Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Writing as a Performance Art

Here is a group of adventurers, planning out their quest, preparing on an adventure of epic proportions. Behind each drawn adventurer is a real-life person, acting out the voices and making the decisions. Some of them are sweet people pretending to be selfish thieves on a quest for gold, some of them are less than sweet people pretending to be selfless clerics and paladins.

But where is the motivating force? Where is the random encounter? The villain? The plot arc?

It's all in the Dungeon Master.

I've been a dungeon master for a few weeks now. I come up with the encounters, how many bad guys will fight our heroes and when, why they must complete the quest even when they'd rather grab the gold and run, and what happens if they encounter a force too strong for them. There are times I'd like to see them killed, but my job is not to kill them, my job is to try and kill them in a myriad of ways, but never (rarely) succeed. I am omniscient, I am omnipotent, and though I can 'control' the adventurers in a number of ways, they always find a way to mess up the plan.

Sound familiar?

This is writing, friends, with an audience. I have 5 or 6 people constantly depending on my story-telling skills to keep them entertained. Sometimes it works, when they actually go by the plan. Most of the time it doesn't, and I have to improvise. It's a performance art.

D&D did not make me a writer (hello, Nintendo!) but it did make me appreciate the story-telling process. And preparation time. Thank GOD for preparation time.

So, have you ever wondered what it would be like to 'perform' as a writer? Get a group of friends together, get a guide book and some dice, and nerd it up. You won't regret it.

Well, usually.



Alice said...

Looks like a fun way to write.

Shelley Sly said...

As a total geek, I have always wanted to play D&D. I will have to make a point of getting my friends together to play.

New follower, by the way. I love that you draw a triforce on your hand! :)

Morgan said...

Awesome :) I got into writing (or, kept it up at least) by doing online rpgs (the old fashioned "write out every move" kind) in middle school. It really did use the same skills it takes to be a writer. And it was fun :P

JeffO said...

Hah! It's been a loong time since I played D&D, and I never actually DM'd, but I can definitely see the comparison. Great post!

Lauren W. said...

I've always wanted to play D&D. My geeky friends were into Beavis & Butthead :(

PS-I've nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Here's the link:

Marsha Sigman said...

The only way I would have time to do that now is if I gave up sleep altogether!!!

Glad to see you back!

The Golden Eagle said...

It sounds like a fun idea!

Talli Roland said...

Oh, yikes. It sounds interesting, but I'm not sure I'd be up for it!

Sangu Mandanna said...

Ahhh that looks like such a fun way to write.

Anonymous said...

So, my mind translated that as, "there are times I'd like to see Evan killed"


I have so much admiration for you and people who can DM, though (and just roleplay in general). It really does take a certain skillset- one I definitely don't have! (yet?) :)

Fun post, looking forward to when the schoolwork dies down and you can post more :)