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