From the very beginning of our “simming careers” at Starbase 118 we are encouraged to explore and advance the given plot through interaction with other writers. It is a concept that is absolutely essential to keeping our stories fresh and interesting, as well as keeping our fellow writers involved with the narrative threads that we generate ourselves. Sometimes we have a far reaching story arc planned in our minds and when we involve another writer it can quickly deviate from what we’ve planned and take us to exciting and unexpected places. This concept is central to the continuing success of our respective sim groups and contributes the feeling of being a part of a larger story, and not the sole storyteller.
While our interactions with other characters are positively essential to our development, we can’t possibly anticipate with absolute certainty how another character is going to react to a given interaction, or sometimes we can even place our characters at odds with each other intentionally. These interpersonal conflicts can give us a great opportunity to discover and develop facets of our characters that are seldom seen. Will your character try to resolve the conflict and right any perceived wrongs? Or will he ‘stand his ground’ and refuse to submit? These are just a few of the many different avenues we can explore, the possibilities are nearly limitless.
It’s important to approach such things from your character’s point of view. What matters to them the most? What pushes their buttons? In which scenarios is your character likely to lose their cool. Once you’re comfortable with those issues, it’s worth thinking about how your character expresses their anger, irritation or annoyance. Do they go straight for the jugular, or do they skirt around the issue? Will they back down if challenged, or will they cave? How far does the argument go before they try to reach a resolution and under what circumstances would they accept an olive branch?
Most importantly, things have to be as realistic as possible. Think back to arguments you may have seen in real life or in films. How far is it appropriate for your character to go? Are they prepared to risk a cross word against a superior officer? The more realistic the disagreement, the more your readers will get out of it and you may find it interesting to contact another member of your ship to see whose side they think their character would take. Are you deliberately playing the villain? Or the victim? Is this an emotional response from your character? When all of the dust settles, something should have changed as a result. Just like in real life, bonds can be strengthened as a result of a disagreement, or relationships can take a turn for the worse.
In terms of dialogue, it’s worth considering how your character might sound different when they’re in an argument. Exchanges between Starfleet officers can be quite formal at times, but depending on who you’re arguing with, this is a different playing field entirely. Disagreements with a superior officer might require an increased level of formality, whereas a dispute with a friend off-duty is more likely to be closer to what we would hear in a casual situation in real life!
While conflict is important and in many ways can be beneficial to your own ever growing narrative, it is important to remember to maintain a separation between IC and OOC conflicts. Just because someone’s character isn’t too fond of yours, doesn’t mean that the writer harbors any animosity towards you. If you suspect that there may be any confusion over your intentions, it never hurts to send your fellow writer a friendly OOC e-mail complimenting them on their latest sim and letting know that there are “no hard feelings”. Indeed, planning an in-character conflict in advance through out-of-character mails, or writing via JP can even enhance the quality of your writing! The experiences that we build together are what makes simming in the Starbase 118 so special and with careful and deliberate use of character interaction and conflict, we can keep our stories fresh and exciting for as long as we want!
(Written by Captain Diego Herrera and Lieutenant Colt Daniels)