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Interesting Decisions

Posted July 29, 2016 at 01:22 PM by Grim
Updated July 29, 2016 at 01:27 PM by Grim

"A good game is a series of interesting decisions."
-Sid Meier

Sometimes we forget that this is a game. We're writing, right? It's a story, right? So everything should just unfold neatly like it does on the inside of our heads. Like when we're writing a story by ourselves.

The thing is. We're not writing a story by ourselves and for all that we have statistics and measurable data on what a character can and cannot do it's not written in stone that A will always beat B because A has superior skills. That is an altogether different, although related, rant. When you are writing with someone else things will always take a turn for the unexpected and that leaves you with two choices, plow on ahead and act as if your partner's decision did not matter at all, or go with and take things in an entirely different direction than you might thought this was going to take.

In case there's any question, I'm always going to be in the latter camp of people.

I quoted Sid Meier at the top here because I feel that is very insightful. When you are moderating, or indeed just writing with someone, it's not just about writing the story you had in mind. It's about giving the other person the chance to shine, let them make decisions. Let their voice matter and control the narrative just as much your own.

And if your decision always has an obvious right or wrong outcome, then you're doing it wrong. If it's obvious what choice you should make, then it's not really a choice, it's just you pretending to put an option there when it's not really there. That's just lazy on your part.

Sometimes the options can be overt, like try and save a person from falling over a cliff, or climbing up it and saving yourself. Sometimes it's just a scene for them to choose how to insert themselves into. These are the points at which people can let their characters into the story, this is where they can have an effect rather than just sit along while the train is going somewhere and they're just along for the ride.

So yes, if you ever start seeing the rails being put in place beneath you. Go sideways. Break out a pick and dig them up. If you're not seeing an obvious choice ready to be made, find one. Make a choice. Go a different path. Don't sit on the sidelines and wait for the moderator to sort everything out for you and collect your +1 xp at the end of the thread. You'll both have a better time because of it.
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  1. Old Comment
    here here!
    Posted July 29, 2016 at 01:46 PM by Shalafi Shalafi is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Puppet's Avatar
    Very insightful!
    Posted August 1, 2016 at 09:27 AM by Puppet Puppet is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Maybe some of us like trains. :<

    Posted August 2, 2016 at 04:41 AM by Dirk Cutlass Dirk Cutlass is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Igrainne Birch's Avatar
    I hate saying nice things to you, but I really like this.
    Posted August 9, 2016 at 11:34 PM by Igrainne Birch Igrainne Birch is offline
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