When you look for tips and advice as a Gamemaster it is often best to look at the strategy’s used by great story tellers. In the realm of storytelling, Pixar is a giant. They have their fingers on the pulse of how to tell a story and make a wide audience become invested in the story’s they are telling. It would be a good thing for any GM to look them over and see if you can apply any of their rules to your game. The rule of the day today is Pixar’s #2 Rule.
#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.
For Game Masters this might be the single most important rule to live by. As the author of your player’s story you need to make sure you follow this rule at your table. If you are the only one at the table that has any interest in setting or story. No mater how well you write it or how compelling of an adventure you run. Your players are going to have a hard time finding enjoyment in it. In the end it will likely better serve both you and your players to focus on running something that the group would be more interested in.
When you begin planing the next big game you are going to run. Take a few moments and speak with your players. Get their opinions on what they would like to play. Hear their thoughts and ideas on setting and themes that you may have had in mind. Ask what they might be interested in playing in the settings you suggest for the group. By hearing comments from your players it ensures that you will create a setting and story that everyone at the table will hopefully enjoy.
Armed with this information is when you should begin laying out your setting and story and put together a game you will enjoy running for your players. It will also make your game design work easier. With this subtle form of cooperative creating your players are likely invested in the game from the start. Thus avoiding finding yourself caught in the trap of creating a game for yourself.