Writing and Gaming

On one level, it really doesn’t take much to make me a happy man. This morning happiness is achieved via high volume and the Kaiser Chiefs singing Sha-na-na-na-na during the chorus of every song on their first album. Once that hits a certain point on the decibel meter I’m all glee and shiny rainbows. Which is just as well, because otherwise I’d be writing blog posts about the various ways revising Claw is kicking my arse this week. Although I think that’s probably a good thing, in the end, since it large kicks my arse in the same way Horn did – I have a bunch of scenes I’m pretty happy with, plus a bunch of characters and a plot, but they refuse to come together in a way that’s meaningful just yet.

It occurred to me a while ago that this approach is something I’ve inherited from many, many years of playing roleplaying games. The way I plan a game session is exactly the same – pick five or six set-piece scenes that offer a cool setting, or character, or monster, and then find a way to link them together in terms of plot or dungeon complex. The difference there is that the linkage is largely a matter of genre convention; as a general rule, you can trust the players to follow the expected path as long as they know the genre you’re referencing. When writing fiction the approach is a little less satisfying, because finding new ways to get to the same destinations is kind of essential to the process.

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