Help Kickstart Storium, the New Online Storytelling Game / by J.C. Hutchins

I think a lot about creative writing, guys. I love and live the craft, and want others to, too. The world needs great storytellers. The world is a better place when diverse perspectives are shared through story.

The trouble is, it's hard work.

There's so many challenges: It's tough for most folks to get into a persistent writing groove, invent and explore a cool fictional world, and tell great stories with memorable characters and plot twists. Some writers say this stuff is easy. Know this: These guys are no-good liars.

But here's the intriguing thing. Telling stories is actually super-easy in our everyday lives. When you answer the question How was your day at work?, you're telling a story. When you play make-believe with your child, you're telling stories. When you gab with your pals over drinks, you're telling stories. Storytelling is like Star Wars' the Force: It surrounds us and binds us. It hides in plain sight.

I'm convinced some of the world's best writers also hide in plain sight. They aren't yet writers. These folks simply don't have enough incentive or gumption or time to embrace the craft. I understand this all too well. Like I said, it ain't easy.

But what if there was a safe environment that actually could make it easy? An experience that made written storytelling fun and engaging — and fostered good habits of persistence, which lead to that all-important writing groove?

Storium might do that very thing. I'm very proud to say I've had a small hand in creating it.

Storium is an online storytelling platform. It merges the very best elements of storytelling with writing, and makes it a game you play with friends. It's an actual honest-to-goodness-fun-to-play experience. It presents folks with a safe, judgment-free environment that embraces fellowship, conversation, collaborative play and spontaneity. It works with any story genre, and it's for players of all ages, backgrounds and level of experience.

At its heart, Storium is a game, and all games have rules. But Storium's stay out of your way. They're there only to provide the ingredients for fun, creative, story-driven play.

It's the easiest way I know for you and your friends to tell a story together online. No joke.

Storium's been in the works for more than a year. I'm a proud advisor for Protagonist Labs (the startup company behind Storium), and have been gabbing with Protagonist Labs co-founder Stephen Hood for a year now. He, co-founder Josh Whiting and lead game designer Will Hindmarch — yes, THAT Will Hindmarch, of Vampire: The Requiem, the Dragon Age RPG and Lord of the Rings Online fame — have been building and iterating an online multiplayer experience that's easy to learn and effortless to play.

Hundreds of people have played the Storium system as Alpha testers. They love it. And so Protagonist Labs is going to push for a real-deal public launch later this year. The company debuted a Kickstarter today to help fund the remaining costs of developing the Storium platform, and they've brought me — and more than 40 other novelists, game designers, game writers and transmedia storytellers — along for the ride.

We're creating playable worlds for Storium, see — fictional settings where you and your friends can tell your own adventures. These worlds provide just enough info to get your juices flowing, so you can create incredible collaborative story-game experiences, together.

If we achieve our fundraising goal, you'll get to play in the world of THE 33, my new supernatural/sci-fi/action thriller series. You'll join a secret team of badass misfits tasked with protecting humanity from ruthless ultra-criminals, malicious technologies and hostile supernatural beings. You won't be saving the world — you'll be saving my world. That'll be cool for both of us.

You'll also get to play in super-imaginative worlds created by profoundly-talented creators like Delilah S. Dawson (author of Wicked As They Come), Stephen Blackmoore (Dead Things), Mark Diaz Truman (lead developer of the Firefly RPG), Jason Morningstar (designer of the groundbreaking story game Fiasco (!!!)), and many more. We've got settings from the Harlem Renaissance to 1980s Soviet Invasion alt-history, and gobs of stuff in between. I'm absolutely honored to be in these folks' company.

And we've got dozens of other ultracreative storytellers waiting in the wings to create worlds, if stretch goals are met. Folks like podcaster & author Mur Lafferty (you'll get to play in her Afterlife storyworld, where Heaven was set), and brilliant fantasy novelist Saladin Ahmed, and award-winning transmedia writer Andrea Phillips, and Leonard Balsera (lead developer of the Fate RPG system (!!!)), and more. Like, more than 20 more. New York Times bestsellers. Multi-award winners. Rock-star names in game design and RPG writing. They want to create worlds for Storium, and they can, with your help.

Watch the video above. Learn more about Storium and the Kickstarter, and consider becoming a backer. If you've ever wanted to write stories but couldn't find the time or gumption ... or if you miss the days when you and your pals got together to play games, but now can't because of time and distance ... or if you're keen to monetarily support an entirely new way, and fun, way to tell stories, please kick in.

This is a game that gets out of your way, that wants you to have fun. It puts story and players first. It works for every genre, for players of all backgrounds and levels of experience.

It's the easiest way I know for you and your friends to tell a story together online. No joke. Take a peek. Become a backer. We'd love your support.