Sunday, April 24, 2011

Moving On - Refresh In Writing

As mentioned in SL, I'm stepping back from being in-world.  I'm not really needed and, if the group is going to survive at all, it needs some breathing room.  I may talk to some of the officers in the group to see where they're at, and, if they're up for the task, to start working on shaping things up.  At this moment, I can't.  It's been observed that I can't motivate anyone, and I'm just too frustrated to continue to sit there and wait in world for a small chance that anyone will listen to me or do anything at this point.  So, stepping back makes the most sense.  And, depending on how things look, I may or may not disband the group by the end of this month or May.  But it's going to take some convincing that it's worthwhile to continue anything.  I have to know that people are interested in making the Project work - and not just for me, but for themselves as well.  And that means for people in the Project to actually DO something.  Not because I told them to, but because they WANT to do it.  They need to communicate with one another, not just have me give notices to try to get them to talk and be active, they have to actually work TOGETHER and BE active by taking the initiative.  I can't do that for them.  And my nudging gets totally ignored.  Thus, time to step back and let them either on their own stand or else disband.

What will I do?  Well, I'm thinking it's time to focus on writing and editing.  Get away from trying to organize persons and work about organizing words again.  I already wasted so much time trying to push certain elements in world that I never got back to focusing on editing up one story I had thought of publishing, and maybe could have had it in the process if I had been working on the manuscript, rather than get myself in RP and group organization drama.  On the other hand, all wasn't completely wasted, as some of the RP could be re-worked and edited into something. Maybe.  But, for now, I just need to start doing.  After all, if I'm asking others to start doing something, then so should I.  Much like I read in a recent article about the late Pope John Paul II. It was noted that people sensed his authenticity and as someone who could demand something of others by the fact that he also demanded something of himself as well.  And I think it certainly a form of arete to have that certain authenticity.  An excellence that may never be achieved, but well worth the effort to strive for.  Which is thus why I'm not going to fret over the future of the Project.  It will work itself out one way or the other, and in neither way do I have full control of it, nor do ask for such.  But what I can put discipline to is refocusing myself on writing.

One point of focus is on making a short fiction.  There's a short story contest I saw in Writer's Journal in this past March/April (Vol. 32, No. 2) installment.  The entry fee is US $15.00 for a 5000 word or less fiction. The top prizes are US $500 for first, $200 for second, and $100 for third.  Each would be published in the July/Aug edition of the journal. I'm thinking of maybe drawing off the recent steampunk RP story and putting together a basic overview of some ideas I had for it.  At least that way, maybe it won't go to waste.  Other than that, I have an old lycan story I'd like to revise and work into a novel maybe.  The Custos Noctis had a decent story I could revise as well.  We'll see what happens.  Hell, maybe I'll return to the Latin story I was working on that is on my old LiveJournal account.  Skies the limit. Just have to consider what to focus on.  And maybe if I get something produced, story entry, manuscript, or otherwise, I'll feel like I've actually accomplished something finally.

Anyways, that's my acta for now.  Until next time.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Evolving Roleplay Beyond Time

I've been thinking on this for a while, and through various talks I've had with friends, as well as considering my own experiences in RP, it seems that roleplay, the concept as we know it so far on SL, has to change.  Or, at least, a new way of RPing is essential to accommodate for people's busy schedules, and doesn't get burdened by false expectations and flimsy excuses.  But, also, remembering that this is SL, where we come to enjoy ourselves, and relax, we don't put too much pressure on people.  Afterall, the reason we RP with one another is, or should be because we enjoy the company of each other, and what each of us brings to the table in our participation in the RP.  So why should we make it seem like an undue burden to be a part of RP?  Shouldn't RP be fun?  And shouldn't we be able to work together to make sure that we do indeed have fun?

And that's exactly what I'd like to do - make a group wherein RPers can come together, work towards a common goal in a story, and have fun in the process. There's a few things that I feel need to be addressed with this different perspective on RP.  Not necessarily 'rules', but certainly guidelines and things I'd like to see become norms in the collective group of RPers I'm trying to form.

For starters, let's all remember that we're friends, and, regardless of conflicts, we all have the same end goal when it comes to the RP in general.  We may not be on the same 'team', and our roles may indeed conflict.  But, in the end, it is part of the Chess match being played.  And when one round is over, we put aside the trivial of that round and ready to play the next round.

Secondarily, and considering that when in Forgotten City, which is a PG sim, we need to remember to try and manage our actions accordingly to the guidelines of the particular sim we are RPing in.  The community rating to me is more a challenge with Forgotten City.  How so?  Well, for one, it's actually attempting to put together a quality story that doesn't involve sex and a lot of gore.  Much of SL RP has pretty much centered around 'dark' RP, to which has always devolved into scenes of sex and gore.  I'm not saying that such should not be in RP, or a story.  I read plenty of books that are adventure novels with plenty of it and manage to also hold higher level thoughts on philosophies, religion, and science.  But, to me, the challenge is to actually make a quality RP and story without such things, which is compelling in its own right.  Amazingly, many top Hollywood movies, such as Avatar, Batman Returns and The Dark Night, as the space operas of Star Trek and Star Wars have been able to make such stories, so why not RP storytellers as well?

But regardless of rating on a sim, also consider what the period is, what they allow, and all the other aspects before starting to RP there.  If they don't allow your type of character, and you don't want to morph from the character you have, then move on.  If it's not in you to want to participate where your particular form is not allowed, then it's not worth the time and half-hearted passion that may be put into it.  Find a place you can feel that passion, and go for it.  We are both authors and actors in our RPs and stories, so why waste time with places that want to edit you to the point that you may feel you don't have the character you would want to play and develop?  There's plenty of places out there, and plenty of opportunities to work out a way to craft your character and story to how you see fit.

Of course, in participation, it may be necessary to consider how you can fit your character into the RP once you find the place you want to RP.  For me, particularly with Forgotten City, the opportunities are vast at the moment.  Sure, the genre is steampunk, and the sim rating is PG, but, the story is open to be developed in so many ways right now.  Of course, with more people coming into the story and RPing, it will bring different ideas on what to do, but I welcome that.  I want the ideas, so I have something to play with and develop into my RP and story.  It will help me in considering the road map of my own story and what direction I want to take it.  It is still in a mutable stage, and open for a variety of drafts and redrafts - which is what happens in storytelling, regardless the medium.  And my question is for now, "how will this new chapter take place?"  And that is largely up to the interactions, as well as some planning that also takes place, both individually and as a group with those participating.

Interaction itself is important.  How you interact with people can both be a creative and destructive force.  In many ways, people's actions in RP have made for a pretty volatile environment that has taken the fun out of RP and attempts toward storytelling in RP.  It may have to do with losing sight in a particular vision of the story.  It may have to do with interrupting or otherwise disturbing a particular flow in a story.  It really can be anything to which either changes, for better or worse, the field upon which the RP is taking place.  There is no exact, pin-point answer or reason to why or how RP evolves or devolves, but there are ways to try to keep certain things from happening.  That is, if the option is to safeguard a certain storyline or direction of RP.  To me, one main way to do that is work on levels of participation - particularly open or close, and working on the RP etiquette on how to join in, and being discerning on if one should join in.  There is also the self-governing of considering what exactly are you willing to participate in, as well as considering whether it would be worth any cost or consequence to be involved in that particular scene or storyline.  To always keep in mind that you are the author and actor of your own RP. If participating in certain scenes or storylines would somehow ruin what direction or other reason would consider you to not do something, then don't do it.  You do have control over your character, regardless of what anyone else may say.  You have the final cut in your story, and you can and ought to make the decisions you feel or know you ought to make.  That doesn't mean people can't persuade you to do something, but it does mean that you have the power to choose whether to accept or decline the proposition of that persuasion.

Beyond the logic and common sense of what most ought to know already about how to go about RP, the other important aspect comes with time and ability to RP.  Many of us enjoy RP and don't have the time, nor ability to remain online and in world 24/7, 7 days a week.  We can't be totally immersed in SL, and online time in general is limited.  We have to work in order to be able to do anything online, and so, we know we have a limited amount of time to do what we'd like.  Therefore, our choices have to be more structured than those who can be on all the time.  We have to have a sense of time frame to do things.  And this is where communication comes in.  Learning about what schedules we may have irl, and figuring out when we can set time aside to be able to put a story into action.  Many in this position think it not fair to try and do this, but the reality is, we have to.  So, not only is our time limited, but also is our participation.  And thus is where it is important to have RPers that are understanding on limits of time, and are willing to work within time frames and work around schedules to meet up to do what we like to do.  There should be no shame in saying, "Hey, I have a business meeting and will be gone for a few days.  Would you have time to continue this when I get back?"  And it should be something reasonable to be able to do this.  But let's not make it a matter of snobbery, or get too demanding.  We all need time to do things in our offline life and away from SL.  But we also need to be clear and decisive about how we go about scheduling in RP time.  And that takes communication -being open to talk to those you want to RP with, and working around each others real life needs.

Anyways, these are just a few concepts to consider.  Beyond that, will save for another blog when it comes to mind.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Second Chapter of Forgotten RP

The second chapter begins where the first one, 'Brothers' ends.  Luke says his final farewell and gives Ioh a few items that are to help him through his mission to save his friends.

Of the items I'm considering for Luke to give Ioh, they are three:

1. A map of Forgotten City.
2. A silver pocket watch.
3. A golden compass.

What each of these do, I'm still trying to work out the details.  The basic idea, though, is that Ioh has become an explorer in the city.  His purpose is to find and free his friends from whatever has happened to them.  So, in considering the objects needed for this journey, each one has to have something to do with direction and purpose.  The basic ideas are:

The map gives the broad overview of the landscape - what lies ahead and what surrounds.

The watch keeps track of time, and, in fitting with the scene of steampunk, the inner 'heart' of the watch is made with cogs and keeps pace with the concept of time and the alloted machination of fate.

The compass helps keep one's bearings straight and on course.

Now, this is the general purpose of the objects, the 'surface' of their use and abilities.  Each object helps the holder in other ways as well, such as to help them keep their memories and purpose.  They are an object to help them focus so that they don't lose track of what they are trying to do in the mission, and so that whatever mystery within the workings of the city doesn't make them forget.  That is, not only to lose track of their purpose on the mission, but also these objects keep the holder from forgetting who they are.  If they forget who they are, then they too become trapped in the city and, effectively, become a 'cog in the wheel' of the city, in a sense.

These are just concepts, for now.  How they will develop depends on the RP and storytelling in general.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Outline and Summary for Project Ziggurat

Since I am the originator of this project, and gave a 9 - point guide for making an outline and summary of making stories, I figure I should 'lead by example' and show one way to make a summary and outline.  You don't have to do both, though it can help to better solidify your general idea for the storyline.  After that, you can get more specific and can work on better forming the specifics of the events.  That is, unless you want to keep it to being by chance within the RP.  However, having pinnacle moments that must happen can be a good way to keeping the course of the story flowing as you would like it to.  But, we'll save the more detailed structuring for later.  For now, keep with forming the outline and summary of stories you would like to tell in the RP in Project Ziggurat.


1. The opening (the beginning/origins).

Ioh and others from Chamber escape some terrible catastrophe that leaves them wandering and seeking refuge.

2. Inciting incident (what calls your character to act in the story's setting)

Because the refugees need shelter, and a place to start anew, Ioh seeks out a place to stay, to which he finds the bunker.

3. First turning point (what first invites your character into the story/brings about the call to action).

After moving into the bunker, Ioh and others notice strange things going on, and so, to find out what is the cause of these things, Ioh decides to investigate the origins of the mysterious happenings.

4. Mid-point (the arc of the story, where the pieces of the story seem to come together and you think your character has it all wrapped up)

After looking around the bunker, Ioh shrugs off the mysterious happenings as being rats in the sewer, and possibly natural gas, or something else that causes the sensation of a 'rift' or 'portal effect' that causes dizziness and slight unease to certain people feeling the effects of the mysteries.

5. Second turning point (what pulls your character further into the story, what new elements of the story come to play and need to be payed attention to)

People start to begin missing from the bunker.

6. Crisis (where the pieces seem to fall apart, or mix and match up differently than perceived, or something pulls the original ideas and theories apart, or prevent them from being put together as previously thought possible)

After certain people wind up missing, Ioh finds that he cannot continue on with his original conclusions pertaining to the mysteries of the bunker and, more so, when exiting the bunker, finding that the doors open up to a completely new setting compared to where they were before they entered.

7.  Climax (the pivotal moment, the beginning of the end, and high point of the story)

Ioh and some of the remaining go out in search of the missing refugees to which, what they find amazes them.

8. Resolution (how to put the pieces together, what starts to bring closure to the story)

Ioh and his cohorts find out what happened to their missing refugees and learn the mystery behind the 'bunker'.

9. Final page (The ending, what closes the adventure, and may set up the events for a new one)

In learning that the bunker is not really a bunker, but an inter-dimensional transporter that can travel through space, time, and among parallel universes, Ioh, and the rest of the refugees seek out a way to harness the abilities of the bunker, or Ziggurat to travel into many worlds, and many time periods.


After the tragedy of Chamber's destruction, Ioh and others set out to find a new place to call home. The refugees sought shelter in a bunker that was found on their wanderings of the land. However, strange things began to happen in the bunker, and Ioh decides to investigate what could be going on. On first look around, Ioh decides that much of the bumps in the night had to do with rats scurrying around, and the strange, uneasy, queasy feelings possibly were from a leak in a gas pipe, or some other natural air born influence. However, these theories lose weight when people began to wind up missing. Therefore, Ioh decides to investigate further what the mysterious disappearances may mean. In deciding to go outside the bunker, Ioh and a select few who volunteered to help in the search for the missing persons found that they were in a strange land which itself held many puzzles. Eventually, Ioh and his cohorts find out what happened to the missing refugees and, at the same time, the mystery behind the bunker. Apparently, the bunker is an inter-dimensional transporter that can be used to travel through space, time, and to parallel universes. After learning of the mysteries of what they now call the Ziggurat, Ioh and his cohort of refugees decide to pilot the monolithic transporter into many worlds, periods of times, and dimensions in order to go on more adventures.