Strangely enough, in almost all my games I deliberately do not wish to answer such questions and in fact could not in many cases. The only one I always ask myself and answer is #3. Even then I sometimes get that wrong, and in my experience many members here do too, even with the best intentions, because none of us has a crystal ball and cannot know that next week a family member might be taken ill and all your games may grind to a halt for a month...
My gaming style means I am mostly uninterested in the rest
In fact trying to measure, quantify, plot and pre-plan a RP is something like being in the army. Wasn't it an ancient military tactician who wrote "a plan, no matter how well concieved, never survives first contact with the enemy", in our case it's "a role-playing plot or plan lasts only as long as the first post by a player other than the planner".
I wouldn't suggest that stories cannot be open ended. I would only suggest that if indeed they are open ended, that you communicate that concept.
Who was that scientist or philosopher who posited that the simple act of observing an experiment could affect it's outcome? I feel something like that applies here, or maybe it's the self-fulfilling prophecy I'm thinking of... if you tell players a game
(note: I do not write stories on E, I play games. I think I am in a minority in thinking this way
) has an open ending, that may affect how they play the game and so affect its structure and style. Not telling them anything could allow them to role-play more freely.
If indeed the story has a rough end game in mind, that too should be communicated.
Ouch. Are you suggesting telling the player(s) how the game will end? Or how you want it to end? And ruin the surprise? That sounds like the word scripted
to me which where I come from in role-playing is a Very Bad Thing Indeed.
I'm not having a go at you, Zamquist, and I am treating his rather lightly. But I am in disagreement with pretty much everything you've suggested