Roleplaying Makes for a Good Writer

Between publishing my novel on Amazon to completing my NaNoWriMo 2013 novel, I did very little writing.  I did do some Fan Fiction for Star Wars The Old Republic, but never in great detail as I do with my writing.

During this time, I was actually responsible for my guild’s RP.  My guild was the Grey Jedi Order.  Eventually I became the Guild Leader.  Now roleplay comes in all forms, including pen and paper, video games, LARP, or in the bedroom.  When I did RP for SWTOR, I modeled after what a DM does for pen and paper such as Dungeons & Dragons or Mechwarrior (where my moniker mad_cat comes from).  Most people I see that did RP in MMORPG tend to do what I call Cantina events, where people are at a bar, standing around and talking.  Through dialogue they reveal stories about their character.  For me, I don’t enjoy Cantina events…I’m spending $15/month just to stand in one place?  No thank you.

When I did RP, I took a different approach. I would tell a story.  A kind of story that let the players interact with the story and make decisions on where the story went.  It was very difficult to do, and I had a staff of actors to help move the story in certain directions and to move things forward.  There were items to find, there were locations to visit, and even challenges of hacking a computer for information or searching for an object you couldn’t see.

The hardest part was the nature of how things change.  I believe my skills of being a Character Writer helped out with this.  As any DM knows, the players don’t do what you want them to do, even if the option is right in front of them.  Often times you have to improvise as the story goes and either create a new path to the end goal, or change the end goal.  Having a team really helps out with that, and it was definitely a challenge.

Whatever RP you do, I recommend all writers to engage in it.  And I urge you to take on the role as a player and as a DM.  A lot of what I knew as a writer and previous roleplay player I was able to incorporate as a DM for the MMO.  And what I gained doing it enhanced my ability as a writer.  What you put into RP as a writer, you get out a greater understanding of narrative and human nature.

When it comes to DM, there is no writer’s block. You must make a lot of quick decisions that require improvisation. It is one of the hardest things to do. I believe that I owe part of my success today as a writer to the time I spent doing RP for my guild. So get your 2D10 out (or as I prefer a D20) and see if you successfully hit your target with your +3 sword.

And if you need a dice program for your Android device, check out:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.essemgee.diceroller&hl=en

Easy to use program and free. From my video game indie company.

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