Adventure ideas (Part 7)

3 10 2009

IdeasThe difference between an idea and a story

An idea is not an adventure. Not by a long way.

Your idea will have consequences, and you must think hard about what those consequences will be.

What if the flood (see previous post) was in reality part of a plan to bring down the kingdom?

I’m not going to get into the subject of plotting – as it’s a subject all by itself and we’re talking about ideas now – but ideas become workable campaigns when you can put the PCs into a situation  where they have to deal with conflict and the idea is either the conflict in itself or may simply be a back-story or even a by-product of the conflict.

OK, that was conflict three times in one sentence, but hopefully you got the message.

A useful but seldom used tactic in coming up with ideas is to find a buddy

Is it necessary to have a buddy?

The honest answer to that question is no.

Some people like to write alone – indeed they need to write alone. If that’s you, then great. Others need some support along the way.

Symbiosis

Some writers like to work with other writers. Any brainstorming with regards ideas is done without preference for your benefit or theirs.

The idea is to get as much out as you can – and document it.

The aim is that you both contribute to the ideas process. What transpires can be used by both of you – or you can agree up front who benefits.

As a rule this only works if you know another GM and can meet up. I have seen webforums used, but you lose the vitality of the real-time experience (and you allow so many more other GMs to see your ideas).

Parasitic

OK, not the most pleasant of titles, but it’s accurate. In this option – one person gets all of the benefit.

Typically the second person is not a GM and their contribution to the process is not to come up with ideas but to ask questions.

When the writer has an idea, the non-writer can ask either Who, What, Where, Why, How or Will questions.

The benefit here is that you don’t need to know a non-writer to brainstorm.

Parasitic version 2

In this option the non-writer is allowed to add to the ideas process too. It may be better to allow them to focus on the questions, but they can be encouraged to add an idea if it is in response to something the writer said.

A little known secret about being creative, is the use of lists

What is a list for?

I have seen many writers recommend making lists of facts – rather than ideas. This puts less pressure on and allows the brain to keep adding without having to turn a thought into an idea format.

The benefit of a list is that it represents a starting point. List writing is a left side of the brain activity. It is not, in itself, conducive to creativity.

As you work on your list, your brain will start to engage your imagination. Once you kick in the right side of your brain, ideas will form.

Next time out, I’ll discuss types of lists.

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