Ok, this may be a stretch, so bear with me…
I find writing, the structural part of writing, a lot like designing a good euro-style strategy board game. For those who know me, or taken a look at some of the other pages off the main of my blog, you may be aware of my work in the board game industry.
The definition of “euro-style” is applied to style of strategy board games that rose to popularity in Europe late 1990s that prefers indirect over direct conflict and has very low level of luck. It has seen a huge growth here in the hobby game market, particularly with the last 15-20 years, more so recently with the emergence of Kickstarter.
In a strategy board game, generally speaking, each player is trying to execute their plan to win the game. As part of executing their plan, they are disrupting the other players’ efforts to execute their plans. Better games typically have a high level of interaction whereas those with very limit interaction are considered “multi-player solitaire.”
Applied to writing, I see the interaction between the characters much the same way. Each character has goals and needs to overcome challenges. I think it makes the story better when in the process of achieving an individual character’s goals, they are creating the challenges for the other characters. Sure, challenges can come from the setting or the plot, much the same way a game can throw other obstacles at a player to overcome, but it really the interaction between the characters, much as in boardgames, that make it more interesting.
Again, hats off to Michael Stackpole who introduced me to character interaction in his character driven “21 Days to a Novel” methodology.
If you are interested in hearing more about the upcoming Kickstarter to fund publishing a number of my short stories, and to be notified when the campaign goes live if you are interested, check out: www.brymlight.com