Story Design: Telling Rags-to-Riches Stories

How can you add more hope and excitement to your story of upward mobility?

Story Design Volume 19 РIn a rags-to-riches story the protagonist starts out poor, unknown, and without any power or authority. This could be literal or metaphorical; they may be intellectually or spiritually poor, rather than without material wealth. Over the course of the story they rise to prominence, gain some form of power, and achieve their dreams. In the end, the protagonist gets what they deserve.

Examples of the rags-to-riches plot include Aladdin, Cinderella, Oliver Twist, Rocky, and The Razor’s Edge.

Story Design: Rags-to-Riches¬†covers all of the elements you need to prepare in order to tell a story of sicoeconomic ascent. 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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