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Articles Home » PCM 07: General Articles » Crommy's Guide to Story Writing - Introduction
Crommy's Guide to Story Writing - Introduction

Week 1 - Intro

Hi, and welcome to the introduction to my guide to making a PCM story. I hope you enjoy and learn from this, and if you don’t – oh well, at least I tried.
Let’s start off with some facts, that’s always a nice place to start (well, I say facts, I mean rough guesses from me):

About 80% of stories will not last past page 1 of the forums
About 40% of stories will either not actually begin, or will end before January is over
About 90% of stories will last less than 6 months
About 95% of stories will last less than a season
The final 5% will make it past the end of season barrier

These facts and figures take into account my view on stories from here, PPDB.nl, and Cyanide.

From Guido Mukk's Predictor Lotto story

So what does this mean?
Without stating the obvious, this shows that a story is highly unlikely to last very long. 1 in 20 stories (probably fewer actually) will last the period which generally makes them legendary in the community, and most attempts will splutter and die before they began.
So we learn from this:

For those who read stories:
1. Most of your reading won’t take you on a journey through a career – just a short review of a few races
2. Savour those which do last. They are extremely rare, and take a lot of time, dedication and perseverance

For those who write stories:
1. Writing a story is hard, especially trying to keep it going
2. It’ll take numerous attempts to actually write a story which lasts
So we see that a good story will therefore take time, perseverance and in many instances, preparation. I hope this guide helps you achieve all 3.

Should I write a story?
When you think about it, stories are extremely peculiar things for PCM. Everybody can play the game, so why do we need to hear about other players? And why do people put time and effort into stories? How can they derive enjoyment from sharing it with people they have never met?
As a story writer myself, it’s very hard to describe what it is like writing a long story, and why I did it. It’s something you can only understand properly if you write a story. Maybe others can explain it, but I sure can’t.
But I know what you do need to write a story – time, energy, and above all, an account at Photobucket (or similar site). In all seriousness, you’ve got to be pretty special (I avoid the use of the word weird, strange, demented etc.) to want to write a story that lasts for a long time. It takes a lot of time just to report 1 stage. Here’s how the timing for me goes down:
Play Stage: 20 minutes
Restraining self from throwing computer out of window as Cyanide does something wrong with PCM: 1 minute to 1 week
Forgotten to take screenshots during race, so hastily click replay button: 1 minute
Taking screenshots: 5 minutes
Writing race report: 10 minutes
Formatting screenshots and uploading them to Photobucket: 5 minutes
Posting: 1 minute
A total of 43 minutes – this of course has been exaggerated hugely, but it is roughly for the timings for a long and intense race such as Paris – Roubaix.

So story makers have to be dedicated

An image from A Schleck’s CSC story

Do it Your Way – The Golden Rule of Story Writing
Remember, this guide is most definitely not a definite, and I always encourage people to experiment and do new and exciting things. It’s your story, do your thing. You can do whatever you want with a story, write whatever you want. The main thing is you should enjoy writing it – if you don’t, then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons, and you should stop. So that’s what I like to call the golden rule of story writing:

Only write a story if you enjoy it

Another general rule is that if you enjoy reading the story as you write it, chances are everyone else will too

Breaking through the Barrier
But there are some exceptions to this. For those who make a successful story that lasts longer than into January, you will always hit a rough patch, a patch where you don’t want to go on. This is make or break time for a story.
Many people decide to give up. That follows the golden rule, and in many cases, probably is the best thing to do. But in some cases, you need to get through the boring parts, and you shall be rewarded. Generally, I find the transfers beginning on July 1 a major lure. From January to February, I get my initial motivation, then from June onwards, the transfer period is impending, so I look forward to that. Getting through from March to May is the tough bit, but ploughing through and you do get a reward

People are here to help – but ignore them
Well, I don’t mean everyone of course. A lot of suggestions are helpful, and only want to make your story better. These you can choose to listen to, and even alter your story for. But that’s the problem – don’t feel you should alter your story because one person has said so. Remember the golden rule – do it your way so you enjoy it, and only listen to suggestions if it wouldn’t alter your enjoyment. It could also just be that one person who has that view, not everyone who reads it may share it.

Don’t speak English? No problem
If you’re worried that your English isn’t good enough, be not afraid! First things first, you can always ask me, via PM, to check your story and correct the English, I always will do. Ask around, you’ll find people willing to help. You could also post your story in your native tongue on a different site (hit the Links button).
But remember, perfect English doesn’t matter. One of the best stories on this forum is that of Guido Mukk. He’s English isn’t perfect, he’ll admit that, but we can definitely understand him, and what’s more, we enjoyed the story. In fact, the story even helped him improve his English, as if you read the start and then the end, you see a very definite improvement.
Check it out in the PCM 07 stories forum

So what's coming up in the series?

So what will we see in this guide? Well, each week or fortnight, I’ll be giving you a run through a different style of story, or I may give a large hints and tips section. Here’s what I have planned in the coming weeks:

  • Week 1 – Intro
  • Week 2 – Getting from PCM to the forum (including screenshots)
  • Week 3 – The pivotal questions –step-by-step guide to starting and writing a story, and what to actually write about

Styles of writing (week 3 to week 8)

  • Week 4 – Style 1 – My exploits on PCM
  • Week 5 – Style 2 – PCM is real life
  • Week 6 – Style 3 – A real fictional story
  • Week 7 – Style 4 – Challenging yourself
  • Week 8 – Style 5 – One Rider Story

Hints, Tips and Everything Else

  • Week 9 – Making a story last
  • Week 10 – Video stories – coming soon, or already here?

That’s it for now, there will probably be more, or I may get bored. Each week will feature example stories, step-by-step guides, and a quick guide for those who can’t be bothered to read the whole thing

Until next week,


Questions, Queries or Comments? Simply comment on this article, write in the special thread for this (look under everything else in the forum), or PM me

Are you a budding story writer? Want to see something in this series? Just PM me!

Are you a good story writer, who feels they want to help me out. Please do so via PM straight away.

#1 | matt493 on 04. April 2008 19:28
Good Job Crommy.
#2 | alex153 on 06. April 2008 20:08
Well done I thinkSmile

Only one of my stories has ever made it pass May ( rabobank, tour 2008 ), so I think you got that part quite rightWink
Sadly reporting takes a lot of time as you mentionedSad
#3 | stuartmcstuart on 06. April 2008 20:23
This is a great guide, and will be of invaluable assisstance no doubt to those thinking about starting new stories when the pcmdaily '08 db is released (including me). Pfft

Do go on Crommy, as I think this guide could prove invaluable to a story writing novice such as myself. Wink
#4 | Crommy on 06. April 2008 20:24
Don't expect too much - a lot of it will just go round in circles, and then admit that story making is hard :lol:
#5 | MarcoPRT on 09. April 2008 23:38
Excellent. Looking forward to future articles...Grin
#6 | stuntlucas on 10. April 2008 12:56
Hope you continue.
Excelent ideia!Wink
#7 | lagetcher on 11. April 2008 20:14
Good stuff GrinGrin
#8 | STINKSCT on 23. April 2008 21:09
Very good!
#9 | Chuck on 23. April 2008 21:29
Great guide. And about video stories i have tryed that, filming the end of some of the bigs stages and uploaded to youtube. The response were quite good vs normal updates. Smile
#10 | terpripken on 07. July 2009 09:58
I have consulted this guide many times. Hopefully...some day...I'll write a decent story. Thanks for the tutorial though. There is alot of useful information here no matter what.
#11 | Finn84 on 15. July 2009 20:31
I have found it difficult to play long time continously one game. I started my current season around Tour de France last year, played about month in real-life (in game I was between Pais Vasco and Paris-Roubaix) but continued few weeks ago.

Another problem I find is riders implicated with doping. When I started the game I had few riders kicked out from the game (eg. Ricco) but as there are new cases it's difficult. Recently I managed to do 3rd in L-B-L...Thomas Dekker won and Davide Rebellin was second. If you ask who was my rider, I can tell it was current TdF maillot jaune Rinardo Nocentini.
#12 | mattie524 on 14. August 2011 00:21
wheres the other weeks??
#13 | Ste117 on 17. May 2012 22:44
Just read through this, great guide, I know what its like to start stories and not make it until the end of June. That all changed last year when I started a FDJ story on PCM 10 and made it until end of March and further changed with my current Europcar story which I started in late July 2010 and now currently at the Tour de France, and very proud at the achievement to keep it going thayt long despite at times when it looked dead Grin
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