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...

Storium Theory: Choose Cards You Want to Play

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on August 26th, 2016. Spinning off of last week’s post a bit…let’s talk some more about choosing your character’s cards. Storium, like some tabletop RPG systems, allows you to pick your character’s traits–in this case, in the form of four card types: Nature, Strength, Weakness, and Subplot. Nature cards don’t actually get played–instead, they sort of guide your character concept. This article’s about the other three types. Strengths. Weaknesses. Subplots. You’re going to be playing the cards you picked frequently over the course of the game. So pick the cards you want to play. Not the cards you’re willing to play. The cards you want to play....

Storium Theory: Building Character

This post originally appeared on Gaming Creatively on August 18th, 2016. A lot of my articles focus on what to do during play–but what about before you even get into a game? Building your character, whether you are applying for a game with open applications or being specifically invited to one, is a major part of the Storium experience. Like a lot of Storium, this is technically simple, but philosophically complex. I’ve described applications as kind of being like a fun version of a job interview before, and I think that’s true: they’re an opportunity for you, as a player, to demonstrate your writing skills and speak to the narrator about why you think you’ll be a good fit for the game. But what about the character side of things?...