, hopefully my answers to your questions are helpful:
1. It's hard to suggest a specific layout to use. Trust me, you don't need photoshop to make your recaps, articles, etc. look pretty. If you need ideas, may I suggest you read my "Houston, We Have A Dynasty" story (link on my signature)? [/propaganda] I wasn't a very good writer then either, and the layout isn't anything fancy, but I was pretty happy with the result. You could also read the other stories that are in the HOF for ideas as well. Learn from the best!
2. As a story writer, you're going to have times in which replies are scarce. It is discouraging, but remember, replies shouldn't be the biggest reason you're writing your association in the first place. As said by someone three posts above, watch the number of views you're getting. Sometimes, people just don't have much time to reply (which sucks very much), but if you're getting a lot of views, that's a good sign. Also, persistence is key. If you keep your story going for a couple pages or three, more people will be likely to tune in. It also wouldn't hurt to use catchy thread titles.