Choice plays a critical role in any story. Much of the meaning found in stories is exemplified in the choices characters make, as well as the consequences that follow. And yet, I feel that most characters make very few real choices over the course of their story. And I think that’s necessary. Too many choices can overwhelm an audience, just as too few often make for a boring story.
Choice plays a critical role in any story. Much of the meaning found in stories is derived from the choices a character makes, and their consequences. And yet, I feel that most characters make very few real choices over the course of their story. And I think that’s a good thing. Too many choices can overwhelm a person, just as too few can make for a boring story.
Clarity is an essential component of any good story. In dialogue, clarity means making sure audiences know who is speaking. The most common method is to identify the speaker by name, typically by using a tag such as “(name) said”. But it’s also important to make sure a character’s voice is consistent.
So far I’ve been discussing the experience of role playing, but for me there’s one distinction between tabletop role playing and larping, the tension. In a traditional “sit down” role playing session, players have time to think and react. The game master tells players what is happening, and one by one players choose an action, roll a die, and find out what happened. The fact that every choice has to be processed and resolved by the game master creates a natural staggering, which does not exist in larping.
Some stories are told from a single perspective, in a single location, over a short span of time (for example, Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson), but in general, the longer a story is, the more complex it becomes. Most novels feature between 2 and 6 different point of view characters, each with their own cast of supporting characters. They engage multiple narrative threads, spanning a wide range of locations and moments in time.