Home > Inspiration for writing, Play-by-post discussion > Pressing the reset button on your story

Pressing the reset button on your story

I’m sure you’ve seen TV series where no-matter what happens in the episode, everything is back to normal again by the end, ready to start next time. TV Tropes calls this the “reset button”.

The Reset Button is any means by which previously occurring drastic events are made partially or wholly irrelevant by the end of the story. This is very common to American TV shows both live-action and animated, particularly from The Sixties through The Nineties, because programming directors like to have the luxury of repeating episodes in any order or no particular order at all.

TV TropesReset Button

Resetting the story is way to make sure that the viewer/reader doesn’t have to sit through lots of episodes of back-story to understand the characters, or what’s happened to get them to the current point in the story.

fry from futurama“It’s just a matter of knowing the secret of all TV shows; At the end of the episode, everything is always right back to normal.”

— Fry, Futurama

It can be extremely limiting because you can only go so far with a story before you have to reset it all, but also can be very useful.

The rest of this article has moved. You’ll now find it here.

  1. August 29, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I never reset the game, It simply advances. We advanced, in a year of playing, from January 1719 to June. We have “The story so far”, a summary for new members, and the monthly chronicles, highlighting each month’s progress more in detail, with links to the actual “gossipped” threads, for those who are curious to click the link. And I think even if we last many years – which I might hope to – we’ll still go forward, not press reset. Things change in time, no need for resetting.

    • August 30, 2011 at 10:21 pm

      That’s good to hear your story will always go forward! Remember though that the longer your game runs, the more storylines you’ll accrue and it’ll get more and more complicated. You will need to provide certain points where new members can join, and have to quickly get them educated about everything that’s happened, otherwise they might feel inferior to your more veteran members who know in greater detail everything that has happened. Maybe resetting the story is not for everyone, but I do think there needs to be a way to “make it simpler”. You only have a year of story so far so i think this is less important for your game, but games running for over a decade are more likely to have this problem.

  1. November 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm

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