Medievia Mudslinger

July 4, 2001

Mudslinger Writer's Guide - Part I - By Excrucior

So - you want to write fiction for the Mudslinger?

Now there's a thought.

You feel like writing a piece for the Mudslinger? Good, glad to hear it. I trust you've acquainted yourself with the guidelines under HELP MUDSLINGER_SUBMIT, yes? Unfortunately, many don't and I often have to correct many errors because of this. However, one of the main errors people make is that they ask me: "I want donation equipment - what do I write about?"

A Mudslinger submission ought to be the author's idea - it should be at least reasonably original. This first section deals with how to get the ideas in the first place. The best advice is to free yourself from the thoughts of the reward. If you want to write then do it for the sheer pleasure of it and no other reason - if you enjoy the writing then it's very likely others will too. However, the base mechanics of seeking ideas is below so take note.

Inspiration itself is a fleeting and ephemeral thing, a wily beast that appears but rarely. Hunted, it escapes; dreamt of, it vanishes with the dawn. Yet when it strikes at a time of its own choosing, it can conjure up the most wondrous images. This is a flowery explanation, but no less accurate for that.

What triggers inspiration? It may be anything that sets off a train of thought, but the best ideas for the Mudslinger seem to come from experiences within the game. An inspiration can take many forms, but the most common is the single scene where you can envisage an event, and then build a tale around it. A scene that can be imagined in such an instant must be thought about and surrounded (where appropriate) in other logical events. The scene you think of could be the start of a tale, the end of a tale or simply a cameo partway through.

To give an example, I put up a short tale recently involving two Greycaps talking at the southern entrance to Riverton. I'll admit the character I was playing was cheerfully killing them for xp at the time, but I had to flee out and I went south - I saw the roads and how the trade route went to the west instead of this way into the town. Putting myself in their position I thought about how boring it must be for them compared to the guard on the west. The rest of the tale built itself around that one concept - it's not a long tale, but it's different and readable.

Try looking around the zones you adventure in. Read the mob descriptions and try to link them in with other mobs in that zone (or even other zones if possible). Read room descriptions and try and get a layout of the area - imagine what it would be like to actually be there. A hill here, a plain to the north, a stream running across it from west to east... Put yourself in the position of a mob in the zone. An example from the top of my head would be the mobs on the north end of Crystal Lake - there's a Peeping Tom mob who is spying on the bathers. Perhaps a writer could try and write from his perspective as he settles down for an afternoon's watching when a party of adventurers arrive to massacre the lot. He stays silent and keeps hidden, but realizes all too late that he's not the only stealthy one as a thief from the party sneaks up behind him and kills him with a backstab. As plots go it's not great, but it's the idea behind the plot that I'm trying to expand on.

Remember - every builder is trying to tell a tale. Use the backgrounds you have available to make a more believable story. There are a few good examples of this in the archives - Archus' The Case of the False Crystals (our Forgotten Legend this issue) is a rather nice take on the detective genre. It's set in the previous version of the City of Medievia, but it should still be very recognizable. He uses the Guardsmen that were prevalent at the time (we still have some similar around the place) as well as Scruff and the Disguised Orcs that used to roam the City.

Maybe you could find inspiration from your own activities. The problem here is that many people do exactly the same things night after night - what's of interest there? It needs to be something special - something extra to engage the readers' attention. Another trading story doesn't work. Running a zone doesn't either - we don't want to put a story that is effectively a walkthrough on the pages. You don't have to follow the exact storyline of the zone but it can be used as a background if necessary.

Feel free to contact me, Excrucior, with any ideas you have and I'll gladly discuss them with you.

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