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Experiences Unsatisfied

Walliver

One Thousand Club
Look, my roleplay partners are great. Super enthusiastic, super helpful, and I’m always loving the stuff they put out. Excellent writers, and the ones I haven’t gotten to writing with yet show amazing potential.
And yet...I feel unsatisfied.
I know why, and it’s because I have plots in mind that no one wants to rp. Don’t get me wrong, my current roleplays are fantastic, but I have other ideas that I love and have so much creativity for. And when I try to turn them into short stories, they just fizzle out and die.
Has anyone else experienced this dissatisfaction with roleplay? If so, do you know how to cure it?
 

Sushi Muncher

Be Sick of The World
We are all unique in our own ways, as intended. They say art is subjective, with various calibers of enthusiasm. The reason why the dress is gold and blue simultaneously. All in all, one might be infatuated with an idea, others might not share the same passion. There many factors as well, such as clarity in exposition, expectations and seasonal interests. Perhaps your players loved your personality and stuck around for your RPs, or vice versa. Snow is an element of winter. Rarely will you find something outside of its natural habitat or expectations. The same goes for your RP concepts.

Is it an idea that will receive a lot of praises for its simplicity? Or is it an idea so exceptional that many needed time to comprehend? Did you conjure up the idea when everyone is back to school/work? Is the concept comprehensible? How well will the general population of this site receive this? Is the current trend of cravings on RPN be influential enough to sway the interests?

When it comes to ideas, there are many. But consequentially, there are many questions to be resolved.

As for your unsatisfaction, it is natural. Many dreams come to bloom and die on RPN. Some thrive, others perish. You rarely see military RPs on forums that live long, why? Simple. Hierarchies and centralized command often crack down on the liberties of movement and gestures. Oftentimes, not everyone share the same mind as their team leader. Depending on their post schedules, these types of RPs often drown in the mud. The point is, some RPs work better on certain platforms, others are forum-oriented.

There is no sure "cure" to your dissatisfaction over a grounded idea. It is what it is. One advice I can suggest is to keep writing. Even when the interests wane, you should keep writing. When others have stopped, it is your responsibility as a GM to stir life to it by writing. Perhaps throw some familiar ideas for your players to react to. Akin to making baby food, creativities are the various ingredients that you need to grind and mash, so that the average goldfish-brain roleplayer like myself can remain interested.

Do not be disheartened. People and interests come and go like seasons. The art of GMing is an art that is hard to master. So keep on writing and do not look at your initial setbacks as problems. Look at them instead as a record sheet, examine why it did not work and see what you can do to adjust and evolve. Life is all about trials and errors. Just gotta keep on and on. With time, I hope all those writing will payoff and your dismays resolved.

Hope this helps. Have a wonderful day/night!
 

GojiBean

That One Fear In My Enemy's Eyes
About the only thing which might be referred to (very loosely) as a "cure" for dissatisfaction is to drop all expectations before you open an Interest Check or a Role-Play.

The more expectations you place on your idea, the more easily dissatisfaction can set in when the idea doesn't get off the ground at a speed which matches your enthusiasm.

Now, when it comes to short stories fizzling out, I do have some insight on that.

There are two incredibly common mistakes people make when writing stories which lead to either bad endings, or the idea just falling out. And I can guarantee that if you look back on the attempts you've made thus far you'll see that at least one of these two things has happened to you and your stories.

Those two mistakes are:

1) Skipping the "weakness and need" of your hero
2) Not having a clear and defined ending in mind from the start

Point number one talks about skipping the "weakness and need" of the hero of the story. But what does that mean and why is skipping those two things important?

If you've never read John Truby's book, "The Anatomy of Story," I recommend doing so as soon as possible. In it he writes that there are effectively 7 basic steps that need to happen structurally for a story to work regardless of genre. Those steps are as follows and are listed in order of importance: Weakness and Need, Desire, Opponent, Plan, Battle, Self Revelation, New Equilibrium.

Point one is "weakness and need" for a reason. If you skip it and move straight into the desire of the character (aka the goal) and go from there, you've effectively just shot yourself right in the thigh and grazed your writer's femoral artery. Your story will have a quick start, but it will also kill the payoff. What's the payoff? The payoff is the ending of your story.

A good example of this, if you watch Dragon Ball, would be the Future Trunks Arc in DB Super. The entire arc skips a weakness and need for Future Trunks and starts immediately with his desire which is to stop Goku Black from destroying his timeline. It's the exact same "story" from DBZ. Because of this oversight, Future Trunks does not have a weakness or a need to overcome and reach by the end. And as a result he doesn't change as a person by the Arc's conclusion (to say nothing of the fact that Future Zeno destroying that universe makes the entire Arc pointless). Future Trunks only gains more power by the end, and that kind of change is completely artificial and surface-level. Nobody cares about how strong he's gotten. They want to care about Trunks and the changes and sacrifices he made along the way.

But Trunks didn't change. And he didn't make any sacrifices personally either. He watched others die, sure. So he lost plenty. But loss is not sacrifice. Loss is loss. Sacrifice is a choice to lose something willingly in order to make advancements which one thinks will help them down the line. For example, Vegeta sacrificed his very life in an attempt to stop Majin Buu in the Buu Arc of DBZ because he believed that it would save his loved ones and pay his respect to his greatest rival, Goku. Little Trunks, at the time, lost his father (even though that loss was negated later when Vegeta got his life back). But that loss is not a sacrifice.

Weakness and need are what make your audience (and you as the writer) care about and invest in your character, and makes them desire a satisfying conclusion to the journey the character is about to undertake. The weakness and need build anticipation, and they're what can create the greatest moments of tension when the weakness and need are exploited by the antagonists and used against your MC.

One last warning about weakness and need before we move on to the second point: The moment your character becomes aware of their weakness and/or achieves their need, the story is over.

Why? Because the realization of the need is step 6 of 7. "Self Revelation." That self revelation is the moment the character becomes consciously aware of, or achieves what they've needed all along. It's what leads directly into the final step of New Equilibrium. For example, in the film The Silence of the Lambs the main character, Clarice Sterling, has a need to overcome the ghosts of her traumatized childhood and establish herself as an equal to her male peers in a male-dominated system of law enforcement. Her weakness is that she's a female in a male-dominated world. When she kills Buffalo Bill at the climax, she achieves that need and overcomes her weakness. She becomes a fully recognized officer of the law and has overcome her haunted past and is now starting life anew in her dream career as an equal to her male peers. And her story is over.

If your character knows what they need or has already achieved it from the start, then they never really had a weakness or need to begin with and your story was over before it even began.

So, always know what your character's weakness and need is before you write a single letter in a short story. And do everything in your power to prevent them from realizing that weakness or achieving that need until the story's climax.

Moving on...

The second point is not having a clear and defined ending in mind.

Having an idea for an ending isn't good enough in the world of writing. You need a clear ending. If you don't have your ending, you have no story. Why? Because the ending IS the story. It's the entire purpose for anything and everything your character goes through from the first thing they say to the final action they take. In terms of the level of importance of the story's "beginning," "middle," and "end," the ending is the most important by a landslide.

A great ending can help an audience forgive a mediocre 1st and 2nd Act in a 3-Act structure story. But a lackluster ending, even when preceded by a lot of cool action and dramatic moments, will fall flat on its face and everyone will remember the story for that terrible ending.

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In summary, before you attempt to write any short stories or start any RP's, make sure that you know your RP's ending and your own personal character's weakness and need (and prevent them from realizing/achieving them until the end). If you don't, you're doomed from the start and your ideas will always fizzle out and you'll end up disappointed by the attempts that led to nothing.

Cheers!

~ GojiBean
 

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