with necessary (Kaori and Jun), the ones that cooperates for creating the mood of a scene or that their main purpose are take part together, like twins. And later, when you have almost everything done, you add some simple or trivial interactions between characters (Fuko and Sunohara). You sometimes just use characters to fill a gap, like a moment where two, four, TWELVE characters look at some other character while they is doing something embarrassing, being each very replaceable.

That's it for my idea. You could arrange events like furnish a room, making sure everything serve its purpose, without need of justifying every bit of data someone would ask you.

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