Storytelling in Pirate101

Nov 10, 2015

Skull Island in the evening: quiet and peaceful. Skarakeets fly past overhead as you travel down the well-worn path to the docks on your trusty mount. The sound of waves and creaking wood reaches your ears. The air is warm, but not uncomfortably so, as the sun begins to set over the horizon…

 

…wait. The sun can’t set in-game, can it? Of course not! However, anything is possible in an author’s mind. Pirate101 is a game designed with rich detail and ample story opportunity, from responses to dialogue, stunning worlds, and even our own characters’ origins. Take, for example, the character creation sequence. We are able to choose how our pirate’s parents met their demise, where we were raised, and the reason we were captured by the Armada. All of these things, combined with ideas and scenarios imagined in our own minds, will define who our pirates are and give them a deeper personality than just being an avatar.

Image 1

The first thing to decide when creating a character to write about is how he or she presents him or herself. Are they confident or cautious? Cunning or honest? Cold or friendly? Loyal or selfish? What are their likes and dislikes, and how would they react in certain situations? Defining character traits is an extremely important step in starting your story, because these can affect relationships with other characters within your tale, and that is what writing fiction is all about.

 

Interaction between characters is a fundamental part of storytelling because a fan fiction (or any story, really) with only one protagonist and no conflict will quickly lose a reader’s attention. Deciding how your pirate interacts with other characters, such as companions or NPCs, outside of the story dialogue will allow you to create many scenarios between them. How would your pirate’s crew react if a treasure map was discovered? What would they say in a situation involving the Armada? Would they leap to defend each other if someone accused or attacked them? The members of our pirates’ crews have varied and fun personalities shown through their dialogue, and a writer can expand on these to truly bring the characters to life.

Image 2

Another thing to keep in mind is the conflict of the story. What are your protagonists aiming to accomplish? Who is trying to stop them? Have an idea of your antagonist before you begin writing, so you can structure your fan-fiction around the central conflict, whether it be with another character, the environment your character is in, or an internal struggle within your main character. A story with no conflict is bland and will quickly lose a reader’s attention.

 

Having a wide cast of characters in an environment as varied as the Spiral allows you to accomplish virtually anything with your fan-fiction. Describing your setting is essential; it will deepen the story and help readers understand the area your characters are in. Also, don’t just assume that your readers will know what location you are writing about if you simply say, for example, “in the Isle of Dogs,” because some will not know what that area looks like. Give a description of the surroundings so anyone reading your fan-fiction will be able to create a mental picture of it.

 

One way to think about writing for detail is to make your wording “longer”. You have a clear image and understanding of your setting, characters, and their appearances, but unless your audience is familiar with these things, they will not have such a complete knowledge of it. Some or most readers may be familiar with the setting, but many will not know much about your character. It is important to show your readers who your pirate is through description of their appearance and personality, otherwise your reader will not know who you are writing about.

Image 3

For example, instead of writing,

“It was a dark night in the Isle of Dogs as a buccaneer by the name of Holly Nightingale and her crew ran through the streets to the Admiralty Foyer.”

Try expanding the sentence with imagery to bring more detail into the paragraph, such as,

“The nighttime brought a murky darkness to the acrid-smelling smog of the alleys in the Isle of Dogs. A redheaded pirate by the name of Holly Nightingale and her crew scurried as quietly and quickly as possible past the tall brick buildings to the courtyard, where they headed to the Admiralty Foyer. The green-eyed buccaneer clutched a sword in one hand as she ushered her crew members across the open spaces until they were safely inside the building.”

Notice the difference between the two? The second one gives a more complete vision of the scene, drawing a reader’s attention and giving them a better mental image of what is happening. Along with this, make sure your grammar and spelling are as accurate as possible. It will help your writing flow better and will let your audience have an easier time reading.

Image 4

The most important thing about writing fan fiction is to have fun writing it! KingsIsle’s games offer so many opportunities to create stories for your characters; the possibilities are nearly endless. Let your story go wherever your imagination takes it; it will become a well-crafted adventure that both you and your readers will enjoy.

 

Big thanks to MistyDragon for this guest post about Pirate101 storytelling!  Make sure to check our last guest post, for Wizard101, with Harmony Everheart

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