What creates a story? What creates an unexpected thrill? What connects the writer to the readers that they're attempting to entertain?
These are all questions that should be lingering in the back of your mind when you're writing your story. NOT in the forefront, because writing a story isn't all about catering to an audience. Instead, it should be about exploring your true self and your deepest emotions. Having an audience enjoy and appreciate what you do is a thrilling side effect to all of the hard work that you put in to making it a reality and then finding the courage to share it with others. But that response shouldn't be your only reason for writing. Because that response is not guaranteed, and that can be intimidating in the long run. So make sure that you're having fun and pursuing your passion when putting a project together. That's the most important, and most genuine, part of being a writer. K?
Now, back to the initial question...what creates a story, a character, and a connection to the people investing their time, energy, and emotion, into what you're writing?
The big secret? It's not the big story as a whole. Sounds weird, right? But I've learned over the years that it's not the major story as a whole that really keeps people coming back for more. Sure, it's a PART of it...but what keeps people reading are actually the 'little' moments. While readers may be excited in the overall story, the sprawling character archs, and the intricate twists and turns of the plot that I might throw out there during major events in the narrative...it's the little moments that most of my readers remember most. It's something that I took note of, and made sure to remember that while I was writing whatever epic scene I happened to be focused on at that particular moment.
There was an earlier article where I talked about the BIG, monumental, moments in your stories. Making them as huge and as amazing as you possibly could through the build up and the payoff. This time, however, we're going to shrink things down a bit, and talk about the smaller pieces of the puzzle that makes your entire project more memorable from beginning to end. There are ways to do this, but we first have to look at what makes a certain event or plot point in your story something that people will want to cherish and hold on to. Something that will grab them and drag them from one larger special moment to the next. There is 'magic' in those micro moments in between moments. If that makes sense. And that magic is what you're going to use to keep your readers engaged and interested in the story so those bigger moments end up having the kind of impact that you want them to have. (In other words, don't let the readers fall asleep on you and then try to shake them up and get those gears spinning again later. Hehehe! A mind in motion tends to stay in motion. It takes time to re-engage, and it'll slow down the pacing of your story significantly.)
So let's get together and talk about creating a much more memorable story by concentrating a bit more on those smaller moments combined...
Now, what do I mean by 'smaller' moments? I think we should start there.
There are many stories that have huge, dramatic events in them. A big reveal of a deep dark secret. A fight breaks out. A sudden heartbreak. An unexpected betrayal. And all of these things can make for a great story. But, as I've said many times before...you can't keep that up, chapter after chapter after chapter. It gets tiresome after a while. Big moments, in my opinion, should be used sparingly. How can they have any real impact if you keep having them every chapter? It takes skill and practice to pace your story and space these major events out in an effective way.
So that begs the question...what do you do with the 'space'?
What I love to do during these moments, is build characters up and really give the readers a glimpse into their personality. Like...who would this person be when he's not following along with the plot of the story I'm telling. That's part of the magic that I'm talking about. Who is this really cute boy when he's not being gawked at by the main character? Or following the breadcrumbs that I set out there to get him together with my protagonist? These are the questions that I ask myself when I'm putting a story together. And the best way to show that, is by creating these little moments of friendship, or cuteness, or pain, or anger, or shyness. Small moments. It doesn't have to be anything major. It can be a simple gesture, a blush, a conversation...hell, it could be a simple line of dialogue. Just a few words can create a moment in your fiction that will become memorable beyond anything that you ever expected it to.
I think the best example of this comes from the original "Terminator" movie. He walks into the police station, asking for the person that he's there to kill in cold blood...the cop behind the counter tells him to wait...and he says, "I'll be back." now, that wasn't meant to be a big tagline or major writing achievement. But that ONE line of dialogue ended up being one of the biggest catch phrases in cinematic history! I mean, who could have predicted that?
But...watch the movie again. The build up to that moment, the aftermath a few seconds later...study it. Try to figure out why those three simple words have such an impact, and think about how a seemingly innocent moment in a film could resonate so heavily with audiences for years and years to come.
This is one of the things that I've thought about a lot, even before the Comicality stories. The big events in a story are highly entertaining, but people always quote the little things. This is that connective tissue that I'm always talking about. It will keep your readers invested and excited for the next big reveal. I definitely focus on enjoying and getting my audience to appreciate these little moments, so they can get to my characters on a deeper, more emotional, level so that it never feels like there's any 'down time' in my chapters. Even when there isn't something hugely dramatic going on in my story...you're still entertained and learning more about some of the quirks and humorous antics of the boys that I'm writing about. The same goes with action, sci fi, or horror, or anything else you might be writing. Remember...tiny moments. They mean more than you might think they do.
I wanna share this fan made video with you. (God, he's sooooo good! I could NEVER do that!) He's put together what has to be at LEAST 100 different movies together, if not more! Edited it, set it to a beat...it's amazing! But, what I want you to pay attention to...is the fact that most of the clips that he uses are only a fraction of a second long! Thats it! But they're all 'little moments' from these hugely popular movies, TV shows, Netflix series, and anime...and even though they go by in the blink of an eye...I'm willing to bet that many of you can easily recognize the movie, know the scene, and can easily call it out if asked to! Because it sticks with you, right? Hehehe, you know that scene! And it was awesome! You got an instant memorable flashback in a fraction of a second. How crazy is that? Check it out!
I totally understand that we're not all writing blockbuster Summer action movies here on GayAuthors, hehehe...but I believe that the same technique applies to all kinds of stories, in every genre. Little moments are what give your bigger moments meaning. Something simple. A shared joke, a whispered secret, a bashful grin. All of these things matter when creating a three-dimensional story and bringing your characters into contact with one another. Like I said, I've learned to really appreciate these little moments and utilize them to their full extent whenever I can. Maybe, in "Left Without Words", Shane gets a peek up the leg of Dimitry's shorts. Maybe Ariel spills an ice cold milkshake on a potential love rival, or Tristan passes his Youtube crush on an escalator in the mall. These scenes have power. They're memorable when many of the other scenes in my stories aren't. They can be used to create tension, fear, worry, joy, laughter...don't let opportunities like this pass you by, while racing to the next big event in your storytelling. These little moments are a PART of the storytelling. Whether its an emotional breakdown of an abused boy in front of his friends, or simply throwing a snowball at the cute boy next door. Let these little moments fill out the personality of your main characters and create someone that your readers can get to know on an intimate level so that they'll be all the more invested in what happens to them when you tell your story.
To me, the most important thing to remember is that a story is not just about 'plot'. Don't use your characters as simple tools to tell your story. Give them life. Let them breathe. Allow them to interact with one another and explore the space that you've built for them. It'll make for a better story overall, and your audience will gravitate to them in ways that you never expected.
Use those little moments to flesh out and give your story 'life'. You'll be surprised how much it adds to the everyday, 'cute boy meets another cute boy, and they have sex...because....cute' formula. People have read that story a million times already. How are you going to be different? Go for it! And make a classic that your readers will enjoy!
I hope this helps out! Good luck in your writing, and I'll seezya soon with more! Take care!