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: Let’s Make Some Trouble

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on October 6th, 2016. I’ve written a bit on this blog before about playing during a challenge–in particular, how players should leave things open for other players to play on and involve other players in the challenge to tell a complete story. Today, I’d like to write about playing during a challenge again–specifically about making trouble in a challenge. By “making trouble,” I don’t mean being disruptive to the game atmosphere, of course! This is about writing an interesting story, not getting yourself booted from games. When a narrator sets up a challenge, the narrator provides some details about what is going on–what threats currently exist, what the conditions...

Storium Theory: But…But I Only Have “Spendthrift!”

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on September 15th, 2016. Another submitted topic this week, as mikitracey (who honestly should be writing this topic as I think she’s better at this than me!) wanted me to take some time to write about those situations you can run into in Storium games where the cards you’re in just kind of don’t seem to fit the situation you’re in. I’ve written a bit on this in the past–or rather, on how to lower the chances of running into it. I’ve written about making sure you write Strengths or Weaknesses with wide meanings, about widening your perception of your cards, about avoiding situational cards, and on the narrator side, a bit about making sure you’re building the game...