If you’re a fan of LitRPG and love diving into novels of this genre but don’t dare to write your own just yet, then this article will point you in the right direction and highlight some important points for you to bear in mind. I also hope I can inspire you to pluck up the courage to start writing your LitRPG novel. But I’d like to make clear that these points are not set in stone and your LitRPG novel can still be successful even if you do things differently.
Balance Your World
The first important point is to find the right balance between your world and the plot. Ideally, you want to prepare the readers for your game world. So, you will feel the need to write the full details to make sense of your story. They need to know how the game works and how everything fits in with the decisions the hero makes, right? But the worst way to go about this is to overload your readers with information from the beginning of your LitRPG novel.
A good way is to sprinkle bits of important information about your world throughout your novel. An even better way is to sprinkle it without the reader even realizing it. Do this in different ways, such as introducing a new player who will need a wise master to take him under his wing. The master will introduce the world and its rules to the new player as the story progresses and at the same time, the readers benefit from these nuggets of vital information. Make sure this is within the context and beneficial to the plot and not just a random occurrence. Otherwise, the process will feel clumsy.
Remember, a LitRPG is connected to the science fiction genre so don’t feel obliged to explain with detail how the main character ends up in the game world. Anything plausible will suffice. What actually matters is emotionally attaching your readers to your main character. Afterwards, little by little, introduce aspects of your world to your readers.
I like LitRPGs which engage with the gaming side. Having said that, I have also seen LitRPGs written with way too much unnecessary information about character sheets. So, the solution is, again, balance. No need to write intricate details about the game mechanics on every other page, but at the same time, you should not ignore the character spreadsheets completely.
When writing your LitRPG put your reader first. Give them enough information to understand the strategic choices made by the main character as well as the ramifications of that decision. Make the information reflect the plot. Include relevant information. Information that builds the suspense, adds to the plot, and engages the readers.
Don´t Lose the Plot
The gameplay aspect of a LitRPG novel is what sets it apart from other novels but ultimately it is a novel. Which means having a consistent plot throughout. Tying up the loose ends at the end is a must. Don’t finish by leaving your readers with more unanswered questions.
The characters which you have painstakingly developed need closure. Have the needs and wants your characters started with been achieved? By including human aspects to your character your readers will feel alive in the game-like world and enjoy the delights and struggles of your novel.
And if you struggle to keep all this story related plots in check, don’t fret! LivingWriter has features such as Story Elements that allow you to keep track of everything that goes on in your novel, so give it a go if you are feeling overwhelmed!
Continuing from the point of including human aspects for your characters, this applies equally to both the “good guys” and the “bad guys”. As I’ve mentioned in another article, your hero is dependent on the villain. The more hatred your readers have for your villain, the greater the satisfaction your readers will enjoy when the villain is finally defeated.
To clarify, the villain doesn’t need to be a menacing beast “hell-bent” on destruction. It could be the creators of the game-world who justify the torture the players of the game go through with their own life experiences. Perhaps they were dismissed regularly in the past so they are filled with resentment. Or they have a noble intention but are going about it in the worst way possible. Whatever the case is with your ‘bad guy’ make sure you have made their motivations realistic.
Who´s the Storyteller?
When writing your novel be clear about who is telling the story. Is it a 1st person narrative? Is the hero describing their thoughts and experiences? If this is the approach you have chosen when writing your litRPG then remember to stay in character. It’s very easy to slip back into your voice especially if the character has a personality very different from yours.
One limitation of using a 1st person voice is that you’re restricted to one point of view. If you try adding another character’s point of view, your readers will slowly disconnect from the main character. Which is the last thing you want.
Another option is to write in 3rd person. This voice is a lot easier to work with, as you can describe scenes from various angles. However, even in this voice, there are issues you will need to work around. For example, using 3rd person voice lacks emotional involvement with the characters and can sometimes sound like monotone descriptions.
So, both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. There is no simple solution to using one voice. Choose a narrative voice that fits your LitRPG novel. Whichever voice you decide, you will have to solve the challenges each voice carries.
So bear these points in mind and get started working on writing your very own LitRPG.