These are not stories!

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First Post

The end of my post wasn't intended to be inflamatory. Although I realize the tone of my post was probably slightly inappropriate, I honestly feel that pap_laz would find more to his liking than ENWorld.

From his post, I know he will find plenty of like-minded individuals there. My apologies if my comment offended you. With the exception of the message board, is a fine site, and it wasn't my intent to offend it or anyone else.

In conclusion, my apologies to all posters for nibbling at this flame-bait. My bad. :(

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First Post's interesting really. The only post that hasn't gone completely nuts at this Newbie's comments was made by an Aussie. Just a thought. Any way, Lord Kai, very perceptive. As for you Papa_Laz, you raise a few good points, but you needed to be a bit fairer on these people...and as for you people, how can you expect this newbie to come back to ENworld after the flamming he's got? It's not fair on Papa_Laz, give him a break. :cool:


Sniper o' the Shrouds
I take offense to that! I didn't go completely nuts. I just ridiculed his thought process that these should be professional quality and all follow the format of a short story. Then I dissented on his choice of best story.

Oh, and was I wrong? Do you know another professional writer here?


First Post

Lock it down and move it out... this thread is just like old yeller, it needs to be put down
Seriously though anything constructive that was gonna come out of this post has already happened, lets all just move on and go back to writing pages of garbage for Papa Laz (or somethin like that) to wade through :p


papa_laz said:
However, for those of us who are looking for a good, entertaining read, there is sadly not much to be found.

Man, all I have to say is this:

Piratecat: 184569 views (not counting the Early Years).
Wulf: 70550 views.
Sepulchrave II: 43450 views (at least, I may have missed one)
Sagiro: 37605 views.

Surely these guys must be doing something right.

(Me: 9370 views. Woo!)


First Post
Dear laz, we are extremely sorry you do not find the EN World Story Hour enjoyable. To compensate you, Morrus has decided to reduce your fee pf EN World's messageboards from $0 to $0. Further, I am working on a time machine so that you may regain the time you lost when you chose to read these Story Hours. Please accept my apologies.

Milo Windby

First Post
Existence said:'s interesting really. The only post that hasn't gone completely nuts at this Newbie's comments was made by an Aussie. Just a thought.
What's this supposed to mean? Are there two trolls in this thread? Regardless, I agree with Malachai_rose. This should be closed. I think this thread lost its constructive possibilities the moment it was started.

the Jester

Well, Papa, if you don't find the story hours to be entertaining, I suggest that you don't read 'em. Nobody's holding a gun to your head (or are they??).

Also, if you want to show us how you feel a good story hour ought to read, by all means, post one.

Finally, I go out of my way to try to avoid offending people when I post here. This community consists of a mere eight people who each have hundreds or thousands of user names. By insulting one of us, you're automatically insulting a large percentage of us. Clearly, as a newbie with no other supporters, you're number nine on the boards; well, the reason there are only eight of us is because when outsiders come along and be insulting we all post using all our various identities and scare them away. I hate to see that happen until someone really proves that they're useless (why, it was just a few months ago that there were only seven of us), so why don't you relax and try to be nice? Maybe you can be number nine with hundreds of user names in a few months; but I doubt whether you'll last if you keep the superior tone going.

[/tongue in cheek]


Wait a minute, y'all.

I think papa_laz has given us a valid critique, even if it is lacking in diplomacy! Sometimes the voices that are the most blunt and critical are the most useful, if not the most pleasant.

Unfortunately, this isn't one of those times. ;) You missed the boat, papa-- in fact you missed the whole ocean, and I'll tell you why.

I distilled papa_laz's major specific critiques to the following:

For a start, nearly every Story hour writer insists on defining the history and personality of the characters involved before the story even begins . . .

. . . The same applies to the history/geography/politics of the campaign setting.

. . . the story is nearly always told in a linear form, and thus it takes several pages to get to the good stuff.

Why do you all (sorry about the generalisation) insist on doing this? The key rule to any short story is to start off with the action to draw in the readers and then introduce the plot and intrigue to keep them reading.

For the record, your suggestion above is generally accepted as good advice. Got it. If we were writing a short story anthology set around a game world, like the Wild Cards anthology, for example, we would certainly want to follow your advice.

But our stories have a different format, because they are arising from a different condition and are written for a different audience.


1. The stories are about D&D games.

2. The audience plays D&D games.

3. D&D games operate on a set of assumptions and conditions that must be taken into account:

3a. Those conditions are: The players bring pre-created characters to the table. The DM brings a campaign world to the table, about which there is supposed to be a "level playing field" of knowledge.

3b. The stories do not unfold within the crative say-so of a single individual, but are a group effort.

3c. There is no way to 'revise' plot elements once they have taken place. If you're a writer, ask yourself, how great are your first drafts? In D&D, it's all a first draft, and there's up to five writers!

3d. D&D games are almost always linear.


Story hour posts should reflect all of these things, in order to keep the context of the game in place. I guarantee the reason that most of us read these stories is because we are intimately familiar with the challenges and limitations of my points above. We love to see what other creative people do with the same sets of challenges and limitations.

So while your criticisms are valid for more traditional stories, they don't really apply to this forum. Or rather, they are trumped by more central concerns.

But I’m preaching to the choir, right? You said:

I know that the reason for the untraditional method of storytelling is due to the fact that you are for the most part narrating a DnD game. But I dont (sic) see that as any reason for not making it interesting and exciting by telling a proper tale.

I think you are confusing “interesting and exciting” with more traditional short-story formats. You say as much here, by suggesting that turning the D&D story-log into a “proper tale” is what will remedy the story hour’s problems.

I disagree. I don’t read this forum to find great fiction (although I agree with Piratecat that there is some great fiction to be had here), I read this forum to see what my peers are doing with a hobby that I love. A story-telling hobby, yes, but one with its own sets of limitations and opportunities.

I am actually less interested in a “proper” story, because I want to know how the game went, not how well the author can tell a tale. Does that make sense?


I hope that makes sense to you, and thanks for the critique. Feel free to check out any of my story hour threads (listed below). If you don't think that I've managed to tell an interesting story within the context of this format, I'd be very interested to hear why you think I missed the mark.

The TOEE2, a retro story hour

The Liberation of Tenh (the TOEE2 continues)

The Risen Goddess

Last I checked, all it took to have a proper story was a beginning, middle, and end. If you allow for in medias res, you can dispense with the beginning; most story hours are works in progress, so maybe no end yet -- but they're still stories.

Quality, however, is in the pen of the critic.

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