By Maddie, Denier of Eggs
(For the purposes of this article, I will be talking not only about writing/creating ARGs, but other forms of writing and art as well)
Those who have come to know me, whether it be in real life, online, or a mix of both, have likely realized that my methodology to get from an idea to reality is rather unconventional in nature. I often times think of myself as a walking shitpost, but I have gotten some of my greatest ideas from just letting the thoughts fly onto the paper with no filter.
Of course, the first thing you need is an idea. Simple right? Not at all! Some people claim that ideas just appear in near perfect form, with little tweaking required. That never, ever, everhappens! Something that I have found to help when I am stuck or don’t have any ideas is to just think of the theme of your project. In your head, make a protocharacter, and put them in a situation that you think may pop up at some point in that general theme. How would they react? Who would they trust? What are their motivations? Once you have a basic outline, start adding small things to them, like gender, origin, family, and interests. Then take off! Start linking these traits to traits in other characters, or make your character interact with their environment. This is all deeply a personal process, so it may take a little while to figure out how you build your stories, but this should get you to a point where you can focus on more delicate details.
Something to keep in mind is to not hang yourself up on ideas that do not fit your narrative, or that will slow you down. My current project, Eschaton Island, actually started as something quite different, with Bry being a much younger child genius, the community being associated with a recognized government, and it being much more cult like. It has now morphed into a story based on lost family, dead parents, and the potential dangers of unchecked global corporations, especially when they harness the powers of life on a daily basis. My point is to let your mind take you wherever feels right, even if it wasn’t you originally had hoped. Try your hardest not to get caught on one idea, and save it for later if it doesn’t fit with what you have written now.
My final piece of advice to you is to not worry about how others will view your work. If you are continuously bogged down by the anxiety of the pressures of others, you will not be able to properly funnel all of your thoughts onto paper. It will be much harder to view every concept and thought through an unobstructed lens when that lens is covered by the judgement of others. You are writing for YOU, and those who choose to view your work will almost certainly enjoy it, no matter what. Do what you like, not what others want, because you will be happier, and in turn create more meaningful stories and characters.
I’ll leave you with a question. What makes you driven to create, and how do you channel that into something beautiful?