Becoming a Better Writer: LARP

Sorry for the lack of postings in the last couple of weeks. I have been busy moving in and settling down in my new house with my fiance- which turned into a bigger, messier ordeal than originally planned. With that and the Easter holiday out of the way, I have more time to get back to focusing on my writing. Which is something I tend to say anytime a big change happens, isn’t it? And those happen a lot, it seems. I’ve come to terms with this reality: I can plan for all the little things I want, and that doesn’t mean I’m going to be capable of following through. But that doesn’t mean I have to give up, either. So here we are, blogging again, promising again to get back on track and plug through. All I can give you there is the promise to try, try again. And sometimes, that’s all we can do.

Something else that has been taking up my time recently is LARP. For the un-nerdy readers I have, that stands for Live Action Role Play. The game I am involved in lies in the World of Darkness: Changeling setting, and is more character-and-story based than the sword-battles-in-the-field stereotype of LARPing would have you believe.

And as much as me and my fiance’s new commitment to LARPing twice every month, and doing the writing work for the downtimes in between sessions has definitely taken out some of my free time (that could be editing or marketing time), it’s been immensely helpful in my writing. It’s not just the making characters and the writing scenarios, either. It’s the coming up against other people’s characters, and their writing. It’s the figuring out how a character would react versus how I would react. It’s the realizing what kind of choices other people enjoy or few as feasible in a character arc, as compared to what I view as entertaining or a good plot twist.

As an author, there’s this huge temptation to turn inward. To reject criticism, to protect one’s projects like you would a small infant, to edit and perfect according to one’s own taste. To a point, that’s good. You want your writing to be yours, not anyone else’s, and you don’t want outside influences to tame your unique vision for your work. At the same time, any writing that is published is a cooperative between the author and the reader- and, in writing that coop, it is more effective to have that in mind than to write for an empty room. That’s not changing your vision to fit the whims of other people- that’s allowing yourself the space to learn and take value from others. To honor their time and their sensibilities.

My LARP experience has forced me to really recognize that. But you could find the same thing in a writing group, online or in person. You could do paragraph roleplaying on an online forum. You could swap critiques with an author you admire. Find the way that fits you best- and let that change your writing for the better.

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