In the land of Gielinor, there was a kingdom among kingdoms that stood out against the rest. It was a kingdom filled with honor and shame through its victories and defeats. The inhabitants were all but common. The White Knights of Falador wait in their great castle for their call to serve.
Perhaps not the most exciting of introductions, but this is what happens when working on a fictional piece for RuneScape. There’s always room for improvement. Constant outlining and revision eventually creates a better storyline.
When I first joined the Tip.it Times, I was asked to write fictional articles. The task wasn’t restricted to the happenings in RuneScape (or it’d simply be a rewrite of the quest storylines). Rather, it was to take what was in the game already and expand from there. It could take on some of the current conflicts and characters in the game, or it could simply be something entirely new but still located somewhat in the lands of Gielinor.
One could say that writing RuneScape fiction isn’t entirely different from quest writing. In quests, we are presented with a problem and follow along a storyline in attempt to resolve the problem. We can think of this to a monomyth (commonly known as “the hero’s journey”): the departure, the initiation, and the return. The departure would be the start of the quest, where you begin to speak with a character to find out what’s going on and hear their plea for help. The initiation would be the series of trials you’d go through (collecting information and items from various places along the quest) that would help you better understand what’s going on in the quest. The return would be a series of fights and obstacles that would try to hinder you before completing the quest (with or without aid from other players).
The monomyth may be applied to writing RuneScape fiction. For example, in “Saradomin’s Sun,” Aestas is presented with the problem of Count Draynor terrorizing Gielinor (the departure). She later deals with the mischief of Pat and Manny that leads them to become trapped in Draynor Manor where the Count lives, providing them an opportunity to defeat the Count (the initiation). After deliberation and planning, the three work to defeat the Count and were rescued (the return).
Of course, this is just one way of explaining how RuneScape fiction works. Not all stories strictly follow the monomyth, but this could help shed some light on how the stories can be outlined.
One of the greatest challenges of writing RuneScape fiction is deciding how much influence the game’s content should have on the story. Too little and people will think that the story need not apply to the game at all. Too much and you may as well be writing out quests for Jagex or simply writing a book on the stories in the game.
“Saradomin’s Sun” was influenced by the “Vampire Slayer” quest. Aside from the introduction of new characters (e.g., Aestas, Pat, and Manny), there was a major change: Count Draynor’s reign of terror was expanded beyond the village of Draynor. However, it was crucial that Count Draynor still be slain since that was the main plot of the original quest storyline. Despite the demise of Count Draynor, however, there is room for expansion, as we see in the “A Dying Flame” series by N0M_AN0R. Still using characters and places from the game, we are able to expand upon an original story and give readers a different perspective of how things could be in the game without Jagex dictating us.
Once the story is completed, there is the need for revision. Despite the freedom of writing whatever we wish, there is still the hazard of writing too little or too much of the game. If the plot didn’t make sense or simply copied Jagex’s story line, it’s back to the writing board. Plagiarism is a terrible crime in the writers’ guild. If the story is sound, its off to the presses for the readers to enjoy and criticize.
RuneScape fan fiction writing may seem boring and nerdy, but the next time you complete a quest and find yourself thinking, “What if,” know that you’re already on your way to making your story of the game.