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Author Topic: what are some good tips for developing a fantasy adventure story  (Read 949 times)

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Offline Xela Orion

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I've been making a series and since it's my first time writing, the only knowledge i can pull from is from whatever manga i read, it helps some what but i need to find out a more in depth way of keeping a fantasy story exciting and interesting while making it last

Offline Aozora

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Re: what are some good tips for developing a fantasy adventure story
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2016, 03:53:28 PM »
Hey I just read the first arc of your story and you seem to have built a pretty solid foundation to your story. After reading it, I had so many questions that I wanted to know the answer to including:
  • Alex's relationship to this other dream world
  • The connection between this dream world and Monster Mash
  • How everyone in the dream world seems to know Alex, especially Cerberus and Vestia
  • The significance of "Darkness" and the mysterious shadowy figures
  • The source of Alex's power and why he is called "Bishop"
and so much more...

So going back to your question I think you're on the right track to making a pretty exciting and interesting story but I should caution you that there is a fine line between creating mystery and creating confusion. Your story is creeping more onto the side of confusion because of excessively fast pacing and lack of smooth transitions.

To clarify what I'm talking about your story is just one sudden event after another - the Darkness grunts show up out of nowhere, all of a sudden Alex finds a map in his satchel, characters like Merrick and Zashmael appear out of thin air. There was no smooth, logical flow from one scene to the next and at no point in the story did the pacing slow down to kind of explain what is going on. Also I was a bit disappointed that Alex's whole expedition across the river to the stone ruins was just so that he could get a powerful sword. I understand that the sword is important to the story but I didn't feel the outcome of that whole scene matched the drama of it.

In general a story has to have periods of tension and periods of rest. Your story has tension all the way through with barely any rest. You have to give small hooks to the reader and build up to the scene. When the Darkness started attacking Alex's world, I was really lost; it felt like it had just come out of nowhere. You could have shown the bad guys plotting behind the scenes or something like that to build up to that scene.

So to summarize this rant, the key to an exciting and interesting fantasy story is surprising your reader but not to the extent that they become confused or don't understand what's happening anymore. I think you've got a really cool concept and idea that you've come up with that can make a really good story if you just work on the pacing and transitions a little bit. Since you said that you take inspiration from anime/manga, I just want to point out that they have lots of slow dull scenes with just character interactions or whatever; not every scene is action-packed or has something super interesting going on in it. Just something to keep in mind:) Hope this helped!
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Offline suupertramp

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Re: what are some good tips for developing a fantasy adventure story
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2016, 08:44:02 AM »
hope this is what you meant.......
if you get stuck on making the story interesting, try something like this:

think of a simple story (or use the one you have) and put obstacles in the way which have to be overcome
like A is rescuing B because they were kidnapped, ok so far thats too easy
-then B is in a tower surrounded by lava surrounded by ravenous wolves.
-and its the other side of the world
-and all the helicopters and planes and transport macgically dont work
-and A has an annoying teammate who keep getting them into trouble
-plus A has OCD
-and on the way they save someone else who has their own backstory and needs to get somewhere else completely different and they help them first
-etc

you can be as outrageous as you like in the ideas stage, and see what works. generally shounen works well with outrageous.

generally if i am stuck for a story that helps me think of stuff.
if you can browse tvtropes.org and not get stuck on it for hours, you might be able to pick up a bit of inspiration just from the sheer amount of ideas it has cataloged  :P

Offline passerby

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Re: what are some good tips for developing a fantasy adventure story
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2016, 12:52:09 AM »
Quote from: Xela Orion
I've been making a series and since it's my first time writing, the only knowledge i can pull from is from whatever manga i read, it helps some what but i need to find out a more in depth way of keeping a fantasy story exciting and interesting while making it last

First and farthermost, it's important that you complete a story BEFORE writing a spin-off, sequel, or extending it in anyway that would stray from the main plot.  This includes answering all the major questions that a reader could have that relates to the story.  It will be a "mistake" to extend a story intentionally, just for the sake of making a story "longer".  Your only going to make things harder on yourself.

I'd say to let your story progress naturally and see where it goes.  Often times a story can be further develop by question left unanswered, progressing development of characters, unexplainable supernaturals, etc.  A key point to take is, "Is it of interest to the Main Protagonist?", if so then it will probably be of interest to the reader. 

It is important to note that there is nothing wrong with a short story.  The best part of being a Story Teller is to be able to say "The End" to a great story. 

Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: what are some good tips for developing a fantasy adventure story
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2016, 01:34:20 AM »
First and farthermost, it's important that you complete a story BEFORE writing a spin-off, sequel, or extending it in anyway that would stray from the main plot.  This includes answering all the major questions that a reader could have that relates to the story.  It will be a "mistake" to extend a story intentionally, just for the sake of making a story "longer".  Your only going to make things harder on yourself.

This is so true, and I speak from experience. That's actually the reason my overall story for Anim is such a fustercluck, and it took me forever to sort it out into a reasonable timeline. I had to cut out so much that I wanted to do as side-story solely to pull back and refocus on what I really wanted.

My extension of advice is to sit down, get a notebook, and write down every important event you want to happen. Forget who says what or any dialogue or any of that. Just write down the big overarching events. Then on the next page, spread them out. draw lines. Ask yourself what event triggers another one and why. Do whatever it takes to get the skeleton of the story down. Forget how messy it looks. Just put it all out on paper. Make it happen.

It seems like a daunting task, but putting it on paper really, really helps cut out the distracting stuff we as authors sometimes do. Once you have the important stuff, then you can have a guide to writing your story, and if your muse starts straying, you can catch it, contain it, and find a reasonable way to write it in rather than confusing yourself later. (Guilty of confusing myself later.)

Offline suupertramp

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Re: what are some good tips for developing a fantasy adventure story
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2016, 02:27:23 PM »
i agree, don't make it longer for the sake of it, people are really good at detecting filler :P

Offline Vacant

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Re: what are some good tips for developing a fantasy adventure story
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2016, 03:43:21 PM »
I've been making a series and since it's my first time writing, the only knowledge i can pull from is from whatever manga i read, it helps some what but i need to find out a more in depth way of keeping a fantasy story exciting and interesting while making it last.

Here's a couple of things I look at when looking at longer stories:

-Make a connection between the audience and the main characters. Let them evolve and grow as characters, I hate when a character goes on a massive long arc and comes back no different for the experience. Also its good for them to have a goal, something we can get behind them on and actively want to see them succeed. (Edward and Al wanted to get their bodies back in FMA, Naruto wanted to become Hokage to finally prove the doubters wrong, Kirito wanted to escape the game in SAO etc.). They don't have to be complicated, but they help give us the direction for where the story is heading and a better understanding of why characters will make the decisions they do.

-Also think carefully about how you scale the jeopardy/challenges/enemies facing your heroes. Ideally the next challenge or obstacle the hero will have to overcome should be harder than the last, with more at stake than last time. Easiest way to look at this is through villains. Look at DBZ for example, Raditz was a threat to earth, but he turned out to be weak compared to Nappa, who then turned out to be small fry compared to Vegeta, who then turned out to be merely a foot soldier in Frieza's Empire and so on. Point is there's higher stakes involved and has the reader wondering how the heroes will overcome this new challenge. Part of the reason for me why filler in anime is never lauded is because people know it won't affect the overall story, therefore theirs no stakes involved. If there's no stakes then theres no tension. (I really want a Steak now!)


Anywho hope that helps :D

Offline NO1SY

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Re: what are some good tips for developing a fantasy adventure story
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2016, 01:57:41 PM »
To me the point of a good fantasy adventure is the world that the adventure takes place in.

It should really invoke a sense of adventure in it's own right, regardless of the story of adventure that is being told.

So i'd say really focus on immersing readers in the world that you are creating. It's what makes One Piece so successful in my eyes... because heck knows what is going on with that plot, but darn it do I want to see what wacky Island they end up on next.

With world building it's the fine details that are really important, so you can't be vague with settings or the characters that your adventurers meet. It also all has to convey some of the lore of you your world in some way - from etiquette, to the choice of local language, to how the indigenous race came to live there, to what wildlife can be found, to mythology etc.


BUT

Your story still comes first. The world is something that readers experience vicariously through your characters experiencing it, so it is still super important that your characters are working towards an end goal in their adventure and that there is a reason for them to be experiencing this world.

So the exposition showing your world in your story should mostly be conveyed through the characters' meaningful and plot-progressing experiences (although sometimes writers use monologues, fact files and info pages to show some information which could be considered widely accepted knowledge in their fictional world - just don't over-do these...).

So along-side an interesting world you need interesting and relatable characters that readers care about, and an interesting plot to set the stage for an interesting adventure for them to be a part of... all so that this interesting world you've created can be explored and shown off... Easy right!

Offline MahluaandMilk

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Re: what are some good tips for developing a fantasy adventure story
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2016, 04:16:10 PM »
Yes, I definitely agree with NO1SY in regards to that the world is probably what allows for the creation of a good adventure. Except Borderlands comes to mind more than One Piece for me...(this probably says a lot about me as a person, I'm just not sure what it says lmao).

Again, speaking from my writing experience, perhaps a good idea is to have an idea in your head of some kind of map, or to just draw one (and it doesn't have to be super pretty like what you see in the beginning of some fantasy books, it can just be circles for land and lines for forests and dots for deserts, so on) just so that you can keep in mind where the terrain is. You can pick parts of it for the story to take place, and think about what that terrain can add to your plot. Why do your characters from the forests need to go to some mountain on the other side of the land mass? Maybe it's the only mountain that can be mined for a precious mineral to use as payment for this wise mage's service to them. Stuff like that.

Having a reason to travel adds that certain layer of depth, as well. You can use travel time to character develop and use dialogue as a way of explaining plot events or explaining character concerns for whatever some villain may be up to, and use it as a wonderful interlude away from the heroes maybe to discuss what the villain is actually up to.

But, to summarize, understand the world your adventure takes place in, give reasons to explore it, and then just explore it and let the adventure reign!

Offline Xela Orion

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Re: what are some good tips for developing a fantasy adventure story
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2016, 11:46:57 PM »
Hey I just read the first arc of your story and you seem to have built a pretty solid foundation to your story. After reading it, I had so many questions that I wanted to know the answer to including:
  • Alex's relationship to this other dream world
  • The connection between this dream world and Monster Mash
  • How everyone in the dream world seems to know Alex, especially Cerberus and Vestia
  • The significance of "Darkness" and the mysterious shadowy figures
  • The source of Alex's power and why he is called "Bishop"
and so much more...

So going back to your question I think you're on the right track to making a pretty exciting and interesting story but I should caution you that there is a fine line between creating mystery and creating confusion. Your story is creeping more onto the side of confusion because of excessively fast pacing and lack of smooth transitions.

To clarify what I'm talking about your story is just one sudden event after another - the Darkness grunts show up out of nowhere, all of a sudden Alex finds a map in his satchel, characters like Merrick and Zashmael appear out of thin air. There was no smooth, logical flow from one scene to the next and at no point in the story did the pacing slow down to kind of explain what is going on. Also I was a bit disappointed that Alex's whole expedition across the river to the stone ruins was just so that he could get a powerful sword. I understand that the sword is important to the story but I didn't feel the outcome of that whole scene matched the drama of it.

In general a story has to have periods of tension and periods of rest. Your story has tension all the way through with barely any rest. You have to give small hooks to the reader and build up to the scene. When the Darkness started attacking Alex's world, I was really lost; it felt like it had just come out of nowhere. You could have shown the bad guys plotting behind the scenes or something like that to build up to that scene.

So to summarize this rant, the key to an exciting and interesting fantasy story is surprising your reader but not to the extent that they become confused or don't understand what's happening anymore. I think you've got a really cool concept and idea that you've come up with that can make a really good story if you just work on the pacing and transitions a little bit. Since you said that you take inspiration from anime/manga, I just want to point out that they have lots of slow dull scenes with just character interactions or whatever; not every scene is action-packed or has something super interesting going on in it. Just something to keep in mind:) Hope this helped!
Thank you so much! This really does help. To anser on some of these points. I can see why youd be dissapointed with alex gaining zodiac chaser after his encounter with the shadow figure and the slab, but only the slab gave alex the sword, what the showdy figure did gave him something else that becomes relative to plot. Now with vestia, Cerberus and the other "dream" people knowing alex, at the darkness grunts bursting into the school and zasahmel appearing are supposed yo signify that those events weren't a dream As alex finds out when he looks at his hamd and notices the zodiac chaser mark on his hand. Last topic i wanna clarify is the connection between monster mash and  the dream world. The only reason Alex turms to monster mash to try to explain The dream world is that in terms of enviorment, architecture, atmosphere, etc. They are very similar. I hope that helps a bit, i have gone back and made some changes a bit to add more to the atmosphere and im really greatful for your advice, it will help me grow as a writer while continuing this story.

Offline Xela Orion

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Re: what are some good tips for developing a fantasy adventure story
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2016, 11:49:33 PM »
Thanks everyone for the feed back! It'll really help