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Mar 27

GM 101: Scene Exercises

This is an interesting one from Jeff Tidball of Game Playwright.  Basically, it’s taking the idea of writing exercises – a staple of learning prose or screenplay writing, for example – and applying it to GMing.

The thing that struck me … is how easy it is to forget all of the lessons of good writing you’ve learned when you’re actually down in the weeds of writing. It’s very easy to get caught up with plowing the storyline forward and completely neglect—or completely forget—to weave in the characterization and texture that a good scene in any creative medium needs.

Here’s an example scene exercise:

Preparation for a Date: Show a character preparing for a date. You may not use dialog. The action must occur in real-time (no cuts in time, no montage, etc.). The scene must communicate who the date is with, where it will take place, and whether it’s a first date. The scene must communicate how the character feels about the date. (Is he or she apathetic? Excited? Does he or she dread it?) The character’s date may not be a part of the scene, and the scene must end when the character leaves the immediate location where he or she is preparing.

Jeff then takes that idea and shows how exercises like that could be used to strengthen your GM muscles, and gives three for you to try at home!  The idea being to focus on specific aspects of GMing – in this case, encounter creation – so you can more easily incorporate it into your actual in-front-of-players game.

And here’s an extra one from me – well, an extra one I found somewhere.  Want to improve your descriptions of combat?  Watch an action film of the type your combat encounters to be like, and narrate the action happening on screen as it happens.

You may want to practise that one on your own…

Anyway, head over to Jeff Tidball’s article on Game Playwright and have a read!

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