And then…the weekend. This weekend I’ll be running the last of a two-year-old gaming campaign set in the Changeling universe. This would be my second Changeling campaign. I doubt very much that items from this campaign will make it into my fiction, but items from the last campaign certainly did.
And while I’m thinking about it–what I’m working on writing now has elements of a former role playing campaign in it. And so does the Klarion project.
Can you do that? Fiction based around role playing games is often considered to be like bad fan fiction–cheesy, trite, full of Mary Sueisms. Can you do that?
Why…yes, you can. 🙂
I thought it might be a bit instructional to talk about what I do and why I think it’s a good thing. But let’s talk about the gaming fiction pitfalls that we want to start out avoiding.
1. Don’t make it boring. Goes without saying. Most games have a lot of extraneous crap that deserves to be left on the cutting room floor. Lines are dumb. Plot lines don’t work. Dice gives a random element to everything fiction just doesn’t need. Try to think of your book as a better adaption of the campaign.
2. Your story shouldn’t necessarily reflect your personal fantasy about how the triumphant character who triumphs is super cool and…um..triumphal. Story’s gotta have conflict. Character’s gotta have texture. Keep your Kung-Fu Panda Po “we should hang out” fantasy to yourself. Write an interesting story first. If you want wish fulfillment, write it, but don’t expect to necessarily publish it.
3. Some of your friends are gonna get cut. As a novice, this used to be my big mistake. I thought everyone in the game had to have a cameo. You know, some characters in some sessions or even in some campaigns don’t add anything to a story. You should cut them out. And when your friend asks why Barbarian Joe the dragon slayer is gone, shrug and say either, “Dude, write your own story!” or “Maybe another time, buddy.” Because you never know.
4. The story is going to change radically. That means, if you’re a game master, like me, you might change a character someone is committed to, and they won’t like it. Be prepared to change the character if that’s the case. I have had two characters who changed from nice guys to semi-rotters. One player was okay with it. The other player will no longer let me use the name, and that’s fine.
5. You aren’t writing a transcript. Remember, you’re telling a story. You’re going to kill clever moments, favorite dialogue. The darlings have got to die. You want a lean, mean story.
So, next week, let’s start out by talking about some of the bennies of using a campaign to springboard a story from. We’ll start with character.