Writing my own adventures, be they exploring a dungeon in Dungeons & Dragons
(D&D) or a spy mission in Top Secret
(TS), an espionage themed role-playing game, indirectly taught me about writing screenplays for film, TV, etc.
Writing the plot of the adventure or mission alone teaches about storytelling formats: nonlinear
. Nonlinear storytelling
is a freeform adventure where the player characters (PCs) just go about exploring a dungeon without a set purpose or objective other than gaining experience to move up in level, slaying monsters, and looting treasure, weapons, magic items, etc. Conversely, Linear storytelling
is an adventure with a purpose or goal, such as saving a city from a rampage of slavers who are kidnapping the town’s citizens (D&D’s Slave Pits of the Undercity
adventure) or preventing the villain mastermind from flooding the world with a potent and highly addictive synthetic drug (TS’ Operation: Rapidstrike
In a film, a scene
is a specific room or outdoor location where sequences
, take place. A scene could be a Wizard’s workroom, an alchemists’ laboratory, a massive underground cavern containing a garden that has become an overgrown botanical nightmare, etc.
is what happens in the scene, i.e. the specific room/outdoor location, such as: an encounter with an in-room monster, a thief checking for traps or secret doors, a thief deactivating a trap, a magic user casting a spell, defensive magic triggering (i.e., a guards & wards spell), etc.; a scene can have multiple sequences.
Lastly, writing dialogue
comes from the interactions between the PCs and the NPCs or sentient creatures in the course of the adventurer. Dialogue takes the form of canned responses to certain anticipated questions or as guidelines for adlibbing the interaction, such as what non-PCs say and how they emote it.
This related article speaks to the topic of this entry.http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/07/14/books/dungeons-dragons-has-influenced-a-generation-of-writers.html