Monday, December 12, 2016

Writing Character-driven Stories (part 1/4)

I recently gave a talk on how to design a role-playing game, and one of the topics I covered was writing the overall story. I have found that the approach I detailed works for me in novel-writing as well. When I think about science fiction stories, whether in novel form, in a game, or even on the big screen, many of them can be likened to other stories. There are so many stories out there, it is difficult to write a plot that is truly unique--in fact, writers usually draw upon their own experiences and other themes they have enjoyed before, which results in a final product that often involves fragments of these themes. Their plots are unlikely to be entirely derived from their own ideas, with conscious and unconscious decisions being influenced by the ideas of others they have been exposed to. Good writers can take an old theme and make it feel fresh, but there are so many iterations of these themes out there, it takes something special to really draw an audience. That, in my opinion, is the characters.

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