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Dangerous Characters

August 2, 2007

Some time back, Vincent Baker said that the thing about Narrativist play was that your characters are changable- they’re not set in stone.  They’re dangerous because they might turn out to be characters you don’t like (as a person, not, say, as an entertaining fiction).

Funny enough, I was watching some cartoons and it clicked a little deeper with me.  Safe stories have characters who never change- heroes stay heroes (even if they make mistakes) and villains stay villains (except the one guy who’s really good at heart).  But basically, you don’t see a character take a drastic change like you do in serious stories.

In serious stories, the character you love might make terrible decisions and never recover, or transform into a monster over time.  In other words, like real people, serious stories you can’t be 100% sure of a character.  I guess in many ways, that’s well reflected in the ambiguity and shifting nature of lots of fairytales as well.

I like both safe and dangerous stories, though I think it’s probably a crucial thing to consider when you’re collaboratively making a story.

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