Writing Plot for Roleplay: Lessons Learned from London Under

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Last Saturday I ran the first Live Action Roleplay event that I’ve written plot for. It went rather well, judging by the number of people asking for another one. Here’s a couple of things I took away from it:

Story Vampirism

Isn’t it great when someone likes your work? When they get in touch to say how much they enjoyed reading a story you wrote, it’s such a wonderful, buzzy feeling. Now imagine watching them read it and hearing their thought processes. Listening in as they discuss it with other people whilst the story unfolds. It’s awesome, and hilarious, and inspiring. I wandered around most of the day with a giggle bubbling in my chest, whilst I eavesdropped on players going ‘but what if it means this?’. The raptor describes this as story vampirism – feeding off other people’s enjoyment of stories.

My name is everwalker and I am a story vampire.

The downside, of course, is that whilst you’re much closer to your audience’s reaction – literally within arm’s reach – you still can’t interfere. You can’t jump in and say ‘that’s wrong’, or ‘the clue is clearly meant to be interpreted this way’. And because they are not just your audience, they’re also your characters, they carry on regardless of your carefully laid plans and vision for the plot arc. It can be difficult. It can also lead you to a place you never expected, and which is frankly better than the one you intended.

Unexpected Plot

This is what happens when multiple creative brains look at one story. They see connections that you never necessarily meant to put there, or had even thought about. They draw conclusions your single mind could never have come up with. They postulate wild theories, some of which even make sense. Then they behave as though those wild theories are real.

Because they are people, they also create inter-personal dynamics that you never saw coming, and that is plot in and of itself. Sometimes it’s crazy, or illogical, or downright weird, but that’s how people behave. It’s a very valuable reminder to a writer like me, as I have a tendency to make my book characters behave in a fairly logical manner. Justifying an action with ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’ or ‘because I felt like it’ can be perfectly acceptable.

The Power of Narrativium

I spent most of the night after the event lying awake, thinking about what would naturally happen next in the story we told together. There were masses of things left unfinished, consequences to be explored and secrets still to uncover. I had originally stated that the event would be a one-off and, despite the number of people asking for another (and the ego boost that undeniably offered), I’d intended to stick to my guns. But the story isn’t finished and my writer’s brain can’t handle it.

So I am hereby officially saying that London Under: Part 2 will happen. Not because it was fun (and it was), not even because it was requested, but for the sake of the story.

Event 2

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2 responses »

  1. It sounded awesome when I read about the event and to hear your frothing post event is also so revealing.

    Im glad you had a fabulous time.

    Regards Daniel and the Swedish House Mafia

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