Sunday, February 21, 2016

How RPGs Can Improve Your Fiction Writing

Three numbered RPG dice and a score pad.
Photo Credit:

Certain aspects of the creation process in writing fiction can be overwhelming. For me those aspects are character development and, although to a lesser extent, world-building. Just think about it: you have so many levels to take care of in building a single character especially if it’s the protagonist or main character. Sometimes you feel like you have to be God just to make your characters and worlds believable. And being the Supreme Being is just a little impossible. As a writer, you not only have your character’s superficial characteristics such as physical features and speech mannerisms to take care of but also their psychological ones: the ways they think and perceive things, in many cases ways of thinking they do not directly express to the other characters but may still be essential to the story. 

Although creating character profiles is relatively easy, if you’re like me you might find it difficult to apply them to the story without making the characters seem stilted. But author Terry Ervin II explains how to take care of these problems. The solution? Play role playing games (RPGs).

In his article, “How Role Playing Games Can Enhance Your Writing Career” Ervin shows how to overcome the obstacles of character development and world-building by explaining the similarities between playing RPGs and writing fiction. He says that playing different characters in various settings in an RPG can help you understand the motivations and qualities of those characters. He explains how taking on the role of a character such as a wizard or secret agent helps the player understand the development of that character and how it’s influenced by the adventurous situations of the game. In turn, the character’s development evolves the game’s storyline

Ervin further compares the game moderator, also known as the game master (GM), to a fiction writer, explaining that the GM is in charge of both the “non player characters” as well as developing the world that the game is set in. I strongly recommend reading Ervin’s article if you have trouble developing your story’s characters or setting. 

My Upcoming Short Story

I said last week that I would have more news about my short story that I will be releasing in (mini) book format. It’s called “Circa Sixty Years Dead” and is about a young archeologist who encounters an unusual experience in an excavated temple. What is that experience? I won’t tell you now so as not to create a spoiler. But I will tell you that it is not a mummy’s curse, so you can forget that old trope. I’ll be releasing it in e-format for sure and possibly print by the beginning of next month. I’ll continue keeping you updated on it. To receive updates fastest, subscribe to my blog in the form near the bottom of the right sidebar.

I’ll leave you with this question: Do you think playing RPGs will help your fiction writing? Feel free to leave your answers in the box below.

Until next time . . .

For Further Reading: 

This illustrated guide to writing fantasy by Jeff VanderMeer also features articles by some big name writers such as George R.R. Martin, Michael Moorcock and, one of my favourites, Neil Gaiman! 

For Further (RPG) Playing:

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