Re: New Here, Could Use Some Story Help

#1
Hey, I'm new to this site. What's up? And I have a story that I've been working on, but I feel like I could use some extra help with it. I have most of the plot figured out, it's mostly with conflict and some themes I'm struggling with.  

To give a simple description of the story I had in mind, it centers around a former bounty hunter who decides to go work for an organization that specializes in tracking down and receiving magical items that are scattered throughout her country. Also, the main character isn't human, but she is a humanoid cat creature, I thought that could make her a little bit more unique. Most of her conflicts include her running into old bounty hunter enemies from the past and a secret group who plans to use some of the magic items for destructive purposes. The setting is steampunk but it has some traces of magic in it with the help of the magic items and energy within the land. I do have more details about this story, but this is just the main idea behind it.  

If this sounds interesting to you and you know how to do good story structure, then please let me know. Either by PM or by replying. I could really use the help. Thanks, and it's good to be here! 


Re: New Here, Could Use Some Story Help

#2
So is this an episodic story of your bounty hunter character wandering through the world, ala la the Mad Max movies, or Kino's Journey? In that case, the conflict is inside of the protagonist. Why she is wandering, and what she actually wants. Therefore, each individual "episode" is a self-contained story of whatever place she's in, whatever characters she encounters. And so each one has its own conflict, but the overarching conflict is her herself. She's finding various magical items, but really, she is finding........ herself..... (possibly the cheesiest thing I have ever written)

Re: New Here, Could Use Some Story Help

#3

Thedude3445 Wrote: So is this an episodic story of your bounty hunter character wandering through the world, ala la the Mad Max movies, or Kino's Journey? In that case, the conflict is inside of the protagonist. Why she is wandering, and what she actually wants. Therefore, each individual "episode" is a self-contained story of whatever place she's in, whatever characters she encounters. And so each one has its own conflict, but the overarching conflict is her herself. She's finding various magical items, but really, she is finding........ herself..... (possibly the cheesiest thing I have ever written)


It's not a post-apocalyptic wasteland like Mad Max, so she travels from city to city taking different jobs. And idk what Kino's Journey is. Her original goal was to become a "hero" but the world that this is set in is full of dangers, monsters, machines, and grey characters. She also has a natural talent for violence, even as a kid she saw no problem with getting into fights with others she didn't like and thus gained a bad reputation because of it. Now, she lives with her lover as she travels the country taking different jobs. I guess her main goal is to simply get by in life and to finally become the hero she always wanted to be. Is that not good motivation? 

To be honest, I'm kind of struggling which part of her life to write about. Either her during her bounty hunter days or her working for the organization. 

Re: New Here, Could Use Some Story Help

#4
Wrote: It's not a post-apocalyptic wasteland like Mad Max, so she travels from city to city taking different jobs. And idk what Kino's Journey is. Her original goal was to become a "hero" but the world that this is set in is full of dangers, monsters, machines, and grey characters. She also has a natural talent for violence, even as a kid she saw no problem with getting into fights with others she didn't like and thus gained a bad reputation because of it. Now, she lives with her lover as she travels the country taking different jobs. I guess her main goal is to simply get by in life and to finally become the hero she always wanted to be. Is that not good motivation? 

To be honest, I'm kind of struggling which part of her life to write about. Either her during her bounty hunter days or her working for the organization.


I don't mean the worlds of Mad Max or Kino's Journey, but the central character and story formatting. A traveller travelling around a fantastical world meeting new people and encountering new stuff. Like in each individual Mad Max movie (except for the original), Max is in a new place just trying to survive, and gets wrapped up in a different plot each time. And Kino's Journey, a book series/2003 anime about a non-binary person who also travels around the (KINDA post-apocalyptic) world, staying a couple nights in each city they encounter. So in this type of story, each chapter (or each story arc) is a different, self-contained story plotwise, but the overarching story is about the protagonist's internal "journey."

So in your story, your protagonist and her lover travel around your story's world and do various odd jobs with bounty hunting or artifact retrieval, but the "actual story" is about the protagonist coming to terms with...... well, that's what you have to figure out. You say she wants to "just survive and become a hero," but that's the exterior motivation. That's what she tells herself she wants to accomplish, but that may not be her actual inner conflict. She wants to become a hero to fill a certain void in her life... What is that void, and how did it come to be? How does she ACTUALLY need to fill the void? That's the part of character motivation and story conflict to focus on.

Re: New Here, Could Use Some Story Help

#5
Thedude3445 Wrote:
Wrote: It's not a post-apocalyptic wasteland like Mad Max, so she travels from city to city taking different jobs. And idk what Kino's Journey is. Her original goal was to become a "hero" but the world that this is set in is full of dangers, monsters, machines, and grey characters. She also has a natural talent for violence, even as a kid she saw no problem with getting into fights with others she didn't like and thus gained a bad reputation because of it. Now, she lives with her lover as she travels the country taking different jobs. I guess her main goal is to simply get by in life and to finally become the hero she always wanted to be. Is that not good motivation? 

To be honest, I'm kind of struggling which part of her life to write about. Either her during her bounty hunter days or her working for the organization.


I don't mean the worlds of Mad Max or Kino's Journey, but the central character and story formatting. A traveller travelling around a fantastical world meeting new people and encountering new stuff. Like in each individual Mad Max movie (except for the original), Max is in a new place just trying to survive, and gets wrapped up in a different plot each time. And Kino's Journey, a book series/2003 anime about a non-binary person who also travels around the (KINDA post-apocalyptic) world, staying a couple nights in each city they encounter. So in this type of story, each chapter (or each story arc) is a different, self-contained story plotwise, but the overarching story is about the protagonist's internal "journey."

So in your story, your protagonist and her lover travel around your story's world and do various odd jobs with bounty hunting or artifact retrieval, but the "actual story" is about the protagonist coming to terms with...... well, that's what you have to figure out. You say she wants to "just survive and become a hero," but that's the exterior motivation. That's what she tells herself she wants to accomplish, but that may not be her actual inner conflict. She wants to become a hero to fill a certain void in her life... What is that void, and how did it come to be? How does she ACTUALLY need to fill the void? That's the part of character motivation and story conflict to focus on.




Well actually it's only the main character that gets to travel around the country, but each of her chapters usually ends coming back home to her lover, as he's there mainly to heal her wounds and for emotional support. Kind of like the ying to her yang. But he does join her on her adventures later when her missions start to become a little more dangerous. Her original inner goal was to become a hero, but because of the world she's in, that's a little difficult to do. But she believes that she fulfills the hero's journey requirements. She went on a few adventures, joined the organization where she can further her experience, and even fell in love. So I suppose her inner conflict is figuring out what to do next. Like I said before, she has a violence problem but she doesn't want to control it because it gives her an advantage in combat. But her friends and lover think otherwise. 

I think her inner goal would be to keep what she has earned because shes afraid that if she ends up losing her job and her lover then she'll just be seen as another animal, which she hates being compared to. Although, she does meet these characters who want to use the magic items for devious reasons, and when she foils there plans they decide to emotionally attack her by destroying her home and killing her lover? Just an idea I'm struggling with. 


Re: New Here, Could Use Some Story Help

#6
Wrote: Well actually it's only the main character that gets to travel around the country, but each of her chapters usually ends coming back home to her lover, as he's there mainly to heal her wounds and for emotional support. Kind of like the ying to her yang. But he does join her on her adventures later when her missions start to become a little more dangerous. Her original inner goal was to become a hero, but because of the world she's in, that's a little difficult to do. But she believes that she fulfills the hero's journey requirements. She went on a few adventures, joined the organization where she can further her experience, and even fell in love. So I suppose her inner conflict is figuring out what to do next. Like I said before, she has a violence problem but she doesn't want to control it because it gives her an advantage in combat. But her friends and lover think otherwise. 

I think her inner goal would be to keep what she has earned because shes afraid that if she ends up losing her job and her lover then she'll just be seen as another animal, which she hates being compared to. Although, she does meet these characters who want to use the magic items for devious reasons, and when she foils there plans they decide to emotionally attack her by destroying her home and killing her lover? Just an idea I'm struggling with.


I advise against villains killing loved ones for revenge. That term is referred to as "fridging" and is seen as a big cliche in action-oriented stories. It's mostly looked down upon because the one killed is usually a woman, or a gay lover for LGBT characters, but in general people see it as simple shock factor and it is almost universally derided.

Re: New Here, Could Use Some Story Help

#7
Thedude3445 Wrote:
Wrote: Well actually it's only the main character that gets to travel around the country, but each of her chapters usually ends coming back home to her lover, as he's there mainly to heal her wounds and for emotional support. Kind of like the ying to her yang. But he does join her on her adventures later when her missions start to become a little more dangerous. Her original inner goal was to become a hero, but because of the world she's in, that's a little difficult to do. But she believes that she fulfills the hero's journey requirements. She went on a few adventures, joined the organization where she can further her experience, and even fell in love. So I suppose her inner conflict is figuring out what to do next. Like I said before, she has a violence problem but she doesn't want to control it because it gives her an advantage in combat. But her friends and lover think otherwise. 

I think her inner goal would be to keep what she has earned because shes afraid that if she ends up losing her job and her lover then she'll just be seen as another animal, which she hates being compared to. Although, she does meet these characters who want to use the magic items for devious reasons, and when she foils there plans they decide to emotionally attack her by destroying her home and killing her lover? Just an idea I'm struggling with.


I advise against villains killing loved ones for revenge. That term is referred to as "fridging" and is seen as a big cliche in action-oriented stories. It's mostly looked down upon because the one killed is usually a woman, or a gay lover for LGBT characters, but in general people see it as simple shock factor and it is almost universally derided.


Got it, that's a no go. I was thinking of having her follow a more traditional narrative with a beginning, middle, end. And then having her goals and motivations change with every sequel or arc. Which is probably why I'm struggling to come up with a proper motivation for her. 

Another idea I had is that on one of her missions she ends up losing one of the relics to the bad guys and gets injured during the process. And because of that, the organization starts to have doubts about her, so she figures out a plan to get the relics back from the bad guys while also getting revenge on them. Either that, or she encounters another character that the bad guys are after but she decides to defend that character because she sees part of herself in them. 

Edit: Ok, I think I came up with a possible solution. I think I'll have this story focus on the main character during her bounty hunter days. Because then it might make her more appear morally grey and a bit more interesting (hopefully) and then have it end with the organization discovering what she has done to the bad guys and then ask her if she wants to join their group and become a relic collector. Though it may require me re-writing the first few chapters then. Thoughts? 

Re: New Here, Could Use Some Story Help

#8
Wrote: Got it, that's a no go. I was thinking of having her follow a more traditional narrative with a beginning, middle, end. And then having her goals and motivations change with every sequel or arc. Which is probably why I'm struggling to come up with a proper motivation for her. 

Another idea I had is that on one of her missions she ends up losing one of the relics to the bad guys and gets injured during the process. And because of that, the organization starts to have doubts about her, so she figures out a plan to get the relics back from the bad guys while also getting revenge on them. Either that, or she encounters another character that the bad guys are after but she decides to defend that character because she sees part of herself in them. 

Edit: Ok, I think I came up with a possible solution. I think I'll have this story focus on the main character during her bounty hunter days. Because then it might make her more appear morally grey and a bit more interesting (hopefully) and then have it end with the organization discovering what she has done to the bad guys and then ask her if she wants to join their group and become a relic collector. Though it may require me re-writing the first few chapters then. Thoughts?


I think you're on the right track; it all depends on the character herself and what kind of story is better to show her story to readers.

Re: New Here, Could Use Some Story Help

#9
Thedude3445 Wrote:
Wrote: Got it, that's a no go. I was thinking of having her follow a more traditional narrative with a beginning, middle, end. And then having her goals and motivations change with every sequel or arc. Which is probably why I'm struggling to come up with a proper motivation for her. 

Another idea I had is that on one of her missions she ends up losing one of the relics to the bad guys and gets injured during the process. And because of that, the organization starts to have doubts about her, so she figures out a plan to get the relics back from the bad guys while also getting revenge on them. Either that, or she encounters another character that the bad guys are after but she decides to defend that character because she sees part of herself in them. 

Edit: Ok, I think I came up with a possible solution. I think I'll have this story focus on the main character during her bounty hunter days. Because then it might make her more appear morally grey and a bit more interesting (hopefully) and then have it end with the organization discovering what she has done to the bad guys and then ask her if she wants to join their group and become a relic collector. Though it may require me re-writing the first few chapters then. Thoughts?


I think you're on the right track; it all depends on the character herself and what kind of story is better to show her story to readers.


Ok, I think I have a better idea of what story I want to tell. Though it may still need some work like with conflict. Thanks.