OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


Reggie’s Writing Tips: # 11 – 20 (Building a Dynamic Character)

This article was written by Reggie from Cathedral: The Thieves GuildYou can read tips #1-10 here.

Sara Chase Blackwood in Game Cathedral: The Thieves Guild image Cathedral: The Thieves Guild

Reggie’s character in Cathedral: The Thieves Guild is Sara Chase Blackwood

Hello everyone! It’s Reggie again with ten more tips for you all. I decided to separate them into chunks thematically. These listed below will help you focus on building a dynamic and likable character. The set of tips for next time will be about plot development. Hope you are still enjoying these and finding them helpful.

NOTE: I am using “she” to refer to your character, but obviously its to be taken as a placeholder for both genders. Just got tired of writing He/She constantly.

Tip #11: “Keep it simple” applies to character traits as well. Choose one flaw. Showcase one skill. Reveal one secret. Do not overload.

Tip #12: Trigger a movie-worthy problem early in your posts by having your main character make an unwise choice. She’ll need to spend “Acts 2 & 3” over the span of a few posts making it right. (more on this later in the future).

Tip #13: Your main character’s emotion tells the story. Showcase your scene by showing her joy, disappointment, worry, etc.

Tip #14: Like a “tell” in poker, characters give away their true feelings with gestures and expressions. What’s your scene “tell?”

Tip #15: Your story as a whole should follow a string of main character choices. For simplicity sakes though, it is ideal that each post you write for Ongoing Worlds should only involve one choice and show its consequences. Alternatively, you could leave a “cliff hanger” that will lead into your next post.

Tip #16: Secrets add subtext and reveal character imperfection. Intimacy is generated with the audience if they alone knows the truth!

Tip #17: “Strong” characters = unapologetic characters. Unapologetically themselves.

Tip #18: Use events to steer a character toward a truth. You cheat when a character simply trips on the answer. Or worse, if it is just told!

Tip #19: A character who does everything right isn’t necessarily “likable” … and she sure isn’t going to be believable.

Tip #20: What’s your main character’s passion? Who or what does she love? If she commits to that passion, the audience will commit to her.

This article was written by Reggie from Cathedral: The Thieves Guild. You can read tips #1-10 here.