Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Making a Story Good

Do you have any stories to tell from your time playing WoW? If yes, then what makes it a good story? Does it need colorful characters or are the events (a.k.a. plot) sufficient to engage the reader in your happenings? Is it funny?

Actually, that last one is a bit nebulous, I mean we all come from different parts of the globe or different States and regions, and sometimes what is funny in Amsterdam isn't funny in Montana. I concede that there are many universalities of humor, so I guess I'll let that last question slide for now.

If you were to put to story your experiences in WoW, how would you frame it? Would you tell the story from the point of view of your main toon or even an alt, or would you tell your story from the 'real you' point of view? Is there anything that you would want to keep secret from a group of strangers over the internet, or would you be willing to tell about everything?

My personal belief, and I am by no means a professional or expert (the comments made here today are the sole property of the author and in no way represent the thoughts or beliefs of Deuwowlity.com or its affiliates). To make a good story I believe you need to start with good characters. The character needs to be somebody that I can invest in emotionally, whether for good or bad, I need to feel something about them. That can be accomplished by having that person pass through a personal trial in their lives that makes me feel sorry for them or by having them commit atrocities that cannot be forgiven (well, maybe not that bad, but doing mean stuff would suffice), no matter how much remorse they may or may not feel. So extremes is the method I'll implement for my character. Let me share a few examples of snapshots of 3 people's stories from the game.

1) While on a pug run I really didn't say anything. I wasn't at the top of the damage charts and kinda just drank some water every now and then. It was fine, I was fine, it was nice.
2) ...And then this jerk was, like, yelling at me so I told him to @#$@# off, lol. @#$#@$ I #$*$ hate noobs, they are nothing but a bunch of @#$&#$ m&s'ers that can't tell the @#$&%^^% time of day if their @#$& was stuck to their @#$%&.
3) It was so sad. I sat there at the end of the run frozen, unsure of what to do. Somebody in this group had said something to make me remember about the day my father and mother died. I felt a touch on the shoulder, no, not a touch, but I felt something. I stared at the computer screen with tears in my eyes, this guy, this complete stranger was saying sorry to have offended me. But I'm not offended, I just remember how much I love my parents.

So I guess you figured out that #1 was an example of a non-extreme situation and partial story. #2 & 3, however, are short examples of other stories I can tell and the perspective I can take. I, for one, would probably want to hear more about #2 or 3, but would be dead bored listening to or reading a post about #1's experience.

People go for stories that make them feel something. Good characters are important, a good plot really helps move those characters through their journey, and then of course there are the very fine, technical points that make a story understandable.

I think I'll write my story one day. I've shared parts of it here, just check out the archives for some of my first posts on my motives for playing this game. But those are just snippets of my story, and they are from the perspective of the 'real life me', not the in-game me. The second is the story that I'd like to write. And I will write it, but it may take some time to post, so I ain't making any promises I can't keep. I won't set a release date and then (like many say Activision is doing) push for a release date before it's ready.

I would love to hear some of your story. Obviously the whole thing would take a long time, so maybe just one scene. Is your character someone that I could feel something for (either good or bad)? Does your plot make sense and is it any different from anyone else's story, if so how?

What I wonder is if enough people told their story, how many of them would start to intersect until we arrived at a complete picture of the game and its community?

p.s. Completely unrelated. I read an interview with Ghostcrawler and he mentioned that Blizz was researching about how many people actually use all 10 character slots - not just toss on a few level 1's, but actually USE them to better determine if they want to raise the character slot level to 12 (or some other random #). I think this "research" is stupid, because if anybody is anything like me, then you're saving slots on your main's server for some cataclysm alts. This would mean that the results of this research will be skewed and more than likely it won't come to fruition. They should let common sense rule out, not emperical evidence. Sometimes you can make legitimate statistics bolster your argument depending on the definition of said statistics.

Just give us 2 extra freakin' slots already!

Thanks for stopping by Deuwowlity. I look forward to hearing from you.

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