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Author: Scott

Swapping and finishing stories with a viewer – Writing Stream Recap

For the last stream, we did one of my favorite writing exercises: swapping a half-written story with someone and finishing it.

For the stream, faithful viewer Octavia Memories volunteered to participate in the story swap. We both began with the same auto-generated sentence, then wrote for half an hour, swapped stories, and finished the other’s story.

This was always one of my favorite exercises to do during IRL writing workshops, since you can see all the different directions people take the same information. Not only does the same opening sentence lead to completely different starts, but then the endings can become totally different beasts than the beginning.

The sentence we started with was: “She advised him to come back at once.” Here’s the stories we came up with:

Setting the Scene and Tone in a Story – Writing Stream Recap

For the last stream, we did something during the exercise portion that I’d wanted to do for a while: talking about setting the scene/tone at the beginning of a story.

One common mistake that beginning writers do which I’ve seen a lot during freeshare, critiques online, and during workshops in real life is that they tend to front-load their stories with backstory and history. But, unfortunately, we don’t care about history at the beginning of a story, because we don’t know who the people are yet.

So for the exercise, we came up with a prompt and then wrote the very beginning of the story, setting the scene and tone and hooking the reader, all without giving any sort of backstory or history.

Here’s the one the chat voted on: An Elf that’s the last of her kind due to war with Humans, disease, and other elves refusing to reproduce.

Here’s the beginning we came up with:

Worst Date Ever: Drug Dealer Surprise! – Writing Stream Recap

For the last stream, it was Valentine’s Day here in Japan, so we decided to have a love-filled stream.

For the exercise section, that meant dredging up memories from my past and writing about one of my worst dates ever. We’d done this before a few months ago, and it was a lot of fun; plus I still had plenty more bad dates to write about.

The chat voted between three choices, settling on “drug dealer surprise” as the story I’d write. It was a bit hard remembering all the details from high school, but I think I did a fairly good job:

Bird-Boy and Doughnut-Girl’s Love Story – Writing Stream Recap

For the last stream, we were joined by special guest Abbey, so we decided to try a new exercise: Abbey and chat wrote the beginning to a story, and then I had to complete it.

I left the room as they concocted the beginning, and when I was allowed to come back… I immediately regretted the idea.

I had no idea how to make sense of Abbey/chat’s story. Much less knowing where to take it, I barely understood it!

But then something clicked, inspiration hit me, and I knew what I had to do. Thanks to a few fun other suggestions, we ended up with something pretty beautiful: (bolded section is what Abbey/chat wrote that I had to finish)

Peeking Over at the Witch Next Door – Writing Stream Recap

For the last stream’s exercise, we did something we hadn’t done in a while: writing using randomly-generated sentences.

While it may seem a bit silly to use randomly-generated sentences, they can actually make for good exercises. First, they force you to work your creative muscles. Second, they’re perfect for breaking writer’s block. And third, they help alleviate writing pressure, since if what you end up writing sucks, that’s fine; it was just a randomly-generated sentence anyway!

For our exercise, we started our story with a random sentence, wrote a bit, got another random sentence, wrote a bit, and then got a final random sentence to end the story that we had to write to. Here’s what we ended up with: (bolded sentences are the randomly-generated ones)

The Tesla Roadster’s REAL Mission – Writing Stream Recap

Today we started off the stream by doing something I’d been wanting to try for a while: re-writing a viewer-submitted story.

During out last stream, viewer QueenLavana submitted a story during freeshare that I thought would be an excellent candidate. It had potential, but the beginning was getting bogged down by backstory, was too quick in places, and left the reader not knowing what to feel. After getting their permission, we re-wrote the beginning during the exercise portion of the stream.

We made sure to pay attention to three things while re-writing: (1) giving the reader the who/what/when/where/why so that they can visualize and understand what’s going on, (2) showing the reader how how to feel by setting the tone, and (3) not being afraid to take it a little slow and set the scene.

Here’s what we came up with:

Mario’s “super mushroom” trips come to an end – Writing Stream Recap

After the ten stream streak of the Rubbish to Published series, last stream finally marked us going back to our roots during the writing exercise section: random sentences.

Random sentences are a great way to give your creativity a workout. And thankfully we have a great source of them: the kanji poop book.

We’ve gotten some “crappy inspiration” from the poop book before, and it turned out great. This time, we opened up to a random page, getting the kanji for “tea” and three poop-themed sentences to choose from.

The chat voted on which of the three poop-sentences would start our story, and this is what we wrote: (bold sentence was our “random” sentence, “brown” is “tea-colored” in Japanese.)

Rubbish to Published: Writing chapter one – Writing Stream Recap

Last stream we continued our Rubbish to Published series, where we start from absolutely nothing and create something “publishable.”

We picked our tense and POV in the previous stream, so it was finally time for our last step: writing chapter one.

When most people imagine writing a book, they think writers just get an idea and then start writing from the beginning to the end. But through this series, we’ve shown that isn’t the case at all. We’ve have ten steps before we were ready to write chapter one! So if you have an idea that you want to write, but you’re having trouble starting chapter one, no worries. There’s plenty of stuff you can do to get the juices flowing.

Since we’d done so much already, starting our chapter one was pretty easy. Chat voted for the opening sentence they liked best, and then we came up with this:

Rubbish to Published: Picking tense and POV – Writing Stream Recap

Last stream we continued our Rubbish to Published series, where we start from absolutely nothing and create something “publishable.”

We did our chapter-by-chapter plotting in the previous stream, so this time we took the next step: picking our tense and POV.

Choosing whether you tell your story in the past or present tense, and whether in the first or third person, is a big decision. A lot of time writers don’t give it the attention it deserves, since choosing the right combination can enhance your story.

We went over the pros and cons of each tense and POV combination, giving examples from real books and stories too. There was a lot of information, but here’s what we came up with:

Rubbish to Published: Plotting and scheming – Writing Stream Recap

Last stream we continued our Rubbish to Published series, where we start from absolutely nothing and create something “publishable.”

We did our query letter in the previous stream, so this time we took the next step: plotting chapter by chapter.

For this one, we looked back over everything we’ve created thus far, picked out the best/important bits, and laid them out chronologically chapter by chapter. We also filled in the gaps by adding new plot points.

Thanks to all our hard work up until now, it was surprisingly easy! You can see what we came up with here: