Stories Help/Guidance Thread

kerry

ADISC Stories Mod
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1,283
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Little, Incontinent
Hi, all,

This is your friendly neighborhood Stories Mod with a new thread in which I am offering to give you basic help and guidance with things that come up in your writing. I find that I repeat the same advice a lot in PMs and in individual threads, so I thought it might be a good idea to create a home for it where everyone can find it easily and where anyone can ask anything that seems confusing.

As to my credentials: I am a writer just like you. I have written quite a lot. You would not have heard of me--yet (I'm working to alleviate that)--but I do know whereof I speak. Further, I am a writing teacher, and I have been for over three decades, guiding thousands of individuals through the process of becoming better at this creative art.

What advice I offer here will not be meant to be directive; these are your stories, after all, to do with as you please. I'm just a guide. Nor am I offering to do one on one conferences with each piece; that would be prohibitively time consuming. Rather, I am offering general feedback and response that would help the entire community based on what I read and what you might ask. And, should you happen to ask a very specific question about a very specific issue in your story that would not require me to spend all night with it, I will also be happy to work with you on that. :)

As I have stated, this is an offer. Perhaps no one will desire to take me up on it, and that will be fine: I have many other things to fill up my time. But I volunteered to take on this position because I believed I could make a difference, and this is one way that I think I can.

If you would like to discuss or ask about anything in particular, just post your question in this thread. If you want to link to a specific comment/chapter, please do so, or maybe copy and paste as appropriate.

Meanwhile, enjoy the stories: we have a wealth of riches to feast on.

- - - Updated - - -

This is a comment I left in the "Raquel's Only Wish--Extended Edition" thread. I thought it worth sharing in its entirety:

One of the reasons that this story works so well is that you have done such a strong job in creating distinctive, non-stereotypical characters responding to what began, frankly, as a fairly stereotypical situation. Let's face it: at the start, you had two basic plotline going: (1) child mistreated by foster parents who don't accept her incontinence and (2) diapered high schooler discovered by bully at school. You framed these around the admittedly unusual structure of the cheerleader tryouts, but even then the notion of the new girl becoming captain and deposing the established senior was far-fetched, especially the whole "big sister appears to save the day" part. So it began in a stereotypical way. And I am not being critical here, just honest...because I was thoroughly enjoying it even while it was taking us through such well-traveled territory.

Why? Because Raquel, from the very start, has not been a character like any I have met before. She is complex and capable of reacting in unpredictable ways. She is capable of standing up for herself, but she is also capable of breaking down. She is thoughtful and able to change: a dynamic character in a fiction genre full of characters who too often remain fairly static. And when you introduced her lesbian leanings, you did so in a simple, direct fashion: not overdoing it, not dramatizing the point, just "here is another thing about this character that makes her so interesting and complicated." And now, with the twist regarding Kelsey, you have brought in yet another dynamic level: she is forced to reassess an enemy, to see if someone she once loathed might even be someone she could...what, love? But you set it up beautifully and slowly, dropping small scenes of Kelsey's misery into the plot so Rachel could wonder if she had gone too far but not letting that aspect dominate too much at the time, as many would have done.

That is the problem with many of these stories: their authors jump at their plot devices as if to devour them all at once. Oh, this is fantastic, they exclaim to themselves. Let's dive in and get onto it! This story, on the other hand, has so much going on that it does not need to do that. It allows rich plot elements to simmer in their juices for awhile, to let the readers wonder about them, to allow them to build suspense. Oh, don't get me wrong: as a fan, I want you to get down to it! But as a fellow writer, I applaud you for taking your time and letting it happen at its own pace. This story could be a case study for how to accomplish that. And now you have done something almost unheard of in these stories: you have returned to a plot/character detail that has not come up in goddess knows how long and used it to set up a potential major plot twist.

This just does not happen in these stories because authors generally are not that patient. So I once again applaud you. And to other authors and would-be authors: read this story. I know there were some who felt that the Kelsey/Raquel thing was sudden; I disagree, but they are certainly entitled to their opinion. Still, in this story you will find things that you will not find elsewhere within a plotline that is perhaps not too outside of the norm. I emphasize that because it is considerably easier to be ridiculously inventive in a piece if your setting, characters, time frame, etc. are insanely out of the ordinary (though even then we've all read stories that somehow ending up retreading the same old same old). But doing so in stomping grounds that are extremely familiar? Taking what could in lesser hands have become a terribly stereotypical piece of ABDL silliness and making it something that has the potential to be brilliant?

That​ is what good writing is all about.
 
M

Maxx

Guest
Well put. I think I'd add something that I think about. What if you took away the diapers? Is there still a story?

If so, then you're probably doing it right.

Its fun to look at Action movies the same way. Is it still worth watching if something doesn't blow up every 23 seconds? Some are, some aren't.

I've also started reading Raquel. Missed it first time around. As you noted, the stereotypical start probably put me off, thus missing what is a pretty good yarn so far.
 

Frogsy

Est. Contributor
Messages
870
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Diaper Lover, Little, Carer
My favorite tip for writing: Don't state emotions if you can help it.

While I'm not perfect at this yet, it is really helpful for writing a great story. Try not to say "Mary was sad." Try instead to say something that paints a picture so that anyone reading could easily tell that Mary was sad. "Sinking into her chair, Mary covered her face with both hands. Tears soaked her palms."

Great advice, Kerry and Maxx!
 

kerry

ADISC Stories Mod
Staff
Messages
1,283
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Little, Incontinent
My favorite tip for writing: Don't state emotions if you can help it.

While I'm not perfect at this yet, it is really helpful for writing a great story. Try not to say "Mary was sad." Try instead to say something that paints a picture so that anyone reading could easily tell that Mary was sad. "Sinking into her chair, Mary covered her face with both hands. Tears soaked her palms."

Great advice, Kerry and Maxx!
Yes, in the world of writing this is called SDT or "Show; Don't Tell." It is pretty much the Golden Rule. Its advantages are numerous and only begin with the fact that you are far less likely to lose your reader because he or she will become bored. For instance, look at the example that Frogsy created. In this little moment--instead of being told that Mary is "sad" (which means what exactly?)--we see her sink into a chair, cover her face with both hands, and soak them with her tears. Look at the verbs! Look at the action here! There is absolutely no doubt that "Mary is sad," is there? And as a reader, I am in no danger whatsoever of wandering away from the page due to boredom. Not with this kind of vivid imagery I'm not. I want desperately to know why she is so overwhelmingly upset and what will happen to her, which I sure as heck did not care about when I was only being told that she was "sad."

:)
 

dogboy

Est. Contributor
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19,758
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Adult Baby, Diaper Lover
I was constantly reminding myself of this when I was writing my novel. It's so easy, after writing a line of dialogue, to say, "Mary was annoyed," or some such thing. By actually showing how much Mary was annoyed in her dialogue, you, as the writer, are also developing her character.

I've read a lot of books by known authors, and they all will on occasion, describe emotions, but they spend most of their effort showing the characters feelings through what the say and do. It's harder than it looks, and it takes a lot of thought, observation, and attention to detail.
 

Emily91

Banned
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296
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Diaper Lover
As I've said before ICkaraokegirl, that was some of the best feedback I've received for my story, "Raquel's Only Wish". I had no idea you were also a writing teacher! I'm wondering if you'd be willing to also approach my story from a more critical perspective—focusing on any plot elements that "just aren't working" while holding it up to the standards of a writer who would like to get her work published someday? Obviously I can't ask any of my own writing teachers to critique my story because then I would have to explain why diapers are such a primary plot element.

I think Maxx made a good point about the beginning of the story. Starting off with the the protagonist waking up in a wet bed or a wet diaper is quite possibly the most stereotypical first chapter of any story in this genre. Now that I think about it, I've written four diaper themed stories and three of them started out this way. I think it's a logical beginning and an easy way to introduce the characters. However, it goes against another principle of fiction writing that I've learned: using the beginning of the story to establish the characters motives and what to show the readers what's at stake. I'm pretty happy with the pace my story takes but—to be perfectly honest—the only reason that happened was because I made most things up as a went along. Now that I have more content written, I'm wondering if it might be been beneficial to kick off the story with one of the flashbacks or another situation that makes the story unique.
 
M

Maxx

Guest
the only reason that happened was because I made most things up as a went along.
Dangerous, because you can run into continuity problems that are hard to resolve without tortuous sidetracks or going back to revise what's already out there. Embarrassing. I'm getting away with some of that in Resurrection, but only because large parts of the story further down the road are already written (and have been for years). I know where I have to go, so winging it isn't that hard. Even so, the last couple posts were kind of a workaround to avoid getting caught in a glaring contradiction.

Now that I have more content written, I'm wondering if it might be been beneficial to kick off the story with one of the flashbacks or another situation that makes the story unique.
I can think of a number of scenes that would have worked well as a dramatic start before going back to the beginning. The initial tryout or the bus ride home leap to mind. Mr. Cooper in the parking lot could've worked too, especially because its a totally non-diaper situation.
 

dogboy

Est. Contributor
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19,758
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Adult Baby, Diaper Lover
For what it's worth Emily, after I wrote all 600 pages of my novel, and went back and rewrote the first page, turning into two pages. I had grown so much in the five years that it took to write, and I felt I could do better. It contained the same information, but introduced another element that reflected the ending.
 
M

Maxx

Guest
It could be argued that until you put the 'finished' label on something, its acceptable to go back and edit anything, anywhere in the story. Annoying to anyone who's been peeking through the hole in the fence to watch it happen, but hey, it is a work in progress after all.

I think if I were going to do that, I'd warn potential readers, as some have done in the past.
 

kerry

ADISC Stories Mod
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1,283
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emily91 said:
I'm wondering if you'd be willing to also approach my story from a more critical perspective—focusing on any plot elements that "just aren't working" while holding it up to the standards of a writer who would like to get her work published someday?

I might be willing to do something along these lines--at least in an informal way (could you imagine how long it would take me if everyone wanted me to do this formally?)--once school is out for the year, but it would be completely impossible right now, as I don't even have enough time to keep up with everything I actually have to do. :)

- - - Updated - - -

It could be argued that until you put the 'finished' label on something, its acceptable to go back and edit anything, anywhere in the story. Annoying to anyone who's been peeking through the hole in the fence to watch it happen, but hey, it is a work in progress after all.

I think if I were going to do that, I'd warn potential readers, as some have done in the past.
Indeed, if it were not for the complication that, after a finite amount of time and (she said, channeling the Wicked Witch of the West) it isn't long, my pretty, it isn't long, you lose your ability to edit your own messages. A flaw in the program if this had been designed as a story site, but of course it was not. :)
 
M

Maxx

Guest
Gaaaahhhh! Tense jumping!! 1st person present? 1st person past? which person am I? When am I? Writing this thing is almost as confusing as reading it!
 

soggyboy

Banned
Messages
209
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Diaper Lover, Little
Thanks for the good advice.

A question if I may?

I would like to write some stories reminiscing about some incidents from my childhood. Not full blown stories, but rather short stories, maybe a couple of chapters long each.

In fact I posted my first one earlier today.

That is where my question stems from. After posting it, I was reading some other threads, and found a similar story written, where the author, (littleella93) had received feedback from you saying that it shouldn't be posted in the Fiction section?

If a story is not fiction, and is considerably longer than a blog post, then where should it go?

Any help will be appreciated.

Regards

Soggyboy
 

kerry

ADISC Stories Mod
Staff
Messages
1,283
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Little, Incontinent
Thanks for the good advice.

A question if I may?

I would like to write some stories reminiscing about some incidents from my childhood. Not full blown stories, but rather short stories, maybe a couple of chapters long each.

In fact I posted my first one earlier today.

That is where my question stems from. After posting it, I was reading some other threads, and found a similar story written, where the author, (littleella93) had received feedback from you saying that it shouldn't be posted in the Fiction section?

If a story is not fiction, and is considerably longer than a blog post, then where should it go?

Any help will be appreciated.

Regards

Soggyboy
This kind of thing more likely belongs in the Adult Baby section, though I'd reconsider the notion of a blog post: what you wrote last time certainly would have been fine as one. :)
 

soggyboy

Banned
Messages
209
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Diaper Lover, Little
Thank you for the feedback. It's nice to be part of a site where the moderators actually respond!
 

kerry

ADISC Stories Mod
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1,283
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Little, Incontinent
Thank you for the feedback. It's nice to be part of a site where the moderators actually respond!
Probably 'cause we're all just little kids like you, so we don't know enough not to. ;)
 

ZetaSonic

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213
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Diaper Lover
I want to do a story with a *BDL in it, but the thing is that I am trying to make the overall story palpable for a non-*BDL audience. Even when I keep that aspect quiet and refuse to name it, nobody responds. Not even those with followings will help.

I just want a bit of positive representation, that's all. Without alienating everyone else.
 

blablafreckenlover

Est. Contributor
Messages
617
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Adult Baby, Diaper Lover, Sissy
I want to do a story with a *BDL in it, but the thing is that I am trying to make the overall story palpable for a non-*BDL audience. Even when I keep that aspect quiet and refuse to name it, nobody responds. Not even those with followings will help.

I just want a bit of positive representation, that's all. Without alienating everyone else.
That's going to be tough to do. At the mere mention of diapers you're going to throw a lot of people off. You might try to approach from a bed wetting or ic perspective so that the diapers aren't seen as a weird choice, but a necessity. You might also try to look at it more from a relationship standpoint, make it a story about a relationshiop with an ab/dl aspect instead of the other way around. A good example to look at is Sun Stone, a visual novel about a bdsm couple that does a good job at being about bdsm and about the relationship the characters have. Though imo the bdsm stuff in that could stand to be a little more understated.
 

kerry

ADISC Stories Mod
Staff
Messages
1,283
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Little, Incontinent
If your story includes bedwetting or incontinence, you can probably get away with this; just don't make that central to the plot. It should simply be an element of the character. However, the second the thing veers into anything that smacks of fetishism, you're going to lose the mainstream audience.
 
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