Apr 082008

When I start a long story I always outline the story before I start. The Internet is littered with the first chapters of stories that are never completed. In my mind, this is because the writers wrote themselves into a corner that could only be solved by rewriting an earlier chapter. That’s a bit hard to do at chapter 4.

Today I’m going to sketch out my creative process for you. My method might not work for you but heck, it might help some aspiring porn writer out there. My method won’t get you a publishing deal or millions of web hits, but it may help you make a story that you love for the rest of your life.

The first thing I do is get a sense of what kind of story I want to do. It can be something as vague as wanting to do a BDSM story set in a circus, or wanting to tell a romance set inside a brothel. I feel the most important thing to do is pick something you absolutely fucking love because you might spend the next six months thinking about this story. You need to pick something that will interest you when you are at your most frustrated and depressed. Pick something that excites you, interests you and intrigues you. Pick something you are willing to be committed to because these long stories are as intense as relationships.

For this example I am going to pick BDSM school. My vague idea is that I want to write about a formal school setting with lots of BDSM elements. At this point I may be thinking of something like a British school complete with uniforms, corporal punishment and very stiff lips. I might recoil a little at the idea of doing a British school since I have read that a million times. In that case I poke around a little and see how a Japanese public school is run. Or maybe I think that is a cliche too and I decide to go with something different and weird like seeing how Russian schools are operated.

Google and Wikipedia are my friends at this stage. I am reading and learning obsessively. The more you know about your subject, the more confident you will be with your story. Research also gives you your best ideas. I might come across an article about how private schools are funded and it could give me ideas about the background of my school. Reality is far more weird than fiction; use it to inspire you.

As you can see, I even at the idea stage I am not locking myself down into anything. You let your mind gravitate to obvious ideas and then if you love it, fine. But if something strikes you as something you’ve seen written everywhere, then look around to see what you haven’t seen before. Sometimes the novelty of your new idea will excite and inform the rest of your story.

For this example, let’s say that I decide to go with an American school system set in some remote rustic location. I decide that for legal reasons, all of the characters are over 18, and that this school is voluntary. In fact, this school is an underground secret school that you can only get in by recommendation. Maybe some sort of foundation pays for it all. I like the idea of a kinky school that young women are sent to in order to become better kinky women in life because I am a sucker for coming of age stories. This school is meant for pre-college girls, so the school more resembles a public school as oppossed to college life.

This is when I make a list of all the things I like about the genre my story is set in. I base my list on movies, books and experiences I have had with the subject of school. I include things that I want to write about, or things I think are so important to the setting that I need to take them into account. My list for a story like this would look something like this-

school uniforms, hall passes, detention, school sport, school mascot, rulers, bookbags, desks, principal, school nurse, chalkboards, cafeteria, lockers, passing notes in class,

Some of these ideas just lay there on the list and that’s okay. I can’t think of anything sexy to do with a locker but I keep it on the list just in case. On the other hand, as soon as I thought of detention, I imagined a special room just for detention that would be all these restraint devices. I know that no matter what, my character needs to get detention just so I can do a scene there.

At this point it is crucial to me to have an idea of an ending. You may find that weird considering I don’t have characters, a plot or much of a setting. The thing is, you have to know where you are going before you can set out to go there. I ask myself what is it that I want to be the climax? When people are done with my story, what do I want them to take away? What do I want to see?

For example, do I want the final scene to be a student over coming all odds to be kinky Valedictorian? Do I want to write about a group of friends who graduate together and learned an important lesson about friendship? Do I want tell the story of a good student who goes bad, or a bad student who goes good?

You don’t need to write the final scene. You just need to have some sort of idea of where it is all going. You are creating a theme for your entire story which climaxes at the end. Once you have an ending, you know what kind of story you are telling and more importantly, what are the key characters and scenes that will bring about this ending.

Often, this is when I find out my setting doesn’t work. If I decide on that my ending needs is about the journey a teacher goes through, as opposed to a student, then I need to change my approach. That’s okay. We’re trying to solve for what kind of story you want to tell. The only right anwser is coming up with a story you are willing to write for the next year.

For my example, I am going to say that I want to do a story about a trashy slutty girl who becomes a refined submissive slut. The ending will be a final exam where she puts all of her lessons together and does a splendid job. I get the vague idea that the final exam is a sort of gangbang ordeal, where she must adapt and serve one teacher after another in rapid succession.

With that ending in mind, I have can start extrapolating the story. For the final scene alone, I need to have several teacher characters, a bad student who goes good, and some important lessons. I start sketching some of this now. I might write up a list of teacher types: the 50-something strict female teacher, the learing male teacher who likes students in short skirts and the sadistic fitness teacher. Each of these characters suggest their own chapters or plot threads. Maybe the gym teacher becomes an inspiring figure. Maybe the learing male teacher is a romance plot. Toy around and see what you like.

I tend to work backwards. From my ending, I ask how do we get there and where did we come from? My brain at this point is bubbling with ideas. I am constantly reading about my subject matter and watching movies that I feel are similar. I take millions of notes. I might sketch out the romance plot with the male teacher and then decide later it is too distracting and toss it all. I might see a movie where there is a scene set on a bus and I decide that somehow, I need a bus scene. That leads into thinking that I need somewhere to go, and that makes me think about field trips. I might get inspired and plot out a chapter on where they are going and what my character does.

At this point, you have a theme, a setting of some sort, an ending and lots of chapter ideas. Now is when you really need a character to anchor this story on. We will cover that in our next lesson.

Your homework is to start thinking about a long story plot. Come up with a theme, a setting and climax.

This assignment counts towards 35% of your final grade.

  13 Responses to “Solving For Plot”

  1. I can never do that. I create characters for my stories, figure out their back stories and personalities, individual quirks and desires. Then, set the scene and try to figure out how each person would respond. Sometimes, I’ve been surprised with a story that ended up going entirely different than I planned.

    So, I have to write in chronological order of the story, but not necessarily in linear order.

  2. Ah I have done that, it just never got past the first chapter. When I started it, I knew where I wanted it to end, why she was going there and what was to happen. I just started and then dropped it because other things got in the way. It was the only good start I’ve ever done.

    Ah well. I still get credit for it though – right? Or is there an even better punishment for failing to do this right?

  3. Ohhhh school was never that fun for me!

  4. 35%— what’s the other 65% come from?

  5. Probably 20% for short skirts, 30% for taking spankings properly, and the rest is just “good” behavior and attenance (to the teacher).

  6. t’sade- lol, That way just leads to madness for me. I find myself bored writing. Interesting how 180 degree approaches work for different people.

    Musns- For me by the time I have thing plotted out, I feel damn committed to the story. Like it owes me at that point :)

    No credit :)

    jaenelle- The other 65% comes from characters, innovation and extra credit :)

  7. home for lunch. just skimming favorite blogs to see what’s new. let eyes float down your post. stopped at “BDSM school.” noticed little convulsions in cunt. brain short-circuited by flood of moisture to the delta. back later when system returns to full function mode.

  8. Loving the erotic theory posts, although the BDSM or erotica sides don’t apply to me, it’s still the lessons of writing fiction which I do learn lots from. :)

    For me, a story tends to write itself from start to a rough ending, the characters and basic stats knitting themselves together in my mind. I’d play, talk, check the characters, the scenes, where they’re going, what the end may be, what the ideas are for a few weeks or so before writing them down to Word or so and messing with them.

    When it comes to writing, sometimes something will happen midway that turns it in a totally different direction from what I was thinking but i may go with it to see what it brings.

    To be honest, stories I don’t finish are down to lack of discipline, I’ve got to nail my butt to the chair and keep channelling out all the planning and research that I’ve done (you’d think that’d be the easy part, lol)

    Something to work on, bad lifetime habit of mine, but there’s a story writing itself in my mind for last few months, need to start putting keyboard to fingers and allow the characters to live and see what happens.

    I will try my best to keep your advice in mind and to actually see it to the end. ^^

    on a side note, I tend to find giving stories a suitable title one of my most difficult things with writing, anyone have the same issues?

  9. I had to force myself to finish my first novel. It took me two years to write the first draft and six months for the second. That ended up being my first published novel. Now, I aim for a novel a year and just grind myself down to finish each one.

    As for titles, I actually hang my entire story on the title, so it usually comes first. Besides, you have to know what to call the folder. :)

  10. oatmeal girl- lol, BDSM school is a good idea but I picked it for the example because I knew I had zero interest in ever doing one. Feel free to write your own though.

    Mystique-Discipline is tricky. I feel like there is a time limit from story conception to being able to write it down. Once the story gets comfortable in your head and you get comfortable with it being there, I feel like you lose that crucial excitement that gets stories done.

    t’sade- Titles are funny. I usually come up with a working title for the folder. Something bland like say, Cell Phone Slave. Then as I am writing it, I keep an eye out for good lines or good moments that would make for a good title. By the time the final draft is being done, I usually come up with a title or I just use the Working Title.

    Oddly enough, when I am writing role-playing adventures, I give them a title first. I think it is because I am usually the only one who ever sees the title so I can let go and pick something.

  11. Better watch out, hun, or people will be clamouring to send you their bits of stories, so that they can get that ‘extra credit’ that you promise!

  12. Mad- How sad is it that I actually planned for it?

  13. I’m actualy not sure if it’s sad or adorable. I’ll defer judgement for right now….

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