Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Caitlyn Masked said... It is interesting seeing how people write their caps. You write the ending to your caps last, while I generally start with the ending. When I look at the image I have chosen it is almost always at the end of the story, so I have the end situation in mind. I then work at the beginning. Once I have those two parts I try to work in some interesting details in between. Of course nothing is safe from the edit monster, but while the beginning and details change quite often, the ending almost always remains the same!

Once I had those details, I started writing. Sadly in that example I wrote much more that I originally intended to. The image was a single one that I found and not part of a series so I had to find other pictures to fill it out. I'm finding this problem more often as my cap length keeps growing. (much like this post!)

I think it was Dee that told me one day I would end up writing stories. I think that will come true as I feel I am leaving SO MUCH out of the caps that would make them better. 
Thought this would be a good start to another discussion. Kaitlyn had made mention in a previous posting that she writes her captions chronologically, and has the ending written last. Caitlyn has mentioned that she does the "Ending" then works backwards. I figured I would post what I tend to do and see if it jives with others who create.

Usually I come up with a "stinger" as MST3k would describe it (it was a snippet of dialog from the movie they had just riffed, and it was usually a very odd bit of dialog that strangely seemed to sum up the whole movie) and then work everything else around it. Kaitlyn would call it a "punchline" if it was funny:  but if not, it would be one piece of dialog or main idea that drives home the entire caption. I would say that 85-90 percent of all my captions have that "stinger" whether it is in the beginning or the end.

With that, I flesh out the story of the caption (as we've determined, I almost always have a picture before the story) based around that "stinger". Often, the stinger is near the conclusion of the caption, and other times, it can come at the beginning. No matter where it is, it will always be the focal point of the caption, and I am either elaborating on it, or building up to it. It helps to have a stinger, as if I am being too wordy, it helps to keep my eye on the goal, which would be to eliminate or consolidate anything that refers to something not related to that main idea. If I don't have enough text (which does happen from time to time) it is really easy to add some flourish to the story and pad it out.

That is the basics involved in my creative process. Of course, I don't ALWAYS follow that set course, and I've written some captions that I've thought meandered without really saying anything. Those I hope are more of an aberration, but sometimes a caption needs to be a "snapshot" in time and no resolution is needed. For me, that is what I call a "Lebowski" moment.

And yes Caiitlyn, I think I mentioned in the past that perhaps you should be making captions in Powerpoint or PDF's since you seem to really write mini-stories.

DISCUSSION QUESTION: For those that create captions, when you write, do you start at the beginning and write 'til the end? Do you start with the ending and work toward that ending? Do you create more like I do?


  1. HI.
    When I make captions I find some pictures that I like that suggest an ending that appeals to me. (Or can be manipulated to get to that ending). I then fill in the story from front to back and around the images.
    I prefer to use photoshop.

  2. I as going to reply to the other discussion, but I see it lead directly to this wonderful topic. ^_^ with The humiliation topic, All that needed to be said seems to have been said already.

    When I make a caption, I almost always start with the picture and see if it "speaks" to me in some way. Even when I made the crossover school girl cap, I had the basic plot for Sasha's story, but I let the rest of the pictures fill out their end of the story.

    Sometimes I might have a word or situation In my mind, but that will only lead me to what kind of picture I need to search for. again, like the school girl cap. I had to look through lots of school girls to find the right one's.

    I write it from beginning to end every time, knowing the basic plot outline. I just need to flesh it out with all the details. I've gotten requests, but unless the picture is provided and the person has a suggestion for the story, I usually keep the same process.

  3. When I write captions, I usually never have a specific story or outcome in mind. I just write whatever comes out as I write.

    I begin by just browsing images until one "speaks" to me. Basically it's like getting a sense of emotion that the picture is conveying in my mind. From that I'll develop a basic plot idea or event in which to create around.

    The hardest part for me is getting the writing started. Since a caption is such a short amount of space in which to get across your story, starting for me is hard. But once I do get started, things usually flow very well.

    I always let the story go where it wants to go. Since I don't plan it out before I start writing, it can go anywhere. Sometimes the end result is far from the initial idea I had in mind. I never go back and make changes though. I like the fresh from my mind approach.

  4. For the first time last night, I wrote the ending first for my caption. But when I got to the first part, I felt I had to put in so much story so I could work to that ending.

    Maybe I could have done it with less, but the caption has gone over well so far. ^_^ And I did have a lot of fun with the ending. I will say, I have that problem of sometimes writing up to much for just a single caption, or even a two part cap.

  5. That's great Jennifer! It is always good to try new ways of creating. Sometimes it works well, and other times its a learning experience of how NOT to do something LOL

    It does give me an idea on s possible future caption contest for the Haven. I will bounce it off of Bren to see if it is too complicated to do in the context of captions. If it is, I'll make mention of it here and see if people want to try to tackle it.

  6. Well, If it's trying out different method of writing a caption? if so Than I think it would be a fun one. but couldn't it be put under challenges?

  7. Haha Dee, I don't remember saying I write chronologically. For general captions, I do tend to just start writing and see where it takes me. But whenever a punchline is involved, technically that punchline is the end of the caption, and when I write the caption, everything is building up to that punchline.

    If you think of the way most stand-ups and comedians tell jokes, the punchline is never used first. They tell you a story. They tell their audience what they need to know so when they reach the punchline, it has humor.

    But you've given me an idea for a caption...

  8. My process varies wildly depending on who or why I'm capping. Right now I'm in a phase where I like doing a specific type of cap (sissification), so I'm looking for picture sets that go with that theme, e.g. minimal nudity, boyish looking girls, looks of confusion, etc. When I find the right sets, a theme or very partial storyline will pop into my head. From there I let it bake while I do other things. Then once I start writing, it is a process of getting out of the way and letting the words flow by themselves.

    Of course I rarely find the right sets and I often have to "work" to get the story out. In those cases I do usually focus on one part of the story. Sometimes it is the voice of the person speaking or thinking the first line, then everything flows outward from there. I think I tend to do better on stories like that as I feel the freedom to let the story wander where it likes.

    Other times it is the last line, or "stinger" as Dee calls it, that I focus on. In those cases, the work is to get to that ending. One odd thing, when I focus on the last line, I almost always end up changing it before I get to it. The story ends up evolving as I write and what sounded good when I started will no longer fit by the time I get there.

    Then there are other captions, say birthday caps or silly jokes where the picture is the most important part. The text are only there to give context and the 1000 words of the picture do all the work. Those are the most fun when they go right ... well maybe not the most fun, more like the most funny.

    This is a great topic Dee and I'm glad so many people have posted replies.

  9. @ Kaitlyn

    I must've had a Dee Dee moment, as I thought that you had said you start with an ending and work your story through to it. Sorry about that! It did lead to a decent discussion topic though!

    @ Petra

    I've posted more about caption creation on the Haven through different topics and even comments on others caption work. I think from time to time, I will definitely be posting more about the different things we use in making the stuff we do.

    I love most of your captions, but the birthday caps and silly jokes always make me smile. Its always fun to see everyone with a back story as it gives each creation more depth (for instance, Steffie's middle name is Godzilla!)

    @ everyone

    I will be posting a new topic soon, but want to remind people that pretty much every topic I do will remain open. Even if nothing has happened in there for awhile, I'll try to keep track and reply if new postings occur.

  10. Since mine are always or almost always written as dialog, I have to work up a situation that can easily be told that way. I may have to add a "narration" box to set up the situation or conclude it, but generally, I have the whole dialog worked out in my head.