Story Design: Telling Obsession Stories

How can you add more danger and tragedy to your story of wretched excess?

Story Design Volume 18 – In an obsession story the protagonist goes too far with something, and bad things happen as a result. The object of their excess can be an actual physical or psychological problem like alcoholism or drug addiction; it could also be an unhealthy fascination with a goal, a person, or an object. Their obsession could result in an unhealthy pattern of behavior that they are unable to break, like gambling or pursuing a romantic interest. All of the protagonist’s resources are turned toward the focus of the obsession.

Examples of the obsession plot include Breaking Bad, Brideshead Revisited, Fifty Shades of Gray, The Great Gatsby, The Lost Weekend, Othello, and Wall Street.

Story Design: The Obsession covers all of the elements you need to prepare in order to tell a story of discovery. It’s based on concepts explored in Story Structure for Writers and Roleplayers, also published by Dancing Light Press. It’s a big book that goes into greater detail on how to get the most out of the three-act structure, as well as developing a three-phase series (campaign, if you prefer) with a clear beginning, middle, and end. If you want to use your favorite roleplaying game system to tell stories with more depth than kill monster, get treasure, repeat (not that there’s anything wrong with that), it is worth looking into.

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