I have played and tried to GM games since I was in elementary school, beginning with games like Shadowrun, Earthdawn, and Champions. Recently, I've gotten dack into gaming with a variety of other games (newer Shadowrun and Earthdawn, plus TOON! and Outbreak:Undead).
I've found examples of actual play and advice on how to actually GM a game in games to be lacking. I can only help but feel I am not alone as someone who isn't already a LITERAL dungeon MASTER.
I fully realize that there are an unlimited number of GM styles, personalities, etc. I do not think I am a very good GM though. No one else wants to be the GM, and few care enough to learn the complex rules that I often have to assist with and explain AS WE PLAY. Being left with the responsibility is quite overwhelming unless I create dynamic encounters or make it all up on the spot. I'm often left having no idea what to do.
Examples of Why I Think I Need Help
This question isn't about these examples so please don't dig into them in the answers - they're here to explain the basic things that leave me feeling like I don't know how to proceed as a GM.
I've read preparation is important, but last time I tried to make a story, the players immediately killed the primary character (a friendly person.) within about 2 minutes of starting the game. While I realize now that I let the dice take control over the story, it was rather difficult to continue a story that relied on this friendly character, with the players making enemies with the character's faction. It is still discouraging when my only other attempt at a prepared story ended with the players wanting to go in a complete opposite direction of where I planned. Both times, the hours of work I put into it were completely wasted, leaving me as ignorant as I always was before.
My group often wants to play Shadowrun, Earthdawn, or L5R- but I feel as though I am a horrible GM. The last time we played Shadowrun, I was bored out of my mind as we rolled hundreds of dice to do an obvious straight-forward "kick down the door" mission. If I make security as I believe it should or as the forum threads describe their security or a few example missions I can scrounge up (examples of stories, not actual gameplay), my players literally feel completely hopeless as to how to achieve their mission without total failure.
One time when I was a teenager, I had players blow up at me saying "We have no idea what would work. You're telling us that our character's experience or the ally operative says that would get us killed, but what else can we do?" Since there are no examples of what players can do - I am left with the same feeling as the players. As an adult, I've had a similar occurrence where a player said to me, "I don't know what to do. I don't think we can even begin this mission." I had to make something up and just go with it, creating an NPC group (that fit in with the story) that goes in before the players to do something stupid so they don't have to. Mainly because I ALSO didn't know how to accomplish the mission, so I acted as the players would using my NPC group. Extremely boring and IMO a failed dungeon run.
I've had successful stories, but I've had more boring encounters than successful ones. Seeing as how roleplaying takes endless hours to complete a story, I do not see benefit in an activity that wastes more time than is enjoyable.
How Do You Learn To GM?
Where are the resources? Books, blogs, gameplay examples? Am I missing them? How did YOU learn to be a good GM? Or do you feel as bad at this as I do, even when it's a successful, fun encounter?