How Role Playing Made Me A Better Writer

Howdy howdy!  A friend of mine from the Yahoo chatroom days has been talking about “the old days” (hard to believe it was ten years ago) when we stayed up all night talking and (usually) participating in multiple role playing scenarios.  Not MMORPGs or Magic or D&D or any of that.  We mostly stuck with the chatrooms and a few forums.  Stuff like that.  I admit I wasn’t a hardcore RPer.  I didn’t know all of the rules and different styles (single lines versus paragraphs and all that), but there were a few worlds I enjoyed hanging out in.  Anyway, I got to thinking about those days too and realized that they helped turn me into the writer I am today.  Here are the three main ways RPing helped make me a better writer:

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And better at faking my way through adulthood.

1.  The fact that it actually made me write.  I’ve never been very good about writing without deadlines, so I didn’t write much when I wasn’t in classes.  Rping with people forced me to exercise the creative parts of my brain on a regular basis even outside of school.  We built worlds and characters with words.  Then, we put those characters through hell.  And we usually invented a bunch of disgusting weapons to push everything even further.

2.  It taught me a lot about character and world building.  There was nothing worse than getting into a scenario and having a character “magically” beat the crap out of someone they should’ve been pulverized by.  No, your character did NOT spontaneously gain the ability to shoot fire from her palms with no lead up to it.  Take your beating like a man.  Then there were the people who randomly put hiding places in already established open areas with no cover.  Really?  The importance of adhering to established world rules and character attributes was not lost on me back then.

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An old character of mine.  Drawn by the aforementioned friend and colored by me.

 3.  I think the most important aspect of RPing is that it’s collaborative.  I’m still not big on group projects, but it taught me how to work with other creators to make a world that combined our ideas.  We had to work together or else everything fell apart due to petty bickering.  Or, if we managed to create a world, but we didn’t agree on things, wild inconsistencies would pop up in the stories.  We didn’t have to stifle our individual voices, we just had to blend them together.  It makes the whole idea of future collaborations a lot less repulsive.

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Like “Didn’t we just go over that?”

 So yeah, RPing really did help me become a better writer.  I keep telling my friend that, while I miss the chatroom days, I still kind of RP, I just do it solo now.  That’s what writing is: building worlds and characters, then putting them through hell.  A solo RP.

What about you?  Did you ever RP?  Do you still do it?  What would you say it taught you about writing?  Feel free to share your thoughts on the subject here or on one of my social media pages!

Until next time!

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