Why does it matter ?
As you can tell from the Game Stats sections near the end of most profiles, writeups.org is chiefly done by tabletop role-playing games (RPG) enthusiasts.
This RPG aspect means we don’t work like other comic book character profiles sites.
Unlike most profilers, we have a strong focus on characterization. Role-players shall role-play, so they need enough information about the character’s personality, motivation, peculiarities, recurrent behaviour, etc.
The goal is to be able to get into the character’s shoes, and maintain a character “voice” that aligns with the source material.
This is of interest for anybody telling their own story. From fan fiction to work-for-hire professionals interested in contrasting points of view about a character they intend to use.
Tabletop RPGs are also toolboxes to represent stories in abstract terms. Whenever action occurs, we can interpret it in terms of numbers and probabilities.
This is much like a trained musician hearing music, and being able to write it down as sheet music and comment on musical composition patterns. Or like Neo seeing the code in The Matrix, for an exaggerated example.
This brings a unique level of detail to our descriptions of capabilities, from the firepower of weapons to the power of persuasion of a character. We can, and do, quantify all of that.
How stuff works and why
As role-players, we assume that readers are going to use the profiles to tell their own stories (for instance in RPGs). Which means that they need to have a good understanding of how the material under discussion works.
To tell your own stories you’ll need to understand how such-and-such spaceship flies, how such-and-such character’s telepathic powers work, possible explanations about such-and-such character’s biographical discrepancies or out-of-character behaviour… you need all sorts of material at your fingertips to avoid dropping the ball.
Writeups.org aims to provide this level of understanding.
From these 3 basic aspects derive various assets, such as :
- Referring to matters of relevance to the story. Historical context, technical concepts, medical explanations, geographical pointers… Again, what a story teller will need to master the material. Nowadays we don’t just refer, we add selected hyperlinks.
- Being able to spot when a character’s capabilities do not work like they previously did, even if it’s subtle. This can for instance lead to deeper descriptions of how these capabilities seem to work (“if she didn’t use her power this time, there must be a reason…”), or to a fine tracking of character growth (“by 1967, her technical skills clearly have improved”).
- History sections that aren’t so much “this happened, and this happened, and then…” but focus on what was the character’s strategy, motivation, experiences…
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