To Zuberi and the Creators. Just a Thought.

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To Zuberi and the Creators. Just a Thought.

Post by Freyia on Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:30 pm

To make a war, rather to make any conflict in a story, there are important elements one must consider, and certain questions that have to be answered. If you want the conflict in a story to be believed and the characters, and subsequent readers, to be invested in it, one must delve deep into what the world and conflict really mean. Depth is important. Without it, the story and characters in it fall flat. One can have the greatest character ever made, full of depth and complexity that is still being explored. However once that character is dropped into a shallow world, one where everything is either not explained, explained through one line of dialogue, or proven because “well that is the way it is” or “because I want it that way”, that character is dead. For all of its dimensions, it means nothing when the world around it is in one or two dimensional. The setting of a story is just as important as a character, even more so, since it will fashion what the characters will be doing. No one wants to play a completely one dimensional or shallow character (unless of course there is another meaning to the character or the character is necessary for some plot element or story advancement, and even then one could argue that the character is not completely one dimensional and lacking in complexity) and likewise no one wants to play in a shallow one dimensional world.

So what can be done to avoid this?

Well, the answer is actually quite simple in paper, much harder in practice. Look at the whole work objectively and ask “What do I want to accomplish? What am I trying to show?”. There are a few questions that one can ask about their world and about themselves. So long as you answers these questions truthfully and with at least a little detail, the world will start to take shape. And since conflict is a major factor in any story, especially this one, that is what will be focused on.

(And yes this whole forum is one story, and it would be good for everyone to view it as such. Do not only focus on this site through the lense of a specific character, focus instead on the story which is being told through these characters, a story of redemption, heroism, and sacrifice.)

So the questions:

1) Is this a binary conflict? Is the conflict of the story one of good vs evil. When done right this creates great avenues for character development since the important battles tend to be within individuals, more spiritual battles about the given morality. There needs to be no big explanation for why the two sides are fighting because it is obvious, good and evil fight. The conflict resolution is primarily about overcoming.

2) Is the conflict grey? In the grey area, one can’t be sure who is in the right and who is in the wrong. All sides of the conflict have good reasons for why they fight and no one holds the clear moral high ground. This provides avenues for characters to explore existential themes. Instead of a clear right and wrong, the characters are left to explore those meanings themselves and choose who they believe are right and wrong and which side is good and evil. This requires some work to do right, as a good explanation for why the conflict happened is necessary. Both sides need to have morally good reasons for why they are fighting, and a morally questionable reasons or ways of obtaining it. This type tends to be more believable, since it is closer to how our world works. The conflict resolution is primarily about understanding, and enlightenment.

and 3) Are the characters the most important part of the story, or is the conflict itself the point of the story? Basically, is the conflict there to serve and further the characters, or are the characters there to serve and further the conflict? This is important, and neither answer is the right one. This answer changes where one puts their focus. Either the focus is on the individual characters, aiming to build and expand them through the conflict, or the focus is on the conflict itself and the characters are meant to build and expand this through their actions. Both answers allow for great depth and development for both the world and the characters, it only matters for how the story will be told and the meaning or message behind it.

Answering these three questions bring up a slew of other questions, such as “If it is binary, are the evil and good more like entities controlling the actions of the two sides, or are they more litteral? If grey, are they doing the right thing for the wrong reason, or the wrong thing for the right reason? Are the characters supposed to fit neatly on one side of the conflict, or does the conflict mold around where the individual characters may be at a specific time?

These are all important questions to answer while shaping a conflict. Of course there was one I missed, perhaps the most important questions to ask, “What does it all mean?” Just because this is a forum RP, and many different people are controling their own characters, this does not mean that YOU as the creator, should just let everything happen as it happens. This is a story, and in every great story there are themes and messages. Never lose sight of them, and let the players know that THIS is what this stories point is. You control the world and setting, and YOU decide the pacing. You can let the characters control where the conflict and story goes, but the central themes and ideas should never be lost in this. And it is YOUR job to make sure that doesn’t happen. (I remember once that you thought of this more as a story of the everyday person, rising up with little more than their skill and a cause. Standing up against the injustice and becoming a true hero. If this is what you want the forum to be about, then set it up like that. Make the setting and conflict resemble this. Provide opportunities for characters to rise up. There is no reason why this can’t be done)

I hope this helps those who are creating this world. Please do not give up. I know that with good effort and collaboration, this can be the best RP forum story out there. Of course I could be (and probably am) brain dead and completely do not understand story structure (which I don’t), literary analysis (which I don’t), and how exactly forum RP’s work (which I don’t). These are just my ideas (I have a lot of them). If you agree, cool. If you don’t, well, I guess you can post or PM me. If it turns out this is completely wrong, and that I am crazy, I will delete this.

I just want to help this site improve, and I hope this helps that.

P.S. One thing I forgot to mention, was that these answers do not need to be completely detailed. The world and the conflict do not need every single aspect of it filled in. Indeed that would be impossible. Instead answering the bigger universal questions will help you start writing your story. Then as the story progresses you may find elements that have come up that should then be expanded on. Maybe a new action a character took has opened up ideas on previously thought closed topics and areas of the world. A story evolves as it is written, and having a clear understanding of your goals, and the message your story is meant to convey, will only help evolve into a strong masterpiece, that others will come to see and talk about.


Last edited by Freyia on Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: To Zuberi and the Creators. Just a Thought.

Post by Steel Strike on Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:45 pm

I like it. She asks the big questions, that require big answers. I could provide my own, if it was asked of me. However, I shall sit back and watch others responses for the time being.
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