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I want to write a short-story about 10 players in a post-apocalyptic zombies game show, split between teams, the last survivor wins. I already have the rules, the challenges and some characters.

The problem is that I want to write it without any hero, and telling the story from the POV of all the players just like a reality game show.

Is that possible? if yes how can I proceed?

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    It's absolutely possible, and you proceed by starting to write some words :-) To get started, try picking some typical moment of reality shows, and doing your story's version of that thing.
    – Standback
    Dec 19, 2016 at 17:03
  • As @Standback suggested, writing words will definitely help. Just to clarify your question: what did you mean, when you said without any hero? You have ten characters; they are your heroes. Also POV of all the players is not a singular thing. You can have up to 10 different POVs, or write everything in omniscient narrator POV, of use any combinations of those, but not POV of all the players.
    – Lew
    Dec 19, 2016 at 17:30
  • Having said all that, I must warn you that writing a 10 POV short story is bordering impossible. You are up against a steep challenge, for you might just not have enough words to develop each of the 10 voices to the point where they are believably distinct from one another. Good thing is that you can limit yourself to less than 10 POVs, it's your story after all.
    – Lew
    Dec 20, 2016 at 13:59

4 Answers 4

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It sounds like you're describing an ensemble cast, where there are several key characters but no single main character. While the page I linked to talks about TV/movies, the same applies to written works. The style is not at all uncommon in, at least, science-fiction novels (what I mostly read).

To proceed, start writing. :-) Some writers divide up chapters by point-of-view characters (for example, Jo Walton's The Just City, Cixin Liu's Three Body Problem). Others divide up chapters by locale/subplot, with several active key characters being shown in each (for example, Eric Flynn's 1632 series, Hugh Howey's Wool series). Make sure your readers always know where the are, story-wise, and you should be fine.

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As yet, you have a setting, but no story.

A story can be thought of as something intruding into the live of a person and forcing that person to act. The change brought about by the intrusion generates a goal in the protagonist, and the story tells how he works towards and reaches that goal – or fails.

A story can have one or more protagonists, but it must have one. The protagonist is who the reader cares about and whose success or failure he takes interest in. Without a protagonist, there is no story, only description.

A novel may have several protagonists all partaking in the same story, or it may have several unrelated storylines. If you write your story as the story of the Game and all participants are protagonists of the story of the game, or if you write your story as different people experiencing completely unrelated things in the context of that game, is up to you, but you need to come up with either a single story with multiple protagonists, or an individual story for each of your protagonists.

So ask yourself:

What is the story about? It is not about a game. It is about the goals of the participants, the reasons behind those goals, what they have to give up or how they have to change to achieve those goals, and how they fail or succeed.

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While I personally dislike narratives with multiple POVs, it's a fairly common technique. Speaking as a reader, the obstacles you would need to overcome in order to reach me are:

  1. Keeping it from becoming confusing --it can be hard to keep a large cast of characters straight, even with one POV. You're multiplying the problem with many.
  2. Avoiding meaningless repetition --with multiple points of view, you'll probably be hitting the same events multiple times. The trick will to be to make sure there's something new and interesting each time you see the same event over. The classic movie Rashamon centers entirely around this technique.
  3. Making it worthwhile --ten POV characters sounds like a recipe for lots of filler. If you want to do it, you'll need to give them each enough of a distinctive voice and compelling POV in order to make it all seem worth it to the reader. Nothing is worse than multiple POV where you can't keep track of whose POV you're seeing through at any given moment (or worse, don't care).

You're setting yourself up for a tough challenge. But sometimes the best work comes from accepting a tough challenge and exceeding all expectations.

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Yes, it's possible, though may be confusing to the audience.

One cheap but efficient technique is to name sections/chapters after the 'current protagonist', simply give each a title which is the name of the current POV. You'll still need some kind of binder to present who is who, but you can proceed normally afterwards.

Also, don't fear to break time and location continuity; instead of repeating the same event, skip between events, retell them from different POV only as they really differ a lot between POVs. And again - don't confuse the reader. Place and time at the header of the section is another cheap but efficient trick to keep track of them.

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