Monster Story Arcs?

FukinDeadBeat

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I don't know if this is the right place to ask this but I'll ask anyway.

So i'm looking to make a story about a monster. Pretty simple enough right?

Not for me. I'm having trouble thinking of arcs for the little monster to go through without things getting stale and boring for the readers.

Like i can't just have this thing fighting, eating, and sleeping for dozens of chapters. I need some type of events to happen and to build to those events in an interesting and engaging way that can manage to keep my readers interested.

Any ideas?
 

Azrie

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The thing is, most stories run into the same problem without a twist and world to work around the premise. That's when you start asking yourself what if questions. For example, a common thing to happen is for the monster to grow and then be found by humans, and then an elite party is done - this either goes two ways. Monster MC gets wrecked and runs away, and something else happens. Or MC wins and then goes of to kill the village that sent them. Just to make an example.

So, what will be your twist? Just remember that, as long as there is a change within the character it won't be that boring.
 

CL

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My opinion is Frankenstein's monster is a great inspiration on how to chapter every step of a monster's journey. As a suggestion, I'd look over the outline of that journey and dismantle the reasoning behind it. Then, once you have the inspiration, you could piece together and construct your own ideas.
 

Yiphen

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Frankenstein's monster
Yeah, go the Frankenstein route. There are so many stories about monsters being op and killing things, choosing to do what they want, but so few are stories where they actually consider why they do so, why they exist, and all that mid-life crisis sort of things.
 
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flucket

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I feel like it comes down to asking what monster your protagonist is going to be -- which will dictate their ultimate growth/goal, and then build off that ideal/motivation. For example, slime or goblin monsters are common because they're common "bottom of the food chain" monsters, so their journeys almost always tend toward "becoming stronger and subverting the expectations of their weak race by building an empire". An undead monster, such as a skeleton, usually has a character journey based around "regaining life/humanity" and what they sacrifice or lose along the path to that. A dragon, a monster that tends to start off very powerful, tends to have more internal character growth, usually around making friends/a community, since dragons are seen as very solitary.

So, the simplest and most straightforward way to make your monster story different for readers is by carefully choosing what monster your protagonist is going to be. This is just me, but I find the goblin/slime/whatever weak monster storyline really stale and boring, because they're the fastest to fall into that exact fight-eat-sleep cycle of storytelling you describe. I also personally don't like the whole "powerful monster looking to make friends" because I find them sort of wishy washy and lacking in actual plot.

What monster is your story about? What is an ultimate goal/motivation to guide that monster? Is it a gregarious monster (like a goblin that lives in a community) or a solitary monster? In which case, if it's a social then one easy method is to build up a strong supporting cast of deuteragonists and antagonists within the community the monster belongs to.

Another simple method is to think of the environment as its own character. Monsters living in the woods or a cave is pretty boring because it's normal. A monster that lives in a "dungeon", but not in a symbiotic relationship as people might believe but is constantly struggling with the dual threat of the dungeon itself as well human/oid raiders entering it is a good way to maintain tension and an excuse to constantly throw in surprises, just as an example. Or the monster could be nomadic. Maybe the monster is part of a gregarious species, but for one reason or another became separated from its own kind and part of its literal journey is migrating to try to rejoin its people -- this can break up the cycle as you constantly introduce new cultures and societies that may have different attitudes towards monsters, some positive and others negative. And because the character's active journey is about travelling, not just fighting or getting stronger, the sorts of obstacles you can create are more varied than just "strong opponent". It can be the environments they come across that they aren't evolved to suit (eg. a plant monster in a desert), or simply the despair of their isolation.

I mean, without knowing what you mean by monster and what the ultimate goal is, it's hard to say. Is it just another monster story about some basic monster getting strong? Because I dunno, those are just tired as hell.
 

Kotohood

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Not really an arc. But one part that I really liked about a monster story that i've read once was MC during his/her heat period and how he was trying to control his uncontrollable rage to breed.

A lot of things that you can expand with this idea. Like one day he/she found a mate, or something. Up to you really.
 

Ral

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For me, this is more because of lack of world building. Most authors just create a world that doesn't provide much to work on or is just haphazard. For example, most stories have a very shallow and generic system where the protagonist have to fight other monsters to gain levels and get new skills. What happens? The protagonist would fight monsters again and again and again, ad infinitum. I mean, what else is there to do with this kind of magic system? Not to mention other faults like power creep and its arbitrariness. Then it would be compounded by the rather empty world that is as uninspired as its magic system which makes for even more limited possibilities.

Compare to something like Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sure, the magic system is actually kinda simple. People can bend elements of water, earth, fire and air but what makes it work is that the system is built very deeply. How to improve the abilities aren't straightforward. They have to train and whatnot. They have stories and lore that surround the magic system. They build a culture around the magic system.

The concept of the magic system in Avatar is really simple. There are no tables, or levels, or evolution, or any of those fancy stuff. What it have is its very thorough implementation. Couple that with its well developed setting and you have a world that is rich with story possibilities.
 

NotaNuffian

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The most important thing is what I believe as interraction with the surrounding, the people. Of course the beginning is important as it is the start of the Monster, is he weak? Strong? Alone? With a pack? Does he/ she experience warmth of kins or solitude's cold touch? Is the environment hostile or mild (fyi there is no such thing as a friendly environment as I embrace the dog-eat-dog society mantra), are there constant threats?

You can have the monster be the most powerful creature with vassals and have him depowered to see the reactions, of those who love him/ her and those who pretend, of those with hope that it can regain and those that wish not, especially on those that wsih it dead. Put such trials to your monster and see it react or better, proactively do something about it.
 

AliceShiki

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I don't know if this is the right place to ask this but I'll ask anyway.

So i'm looking to make a story about a monster. Pretty simple enough right?

Not for me. I'm having trouble thinking of arcs for the little monster to go through without things getting stale and boring for the readers.

Like i can't just have this thing fighting, eating, and sleeping for dozens of chapters. I need some type of events to happen and to build to those events in an interesting and engaging way that can manage to keep my readers interested.

Any ideas?
2 Questions for you:

What is the plot of your novel?
How will your novel end?

Try answering those 2 to yourself. If you can, you'll probably find a way to keep things fresh until it ends.
 

DragonMage18

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If MC originaly was a not a monster then you could have an arc where MC gets reminded of the time before. Ends up strugeling about his identity, wondering if he is a monster or not. If MC ends up on monster, make an arc at the end where MC goes on the offencive and ends up seeing his/her son/daughter with a child of their own (doing or having something to remind MC once more). MC wife/husband could also be there. This could then end with MC having to kill them, be killed by them or maybe die saving them and regaining his/her humanity? Should be the MC solidifying his position as a monster or doing a compleate reversal (those are the two choises i would have chosen from).


If MC is a monster from the start (no memories from previous life, or have never been anything else). This arc would also need some kind of arc before this one that woild explain why the MC would act and can act as he does there. It's as simple as MC drinks/eat something that transform him into a human (or another inteligent race) for an extended periode of time (weeks/months). Maybe there are two races at war (or two kingdoms where kingdom A mainly have race A nbd kingdom B, race B). And the thing MC devoured was made for infiltration purpose. So MC have to live with a new body. What would eventualy happen when meting race A, what about race B? MC later gets hold of that item once more, what would MC do?


You could also simply go for simple real life problems, like MC gets fleas. What problems does this bring? How is it solved? How does it affect daily life? When does MC find out something is wrong? How did MC get them? Do they bring the MC problems even after they are gone?

MC breakes multiple limbs.
How does MC deal with it? Is he able to live normaly? What chalanges does it bring? Hpw does MC survive with broken limbs? Will the limbs work normaly afterwards? Is the MC abandoned by the pack? If yes what happens if they meet once more? Do MC hold a grudge?

MC captured and sold to a circus. Does MC make a bond with anyone there? How is the MC released? Does the MC run away? What does the MC have to do there? Will the skills MC learn here be usefull later? Will someone watching MC preform , recognice him later? If yes, how does 5his affect how they act aroynd the MC? Does MC cause the end for the circus? How does this affect MCs relationship with others? This could end up in a later arc where MC is cought up in the aftermath of it's end?

MC could be pregnant or waiting for his mate to give birth. This couls happen at the same time as the arcs above. How does this change how the MC acts? How does the monster race MC is act while ecpecting children? Is MC diffrent from the norm of his race? How does his mate react to this?

MC runs away from someone or something (could be hin natural predetor or just someone much stronger), and ends up in a habitat compleatly different to what he is used to. Eks. MC naturaly lives in open plains but ends up ina swampy forest.
How does MC survive? Does MC get permanent damage? How does MC survive? Is it brains, brawn, luck or something else?

I should stop here. Just tell me if you want more @FukinDeadBeat.
Would have writen something myselfe, but i just end up asking question after question to myselfe like i did here, just almost never ending...
 
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