Coming Up With Original Ideas and Storylines/Plots [Knyfe]

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Coming Up With Original Ideas and Storylines/Plots [Knyfe]

Post by Lonin on Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:24 am

Created by Knyfe

Coming up with quality ideas for adoptables websites is hard, we all know it. We want to be unique, we want to be special, but mostly we want to take the easy way out. So many great ideas are already taken and have become old news. Cats, dragons, Pokemon—they’re all cool, but people want something new. Well, hopefully this guide will help you come up with a creative new idea for your adoptables website. Smile

[size=large]Original Ideas[/size]

For this part of the tutorial, I'll just be trying to help you come up (or start coming up with) a creative general idea for your website. This does NOT include the storyline or plot of your adoptables site: only the general idea, species, layout, etc. are included. The original idea section is, to me, more about the first impressions people will have about your site than what they'll see once they look deeper into your site. So, without further ado, here is a quick guide on how you can come up with an original site idea.

Why do I need an original idea?

You don’t need an original idea, but it helps to have one that is unique to your site. It’s a lot harder to make your website stand out if it has the same plot as many others. If someone has been to six bad websites about dragons, they’re probably going to associate dragon sites with bad sites. Therefore, they might automatically turn away from your site just because it's about dragons.
Of course, this doesn't mean that sites with less original themes can't be successful! It just often attracts more people to your website if it isn't about something that they've already seen a thousand times before.

Now, to start coming up with an idea, there are a few questions that you can ask yourself:

What ideas do you look for in other sites? While this may sometimes feel unoriginal, one of the best ways to get a good idea for your site is to draw inspirational from others'.

What is your favourite animal or creature? Remember that your adoptables website does not have to focus entirely on one species! Often, people create several different species but have many variations of each. Combinations or hybrids or two or more animals can create an interesting species for your members to adopt. For example, if you liked websites about cats but you also had an interest in ghosts and superstition, you could create a website about phantom cats or something. :3 Draw an idea from your favourite animal and maybe combine it with what you like to see in other sites.

What do I see a lot of in adoptables sites? Generally anything that you see a lot of you'd want to avoid in your website, at least for the idea phase. Forums, quests, maps, etc. are all common in adoptables websites, but these features are all very useful for your site and help bring in members, whereas an overly used idea may repel them. But do you see a lot of adoptables sites with a certain species used? Some of the most commonly overdone themes are cats, Pokemon, Digimon, horses, dogs/wolves and dragons, but there are other overused ideas. Try to stay away from these as the main species of your website. Having them as a side quest or smaller part of your site is fine.

Hopefully after asking yourself these questions, you'll have narrowed down your site idea to a few options. Your favourite animal and what you look for in other sites should give you an idea of what your site should have; what you find most commonly in other sites should have helped you get rid of a few of these ideas and decide on a more unique one. If what you have settled on or are left with isn't special enough for you, repeat these questions to yourself and choose your second-favourites.

Still stuck? Try a random animal generator if you need help deciding on a species.
This generator here is good if you'd like to create a site revolving around animal hybrids.
This chart/generator is excellent for creating an entirely new species or mutant animals.
(If you find another generator that should be linked here, please post the link to it below and I will most likely add it. If you can't reply without necroposting, private message me and I can bump it for you.~)

[size=large]Plots and Storylines[/size]

Why do I need a plot or storyline?

Well, technically, you don't. Successful sites don't always have to have a storyline. But it's the first thing I look for in an adoptables site, before even looking at the artwork! If you create a 'cliff hanger' for your members, they'll become more interested in your site and are usually a lot more likely to join! If the first thing someone sees is a creative storyline, they'll think of your site as a pretty unique one, which is often what makes someone register.

What is a plot or storyline and where should I put one in my site?

The plot or storyline for your website is usually found on the front page. That is where I recommend you place it, as it will quickly catch a user's attention and they are more likely to read it. The storyline usually introduces a person to the theme of your website in addition to telling them the purpose of joining. A very common, overused one is: a new species has been discovered, and you have been hired as a scientist to investigate. This is really the last storyline you want to use, as almost everyone has seen it at least once before.

The storyline is one of the hardest things to come up with in my opinion. Make sure you have the general idea of your adoptables site down before you try to come up with the plot; it makes it a lot simpler.

A few questions can be useful in coming up with your idea, but they don't work quite as well as with other things:

Is the species new/mutated, or it is known already on earth?
Are you arriving in a foreign or familiar land?
Is the species thriving or struggling to survive?
Is the species dangerous, friendly or shy?
Are you willingly or unwillingly raising the species?
Have you been hired to take care of the species or are you volunteering?

For help on coming up with quest ideas, take a look at Planning Out/Creating Quests.
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