Friday, January 31, 2014

Answering the call

I have always loved telling stories. I loved telling stories that I knew, but what I truly loved was making up stories for myself. I would tell the stories to my family, my friends, or to no one at all, but I always seemed to be telling stories. I did it so often that my grandmother bought me a hand held tape recorder so that at least I would have a record of them.

When I was in college one of my friends turned me onto RP chat rooms. It took me about five minutes to absolutely fall in love with it. It was an entire group of people who loved to tell stories getting to do just that in a collaborative fashion. It was awesome.

Now not everyone in the system was exactly good at story telling. Part of the problem might have been that a lot of these people had incredibly poor writing skills. Grammar and punctuation were not their friends. Sentence structure and basic concepts of story construction were not always present. It made it difficult to do anything with these people.

Thankfully the bad writers were not prevalent in the room I played in. I lucked out in the fact that the players in my room tended to be more on the exceptional side of the line. I had people with intense imaginations and the ability to paint there thoughts with words.

Creativity and technical skill was never enough though. You could be the best writer in the room, but if you couldn't write with someone, it sort of defeated the purpose of the room. The point was to create stories together, not just show off your writing.

There were some people that just weren't team players. They couldn't seem to get with the program. Things went their way or not at all. They would steamroll stories just to advance their own agendas. The organic nature of collaborative storytelling was completely foreign to these players.

When there was chemistry though, oh the stories we would create. Entire worlds unfolded before us. Characters came to life and lived vibrant lives full of adventure, romance, and all the drama anyone could ever hope for. It was like magic.

I was very lucky to find a group that I had incredibly chemistry with. We were very small, and tended to be some what elitist in our attitudes towards play, but I never cared. What we had was so good I didn't want to dilute it with people who were not going to mesh well. When we would make exceptions it always turned out so disappointing in the end.

Sadly life happened. We all started getting older and the time required to carry on a story dwindled. We got jobs, we got married, we got older and had more commitments that trumped the game. Our numbers shrank until there was no one in the room any longer. The stories stopped and our characters fell silent.

Funny thing about characters you create though; they never actually go silent forever. Years may pass, but eventually they will wake up. Eventually their voices will call out and their stories will slowly start drifting back to you.

In the last week I have written nearly 40k words on a story for characters that have not seen the light in a very long time. I have been retelling to myself parts of the story I already know and filling in spaces that were left blank. I am writing it alone, which makes me a little sad, but I am happy to be able to let the characters live again.

There really is nothing quite like creating like this. It is so satisfying.

Now if you will excuse me, I have characters waiting on me to see how this adventure will play out.

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