How to make a "monster of the week" story interesting....

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    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default How to make a "monster of the week" story interesting....

    So my upcoming adventure "The Legend of the Red Star" is shaping up to be a monster of the week type story, but what else can I do (besides character development) to make it something that will actually be read?

    My party looks like this:

    Ash--the titular red star, he is the "warrior" of the group (although you can argue he is a red mage because he can also cast magic through his flute, Utahime) He mainly travels to help those in need, but when he learns of the Grand Emperor's plot to summon an evil dragon, he begins encountering more and more monsters)

    Kiyama--a new character made specifically for the story, she is a minstrel that is skilled with a bow, so she plays a "ranger" role. She came with Ash in hopes she can find her missing father and hopefully bring him home alive

    Dawn: a miko, or priestess, she plays the "mage" role, since magic is a spiritual discipline in my created world of Kinmura, where this is set. She came with Ash both out of gratitude for his saving her, and a desire to see the Grand Temple of Arceus (the holiest site in Kinmura)
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

  2. #2
    THE CULT OF PERSONALITY System Error's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to make a "monster of the week" story interesting....

    Try looking at these six/seven factors before you begin to write a chapter, which I just made up. You don't need to do them in order, and they should apply to any random monster for any story in-general.

    - The Monster: What is it? And with all the others around, what makes it stand out?
    - The Reason: Why isn't it dead yet? Why is it that someone else can't deal with it? Try to stay the hell away from "no one else can", except for when shit starts getting real towards the end.
    - The Motivation: Why the hell is the MC going out and beating the hell out of this monster? What makes it worth fighting? This is different from The Reason. The former is "why hasn't someone else done it?" and this is "why is he doing it?"
    - The Setting: Where will this fight be taking place?
    - The Allies: How will they factor in - or not factor in?
    - The Challenge: What will make it an interesting fight? What will make people go "holy shit that was badass"? You can completely get away with episodic pointlessness if it's cool. And, what will make it stand out from other fights?
    - Review: Tie the above six together, if you can. Think about what would make sense from a logical standpoint. Just be careful about contradicting other points. Unless the point is to make people ask that question.

    With your characters and innate heroism, Motivation may end up a big weakness. So you'll have to focus in on the other points. Obviously, The Challenge needs to generally increase as it goes along, but you can also have it be fluctuating while doing so, instead of strictly going up.
    Last edited by System Error; 5th June 2012 at 08:57 PM.
    Don't know what to put here.

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    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: How to make a "monster of the week" story interesting....

    Okay, to analyze what this first encounter would look like:

    The Monster: Aoyin
    The Reason: It lives in a mountainous area that is difficult to climb, and those not eaten by the monster are found dead in the mountains
    The Motivation: A townsperson wants to put an end to children being sacrificed to it (or else it would destroy their town)
    The Setting: They lure it down to a plain for the fight
    The Allies: The girls will be attacking/defending from a distance and supporting Ash
    The Challenge: The aoyin appears to be at a disadvantage, as it is not used to being on the plains. That still doesn't mean it won't put up a good fight. Plus, one of the spellcasters will discover it is weak to water, turning the tide (either Ash will discover this on accident by playing Freezing Sapphire Tornado, or Dawn will tell the others.)
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

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    Christmas Bubble Frog's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to make a "monster of the week" story interesting....

    What inspired you to use the names Ash and Dawn?

  5. #5
    THE CULT OF PERSONALITY System Error's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to make a "monster of the week" story interesting....

    Quote Originally Posted by LightningTopaz View Post
    Okay, to analyze what this first encounter would look like:

    The Monster: Aoyin
    The Reason: It lives in a mountainous area that is difficult to climb, and those not eaten by the monster are found dead in the mountains
    The Motivation: A townsperson wants to put an end to children being sacrificed to it (or else it would destroy their town)
    The Setting: They lure it down to a plain for the fight
    The Allies: The girls will be attacking/defending from a distance and supporting Ash
    The Challenge: The aoyin appears to be at a disadvantage, as it is not used to being on the plains. That still doesn't mean it won't put up a good fight. Plus, one of the spellcasters will discover it is weak to water, turning the tide (either Ash will discover this on accident by playing Freezing Sapphire Tornado, or Dawn will tell the others.)
    So now we tie and develop it all together to help develop the points, as well as the fight itself. Since it lives in a mountainous area and is fought in a plain, you'll need to cover just how exactly they lure it down. Perhaps that will be the difficult part of the fight. Also consider that since the mountain is difficult to climb, you'll need to figure out how the Aoyin itself gets up and down. It doesn't have wings it seems, so you'll need to make it a nimble creature (If it did have wings or you take a liberty, you'd need to consider that it is capable of moving in three dimensions, which can expose the girls - of course, it could still do that if it can get around Ash). Perhaps one that's good at hopping around on the terrain all ninja-like. On a plain, it wouldn't have that luxury, or the opportunities would be few in number.

    For the weakness to water, you can use this to put a lake, stream, etc. in the vicinity, either creating an opportunity for a fancy finishing move and/or allowing another way to discover the weakness. In case of the latter, perhaps have Ash get knocked in, have the beast not want to follow, then the revelation come forth. You can also use this to expose the girls, because since the guy in the water is now out of the question, who will it turn its horns on but the two just standing around? Or if it doesn't do that, it'll probably retreat or head for the town, and either is just out of the question for our heroes - so they'll need to stop it.

    You can also do things like make said townsperson a friend of one of the characters, to add to the motivation to do so. Give a good reason for the first encounter. Of course, it can work if it's not either - there is something to be said about putting the first "help a friend" later. Again, there is long-term planning of the story to consider, so it may be the better option. You can spruce up detail in ways such as putting in a minor character who bumped into the thing and lived to tell the tale (perhaps giving the idea to lure it to the plain in the first place), having said townsperson be parent to the child who was next chosen to be sacrificed, and so on. Just try to sneak in little details to make things come to life and all that.
    Don't know what to put here.

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    Brock's Pikachu LightningTopaz's Avatar Moderator
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    Default Re: How to make a "monster of the week" story interesting....

    Quote Originally Posted by Gotpika View Post
    What inspired you to use the names Ash and Dawn?
    This is meant to be an Asian inspired fantastic Pokeworld, hence why Ash and Dawn appear
    My URPG stats: Maya's status

    SuBuWriMo status: 28,103 words in all!

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