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Question:
When you're creating a character/writing an app/starting a game, do you consider how they might grow over the course of the game? Not necessarily pre-plotting, or establishing relationships in advance, but maybe more like, establishing where they are in their life at the start, and how they'll grow if things go a certain way? There's no way to control the other characters, so obviously this can change as things happen, but I'm curious - do you apply the idea of a character arc to roleplay, or do you make a character to have fun with and then wing it? Sometimes one or the other? A mix of both?

Date: 2012-08-08 02:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] diadem.insanejournal.com
Sometimes for me it's a mixture of both! But it also depends on the nature of the game! My younger version of Milly, she was supposed to be this happy-go-lucky girl, typical annoying little sister but at the time I had no idea that her Dad was down for a death in the game and her older sister was down for being bit by a werewolf. In which she turned into a angsty troubled kid.

So in that case, her turning out different was definitely not planned! So when I tried to think about her getting older for NS, I thought about ways she could channel her anger issues which lead to her playing Quidditch!

Date: 2012-08-08 03:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
This is interesting to me, because I haven't played the same incarnation of a character in multiple games before. Like, I've played Ron a few times, but it's usually been little tweaks to fit the games, and never a young/old comparison. IDK how it would change how I feel about it.

Date: 2012-08-08 02:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aardwolves.insanejournal.com
I know I always go into a game with a basic character arc in mind, much like going into writing a novel. If I don't feel like a character has any room for development, or winds up stuck in a rut, I lose interest fast, so I feel like it's important to start out with plenty of room to grow.

Re: [insanejournal.com profile] invol, I have Jude, who is starting out as a deliberately emotionally stunted and flippant character who is pretty sheltered, but who I hope will grow with the acquisition of friends and finding something to stand for. He's not a stupid guy, and can probably do something with himself once he quits with the self-loathing.

As for Anton, he's already grown a great deal more than Jude: he started off shy and mumbling at his feet and totally frightened of all the new people around him, but already he's met a lot of people and started a club and is on his way to becoming the person he as before being disowned and homeless. He'll probably eventually make a good leader, and his arc has taken off a lot more quickly than I'd expected, so who knows where he'll end up.

But uhhhh, TL;DR... pre-planned character arcs: yes. But there is a lot of wiggle room for how fast these arcs happen and what will affect them, and where they'll end up is never set in stone. I'm rambly.

Date: 2012-08-08 03:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chthonian.insanejournal.com
I love everything in this comment.

Date: 2012-08-08 03:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
But there is a lot of wiggle room for how fast these arcs happen and what will affect them, and where they'll end up is never set in stone.

This for me, too. I'm not like "Harlow will do XYZ by Halloween" or anything, I just kind of have a vague idea on the horizon line of how she might react/grow over her time at IVI.

Date: 2012-08-08 03:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chthonian.insanejournal.com
Completely ignoring the idea of "specific plotlines that I want to run" and focusing on "character growth/development" -- sometimes one or the other! Some characters I start off at Point A and know that I don't want them to stay there forever, and will therefore consciously tiptoe my way towards Point B over time (e.g. Talia was ~meant~ to become more responsible, learn to treat her twin better, and generally grow the fuck up) while others I'm content to simply wing it. I really like plotting/writing with specific plotlines & nebulous end-goals in mind, though, so I feel like I would do better to focus on this more often. I wonder if part of my problem with Sol is that I don't have a plan.

How about you?

Date: 2012-08-08 03:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
Tiff wants me to put my answer here too, but you asked so you get the comment reply.

I strongly consider character arcs if the character is meant to be in a period of growth/transition during the course of the game. If I'm playing a canon character who is somewhat established in their life, at a primarily social game, I don't always do it, and kind of roll with the punches.

However, I get much, much more enjoyment from playing a character who I know will have some sort of an arc to them, whether it's specific plots or just a Point A and Point B. And, I'm prone to struggling a bit when playing a character who is content in their marriage/relationship, in their career, and in their home life, because everyone loves writing some measure of conflict. Essentially yeah, I want growth, and I think about it before hand. Even if it's just a maturing (like, I don't intend for Jack to have a radical shift of his beliefs so much as a period of solidifying who he is as a young man), I want to think about how a character might move through the game. I have hopes for Harlow to REALLY get shaken up by some of the much more radical characters, given that she's being forced out of her solitary shell here. She has to think about things of serious import, choose what kind of a woman she wants to become, and assert herself a hell of a lot more than she does now. Her self worth currently isn't very high, but I think as she starts to feel less ashamed of her abilities, and more in control of them, this woman is really going to bloom. And I'm so flipping excited for it, whenever and however it does happen.

Only twice have I written a character that was just for the fun/lols/jokes, and they were both at the same game that was panfandom and kind of crack-ish. Maybe I take RP too seriously, but I really like considering ways to create a solid character, shift their perspective, or ask a hard question, or put something immobile in their way, etc., and examine what happens as a result.

Date: 2012-08-17 12:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chthonian.insanejournal.com
love this comment, the end

Date: 2012-08-17 01:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
Plz will Solomon play w/Harlow?

Date: 2012-08-17 01:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chthonian.insanejournal.com
omg yes

I FORGOT TO RESPOND TO YOUR ABSOLUTELY AMAZING EMAIL BUT when i climb back on the invol horse tonight let's figure something out :D?

Date: 2012-08-17 01:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
I sent an amazing email? Go me!

Yes please though, if it means Julieplay, count me in!

Date: 2012-08-08 03:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
Also, this is funny because I'm so curious about how Sol will change in this environment. I've been curious ever since I first read his app, what would happen for him now.

Date: 2012-08-08 03:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aardwolves.insanejournal.com
I love Sol and also can't wait to see this happen!

Date: 2012-08-17 12:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chthonian.insanejournal.com
aaaaahahhaha GOOD FUCKING QUESTION, basically. >> I probably should've charted that particular arc out beforehand, tbh.

Date: 2012-08-17 01:03 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-08-08 03:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] borntorun.insanejournal.com
I don't tend to think about it when I'm writing the application because so much depends upon relationships with other characters and events in the game. After a few weeks in, though, it's easier to come up with a general idea of where I want to go from there.

Date: 2012-08-08 03:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
This fascinates me, because it makes me think of so many "what-if" scenarios, like okay, example: what would Henry have been like if he hadn't clicked with Oliver and Lauren, and were then destined to be kind of ho-hum siblings-in-law with little in common and no teasing?

Date: 2012-08-08 03:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] borntorun.insanejournal.com
The what-ifs are exactly why I try to not think about it TOO much, or at least in nothing except really really vague ideas. Things can turn out so differently than you initially imagined and send your character in a totally different direction, and I don't want to end up feeling like I'm straying from my original intentions. I never planned to have Oliver get into a relationship, but having him with Parvati changed a lot of his story. Same with Eleanor (although I did have a general idea for her arc, and I think I fulfilled that). I do like to play characters that can change in some way even if I'm not really thinking about it too much, or at least have that door open if things fall into place. But I think mostly I just wait and see how things settle around me. I've had really specific ideas set in the past, and I've run out of time in the game (because it has closed for whatever reason, or my SL partners have left, etc), and that always leaves me with regrets because I wasn't able to do what I wanted.

Date: 2012-08-08 03:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginge.insanejournal.com
SOMETIMES ...

actually, not usually. I'm only saying sometimes because I actually thought how the game / course of events would affect Malbec @ The Odds and how I wanted him to grow from what he is.

In Harry Potter games I would say pretty much never.

Date: 2012-08-08 03:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
Do you notice an OC/Canons difference? Like, canons kind of have their growth somewhat defined/outlined, and OCs are all you?

Date: 2012-08-08 03:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ginge.insanejournal.com
I'm not sure! I don't play a lot of canon canon characters, I tend to prefer the looser ones that don't have a lot of canon because I'm always afraid I'll stray. It really depends on in-game relationships for me, tbh. I might have an idea of what I want, but it always changes.

Date: 2012-08-08 03:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mumkin.insanejournal.com
Almost always.

Date: 2012-08-08 03:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
Did I mess up Nancy's arc, with Jacob's insistence that she hook up with Babyeater, or further it? XD

Date: 2012-08-08 03:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mumkin.insanejournal.com
Ahahaha! No, I'm pretty sure that was exactly the sort of thing she needed. XD

Also, to elaborate: I don't necessarily always have a specific arc in mind, but I usually set my characters up for growth of some kind. And I really like to see them follow through with it. A favorite of mine is the middle aged woman who gets her groove back, one way or another, so.

Date: 2012-08-08 05:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
Yeah, I guess this might be more what I do too, because it's not that I have a set series of things that need to happen; but I usually kind of write a character with an awareness of wanting them to grow/change in the game.

Date: 2012-08-08 05:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mumkin.insanejournal.com
I mean, also I guess I approach life that way, with the expectation that people are changing constantly, if only because I am.

Date: 2012-08-08 05:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
Right? I'm in a slump right now, and that happens too, but like... new experiences, new growth. It doesn't make you a new person, but it enriches the scope of your life and can change your thinking on things.

Date: 2012-08-08 05:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mumkin.insanejournal.com
Tell me about it. But even in a slump, I feel like I'm not the same person I was even at the beginning of the summer. Maybe not new person entirely, but I have vastly different opinions on somethings and I act differently in certain situations.

Possibly this is also because I am a twenty-something and still trying to figure out ~who I am~

But there's always room for character growth, I think, and maybe I let their environment have more of an impact on my characters than some people because I expect it to give them an opportunity to learn something about themselves and what they really want.

Date: 2012-08-08 04:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dramatism.insanejournal.com
I pretty much never do. If I'm going in with a canon character, I know there are certain things I want to see played out but normally I don't think about an arc or whatever. I just ~let it happen~ as hippie dippie as that sounds. ;)

Date: 2012-08-08 04:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
Do you see arcs, looking back on them, or is it going with the flow and they react to things on a spontaneous fashion, without changing who they are? Or something else entirely?

Date: 2012-08-08 04:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] immlass.insanejournal.com
I find I get an arc going after I've started playing.

Date: 2012-08-08 05:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
I'm curious about all different answers, so if it's not too nosy... do you still feel a strong character voice from the start, or does that become richer at the same time as the arc starts coming in?

Date: 2012-08-08 05:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] immlass.insanejournal.com
I have a voice and ideas from the start, but it takes a while for me to see what's going to stick, as it were. For me, characters aren't static; they evolve in play. I do think about what might happen, or how my character might feel about things, or whatever, but sometimes (fairly regularly) I find I'm surprised by some event in play. E.g., unless I write a character with a predetermined ship, I don't generally expect to ship my characters up and am always mildly surprised if/when they do find someone.

If you're familiar with GNS theory at all, I like long-form narrativism, where most narrativists are short-form (they like to force crisis quickly). Long-form for me means seeing what elements keep cropping up and addressing the associated premise/conflicts once they've shaped themselves in play. /gaming theory nerd.

Date: 2012-08-08 05:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
I'm not, but from that brief summary it sounds like something I think is neat. I can't stand when people are like, hello, I formed this ship last week, and next month, they'll be exclusive, the one after that, they'll move in, the one after that, they're engaged, and somehow, six months later, the characters are married. OCCASIONALLY that happens in real life (and then if you check back later, a fair amount of them are divorced, though RP rarely covers that), and y'know, no faults if that's the kind of courtship you have, but it seems that things move far faster in RPlandia, so this theory sounds neat to me!

Date: 2012-08-08 05:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] immlass.insanejournal.com
Yeah, it's sort of a running gag with me that most social Potter games last six months because that's how long it takes for characters to do a shipping arc. (This is one of the reasons I set Dulci up as a character with a divorce in progress, by the way.)

Shipping is the biggest place I get surprised, but I had one character decide he was going to cure lycanthropy (out of game scope, but first steps were definitely in game scope) because of the results of someone else's plot that landed in his lap.

Date: 2012-08-08 08:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] helloworld.insanejournal.com
Usually, I have more like "goals" than "arcs." Like, I know I want Ethan to figure out his Crisis of Faith (and drink coffee), but I don't have a timeline or path that I want him to take. The thing is, a big part of RP is the element of ~surprise~, so I find myself rolling with the punches more often than not.

Date: 2012-08-09 05:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xanthophiliac.insanejournal.com
I might have a longer answer to this later when I'm not half-asleep and going sdjhfksjdfh at catching up in games, but I think at the very least, I always make sure there's at least some room for a character to grow and change (preferably in a positive way), even if I don't always necessarily have a particular end-goal in mind. Like, I guess any good character should have flaws, but I like there being at least one or two really big ones where the character will be challenged to grow out of them over the course of time rather than remaining static.

That said, I think stuff like that may also depend on how long a game is supposed to last -- obviously, if a game has a short predetermined time, then I'm more likely to come up with a more structured arc with a certain pacing so that the character development I want done actually happens, whereas I may be more hand-wavey about it in a game that's set to go on for a long period of time, if that makes any sense.

Date: 2012-08-09 05:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] igpayatinlay.insanejournal.com
It makes complete sense. +1 to all of it, even.
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