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How much intro does a story need? Options · View
NYJacko
Posted: Monday, October 17, 2011 2:22:10 PM

Rank: Active Ink Slinger

Joined: 10/6/2011
Posts: 14
Location: Orange County
I'm fairly new to the site and to erotic writing in general. I was wondering what your are on how much introduction/exposition is appropriate for most stories. I've always had a tendency to cut to the chase in my writing to the point that the lack of character development weakens the story but at the same time, I don't think the average reader needs a character's whole life story in one of the pieces here. Thanks in advance.
Mistress_of_words
Posted: Monday, October 17, 2011 4:12:54 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 2/14/2011
Posts: 591
Location: At my keyboard, writing stories for you
Great question. I hope you get a few replies on this because I'm sure a lot of people will have different opinions on the matter.

My first point is to say don't group introduction with exposition, they are different things.

If I start reading a story and it gives me a potted history of the characters relationship, it sends me straight to sleep. For me a good story dumps you straight into a scene, but that doesn't necessarily mean a sex scene.

You'll achieve better results by weaving your back story into an encounter between the characters than by using exposition in blocks. It'll also act as a way of telling you what's important to the story and what's not. If you can't find a way to bring it up in the course of showing me the events that are happening then it's not important.

Look to the fundamentals of story telling - Beginning, Middle, End. Every story should start with a scene which establishes the norm, the context, before the occurrence of a precipitating event. But, don't fall into the trap that "the norm" needs to be normal. It's simply the state of things before the precipitating event and so it will be determined by what that event is.

For example, I once started a story in the middle of a plane crash because the norm was that a woman was trapped on a desert island and the precipitating event was encountering someone else on the island. I didn't need to back track to a point before she took off in the plane.

So in summary, you need enough of an introduction for the reader to understand the context of the precipitating event. As far as exposition goes, less is more; use only as much as you need to bring your characters and story to life and no more. And, don't give it to me in a big block, give me little tastes throughout the story and I won't even notice it's there.

NYJacko
Posted: Monday, October 17, 2011 9:34:17 PM

Rank: Active Ink Slinger

Joined: 10/6/2011
Posts: 14
Location: Orange County
Thank you. That's very insightful. It hadn't really occurred to me that the exposition and intro aren't the same thing.
ArtMan
Posted: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 7:48:19 AM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 6/29/2011
Posts: 640
Location: South Florida, United States
Once you are experienced and successful you can experiment with the introduction. Sometimes the suspenseful lack of introduction grabs the reader. But to stretch the rules one must understand and master the rules so to speak.

You are invited to read Passionate Danger, Part II, a story collaboration by Kim and ArtMan.
http://www.lushstories.com/stories/straight-sex/passionate-danger-part-ii.aspx

PennLady
Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2011 7:27:48 AM

Rank: Rookie Scribe

Joined: 10/14/2011
Posts: 4
You should read some stories and see how other authors do it. I myself tend to have a lot of story before getting to the sex, and rarely have complaints. Many people seem to like to get to know the characters, and then when they get intimate, it's that much more satisfying (ahem). This is not to say that a short story can't also have "development," or even a stroke story. You just need to figure out what details are important to the story, and the characters, and drop them in at the right time.
DLizze
Posted: Thursday, October 20, 2011 8:42:50 AM

Rank: Story Verifier

Joined: 4/23/2011
Posts: 2,552
I perfer stories in which the characters are believable. One that jumps right into wild monkey sex does not interest me nearly so much as one in which the scene is set, and the characters "fleshed out" a bit. That said, I'm with Mistress; I don't want to read large blocks of narrative exposition. When writing, I try to develop characters the same way we develop relationships in real life. We don't tell new people our history in long descriptions; our persona comes out and is revealed to them in the course of conversation. As a writer, I try always to have a very strong mental image of the characters and the overall picture. Then, as I write, I try to introduce the salient elements through conversation, or through the characters' thoughts. The most difficult part of that for me is figuring how to write thoughts and diaglogue in complete sentences without seeming stilted. Most of real conversation is not spoken in complete sentences, but if it is written that way, it is extremely difficult for the reader to follow. Thoughts pose an even more knotty problem; that is what is both right and wrong with James Joyce's Ulysses, for example. His stream of concienceness writing is very difficult to follow, but it is really written the way we think, and therefore is an elegent description of life.

"There's only three tempos: slow, medium and fast. When you get between in the cracks, ain't nuthin' happenin'." Ben Webster
_mal_
Posted: Monday, January 16, 2012 4:34:13 PM

Rank: Forum Guru

Joined: 11/27/2010
Posts: 191
Location: Somewhere, United States
This may not be a very useful reply, at first, but these are just nuggets to think about (and are usually what guide me).

A story needs as much intro as it needs (sounds kinda funny). Don't think of intro as "useless clutter" or an "excuse to develop character". Character development should be central to writing a story -- otherwise you are just stringing words together that refer to sex actions ("X sticks his D in her P", "X moves his D around in her P for a while", "X cums in her P"). You get the picture.

If you are writing some text that just refers to some A that X and Z are doing to each other then have at it. There's nothing wrong with that. Many people read Lush stories for that simple reason. But, it seems you are asking a question beyond that and are interested in some of the more literary aspects of writing.

So, I'm guessing that you want some character development in your story. And your intro should set that up. Prepare us for the journey that you are about to embark us on. Don't weigh it down with unnecessary things. Cut to the chase. If the character's background is necessary to why she does something later in the story or integral to her development then tell us.

You can also spread things out through the story also. You don't have to do it all at the beginning.

Hope that helps, at least a little.
Dancing_Doll
Posted: Monday, January 16, 2012 4:58:27 PM

Rank: Alpha Blonde

Joined: 2/17/2010
Posts: 6,274
Location: West Coast
I usually have a couple of scenes that build the sexual tension before getting to the explicit narrative.

In these scenes, I develop the characters with a heavy emphasis on dialogue and fast plot-direction to set the pace. I also use this to set up the "conflict" of the story (either moral, emotional, or sexual). How the characters deal with this conflict or plot-highlight will also give the reader insight into the type of people they are.

I think character development should be subtle and seamless in the storytelling. The reader is getting to know them by watching them react to things. There is no need to tell the reader miscellaneous facts that don't add to the way the plot is going to develop or why they are likely to react the way that they do. Most of the time, the right dialogue style (ie. "what they say and how they say it") will tell you more than enough about the 'type' of character you're trying to create. Don't tell the reader that 'Erica is a haughty, stuck-up bitch', show us that she is.... it's much more effective that way, and it keeps the reader entertained rather than bored with long personality descriptives.

I have some stories where certain characters were introduced at the time of the actual sexual encounter, but again... focusing on the way they move, how they react to the main character and the dialogue *during* the sexual encounter can also effectively flesh out the characters enough for the reader to appreciate their importance in the story.


RumpleForeskin
Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 8:57:27 AM

Rank: The Right Rev of Lush

Joined: 7/3/2009
Posts: 2,900
Location: Lost in the ozone somewhere east of Luckenbach Tx,
First rate advice. It began strong with Mistress and just kept on keeping on. Someplace in the forum is an article I posted a few years ago called, "How To Be A Happy Hooker," or some such. It focuses on story openings.

Bottom line of that piece is the opening must 'hook' the reader. Don't waste those few opening lines with an info dump such a a physical description.

Best advice: read other writers as a writer by analyzing how they construct their stories. Good luck.

glasses8

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwords. - ROBERT HEINLEIN

Feels So Right, It Can't Be WrongMore steamy, seductive, straight step-sibling sex, 2-3

FROM:
Becky -- FOR: Matt -- With Love:
a Festive contest winner – honest

HOW HUMANS DO IT: a fish-eye view of sex an Editor's Pick - no kidding
DirtyMartini
Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 8:10:02 PM

Rank: Purveyor of Poetry & Porn

Joined: 10/19/2009
Posts: 5,790
Location: Right here on Lush Stories..., United States
The Right Reverend RumpleForeskin wrote:
Someplace in the forum is an article I posted a few years ago called, "How To Be A Happy Hooker," or some such. It focuses on story openings.



Here you go Reverend...
http://www.lushstories.com/forum/yaf_postst5411_How-To-Be-A-Happy-Hooker.aspx

Damn, that thread was started before I even knew what Lush was...hard to believe there once was such a time...

Btw, I don't know that the rules for how much intro a story needs are etched in stone...the amount of intro you'd put in a 2k word "quickie encounter" story might be rather different from what you'd put in a 5k love story...

But, that should be sort of obvious...me thinks...


You know you want it, you know you need it bad...get it now on Amazon.com...
Lush Erotica, an Anthology of Award Winning Sex Stories

RumpleForeskin
Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 5:13:42 AM

Rank: The Right Rev of Lush

Joined: 7/3/2009
Posts: 2,900
Location: Lost in the ozone somewhere east of Luckenbach Tx,
You got a good point, DM. There's no cut and dried, one size fits all opening. That's what makes writing a craft, a combo of talent and skill. And for those of us lacking both, it can be a real struggle, believe you me.

Thanks for posting the old, 'Hooker'. Not unlike its author, it is an oldie that just keeps rollin' along.

glasses8

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwords. - ROBERT HEINLEIN

Feels So Right, It Can't Be WrongMore steamy, seductive, straight step-sibling sex, 2-3

FROM:
Becky -- FOR: Matt -- With Love:
a Festive contest winner – honest

HOW HUMANS DO IT: a fish-eye view of sex an Editor's Pick - no kidding
nicola
Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 3:08:19 AM

Rank: Matriarch

Joined: 12/6/2006
Posts: 25,510
Location: The Orgasmatron
RumpleForeskin wrote:
Not unlike its author, it is an oldie that just keeps rollin' along.


Praise be to god. angel7

RumpleForeskin
Posted: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 7:07:31 AM

Rank: The Right Rev of Lush

Joined: 7/3/2009
Posts: 2,900
Location: Lost in the ozone somewhere east of Luckenbach Tx,
An,d "oldie but goodie?" What can I say, Madam Matriarch, other than to thank you for the warm fuzzy and point out that you are, at best, only half right on that one. ;)

glasses8

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwords. - ROBERT HEINLEIN

Feels So Right, It Can't Be WrongMore steamy, seductive, straight step-sibling sex, 2-3

FROM:
Becky -- FOR: Matt -- With Love:
a Festive contest winner – honest

HOW HUMANS DO IT: a fish-eye view of sex an Editor's Pick - no kidding
secretjanedoe
Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2012 8:19:51 PM

Rank: Active Ink Slinger

Joined: 1/26/2012
Posts: 40
Location: REDACTED
I am currently writing a story that is in the form of a CIA case file and there are a lot of relevant details in the beginning that are formatted like a case file not like a paragraph. Should I remove them? They do make for a rather long sexless intro.

Ladies and Gentleman I Give You My Pussy: http://www.lushstories.com/secretjanedoe
Guest
Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 8:32:25 AM

Rank: Lurker

Joined: 12/1/2006
Posts: 535,127
Oh you should definitely redact that.
RumpleForeskin
Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012 5:37:51 PM

Rank: The Right Rev of Lush

Joined: 7/3/2009
Posts: 2,900
Location: Lost in the ozone somewhere east of Luckenbach Tx,
What SAC (smart ass Chef) said is hereby seconded.

The fact you're considering such a move is probably a good indicator of what you should do. One possible alternative is to humanize the opening. Have a character, possibly the POV, be reading sections of the report while being interrupted byoffice routine or maybe a personal phone call. That would let you slip in some setting and do a bit of character development. Bottom line is you have a lot of options. Good luck.

glasses8

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwords. - ROBERT HEINLEIN

Feels So Right, It Can't Be WrongMore steamy, seductive, straight step-sibling sex, 2-3

FROM:
Becky -- FOR: Matt -- With Love:
a Festive contest winner – honest

HOW HUMANS DO IT: a fish-eye view of sex an Editor's Pick - no kidding
secretjanedoe
Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012 7:55:29 PM

Rank: Active Ink Slinger

Joined: 1/26/2012
Posts: 40
Location: REDACTED
OK, Thank you both I will drastically shorten the intro. One more question: I am, well, kind of proud of the long intro I wrote is there a place you all suggest I put it? Like is there a way to link the "unedited version" from the edited version so people can see what would have been?

Ladies and Gentleman I Give You My Pussy: http://www.lushstories.com/secretjanedoe
RumpleForeskin
Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 11:40:50 AM

Rank: The Right Rev of Lush

Joined: 7/3/2009
Posts: 2,900
Location: Lost in the ozone somewhere east of Luckenbach Tx,
There's always the old reliable, flashback. Once you've gotten the reader hooked on the story and/or characters, you might be able to 'flashback' to that intro. The great thing about a place such as Lush is the freedom it gives you to try new things.

When you 'git 'er done' drop by Rumplations and let me know. If the thought of entering that dive bothers you, send me a msg. I'd like to see what you came up with.

"glasses8:

Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of, but do it in private and wash your hands afterwords. - ROBERT HEINLEIN

Feels So Right, It Can't Be WrongMore steamy, seductive, straight step-sibling sex, 2-3

FROM:
Becky -- FOR: Matt -- With Love:
a Festive contest winner – honest

HOW HUMANS DO IT: a fish-eye view of sex an Editor's Pick - no kidding
secretjanedoe
Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 4:53:28 PM

Rank: Active Ink Slinger

Joined: 1/26/2012
Posts: 40
Location: REDACTED
RumpleForeskin wrote:
There's always the old reliable, flashback. Once you've gotten the reader hooked on the story and/or characters, you might be able to 'flashback' to that intro. The great thing about a place such as Lush is the freedom it gives you to try new things.

When you 'git 'er done' drop by Rumplations and let me know. If the thought of entering that dive bothers you, send me a msg. I'd like to see what you came up with.

"glasses8:


Thanks for your help I am having trouble getting it past mods. The two I have sent it to at this point had varying problems with separate pieces of content so I am editing it hopefully one last time and then I will be sure to let you know.

Thanks again!

Ladies and Gentleman I Give You My Pussy: http://www.lushstories.com/secretjanedoe
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