Sorry for the late post today. Our D&D* session went a little long, but we finished out our arc. The players are happy, the story is progressing, and everyone understands the system now. I think it's been a good opening arc.
I wonder if there's anything I've learned from today's session that might be applicable to writing in general. After all, what is a Game Master but a writer that has to constantly change the details of his story. Actually... that's kind of what I'm doing right now with The Paladin. Blegh... editing. Less fun than writing.
Still, there is something to learn and I think that is making the players care. If you want your players to feel an attachment to the arc, to characters, to the story, you need to give them something that's theirs. Give them something to care about. My players have really only just started, but they're starting to form attachments to things and I need to capitalize on this. Likewise, as a writer, you need to give your readers something to get attached to!
If your story is just a strewn together list of independent incidents, all without consequence, there's nothing to worry about. You need to give your readers characters to love, places to identify with, and relationships to enjoy. That way, when those things are put in danger, the reader, like my players, have a personal stake in the matter. You don't want this character to get hurt. You don't want to see this place burn down. You don't want to see these two people fight. You're invested. I've learned that from my players. Time to make sure I've implemented that with The Paladin, too.
*It's not actually D&D, but that's a convenient shorthand for the table top game we're playing. If you're interested, it's a modified version of the Marvel Heroes RPG called Extraordinary League. Thanks to my friends at Smash Fiction!
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.