We are a moderated game yes, yet in my role as moderator here I am influenced by my free-form background, which I have no shame in admitting! Free-form, from my experience, is players growing a story out of nothing together. It is a spark between two writers that ignites an explosion of creativity. My role in that explosion is not to minimise, but to encourage within the constraints of the setting.
When I reflect on my time here, there are actually very few plots I have ever 'run'. lol Rarely have I ever had a plan that I've steadfastly worked towards revealing. I have concentrated on growing stories with players, beginning with nothing more than a npc, motivated by goals that are not so very different to the pc themselves.
My Muse: Your Pc's
Co-operative storytelling (not to be confused with preplotting). So simple, so fun! Where I arrive with a character, and respond with a pc, feeding and growing off the ideas that they come up with, mixing in ideas from the npc. I like to remember that your player characters are the stars of this game . The rather exciting wedding of James Winchester last season was just such a thing, I was delighted to have the role of a mere bystander to all the drama and action of the pcs.
Another 'little' example co-operative story telling was CB in the Meeting of Flowers thread. Where I had a npc suggest an innocent dice game, and he thought that there was some deeper strategy behind it. Actually there wasn't, but him thinking that made me realise that there should be. And, so now there is. Yay! I am quite certain that the thread shall be the better for it.
Mind blanking moments
I do find it frustrating sometimes though, when I get that feeling that a pc is waiting for me to come up with something. This is why I favour pro-activeness in pc's, and why I get edgy if a new application arrives with a character that is painfully shy - what will we write in the deafening silence?
I need noisy bold pc's, or I shall be boring and quiet too!
Hopes grand plan?
If you see me enter your thread with an npc, you can be fairly confidant to assume that I haven't got a preplanned story up my sleeve. I hope that you can see that as a good thing, for what that means is: anything can happen. 50% of that anything is up to you, and I shall match your 50%, and together we can hope to marvel at what we discover ourselves up to our necks in.
Failing a cunning plan...
I do have:
1. depth to the npc's that happen about, each of them is as full-bodied to me as any pc I have written; rich with dreams, motives, regrets, dark and light, preconceptions, humour, dis-humour, biases. I adore each of them for different reasons, and unfailingly each makes me smile as I write them - hoping that your pc' might thrill with them into fresh stories in the game boards.
2. a bundle of loose ends that I really like to tie peoples characters into if an opportunity to do so comes up.
I cannot wait to discover the unknown future we can create together here