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To write great LitRPG there are a few things you must be familiar with beforehand. Remember that LitRPG is a sub-genre of fiction. Learning what makes good fiction will ensure an easy transition into our favorite genre.
Here are some resources if you think you need to brush up on the above;
- Beginners writing guide
- Advanced writing guide with examples
- Qualities of Good Fiction Writing
- [Book] Writing Fantasy & Science Fiction by Orson Scott Card
- The Best Software for Writing
The Plot & The Game Mechanics
Unlike most other genres, LitRPG almost always has some sort of game mechanics that you as a writer need to design. Good LitRPG stories have both good mechanics and good plots. To go from good to great you need to tie these two elements together well.
How do you do that?
In short, you need to do your homework. It is simply not enough to have a general idea of what your plot and game mechanics look like before you start writing. You need to flesh these two elements out thoroughly. Below are some questions you can ask yourself to get the juices flowing.
- How does the MC gain experience. Is it shown in the interface?
- How often, if at all, will the reader see skill tables or game notifications?
- Does the MC get points to spend when they level up? How many and what do they do?
- Are their classes in this story and what are the pros, cons, and history of each?
- Do characters in the LitRPG story have inventories or do they just carry whatever they can? What are the pros and cons of each, and how do they fit into the plot?
- Is there a magic system? If so, what are the pros, cons, and history of magic use?
- Do non-NPC’s feal pain? Why or why not?
- Are the game mechanics logical, well-defined, balanced, and do they make sense within the plot?
As you can see there is a lot to figure out. The more you can flesh out before you begin the story the more intertwined the plot and game mechanics will feel to the reader. In addition to this, the act of writing your litRPG book will be much smoother. It is dreadful to find yourself half way into your work only to realize your plot line breaks the game mechanics or vice-versa.
New authors often write LitRPG because of a lifelong desire to create their own perfect game world. This is a blessing and a curse for the genre. As readers, we get an influx of new interesting stories to read. The curse comes when these new authors don’t bother doing research or learning the craft of writing.
When I want to read a good book, I write one.
– Benjamin Disraeli
Common advice goes that you should write a story that means something to you. Something that is fun, magical, or important to you. If you try to appeal to all audiences you will appeal to no one. The list goes on.
We recommend that you follow the above advice but that you also do research of the genre. Doing so can allow you to alter your story in a way that remains true to yourself but won’t turn off a lot of readers.
Read the commandments of Great LitRPG to get started!
There are a few tropes and scenarios that LitRPG fans are tired of seeing. Make an attempt to leave these points out, unless doing so would ruin how you imagine your book. Remember;
- Write what you want
- Write what the readers want
In scenarios where, “what you want” is different than, “what the readers want” always go with the number one priority.
Character Building & Worldbuilding
These aspects are important in every story. We would argue they are MORE important in LitRPG stories. After-all, in LitRPG you have to create characters that interact and exist in multiple worlds. If that wasn’t complicated enough your game world should have unique game elements!
Prioritize your personal development on learning how to build interesting characters and immersive worlds to be successful when writing LitRPG. For more information on this visit our resources page.
Tools for Writing LitRPG
Writing LitRPG is usually tough to manage if you work solely in a word processor. Some authors are able to do it though. They often track character progression in a platform like excel or on index cards. If you are looking for something more – we have a list of tools for writing litRPG here.