A fantastic author and friend of mine recently introduced me to yet another world to explore! I invited her today to share some information about this latest, intriguing genre called interactive character storytelling. RP World Group is a group of talented writers with a site dedicated to this genre. Enjoy the video below (The Aeonian Guard) - it's one of theirs!
Interactive Character Storytelling
By LaVerne Thompson
There is an interesting genre of writing right now that is popular on Facebook and other sites around cyberspace called Role Playing. But it’s not your Dungeons and Dragons kind of role playing. It’s a lot more adult. It’s where the writers tell their stories in character form and stay in character form even when they interact with their fans.
The most common dictionary definition for traditional role playing I found on Wikipedia is. NOUN:
1. Psychology A therapeutic technique, designed to reduce conflict in social situations, in which participants act out particular behavioral roles in order to expand their awareness of differing points of view.
2. An instance or situation in which one deliberately acts out or assumes a particular character or role.
The second definition is what’s popular now. Most of the role playing done on Facebook is really fan fiction based. In that the writers adopt the characters from popular New York Times authors and role play the published stories, usually without the permission or support of the authors whose works they are role playing. Sometimes, these characters are also from popular television or motion pictures. Then there are other role players who craft their own original characters and role play them in much the same vein. Developing a character and role playing the character on Facebook.
Then there are the role playing sites or groups that role play based on games, board games or electronic game programs or characters based on games. Much like Dungeons and Dragons. Interactive storytelling stems more from these electronic game programs.
Interactive Storytelling [IS] is a form of digital entertainment in which users create or influence a dramatic storyline through actions, either by issuing commands to the story's protagonist, or acting as a general director of events in the narrative. Interactive storytelling is a medium where the narrative, and its evolution, can be influenced in real-time by a user. Wikipedia.
Usually role players on Facebook or the other game sites just set up a character or group and begin to role play. Much of it is free form, in that anyone just begins to write about the copyrighted character and behave in a manner that may or may not be in line with the author’s work, sometimes it’s more organized in that it’s loosely done around events in the published works or the game goals. Good writing isn’t necessarily required sometimes it’s more important to know the book, or game, and the character you are role playing. And even in those instances where the characters being role played are original creations of the writers, there usually isn’t a real storyline or plot. Just loose events or more journal style writing. More character development rather than story or plot.
Neither type of role playing really addresses the most recent format and what’s being pioneered by RP World Group. http://rpworldgroup.org RPW combines it all, what they are calling “interactive character storytelling”. Membership there is free, all that’s needed is an email addy and to create a password and the stories are free. This is where the original characters tell their parts of the story themselves but more importantly their original stories are actually plot as well as character driven. The writers are more storytellers who focus on the story as opposed to role players focusing on a role. They too post parts or a chapter at a time of their storylines, and fans come back each week to read the continuation of the story or book. But unlike a publication, the story is more like a soap opera because you get it in pieces. And the story is told from the point of view of each character within the story. It’s a fascinating phenomena, and one RPW is pioneering by having some of the most talented writers as part of their storytelling line up. For one thing RPW is run more like a publishing site, in that, unlike Facebook and other sites, you are not allowed to just join the site and begin to role play. You must go through a process. First submit an application to become a registered role player on the site. The application must have a bio of the character or characters you want to write, a brief of the storyline, and a sample of your writing. A group of five site admins go over the applications. And not everyone who submits is accepted.
So keep your eye on this new phenomenon. It’s another form of popular writing.