Today, Mythcreants turns one year old! Our year-long discussion of storytelling, roleplaying, writing, and worldbuilding has revealed ideas that are important enough to repeat. Let’s review those concepts, and some of the posts that love them:
Meet the Expectations of Your Audience
An audience arrives with basic expectations about your work, whether it’s the role of the main characters or the operation of the world. If you violate those expectations during critical points in the story, they’ll be unhappy with you.
Steer clear of these finales, especially if you're new to storytelling.
How to manage your audience's expectations to keep your story immersive.
Or Better Yet, Subvert Them
Meeting expectations doesn’t mean you can’t turn conventions on their head. Make your story stand out by contrasting it with similar works.
Why characters breaking social conventions improve the stories they star in.
Why you should check out this fantastical turtle-borne series.
Oren, Chris, and Mike talk about breaking conventions in stories.
As Long as You Aren’t Inconsistent
Whatever you do, think it out ahead of time. If you add things to your world because they’re convenient in the moment, your universe will slowly fall apart. Then your audience will know you didn’t do your homework.
How to pin down your world's reality-bending spells.
With a little thought, these devices get out of hand fast.
There are few things more disastrous for a story than confusion. Worse than simply disliking your story, your audience won’t be able to experience it at all.
If they have to reread your story for it to make sense, they're still rereading it, right?
How to keep your RPG story eerie, surprising, and enjoyable.
When and how to use your story's imaginary vocab—and when English can work just fine.
Without Problems, You’ll Have Problems
Another issue that plagues many stories is chronic conflict deficiency. Once the story ventures too far into wish-fulfillment, there may not be enough challenges to keep it interesting.
These protagonists were out of everyone else's league.
Why your baddies should do more than just blast off again (and again and again).
Oren, Chris, and Mike discuss utopias, dystopias, and their use in storytelling and worldbuilding.
So Create Some
Luckily, there are many cures for conflict deficiency. Do yourself a favor, and preemptively build numerous conflict hooks into your story and your world.
How to make opposing entities in your story butt heads.
How your players can use their knowledge outside the game to boost the events within it.
How to put dampers on your fancy inventions and physics-bending word powers.
Then Let Your Characters Solve Them
A satisfying story is shaped by the characters in it. Give your protagonist difficult and important decisions to make, then let them use their skills and ingenuity to save the day.
How your characters can drive the story even with their backs to the wall.
How to choose which player kicks in the door of your campaign.
How to put the "improv" in "improve your RPG campaign".
While You Stay in Their Shoes
Stories become much stronger when both the storyteller and the audience identify with the main character. Use the outlook of your protagonist to set the tone of the story, and never break character for the sake of your plot.
How to embrace the mindset of your new PC for your next tabletop adventure.
How to help your players get in character and enjoy it when they do.
How to tell if your character is as deep as they appear.
Tie It All Together
Don’t let your story become a two-headed dragon trying to run in opposing directions. Keep all of the elements tightly related to one another. Your story will be stronger for it.
How to weave your story's strands together into a cohesive whole.
How your RPG story can make the leap from kitchen table to page.
And Make It Feel Real
Neglecting basic geography will make your work feel sloppy and contrived, whereas putting extra thought into your story and setting can create a deeper, more immersive experience.
How the events of your tale can pack their biggest dramatic punch.
You don't need a degree in linguistics to follow these steps.
Physics can be more than just a restriction for storytellers.
But Be Efficient
There’s lots of work to do, but time is precious. Save it where you can.
How to build a PC that will stick in your mind—and your fellow players'.
How to spice up and flesh out your worldbuilding without letting the details bog you down.
How to get your story elements firing on all cylinders.