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Story Starters


In '96 or early '97, Celeste wrote in a review of one of my Brennan stories something like,

"I just realized that the stories Uther writes about young married couples, he writes about the _same_ young married couple."

(I'm quoting from memory.)

My first response was "Duh!" Then I realized that a high percentage of the writers of internet erotica write the same story over and over with just the slightest change.

Now, some people intend that. "There just aren't enough stories about big sister giving young brother an introduction to intercourse as his 14th-birthday gift. I'll write some."

If you want diversity and aren't certain you've achieved enough, here are some ways to come up with story ideas:

1) Titles. Back in the time I was posting a story on ASSM (and ASSTR) every Thursday, my January 2010 postings were _Rite_, _Write_, _Right_, and _Wright_. Of course, once I had decided that, I had to write stories to fit the titiles.

More or less the same process brought me the "Alphabetical Dialogue" series. Sort through the dictionary for a word starting with the next letter that could reasonably title an all-dialogue erotic story.

("Reasonably" is a flexible term. All I say in defense of "Xylem" is that no one has written another all-dialogue story with a more reasonable title starting with X.)

2) Counterpunch. The last story that you read and said, "It wouldn't go like that." Well change the names and a few details and write the story as it *would* go.

I don't quite do that to stories, but I do it to writers' comments about stories. Once on ASSD, a writer said, "I can't start a story with 'I'm 5' 4" and on the Pill.'"

_Problems of Utilitarianism_ begins, "Johanna Mill was 5' 4" and on the Pill."

After that, I had to create a plot which made that opening plausible. But that's the point. Most of us could if we set ourselves the task.

Another writer advocated having the order of narration strictly the order of action. That isn't a bad pattern, but he was much too emphatic. I wrote _Too Late_ which begins at the end and has the narration jump back and forth in story time.

You can say that my argument wasn't good enough. Write that story, with names changed, in story order; alternatively, write another story which *really* makes the point I was trying to make.

3) Sequels. When people write to urge me to do a sequel to the just-finished story, I take it as a great compliment. That person, at least, related to my characters as real. I treasure the compliment, though I seldom comply. I have written a continued story, the Brennans which I mentioned at the beginning of the paragraph.

But sequels are one way for certain writers to get out of the rut. Have yo written a high-school romance story. Do John and Mary get married later. What is their married life like? I'm talking about some incident, some period, or some crisis -- not the entire story of the marriage.

If they don't, you have two characters you have built up to a certain point. What does John do after HS? Does he still remember Mary fondly, and how does that affect his relationship with Sally, the girl he marries later. The same sort of questions can be asked about Mary.

You can do it as an open sequel, or think about it as a sequel and then write it with names changed. For that matter, you can write it with names changed in more than one story with different answers to that question.

4) Location. Some couples make it a point to have sex at least once in each room of their house. Maybe you should center a story in each room of a fictitious house. What is a kitchen type of story? What is a basement type of story? Attic?

I actually have an attic story in mind. Don't worry; it probably won't be anything like your attic story.

Look around your neighborhood. What are some nice locations? What sort of story would go there?

5) Then there is people watching. Every book for writers recommends this, but there is a reason a cliche is a cliche.

When you see an inexplicable interaction on the street or in the supermarket, go home and explain it. Your explanation doesn't need to approach the real reason; it just needs to make a story.

Replies:   RedCzar
Ernest Bywater

6. The odd situation. Think of something that could accidentally end up in an odd situation and then what goes on from there.

That's how I ended up with a guy being assigned to a girls dorm in Odd Man in College - but I didn't take it down the heavy sex track most would, which simply turned it into an even odder tale.



When people write to urge me to do a sequel to the just-finished story, I take it as a great compliment. That person, at least, related to my characters as real.

I agree, I have a couple of stories that I never intended to write sequels to, but after all the feedback, I find myself thinking of what the next story in their path would be. I'm actually working on one of them now.

Another thing I've experimented with is just having someone else give me a title or an idea. I have one idea that came to me one evening and have thought I would love to see what direction other authors would take it in. I'm still working on my own direction for it. Isn't there a forum for that some where? Suggested stories? Maybe even one of those writing contests?

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