Storium Theory: “And I would’ve gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for…”

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on December 8th, 2016. Narrators vary in how much they like to plan out the details of plots in advance – the more you plan, the clearer and more organized your plot may be, but it is also possible to make it rigid or inflexible by overplanning, leaning to the dreaded “railroading.” Regardless, though, I tend to suggest that narrators have at least some idea of where a story might go before the game starts up. I’ve written a bit about this before, advising that you have an idea of an ending from the start of a game – not a hyper-detailed, inflexible, definite ending, but a general idea for the story’s eventual direction. I think that can help you make sure that your story...

Storium Theory: Getting Personal: Arrogant

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on December 1st, 2016. Hey, everybody. I hope that all who celebrate it had a good Thanksgiving! This week, I’d like to revisit my “Getting Personal” series, my discussion of central personality traits for characters and how those traits can benefit – and harm – a story. This week, we’re going to look at a personality type I’ll call Arrogant. An “Arrogant” personality is one that emphasizes his own personal status in some major fashion. A central element of his character is how he believes he is better than something else – usually, that’s both the challenges he’s facing, and the other heroes. He believes that he is overqualified for the...

Storium Theory: Young at Heart

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on November 17th, 2016. Today, I’d like to take us back to a discussion on writing particular character types–and this one, like my “Getting Personal” articles, is about personality…but it’s also about another trait: Age. Specifically, the lack of it. I’ve written a lot of child characters in my time on MUXes and on Storium, and I’ve found them very fun to play…but also very challenging. It’s a type of character I’ve been told that I write well, but it’s also one that can be tough to get right, and tough to make sure you’re working properly into a story. I want to take a moment aside to note that this article is specifically about kid...

Storium Theory: Match the Mood

I’ve written a bit before on this blog about the need to create characters that fit the story, and the need to use your actions and your characters to support the story. I’d like to go into that a bit more today, but specifically focused on the concept of “mood.” Mood is how a story’s tone is set. A horror story’s mood may be oppressive, fear-filled, dark, frightening, or disturbing. A high fantasy story might be adventurous, uplifting, exciting, bright, desperate, struggling, or other moods depending on the scene. Mood is one of the most important things for a story to get right. With a solid sense of mood, the story’s events feel more impactful, more powerful. When mood breaks, the story breaks as well. And in a collaborative writing experience, mood is...

Storium Theory: Repetition is Repetitive

Today, I’d like to just briefly discuss something I find myself having to fight against in my own writing for online, play-by-post games like Storium: Repetition of themes in moves. Storium games take place at a fairly slow pace for the most part. You’ll write a move, and oftentimes it will be a day or two, or even a few days, before you’re writing another move for the same character. I’ve found that, for me at least, this puts me somewhat at risk of repetitive writing. Because my last move isn’t fresh in my head, I’ll sometimes start writing a move only to find that my character is effectively repeating some of the themes from a prior move that scene–maybe he takes off his glasses or puts them on, maybe he uses one of...

Storium Theory: Guiding the Story

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on October 27th, 2016. A while back, I wrote a post about different types of narrator, which I named the Director, the Guide, the Editor, and the Attendant. Today, I’d like to go into one of those styles a bit more…specifically, the one I think I align with the most, the Guide. While I think that in my tabletop roleplaying game GMing I’ve been more along the lines of a Director, I’ve found myself loosening up a bit with my time as a narrator in Storium, and I find myself working more within the Guide style (my beginner games excepted, those are much more in the Director style). So, now that I have some games under my belt, I feel like I can speak a little more on exactly what I’ve...