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Heart of a story or road to nowhere: When characters travel

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Heart of a story or road to nowhere: When characters travel

Tips: 2.00 INK Postby Ylanne on Wed Mar 18, 2020 10:22 pm

Here's a quick tip when dealing with travel scenes:

I remember one of my earliest issues in writing both solo fiction and roleplay posts was not knowing what to do between important scenes. For example, how do the characters get from their fortress to the main battlefield, or how do they get between the big climatic scene and back home again? I struggled with this so much, because I thought it was necessary to write every damn detail imaginable about the time spent going between places, but then found myself slogging through it and waiting for it to end. In some specific types of games, you do have to do detail every part of a journey between locations, like in most video games, and in most dungeon-crawl type games (in text or other formats). You have to trace every moment of a character's steps, or at least most of those moments. But in freeform roleplay (or fiction), you do not have to do this.

Writing out the journey when characters travel can become either the heart of a story, where the journey itself is the main plot (see, e.g., road trip movies, most Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, the classic fantasy novel, the classic space journey novel, etc.), and a major setting for character development, tension, conflict, and all those juicy things that make the story flow. But in a type of story that does not center on the journey, these scenes can so quickly become tedious and dull. Ultimately, they'll detract from the story, leading nowhere, rather than adding something to it. So if you find yourself groaning at the prospect of having to write posts tracing your character's path between one scene and the next scene, fear not. You can just... skip it. Go to the next scene. Unless the journey between locations is actually part of the story you want to write, or gives a reason for a specific encounter (like meeting a specific other character on the way), you need not account for every second of the characters' lives or describe each movement on their journey. Other roleplayers or readers will thank you. You'll thank yourself.
​“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”
― Arundhati Roy

“The only way to survive is to take care of each other.”
― Grace Lee Boggs

“every day is another chance to practice living out the values that matter most to us. to be our best selves. to be the legacy we want to leave.”
― Mia Mingus

Tip jar: the author of this post has received 2.00 INK in return for their work.

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