Okay so I threatened to write this post in the aftermath of … I think Haunted Hotel? (Was it Nam?) but now I’m finally going to get around to it, or at least start it, so I’m writing this blog post in the hope of spurring some discussion for the structure of a Call For Papers (note for others, this is mostly getting discussed back and forth over on Facebook)
I had an idea to collect various articles from those of us who have been involved in reffing, propping, crewing, writing for and indeed playing LARP events designed to create horror, wonder, strangeness and otherness based out of the community in Lancaster. Then wrap up said articles into a bigger document and do the whole printing on demand thing to get it out there as a useful collection of opinions for anyone who wants to think about making events like these happen. However first off I wanted to discuss the meta aspect – how to structure the categories of articles at least a little bit – I figure if we’ve got some rough ideas for structure then that gives us areas to aim to fill with writing.
My initial structure looks something like this:
- Concepts (so coming up with ideas for concepts and hooks to hang events off, atmosphere, goal states: flavour and reactions you want to inspire and how to weave those into the base of the event, mixing in various bits of different bits of background, etc.etc.etc.)
- Logistics (Project Management – how to make things you know actually happen before its too late, how to structure reffing teams, deal with conflict, project management, time scales that kind of thing, how to coordinate communication, insurance, handling money, all that stuff you need in place before you can do anything thats sort of overarching for the whole thing)
- Locations (where to look, what sort of criteria, ideas on pricing, how to divide up spaces, uses of spaces, reusing spaces and associations, flow of people)
- Characters (how many, archetypes, writing timelines, sections out early, structure of info, communicating goals, mental history, aligning them with the event and predisposing them to react well to horror, background research, interrelations, double acts, teams, etc.etc.etc)
- Props (small, large, monsters, set pieces, players bringing props, written, recorded, sound tricks, weapons, how to add creepyness, etc.etc.etc.)
- Systems (types of system, what systems should fulfil for criteria, what inspires certain ideas behind systems, experimenting with systems, how to write up systems, how to give examples to players, what to do if systems go wrong)
- At the Event (set up, dividing space, crisis management, reffing on the day, inspiring desired reactions in players by ref interactions, positioning props, timing events to help create those experiences, crewing on the day, monster handling, emergency propping, what happens when characters die, players are ill, monsters don’t feel scary enough, players do something batshit that you don’t expect, building tension, things you need to know to scare the shit out of players, dread vs. terror, dealing with player conflict, delicious foods to make with nothing but a kettle)
- Post Event (debriefing players, debriefing crew, best ways to organise tear down of the set up, writing constructive feed back, receiving feed back, planning for next time and reuse of characters, elements, props)
So I guess I must have missed a few things, or maybe the structures breaking things up in the wrong places, any more suggestions on how to break things up and move them around? Do I even need this many categories of idea? Should I make it more general of Pre-event/Event/Post-Event?