Now I’m going to talk about something completely unrelated to what I’ve been talking about. Tonight (this morning) I’m going to talk about Dungeons and Dragons. Yes. D&D. Because I decided I wanted to write about something fun that I enjoy on the last day of the semester.
(Yes, I am outing myself as a tabletop RPG-playing, fantasy-reading, sci-fi-watching nerd. My Unit 1 narrative was all about how I play these games, fer cryin’ out loud.)
Anyway. I mention D&D (and other games like it) because I think that it is much more than just a game. I’ve been playing it for a decade now, and I can tell you that it has been an educational experience.
For creative writers, tabletop games offer quite a lot. They help you gain experience with writing characters and then losing yourself in them. They help you familiarize yourself with some of the classic story telling tropes. And they let you see a story from the perspective of the character instead of the writer.
For any kind of writer, being the game master for a tabletop game is a very very very very challenging experience, but also a rewarding experience. When you run a game of D&D, you are creating a setting and writing a story. But you are also actively engaged in competition with the characters who inhabit your story. Imagine writing a book and having your characters try to punch the pen out of your hand as you write.
You also learn to improvise and think on your feet very quickly, because your players will never ever stick to the story you try to write for them. When you run a game of D&D, you realize that your players are all depraved, insane people who hate your lovingly-crafted world and interesting settings.
They will happily make decisions so out there and crazy that you’d swear they were fifth-dimensional beings. And you will want to punch them, but sadly you cannot move your fist at a right angle to reality. (Douglas Adams reference right there, in case anybody was interested.)
So you become a master of quick problem-solving. I highly recommend trying out a game of D&D at least once for anybody who wants to be any sort of writer. One, it’s fun. Two, it will teach you a lot of new things. Three, it’s fun.