ProsePlanner | Character Development Biography

character development biography
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Developing a quick reference biography for the characters in your novel is an important step in creating robust and interesting characters.

I’ve created my protagonist’s character development profile for a video game that I’m creating. I’m enjoying the journey of learning how to write characters for video games, because it’s helping me understand how to create engaging characters for the novels that I’m writing. I hope you find this information useful for your own characters.

Meet Dr. Dale Swinton:

ProsePlanner | Fictional World Development

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I often think of a story as a collection of facets, like the facets of a gem.

These facets include: genre, theme, storyline, story beats, characters, and world development.

In this blog post, I’d like to talk about fictional world development in your novel.

Developing a unique world is vital to keeping your reader engaged.

For example, as you develop the world you should ask several questions:

What type of world is this?

For example, is this a fantasy or sci-fi world?

Fantasy genres often include: epic, high, dark, or contemporary. Sci-fi genres often include hard, military, space opera, or steampunk. Regardless of the genre, you’ll need describe the type of world you’ll be placing your reader into. Is the world war-torn, dystopic, or newly discovered?

Here’s your chance to push the envelope when it comes to genres and subgenres. The point is to create a special world that the reader can’t wait to be part of.

What does the physical world look like?

Is the world a rainforest, a desert, or a moon in a far-off galaxy?

Imagine how all of your senses would come alive in this world. What do the characters experience: strange weather, extreme temperature, long seasons, switches in the magnetic poles, or strange phenomena? What do your characters smell, hear, taste, and feel when living in this world?

What is the mood and setting of this world?

The mood and setting of your world should match your theme.

For example, if you have a dystopian world, then a dark setting may be most appropriate. However, if you have a war-torn world, then perhaps a chaotic mood and setting would work. The key is the place the reader seamlessly into the world you’ve created and hold them there.

Fictional World Development

I hope that you enjoyed this blog post on Fictional World Development.

Please stay tuned for additional blog posts on developing characters, storyline, story beats, and much more in the future.

ProsePlanner | Video Game Pitch

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As I continue to explore narrative design in video games, and its application to other media, I’m taking a narrative design course. Thus far, I’m learning a lot and I’vdlike to share my progress with you.

My first assignment in the narrative design course was to create a one-page video game pitch.

This was a wonderful exercise and I’d like to share my one-page video game pitch with you. Enjoy!

FOREVER FREE

Story: While a history teacher is working on a home improvement project in their backyard, they accidentally dig up an ancient urn that gets cracked in the process. An evil spirit, named Zsmora, escapes from the urn and wreaks havoc. The history teacher finds an ancient book buried near the urn and discovers clues inside that describe how to trap Zsmora back in the urn.

The problem is, if Zsmora isn’t trapped by the next full moon, it will be forever free.

Gameplay: The ancient book has a detailed map that shows the location of various tools to help imprison Zsmora and detailed tasks to complete to unlock strength levels for the player. Players will follow the clues written therein to discover spells, incantations, and amulets that will lure Zsmora into the urn where it can be trapped once again. For each completed task described in the ancient book, gamers will earn a new archaeological tool and a higher strength level for imprisoning Zsmora in the grueling game days ahead.

Tension: Time is of the essence in this game, so the player must race against the clock to find the clues and perform any rituals before the full moon. With each passing day, Zsmora becomes stronger and the player must find even more powerful tools to subdue the evil spirit. Players will enjoy the mounting tension that each day of gameplay provides and the challenge of acquiring the tools to imprison Zsmora.

Mechanics: During each task, players can walk, run, jump, or swing their arms. However, Zsmora can also fly toward gamers at any time and extract their lifeforce, which can reduce their strength level significantly. Players must focus on the achieving their tasks quickly, while being vigilant against attacks by Zsmora.

Concept: For all those players who love the India Jones franchise and learning about esoterica, Forever Free offers players a unique gaming experience that merges both worlds. Players can enjoy environmental puzzles, obstacles, intense imagery, and dark ambient music that gets more dismal the closer the player gets to the full moon. With a plethora of challenges and puzzles amidst a brooding atmosphere, Forever Free is sure to become a favorite among the adventure-seeking gaming community.

Narrative Design

Do you have a narrative design course that you could recommend? If so, then please add the details in a comment.

ProsePlanner Book Review | Video Game Writing

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Yes, video game writing.

I am always looking for alternate ways to tell a story, and I’ve recently become interested in video game writing and interactive fiction. I love reading books, comics, and graphic novels, but I have never played too many video games.

However, I’ve seen enough people play video games to have developed an appreciation for the stories and the dialogue in video games. And I wanted to learn more. Recently, I happened upon a fantastic book by CRC Press for video game writing that I’d like to share with you.

Dramatic Storytelling & Narrative Design: A Writer’s Guide to Video Games and Transmedia, by Ross Berger.

This was a great book and has really set the bar for me on video game writing and why it’s important.

Several key points from this book are:

  1. Narrative design versus video game writing
  2. Story structure diagram
  3. Character and world surveys
  4. Branching conversation tree
  5. Definitions of story beats and dramatic devices

I really enjoyed this book because it provided me with a whole new set of skills when writing characters and constructing a robust storyline. I would argue that regardless of the medium the audience wants a great story. To tell that story well, this book goes into a lot of detail with regard to the story beats (Act 1, Act 2, and Act 3) that are outlined below.

Act 1

Inciting incident

Introduction to the protagonist’s purpose

Refuse the Call

Situation Worsens

Accept the Call

Point of No Return

Act 2

Adjustment to New World

Escalating Burdens

Exposure to Weakness

Loss of Trust

Mid-/Low-Point

In the Belly of Jonah’s Whale

Act 3

Redemption

Escalating Burdens

Climax

Reversal

Recognition

Resolution

Denouement

ProsePlanner’s Book Review Rating: Four stars! This book provided a tremendous amount of detail in the craft of video game writing (and narrative design), which I believe is applicable to writing a novel. I hope that this blog post has been interesting and that you’ll take a look at the book. Please let a comment below if you liked it.

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