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Stage Writing

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I have been asked to write the stages for a match this spring.  Never did it before.  How important, or even necessary, is a story line.  Seems like club matches always have a story line associated with a stage but big matches never do?

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Posted (edited)

I think a story line adds to the environment.  Keep it short, it doesn't have to be a book.  I always try to run a theme through all six stages to keep the shoot in the same mode.

 

I also always have a starting line or the shooter can just say "Ready".

Edited by Lone Rider, SASS# 73063
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Story lines can be fun, but if you use em, make em short. Shooters will roll their eyes and grumble if the RO reads a long narrative. Some light humor is good without hacking on folks too much. Some don't like it. I take lines from movies and give a little backstory of what's going on in the scene where the line is. I also write some storylines involving our own folks.

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Not that important, sometimes ads a nice touch, I been writing stages for our club for almost 10 years, started with story lines, now just write the stages with the shooting scenarios.

 

TB

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if you do have a story, do like others have said, keep them short and sweet,  and keep starting lines short too, and have them printed out, the lines that is,, on the stage

 

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I've only been writing stages for a couple of years but since we typically use 3 bays with 2 stages per bay, each posse has to start on a different bay. IMHO a storyline doesn't lend itself well when you're starting on stage 5 and the story started on stage 1. 

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I have seen it done both ways.  When I write mine, I like to follow a story line or theme.  Part of the fun in writing the stages is doing the research for the story line, whether it be historical or movie themed.

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Hi John Wesley,

 

     Story lines are great if they're short and sweet. Everyone likes a good joke and a bad joke (groaner).  :P

 

Do stuff to put people in a good mood,  keep the "ready lines" short and sweet too.

 

Using a ready line that pertains to the stage always works;  "Who came up with this craziness?"  or "This looks like a Two-One-Two sweep!"

 

I sometimes use movie lines but half the folks have never heard of the movie let alone have seen it.  :wacko:

 

Just keep people happy and not overly worked!  :lol:

 

Best of luck,

 

Mo

 

 

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All of the previous posts have been good considerations, also consider.

 

1)    Have taken and periodically review RO2 course ware.

2)    Review SASS Match Directors Guide, as it has many good recommendations, I do not have space for in this post.

3)    Take inventory of the stage(s) props, targets and stands to see what you have to work with.

4)    Place targets in a manner taking into count where the splatter will end up and attempt to minimize splatter ending up where people congregate.  Be mindful, of adjacent stages if there is not a barrier between stages, that the splatter does not end up on the adjacent posse as well.

5)    Come up with a preliminary outline for each stage, then consider how each shooting style would wish to shoot the stage for efficiency and do not write a whole match that favors one shooting style over another.

6)    Take the number of stages and evenly distribute firearm sequences, R-P-S, R-S-P, S-R-P, P-R-S, Never end with Rifle

7)    Evenly distribute the flow left to right, right to left, shooters option, and if possible forward movement over entire match.

8)    Word the stage instructions in a manner that allows the maximum freedom for each individual shooter to enjoy the stage, don’t box everyone into a corner shooting the stage the way you would.

9)    Always remember, then end goal is for SAFE ENTERTAINMENT, if in the end it is not fun, what’s the point?

10) Last, but most important, when the match is completed review and analyze the results and comments from the participants, see why any given stage had a high percentage of penalty’s and try to do better next time.

 

That should get you started, I’m sure there are many things that I have overlooked in the post, and in the end experience is the best teacher.

F.S.

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I don't do stories for monthlies but I try to make the line and stage reflect on each other. IOW if we start in a jail I'll use lines like lynch mob, we're bustin' out etc...….not give me a whiskey bar tender...….lol.

 

In this area when you go to the big matches 9 times out of 10 the posses requests not to hear the stories so for me it's a lot of extra work for nothing. I like them it sets the mood.....but most people don't want to hear from what I see. 

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10 hours ago, JohnWesleyHardin said:

I have been asked to write the stages for a match this spring.  Never did it before.  How important, or even necessary, is a story line.  Seems like club matches always have a story line associated with a stage but big matches never do?

Do what YOU want to do! If your gut tells ya to write a story line then do it! People will complain and people will love it! Go for it! Myself I like a little story line or at least a starting line that makes reference to a movie or real western event! At a three day match I like a theme throughout the shoot!

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oh,,, if you are going to have all guns staged,, the perfect line is,,,,  "all my guns are on the table!'   they did that at winter range one year,, perfect line!

 

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For the last few years, I've tried to include a quick story explaining the reason that the gunfight started.

 

Two cowboys found an injured skunk on the trail and decided to take it to the vet.  Sam told Bob, “Just put the skunk under your jacket to keep it warm.”  Bob asked, “What about the smell?”  Sam told him the skunk would just have to get used to it.  That’s what started the gunfight.

 

Indicate ready by saying, "He'll get used to it."  At the buzzer...

 

 

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I think the story is what makes CAS different from the other shooting games.  Make it short so it doesn't take away from the shooting time but still adds flavor.  

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I choose a western movie & pull all the start lines from there.  IMDB.com is a big help, there is a quotes page for each movie.

 

Holler

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Well, everything I wanted to say has been said. So in summary, story isn't the main event, keep it short; keep stage instructions clear and concise - not all shooters are at the same level of skill so stage engagements should reflect that; start lines short and snappy.  If props are used make those simple to do. 

 

There ya have it. Yer good to go. Folks are there to have fun; if they don't they won't be back. 

 

Joe Cross

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Nobody's paying to "Chase off Charlotte's Chicken thieves", "Protect Pauline's Pralines", or "Do away with Dorothy's Donut Destroyers"... but it can obfuscate less than creative stage writing.  There are only so many ways to shoot 10 pistol, 10 rifle & 4 shotgun.  And, it sounds better than "Stage 1", "Stage 2" or "Stage 3"."

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Howdy John,

 

I don't see many stories. However, I think a short starting line adds to the fun, especially when the shooter modifies it to something funny.

 

Just saying, "shooter's ready" is somewhat boring. You could even Google "famous western movie quotes" for ideas.

 

Regards,

 

Allie

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I like to hear a short little story.  Sometimes if they are humorous, it can even help to put a shooter at ease.  I've written many matches and always included a little story - 3 or 4 sentences.  When I had trouble being creative, I would use a joke or riddle and the punch line would often be the starting line.  Sometimes we carry that bad stuff from a prior stage with us and opening the new stage with a story seems to help leave that bad stuff behind.

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All the local shoots I go to have a "theme" and lines that pertain to the subject, usually a movie. I once wrote a three day shoot (Firelands) that was "Towns of the Old West and I actually used lines that the sheriffs, marshals, outlaws etc. used! It was a ball putting it together! I made the lines short and the storys short also.;)

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I always try to write stories for my stages.  2 paragraphs max, or people will wander off.  I also try to make them funny.  Well, at least funny to me.  I just wrote 4 stages based on "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" for our January match.  Should be entertaining.

 

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5 hours ago, Cowboy Junky said:

In this area when you go to the big matches 9 times out of 10 the posses requests not to hear the stories so for me it's a lot of extra work for nothing. I like them it sets the mood.....but most people don't want to hear from what I see. 

And that is very sad. We spend a lot of time writing the action parts of the stages and a small blurb that adds humor or background to the stage, IMHO, is great to have and not too hard to endure. And, as has been said, it's part of what separates us from other disciplines. I feel sorry for those who are "all business" and won't even state the start line. "Shooter ready" is what I said when I shot IPSC and is soooo boring. C'mon, have some fun, ya might even look less foolish than the rest of us!

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You come to our matches you will listen to the stories. 

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I think the stories make the match. without them its just shooting.  I can do that by myself, but it gets boring shooting alone.

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Same old hokey stories I had to listen to 20 years ago, I don't have time to write or listen to stories. It's tough enough to get folks to help write stages, adding a story is just too time consuming to those of us that are still working. We didn't all grow up watching Hopalong and Roy Rogers. If i wrote a story it would be dark and gory. What's the line? Shooter ready!

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1 hour ago, Assassin said:

Same old hokey stories I had to listen to 20 years ago, I don't have time to write or listen to stories. It's tough enough to get folks to help write stages, adding a story is just too time consuming to those of us that are still working. We didn't all grow up watching Hopalong and Roy Rogers. If i wrote a story it would be dark and gory. What's the line? Shooter ready!

And I truly feel sorry that you feel that way. I feel something in your CAS is missing and that is very sad. I write our stages AND our stories. Yes, sometimes it's hard being creative to write the storylines (the stages are cake!) and I have sent stages out without them (wish I hadn't) but I don't think it's too much to put a few paragraphs together. If it's really that hard, just use movie storylines; already written for you. I know some don't care for the stories, but I feel most do; please try to endure the pain as we read em, then tear it up!

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1 hour ago, The Rainmaker, SASS #11631 said:

And I truly feel sorry that you feel that way. I feel something in your CAS is missing and that is very sad. I write our stages AND our stories. Yes, sometimes it's hard being creative to write the storylines (the stages are cake!) and I have sent stages out without them (wish I hadn't) but I don't think it's too much to put a few paragraphs together. If it's really that hard, just use movie storylines; already written for you. I know some don't care for the stories, but I feel most do; please try to endure the pain as we read em, then tear it up!

Must be a regional thing...or something.

 

I can't speak for assassin, but most folks (that's more than 50%), don't care for a story. Lines yes, Story no... And I don't feel like I'm missing anything.

 

In addition, when I started shooting SASS in Southern California at The Cowboys (previous known as Coto Cowboys), they didn't use stories or lines... And they had been there at the start of it all 

 

Phantom

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5 minutes ago, The Rainmaker, SASS #11631 said:

And I truly feel sorry that you feel that way. I feel something in your CAS is missing and that is very sad. I write our stages AND our stories. Yes, sometimes it's hard being creative to write the storylines (the stages are cake!) and I have sent stages out without them (wish I hadn't) but I don't think it's too much to put a few paragraphs together. If it's really that hard, just use movie storylines; already written for you. I know some don't care for the stories, but I feel most do; please try to endure the pain as we read em, then tear it up!

There is little interest in the stories in this area. I'm a very creative writer, not a problem there. Around here we shoot, sometimes go have lunch, and go home, usually done shooting within 3 hours from start time.  

This is cowboy country, we live on and near ranches, with lots of land, wide open spaces, and wild animals. The hokey stories mean little to those that live the lifestyle.

I used to shoot at a club where they had a mandatory storyline, that club is long gone. We are pretty serious shooters, not into the "Cowboy Barbie" aspect, although we don't have to dress any differently than normal to meet SASS standards. Other parts of the country host CAS matches differently, our interpretation of the "old west" is not all the same. How much time should one spend writing the stories? FYI, I have not been to a club that had storylines in many years. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I like stages with a short story to them. How about writing the stages with stories involving ....John Wesley Hardin. Shooting a snoring man etc.. 

 

      

Edited by Chili Pepper Kid, SASS #60463
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11 minutes ago, Chili Pepper Kid, SASS #60463 said:

I like stages with a short story to them. How about writing the stages with stories involving ....John Wesley Hardin. Shooting a snoring man etc.. 

 

      

Already heard that one! :)

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"There is little interest in the stories in this area. I'm a very creative writer, not a problem there. Around here we shoot, sometimes go have lunch, and go home, usually done shooting within 3 hours from start time. "

 

Come for the shooting, stay for the people! Or not.

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Well I think you fellas out West got it all figured out. Live the life, shoot the shootin and go home. (spit)     Sounds like fun to me.

Yeah us city slickers out East just don't get it. I'm sure our story-totin' clubs will all go the way of the dodo soon enough. Yep

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:FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm:

 

I write stages for Lincoln Area Regulators.  I almost never write a story into the stage.

And in 3 or 4 stages of a 6 stage match, I have some small Tomfoolery thing, like drop the coffee pot or toss the dynamite or some such thing.

All 6 stages do use movie quotes as starting lines.

 

No complaints have come back to me yet.

 

Mustang Gregg

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