Help / Player guide / Story formats

Using story formats

What are story formats?

If your game has a story format, Storium will help you tell a good story and bring it to a satisfying conclusion. Inspired by the classic techniques long utilized by screenwriters, each format divides your story into three acts, each with a certain number of scenes. A progress bar shows you your position in the story’s arc and helps you pace yourself.

What’s more, Storium gives you helpful storytelling tips that are relevant to the act you’re currently playing. These tips are also listed below, in full, for your reference. Remember: every story is different and there are no rules for how to tell yours. These are merely tips that might be helpful as you play.

Act Ⅰ tips

  • Introduce the characters: use Act Ⅰ to bring the characters together and figure out what their relationships are to each other.
  • Find their motivation: ask yourself, what do the characters care about? Why are they here? Why are they working together (or not, depending on your story)?
  • Establish the conflict: try to find a central problem around which your story will revolve. This is the thing (or person) that the characters are trying to overcome or resolve. You don’t have to figure this out in Act Ⅰ, but it usually helps!

When you reach the final scene of Act Ⅰ, ask yourself:

  • Did we get to know the characters, and learn about their relationships and the things that motivate them?
  • Do we have some sense of the story’s central conflict or problem?
  • Are the characters gathered together, and ready to take on this problem?

Act Ⅱ tips

  • Cue the action: Act Ⅱ is where most of the story unfolds. This is the time for the characters to tackle the story’s central conflict, so don’t hold back!
  • Succeed, but struggle: in most good stories, the characters triumph but also suffer setbacks. Make your story more interesting by looking for and embracing these setbacks.
  • Raise the stakes: the characters usually don’t overcome the story’s central conflict in Act Ⅱ. In fact, things might even look dire by the time the act ends. A bit of crisis now will make your story’s conclusion even more satisfying.

When you reach the final scene of Act Ⅱ, ask yourself:

  • Did the characters struggle? Were there both victories and setbacks?
  • Do things seem dire for the characters? Are the stakes high? Are they facing a turning point, or a moment of truth?
  • Even if the details remain unclear, do we have some sense now of how the characters might prevail in the final act?

Act Ⅲ tips

  • It’s time for the climax: this is it, the moment where the characters finally prevail… or are overcome. Which will it be? Act Ⅲ is where we should find out!
  • Wrap up any loose ends: most stories don’t end right after the climax. After all, there may be lingering questions to answer. What happens to the characters? What are the consequences of their actions? Answering these questions helps give your story a satisfying ending.

When you reach the final scene of Act Ⅲ, ask yourself:

  • Did the story’s central conflict get resolved? Are you satisfied with the way it played out?
  • Did you take some time to explore the aftermath? Are there any lingering questions you want to answer in your story?
  • Do we have some sense of what will become of the characters after these events?

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