Story writing process cheatsheet

Brainstorming

Start by brainstorming a bunch of ideas for:

  • Setting (scifi trope)
  • Character (profession/personality-trope. Cast in another role.)
  • Problem/Goal.

Take the tropes from movies you like, recombine, choose what you like.

Write a tagline:

Character striving to accomplish a goal.

Worldbuilding. (SciFi. Insight porn.)

What if.

Interesting premise. Well designed magic system.

  • Clear, understandable, consistent rules.
  • Limitations, deeply exploring consequences.

Good hard/rational worldbuilding.

Exploring premise. Thinking deeply.
Unexpected implications, surprising consequences.

  • Physical.
  • Social/Cultural.

Clever exploits, creative problem solving.

Research.

Do interesting research on the subject under the story and explain it.
Tell about interesting stuff for more insight porn. Martian-style.

Characters

  • Protagonist.
    Avatar, Identify. Striving for goal drives the story forward.
  • Antagonist.
    Opposite goal. Stands in a way. //stronger than hero.
  • //Sidekick/reflection.
    Help. Talk to, for dialogue. Aligned motivation.
  • //Love interest
    for b story.

About:

  • Profession. Unusual job. Areas of expertise.
  • Personality Trope.
  • Age/Gender/Looks.

More:

  • Life, goals, passions outside of plot.
  • Past — things that shaped them.
  • Lives in an unusual location.
  • Deep dark secret
  • Relationships
  • Quirks
  • Likeable. //In jeopardy. Witty.
  • Competent. //Specific. Get into problems wih inexperience, solve with competence.
  • Proactive. //Wants something very badly, takes action.

Cast them out of their roles(tropes).
Love interest is the wise mentor.

Get in trouble by inexperience or crazy magic, solve it by intelligence.

Inner conflict.

//from fear. Flaw to overcome.
Character arc — recognizing and overcoming inner conflict. as a result of action.
Theme — inner conflict made universal.
Embodied by the antagonist, revealed by reflection, and love interest is the reward

+mckee

Structure

  • Setup.
  • //Introduce setting/characters.
  • //Hook. Set the tone, set promises. Curiosity.
  • //refusal to call.
  • Problem.
  • //start b(love) story.
  • Escalate.
    Steps, milestones, and problems. 3 attempts.
    Progress/setbacks. Striving against obstacles.
    Yes but no and. Conflict and progress.
    Clues for mystery, interactions for relationships, random encounters for travel.
    Probably plan stages for heist or some such.
  • //fun and games, deliver on promise. explore the world. Wise mentor?
  • //mid point. point of no-return.
  • //bad guys closing in.
  • All is lost.
  • //Dark Night of the Soul. Choose to put everything on the line. One crazy solution.
  • Final attempt, final battle.
    Win/lose(win).
  • Resolution. New life.
  • //Tie up b story. //get love story reward.

Plot tropes
Plot tropes, switch around?
Plot tropes, swap around. Mystery, relationships, travel, heist, etc.
Just take one from the movie you like.
main, relationships, training
relationships, mystery, training

Outline.

A and B plots can be intertwined in one scene thats okay.
Then you have 2 plot points to accomplish in the scene.
Just use your judgement.

Drafts 1–2–3

Draft 1

Just go through outline/bulletpoints. Discovery write, get new ideas, dont revise, just implement them as they come, change direction however you want. Tweak outline as you go.

Draft 2

Fix major problems, use new vision of the story, make it fit together and make sense. Just make it make sense. Take it to a place where you can understand and enjoy it. Maybe foreshadowing and stuff.

Draft 3

Polish. Decent language, better dialogue/descriptions, details like that.
Overthinking small stuff like sentences and show dont tell to improve.
More jokes?

Writing

Scene

Setting. Action. Dialogue.
Keep it short, end on cliffhanger.
Show dont tell. Concrete.

Keep writing simple vivid concise.

Short paragraphs. Concrete-tangible.
Just describe.
Dialogue — subtext(not on the nose), dont be trite.

Wondowpane prose. Make it not draw attention to itself. Thats my way. 
I wont experiment with prose. Its just a tool to convey the story. I just want to master the optimal one. Basically what AR/EY did, thats all I want there.

Comedy

Improv/dnd scenes/dialogue.

Improv scenes.
Absurd discovery writing.

Works well with pom.

This is the process that works for the source.
Setting my theory and wishful thinking aside, 
this is the practical process that works for them.
Practice comedy like this. Scenes have HCs, specific jokes, everything.

Absurd.

Absurd for absurd’s sake, as a premise.
Blow up the patterns. Just optimize for craziness.
Take something crazy, discovery write on it.
Family guy style.

Repatterning. Blow it up with random absurd for absurd sake. Works as a premise. Have your brain make sense of it.

HC. Apply pattern to different silly elements.

Serious trope(detective/mafia) applied to silly elements(community/doggersons). 
//Interview pattern — ted mistaken for a porn guy. Dramatic music clip — sung by Dean.
Dramatic story + silly elements.

This simple HC contradiction can generate all sorts of jokes just by switchi elements.
Switching around elements. 
Flipping from under the pattern. Detective elements in community.

Serious story in a silly world.

Jokes.

With source working, just use beam-search in one step. Central circle is there.
Taking the pattern, and searching for the most absurd things it applies to.
Switchig is easy.

//Try to go for more adjectives/recognizers.
Abstract properties, not word puns.
Elements are too specific, adjectives could go farther away?
Not “wheel” but “travel fast”.

//More attention to elements from the connected lane.
Look for more of them, could have more leverage in replacing and making it better. And could take you much farther away and stuff if you think about it more!!
[bird house] — (house) — [rent] — (sex to pay rent)
Make more switches, go into more specific details.
Take the 2nd lane further.

Process advice

Ask/answer questions.

Freewrite.

Fix/Improve list.

Problems/improvements, sort to have big first, figure out one by one, improve.

Outlining — asking and answering questions.
Freewriting.
Fix/improve list.

Can write several stories(lanes) at the same time?

In reality, I think, you just pick a movie you like and take it from there.

You can not know how good it will be. Also, the quality is determined by skill of a writer not by the initial premise. Because its hundreds of ideas, not one.

Format

SciFi comedy.
20–30 minute Pilots/Episodes.
1 page per minute, 500 words per page. 
Roughly 12k words. 3k-6k-3k.
That’s the general aim.
Can be as little as 4–6. However long it takes me to tell the story.

Inner game

habits + deliberate practice.
Loops that move you further.

Obstacles:

  • Desire to do it in one day and craving for dopamine out of posting.
    Which is obviously stupid, and is solved by getting drive out of commits.
  • Quality/permission reservations.
    Let go, cant control quality directly, fochs on crafting and gaining skill. Just follow the tutorial. Dont try to make the perfect thing. Brainstorm random ideas brandon-sanderson way. Dont get attached, just learn to craft ideas. Not one idea but hundreds of ideas. Initial idea wont define the quality, you cant choose the perfect one, you can only craft and gain skill.
  • Perfection/control cravings.
    Also stupid. You cant know how it will turn out until you make ot. Circles of control. Focus on taking steps you can control.

Value:

  • Terminal value.
    I can value the HPMOR for itself, thats enough to want to do it.
    I can just value and go through the process of practicing crafting a story.
    (without perfectionism, a random brandon sanderson one)
    Regardless of metaphysical bullshit, the process is clear.
    Whatever I think is the value of story, the process is clear.
    If I can do fiction — I want to.
  • Story first.
    Comedy is quality. Letting go of the reservations about rtf as well. 
    I do NOT need anyone’s permission to call it rtf, and evidently I do not control it directly anyway. If I create something that fits — I put it there. If not — I dont. All I can control is going through my steps.

Process:

  • Control circles epiphany. 
    Taking steps I can control, letting go of all else. Just crafting my story.
  • No reservstions about originality, permissions, of quality. 
    Cant control those. I value going through steps of crafting a story
  • Commit epiphany. 
    Do NOT care about daily stories. Value creativity story crafting practice for itself, thinking and going through steps. It takes as long as it takes. valuing creativity(taking steps towards creating commit by commit) as a terminal value
    I can GEB through this process, one commit at a time, however long it takes.
    Dont worry about daily stories or posting, just think and work on it a bit and commit. Could be an outline or an idea or bloody anything.
  • I can go through the steps, and figure out the answers to questions. 
    I can follow through the process, and it WILL create a complete story.
  • From there — it’s up to the brain’s natural properites to engage and value and enjoy this stuff. Just like me with Matrian — you have a human brain, it responds to this stuff, and so it works.

Business

Writing path:

  • Craft and publish stories. Not your daily bullshit but actual mid-term quality stories. 
    Skill and audience.
  • One of them is good — turn it into an ebook. Sell the shit out of it. No problem.
  • Use profits to self publish physical copy.
  • Screenplay. TV pilot or a movie.
    Just cold contact and close agents/investors/producers/actors/directors.
    Produce that bitch and work on the next one.

.

  • You understand the process and the structure.
  • You practice your writing like dancers practice motions, build up and automate representations.
  • Youcraft good stories.
  • You use your internet powers to build an audience.
  • You craft and sell an ebook story, it sells well
  • You produce physical book and then movie/show just because you can.
  • You understand the process and the structure.
  • Craft and publish stories. Not your daily bullshit but actual mid-term quality stories.
  • You practice your writing like dancers practice motions, build up and automate representations.
  • You use your internet powers to build an audience.
  • You craft a great ebook. It sells well. No problem.
  • Use profits to self publish physical copy.
  • Screenplay. Produce TV pilot or a movie.

.

Just cold contact and close agents/investors/producers/actors/directors.
Produce that bitch and work on the next one.

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Brainstorming.

Setting (scifi trope)

Character (profession/personality-trope. Cast in another role.)

Problem/Goal.

Tagline:

Character striving to accomplish a goal.

Make bunch of options.
Tropes from movies you like.
Recombine, choose what you like.
X out of place for interesting premise. //Absurd. What if?

Worldbuilding. (SciFi. Insight porn.)

What if.

Interesting premise. Well designed magic system.

  • Clear, understandable, consistent rules.
  • Limitations, deeply exploring consequences.

Good hard/rational worldbuilding.

Exploring premise. Thinking deeply.
Unexpected implications, surprising consequences.

  • Physical.
  • Social/Cultural.

Clever exploits, creative problem solving.

Research.

Do interesting research on the subject under the story and explain it.
Tell about interesting stuff for more insight porn. Martian-style.

Characters

  • Protagonist.
    Avatar, Identify. Striving for goal drives the story forward.
  • Antagonist.
    Opposite goal. Stands in a way. //stronger than hero.
  • //Sidekick/reflection.
    Help. Talk to, for dialogue. Aligned motivation.
  • //Love interest
    for b story.

About:

  • Profession
  • Personality Trope.
  • Likeable. //In jeopardy. Witty.
  • Competent. //Specific. Get into problems wih inexperience, solve with competence.
  • Proactive. //Wants something very badly, takes action.
  • Inner conflict. //from fear. Flaw to overcome.
    character arc — recognizing and overcoming inner conflict. as a result of action.
    theme — inner conflict made universal.
    embodied by the antagonist, revealed by reflection, and love interest is the reward

Cast them out of their roles(tropes).
Love interest is the wise mentor.

  • Life, goals, passions outside of plot.
  • Quirks
  • Areas of expertise
  • Looks

Get in trouble by inexperience or crazy magic, solve it by intelligence.

//- PROM?

+mckee

Structure

  • Setup. Introduce setting/characters.
  • //Hook. Set the tone, set promises. Curiosity.
  • //refusal to call.
  • Problem.
  • //start b(love) story.
  • Escalate.
    Steps, milestones, and problems. 3 attempts.
    Progress/setbacks. Striving against obstacles.
    Yes but no and. Conflict and progress.
    Clues for mystery, interactions for relationships, random encounters for travel.
    Probably plan stages for heist or some such.
  • //fun and games, deliver on promise. explore the world. Wise mentor?
  • //mid point. point of no-return.
  • //bad guys closing in.
  • All is lost.
  • //Dark Night of the Soul. Choose to put everything on the line. One crazy solution.
  • Final attempt, final battle. Win/lose(win).
  • Resolution. New life.
  • //Tie up b story. //get love story reward.

Plot tropes
Plot tropes, switch around?
Plot tropes, swap around. Mystery, relationships, travel, heist, etc.
Just take one from the movie you like.
main, relationships, training
relationships, mystery, training

Outline.

[A][Main plot point] Scene tagline.

Setting. Action. Dialogue.
Bulletpoints(goals for the scene to accomplish):

  • Plot point. Step closer to / farther away from the goal.
  • Infodump goal.
  • Character arc moment/turn goal.
  • @ Objective. (character’s goal).
  • >< Conflict. // Struggling against.
  • +/- Change in value.

A and B plots can be intertwined in one scene thats okay.
Then you have 2 plot points to accomplish in the scene.
Just use your judgement.

Drafts 1–2–3

Draft 1

Just go through outline/bulletpoints. Discovery write, get new ideas, dont revise, just implement them as they come, change direction however you want. Tweak outline as you go.

Draft 2

Fix major problems, use new vision of the story, make it fit together and make sense. Just make it make sense. Take it to a place where you can understand and enjoy it. Maybe foreshadowing and stuff.

Draft 3

Polish. Decent language, better dialogue/descriptions, details like that.
Overthinking small stuff like sentences and show dont tell to improve.
More jokes?

Writing

Scene

Setting. Action. Dialogue.
Keep it short, end on cliffhanger.
Show dont tell. Concrete.

Keep writing simple vivid concise.

Short paragraphs. Concrete-tangible.
Just describe.
Dialogue — subtext(not on the nose), dont be trite.

Wondowpane prose. Make it not draw attention to itself. Thats my way. 
I wont experiment with prose. Its just a tool to convey the story. I just want to master the optimal one. Basically what AR/EY did, thats all I want there.

Comedy

Improv/dnd scenes/dialogue.

Improv scenes.
Absurd discovery writing.

Works well with pom.

This is the process that works for the source.
Setting my theory and wishful thinking aside, 
this is the practical process that works for them.
Practice comedy like this. Scenes have HCs, specific jokes, everything.

Absurd.

Absurd for absurd’s sake, as a premise.
Blow up the patterns. Just optimize for craziness.
Take something crazy, discovery write on it.
Family guy style.

Repatterning. Blow it up with random absurd for absurd sake. Works as a premise. Have your brain make sense of it.

HC. Apply pattern to different silly elements.

Serious trope(detective/mafia) applied to silly elements(community/doggersons). 
//Interview pattern — ted mistaken for a porn guy. Dramatic music clip — sung by Dean.
Dramatic story + silly elements.

This simple HC contradiction can generate all sorts of jokes just by switchi elements.
Switching around elements. 
Flipping from under the pattern. Detective elements in community.

Serious story in a silly world.

Jokes.

With source working, just use beam-search in one step. Central circle is there.
Taking the pattern, and searching for the most absurd things it applies to.
Switchig is easy.

//Try to go for more adjectives/recognizers.
Abstract properties, not word puns.
Elements are too specific, adjectives could go farther away?
Not “wheel” but “travel fast”.

//More attention to elements from the connected lane.
Look for more of them, could have more leverage in replacing and making it better. And could take you much farther away and stuff if you think about it more!!
[bird house] — (house) — [rent] — (sex to pay rent)
Make more switches, go into more specific details.
Take the 2nd lane further.

Process advice

Ask/answer questions.

Freewrite.

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