I can remember when I first found the Nifty Archive online years ago…and being just…overwhelmed by the stories that I found there! I didn’t even think these kinds of stories existed. So, naturally…I spent days, weeks, months, and years, binge reading everything that I could at a ravenous pace! Gobble gobble gobble, yumm yumm yumm!!! Hehehe!
But, after a while…fatigue DOES begin to set in. It’s inevitable. There comes a time when erotic stories become repetitive, predictable, maybe even stale in their content. If it hasn’t happened to you yet…it will. It happened to me. That’s why I started writing my own stories in the first place.
So…when it comes to reading stories online (Mine included, of course)…have you really seen it all? Are you getting a bit jaded with the idea of scrolling through a collection of stories by a variety of different authors…only to find the same tropes over and over again?
The sexy sleepover? The blond haired/blue eyed love interest? The ‘underdog gets the love of a boy that’s out of his league’? The ‘best friend with benefits’ scenario? The slim athlete with the six-pack is secretly gay? Or maybe the guy who who pretends to hate me so much has really been in love with me the whole time? Hehehe, if you’re reading 100 different stories a week…you’re going to run into similarities. And those similarities will turn into cliches. Finding something new and surprising will become increasingly difficult, but there’s only so many stories to tell.
So, what ‘formulas’ do you find yourself running into, time and time again, while reading stuff online? What are you tired of seeing all the time? What do you want to see in the stories you enjoy instead? Give us your thoughts! We’d love to hear from you!
“Your first paragraph describes where I am at to a T. In many ways finding and reading these stories really is helping me come to terms with my sexuality and hopefully one day I’ll have the strength to live and love as my heart truly desires. Your Billy Chase stories made me wish I was a teenager again and boy would I have chosen a different path. Thanks for all the effort you put into your stories and these boards.
I guess there will come a time when story plots become repetitive and seem generic, but I’m not there yet that is for sure.”-Peterlefun
“A recipe for disaster…
Over there years, I’ve found myself following a pattern when it comes to selecting something to read. If it’s under 20 Kb in size, I skip it. If the first paragraph starts something like “First let’s tell you a little bit about myself…” I hit the back button. Finally, if appendages are unrealistically large, I’m out of there.
That’s kind of the Holy Trinity to Nifty story selection. While I’m definitely not opposed to stories that are strictly written for the sex, I do prefer the ones that make an effort to build up the characters a little bit, too. Of course, this is usually done by adding a plot piece that has nothing to do with sex.
This plot point doesn’t have to be mind blowing. It can be something simple that gives the characters a bit more drive then getting naked. For example, George lost his paper boat and swears on his life that he won’t return home without it, and along the way he befriends a guy named Pennywise, who specializes in buoyancy, which is terribly important with boats and stuff.
When it comes to a story, it’s not really about recycled plots so much as the new characters that ride them. If the author takes the time to build up the characters and make us care about them, whatever happens in the story will be accepted. It doesn’t matter if it’s cliché or not.” –TurtleBoy
As a writer of these stories myself, I’m always trying to do something that is a little different from what most readers are used to. And that’s not really an easy thing to pull off, considering that there are SO many stories out there, and people have been reading them almost daily for YEARS before they ever find my tiny little corner of the internet! But I do try to add something a little extra into everything that I do. Something that can feel new and unique, even if it’s a typical ‘boy meets boy’ romance story.
One of the reasons that I really enjoy doing the ‘Daydream Shorts’ for Imagine Magazine is that I get a chance to try out some different themes without having to commit to a ten or twenty chapter series. I get to capture just one moment in time that readers can all recall and relate to, and then be done with it. It’s just a matter of maybe viewing things from a different perspective. What kind of a story can I tell if it’s seen from the Father’s point of view with a gay teenage son? What if I told the story of a teen who’s still a virgin, but is finding online gay pornography for the first time? What if I told a story about two boys who have already had sex…but the story surrounds the act of hiding that from their friends while they all hang out together at the mall?
Coming up with new ideas is difficult, but far from impossible. The characters and the perspective is what changes a familiar story into something cool and different.
As for certain tropes that I’ve kind of gotten tired of? There are a few. The themes can be written well when the author tries. But I feel like they’ve become an easy way to just ‘get off’ basically. I’ve sort of gotten weary of the whole “Boy who mows my lawn” or delivers my newspapers idea. You know, like…”Come on in and get an ice cold glass of lemonade for your trouble.” And then he puts his hand on the boy’s leg, and twenty minutes later he’s balls deep and banging his way to an orgasm. I don’t know, that’s about as close to sexual assault as you can get. Hehehe! Maybe it’s just me, but the idea of putting my hand on a stranger’s thigh to initiate a homosexual encounter just seems like it would result in me getting smashed in the teeth.
LOL! I’m not saying that it doesn’t happen. It’s just never happened to ME!
Also, I’m not a fan of ‘bathroom sex’. I spent a lot of time working in places with public bathrooms, and it just doesn’t really do it for me. They’re sterile, cramped spaces, dirty, stinky…so, the idea of peeking at someone’s penis at a urinal and pulling them into a stall to have sex (Because nobody else notices two people having sex in the same room as them)…not my thing. I could drop my WALLET on a public restroom floor and wonder whether or not I should pick it up or just cut my losses and leave it there.
So, there are certain situations that I see over and over again that I feel get tiresome. But…at the same time, I’ve seen some authors really shine when tackling those familiar tropes and breathing new life into the situation. But that all comes through character development and story plot. I feel more engaged when authors take the time to really build a full experience. I think sex is more of a mental and emotional act than a physical one. So the involvement in the story is what makes all the difference. You know?
Anyway, that’s my opinion. And I’m sticking to it. ::Giggles::” –Comicality
“I get this one and you are right that sometimes to get a story that breaks the mold, you gotta write it yourself. The funny thing, even a story that is “new ground” for you won’t be for everyone no matter how hard you try. I was totally convinced that my first story posted online was different from anything else out there. It had all the elements of a plot twist that I felt hadn’t been used and it was based in my real past. How could that have anything in common with anyone else’s work? Then I began to get feedback from its readers. At first, it was encouraging. People would try to guess where I was heading and when they were completely wrong, I’d do a little happy dance in my chair. (Not a pretty sight actually. Humorous maybe…) Then people started to get closer and closer to the actual plot in their guessing. One guy actually got so close, I thought about rewriting the outline. That’s when I realized that as long as you are singling out one specific genre, there is a limited amount of outcomes. Now factor in the fact that the people looking for these stories are looking for the same thing that I was back then. You know, the exact same stories that made me decide to write my own. Then all you need to do is step back and think about how many people reading went through the same lousy situation growing up and wanted the same better ending and then guess what, we all are coming from a similar mold. Our unique situations have just as many similarities as they do differences. So why would the stories we write be completely different? We all wanted the same better ending and we all will probably write that into our story. So even though we want to walk a different path, they all seem to lead to the common “happy ever after” that everyone wants but is frightened to never find. (Boy is gay, boy feels left out, boy finds someone who understands, boy finds a way to feel like he fits in, boy finally meets boy…) You may not have read everything out there but often, you actually can feel like you’ve “Seen It All” and not be completely wrong.” –JeffsFort
“I’m running into this problem with Gay SciFi romance.
The human meets a cute boy alien from outer space and they Fuuu and then cute alien boy has to go home.
Now, done right (Light Reaches Earth, a-hem) this trope can work because it is a fantasy formula that can always pull at your heart-strings. Boy meets boy. Boy falls in love with boy. Boy must leave boy. Boy cries. Done wrong, it is derivative and boring.
I am in the planning phase of a story called ‘Super Massive’ (not a double-entendre, I promise), but find myself falling into this trope myself a bit. It is as inevitable as Thanos that this will become the trope stated above, but the trick is to make it original by dressing it in Sci-Fi realism and flair.
Star Wars is an old Hero Conquers The Dark Fortress trope which was done very well by George Lucas. His trick was to dress a Fantasy trope in Sci-Fi costumes and unrivaled special effects. It worked great for him, but failed for others because George had done it so well and too many others were just copying him too closely.
I think that is the trick with time honored tropes: Use them as a skeleton, but make them you’re own by discovering a twist or take on it that hasn’t been done before or hasn’t been done through your particular lens. Everyone that can draw can draw a tree, but, you will find, that each person’s concept and view of the tree will look totally different and unique to the person doing it if they are allowed to draw the tree in their own way.” –MrM
“I do read a lot, and yeah, a lot of the same themes are repeated.
That’s true of a lot of fiction as a whole. It’s rare that a truly unique plot comes along.
I don’t mind it at all. They can still be great stories. And it depends on the other things going on in the background, those things can still make or break a story.
For instance, Gone From Daylight. You can view it as another case of someone (Justin) who has a low opinion of themselves , driven to the point of considering suicide, but then they’re saved by someone who turns their whole world around and gives them a reason to keep on living (or err… living undead as a vampire in this case :P).
But it’s also about vampires and mimics and sun quests. ‘circles’ and ‘extras’, and all the things that makes the story unique.
So as long as there’s some uniqueness to the story, the familiar theme isn’t a drawback at all. I think those themes are so common because they touch on what makes us human, and what interests us.
Falling in love. The first day at school. A cheating partner. Divorce. The death of a loved one. These are common themes, but ones we can relate well with. And people enjoy things they can relate to.
What puts me off of a story? Too much sex.
I’m not prudish but how many times can you make a sex scene interesting in a story? Especially after they’ve done it a few times already. I just find that it distracts me from the flow of the story. Some people read these stories because they’re horny, and I get that. But I’m not one of those people. I’m just looking for a good story.
It’s the same case with sex in TV shows.
I watch porn almost every day ;).
But a random sex scene in the middle of a really good episode of a TV show distracts me from the plot. It feels unnecessary, and I find myself rolling my eyes.
It’s mixing two different things I like, together, to make something I dislike.
It’s like musicals and movies, but not so much film musicals because the songs take me out of the story.
And I like fish and ice cream, but not both together.
I also like flawed characters. Not too flawed to the point where I don’t like them, but flaws make them interesting to read. Whereas perfect characters are just plain boring :D” –Mike
“I’ve noticed quite a few gay stories (in the mainstream media) that have a sad, pessimistic attitude to them, recently. I won’t mention anyone by name, but it’s as if the writers don’t believe that gay people have a right to be happy. How about writing something happy for a change? You can write a good story without killing off half of your cast through accidents and/or gay bashings. Another trope I’m sick of: “Everyone is gay or bi-curious.” A boy or a group of boys initiates sexual contact with almost EVERY male person he/they encounter, without any consequences or social impact on their lives. Statistically, the numbers just don’t support that kind of scenario, but the writer expects you to believe it anyway?
Or, the boy has sex with his love interest after only a few chapters? What else is left? Don’t put the most interesting parts at the start of the book! Save it for the climax! (No pun intended.) Honestly? My LEAST favorite trope, the worst trope of all time, is a story that starts with: “Hi, my name is Gary Stu, I’m 13 years old, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a very trim body, but not TOO buff. My dick is XX inches long, and recently, I just discovered how to spank the salami!” That’s not how you would introduce yourself to someone, so why would you introduce characters to your readers that way?
Honestly, I enjoy the kind of story that goes: “Boy dates girl, but feels awkward about it. Boy calls a matchmaking service that will replace his girlfriend with someone else, for a fee. A clerical error leads to the delivery of another boy, instead of a girl. Boy’s friends and family treat the new kid as a trade-up from the girlfriend. The boys are more deeply connected than the previous relationship, and the first boy isn’t sure he wants his former girlfriend back.”
Or another: “Boy is forced to spend summer vacation in a small, rural town. Boy is convinced that he’ll be miserable, and jinxes himself for the first few days. Boy meets another boy who changes his outlook towards the situation. Boys look for a hidden pirate treasure, and narrowly escape with their lives. Boys fall in love, but have to go their separate ways when vacation ends.”
As others have said, it’s very easy to get trapped in cliched tropes and storylines, but some writers can make those cliches into something new. Don’t be afraid to explore and try new things, especially in writing!” –Page Scrawler
If you guys want to add your two cents to any one of the ‘Q & A’ sessions for future issues of Imagine Magazine, we’d LOVE to hear your input and your personal stories on the forum! Feel free to attach your screen name, or do so anonymously! Drop by “The Shack Out Back” forum OR Imagine’s NEW “Inner Visions” forum on the 1st and 15th of every month for a brand new topic of conversation! We look forward to hearing more from you! 🙂