Cult of the Zenith
At the center of any story, there are some key notes you should keep in mind.
- Anchors away
References to pop culture, other games, current events and so forth add a dimension of amusement to the players in your scene if done correctly. If they can’t read your poker face, they’ll go Gaga over your work. It should be a side note in your scene however, not the main hook, or you run the risk of derailing your own work.
- Enjoy the stage
Bring others into your scenes. Even if you are doing noninteractive scenes where your character has a personal revelation or such, do it where people can peek in on your inner dialogue and see what you’re doing. Hire people to find others for you, and ask people for directions. It adds to the overall tapestry of the server’s RP scene, and will net you more RP in return.
- Keep their attention
Underestimate how much time people will want to spend on things. Plan for quarter-hour, half-hour events in your story as a ballpark, and fit what you want to do into that. If what you have spills over, plan for it to be in another event or scene.
- Offer, don’t demand
Invite people, and do events in public. Don’t expect them to show up, however, and don’t plan on everyone loving your work. People might have life dragging them away, or be booked for another event, or just too tired to play at the moment, and if they are involved, they might not like what you feel is amazing. Brush the dirt off your shoulder, and keep going. You’re doing this for you, remember.
Work out what should stand out in your story. Emphasize the factors you want people to focus on, and be brief with the factors you want people to overlook. If you cover the popcorn in hot sauce and dip, people won’t notice how much effort you put in for the buttery salt flavor of their cinema snack. Same goes for putting in effort on background details – you either want them to highlight what you’re doing, or to stay in the background.
- Shadowy secrets
Keep your secrets secret. No, really, this is something that keeps needing to be brought up. Don’t tell people that your rogue is actually a slave trader. If you don’t want people to realize you’re a death knight, never mention your blue glowing eyes and lack of pulse. The more you play your cards to your chest, the better your secret is kept – and the more powerful the eventual reveal when your “mage” takes off the mask to show he was really a warlock all along. Mwahahaha.
- Suspend their disbelief
Mages can throw fireballs. Monks can fly. A flying, fireball-throwing paladin does not fit into this equation without something to make people seeing it go “Oh! They’re just using a jetpack and goblin rocket launcher” and go back to their newspaper like nothing is the matter. Justify what outcomes and actions you seek to take in your story, using common factors we all accept in the game.
- Timing is everything
Keep them hanging in antici…
Suspense, tension, urgency, tedium, etc are all powerful tools to use in a story. Use shorter, faster posts to increase the tempo of a scene, and slower, longer posts to decrease it again. The pace at which you can direct a scene will impact how people view it.