Character vs. action driven posts

One, of many, ways to categorize PBEM posts is to see if they are driven forward by the use of characters or by action. While both types are perfectly valid and accepted, players often find themselves being more comfortable with one of them. They do, however, present different possibilities and problems.

It is just like when comparing movies. Some movies, often European, are strongly centered on a character and the camera follows it around. Other types focus on the action and let it bring the story forward.

They are just using two different ways of telling the story in the PBEM game. Whichever you prefer, or whichever you use yourself does not matter as much as the way you use it. If you feel more comfortable with, or are better at, writing for example very character centric stories that is what you should do.

Characteristics of a character driven post:

* Often very clearly shows who the main character is.
* The plot always includes that character.
* Everything that does not include, or concern, the character is not included in the post, or is only briefly mentioned.
* Often emphasizes on relationships, interaction with others and feelings.

Characteristics of an action driven post:

* It is not as obvious who the main character is.
* Even if the character is not present, the post continue describing the story
* There are often many other characters included, either belonging to other players or as NPCs.
* Feelings, emotions and relationships are secondary, often not included at all.

The difference can often be very subtle, but over time problems that can arise from using one way of writing more than the other.

Problems with a character driven story:

* The story moves slower.
* If the story becomes too dependant on one character, if the player behind the character stops posting there is a risk that the story stops too.

Likewise, there can be problems with an action driven story too:

* The characters never evolve.
* Without emotion and feelings, characters and stories can be flat and dull.
* The variations in story ideas can sometimes be smaller; feelings and interaction between characters are great ways to make sub-plots.

So, go back and re-read your own posts and see if you have a tendency to use one type of writing more. If you do, try to remember it next time you write a post.