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Potter’s Army is a roleplaying site that's been up and running since 2007. We pride ourselves on fostering a welcoming and helpful community where all levels of writers are accepted.

In this alternate universe, Lord Voldemort is dead, but so is Harry Potter. Factions continue to fight, Hogwarts educates the next generation of witches and wizards, and the Ministry of Magic does its best to hold everything together.

It is 2030 in the Wizarding World

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Selwyn Thorfinn
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Freestyle your way to Plotting like a Pro

on Thu Feb 05, 2015 11:19 am
Know the Status Quo

Embrace the status quo.  Know what would happen if your character did nothing, and you'll have figured out 99% of your character motivation.

It's not all about you

You can't have a plot without other people, so put the focus on them.  

Don't load your character up with too many skills.  Let other characters do what they were designed to do and work with them.

Plot the situation, not the scenario

I'm hesitant to even use the word plot.  It literally means the flow of one event to another.  Roleplay doesn't work well that way, because we can't plan what other people are going to do with their characters.

A better way of working is to throw your character into situations (or create them) without trying to plan how they'll get from A to Z.  More on this in another thread.

Accept possibilities

Accept that you won't have figured out every possible solution to problems characters could come up against in your plot.  When, inevitably, other player characters come up with a solution you haven't thought of, accept it and roll with it.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT, negate these type of solutions reflexively.  If you absolutely have to do it, have a good reason; something more than "I didn't plan it that way".

Know how to meta

Meta-play is kind of the opposite of metagaming (if you want to know why I chose that word, just look up the origins of meta).  It's the stuff your character would know just from observing the situation.  If you've ever been in a thread where you described it as daytime and the next poster said it was night, you've experienced bad meta-play.

Good meta-play helps you judge what other players want from a thread, what other characters motivations are and helps you push the thread in the right direction to help them.  It doesn't mean giving up your own desires, just that you get to take other people into account as well.  

It also helps you develop really good brainstorming skills.  It's also really important for freestyle plotting for reasons you'll see in part two of this series.


Last edited by Selwyn Thorfinn on Mon Nov 09, 2015 11:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Freestyle your way to Plotting like a Pro

on Wed Aug 12, 2015 8:34 am
In looking back through this forum/this thread, I've gotta say I agree with all of this. Meta-play has become increasingly interesting to me over my years here, and I feel like, when used the right way, it can define a thread more than what was said or actually done. I'm not sure if I'm making sense, given its 3:30 in the morning here.

For example, if a character comes out of a thread having met someone new, that's a chance for further threads. But if that same character leaves with a sense of who that other person is or why that person was open to meeting them - or against it, perhaps - then that thread was definitely more interesting.

I think metagaming is probably what bugs me the most about roleplaying. When characters have an excuse to know things I didn't expect them to, that's entirely valid and should be treated that way. But I think people also feel like they can't say No when something like that happens. Say, if someone claims to know the house your character was in but they weren't of the right age range to know that, it is entirely within your rights to have your character react negatively. It is a more polite way of pointing out the action than calling someone out, first of all, but it also stays in character is your person is not naturally accepting of things.

It seems to be something that PA does not have excessive amounts of lately, though, as far as I am aware. So I'm quite glad about that.

Also glad I re-read this. I also want to point people towards the bit about not overloading your characters. Ones that overpower others are unrealistic mainly, but will also lack plots because no one will be able to appreciate them or feel like they can enjoy writing opposite them.
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