Writers & Roleplayers, Part 3

Writers & Roleplayers: Pitfalls, Hindrances, & Bad Habits

So in my previous post as well as in my brief history lesson, I had a lot of good to say about roleplaying. One might even call it “gushing.”

I definitely stand by everything I said, but nothing is all good. I mentioned before that those who have condemned roleplaying have their points. As much as I love it, I’ve also got to be honest. As much wonderful experience that I’ve gotten, I’ve also picked up my fair share of bad habits.

Now that I’ve defended probably my favorite pastime, it’s time to dig into the dark underbelly.

Let’s start off gently, shall we? Continue reading

Writers & Roleplayers, Part 2

Writers & Roleplayers : The Benefits of Collaborative Storytelling

I mentioned in my introduction that roleplaying, or any form of collaborative storytelling, often gets a lot of flack from the writing community. I’ve seen it painted as an exercise in infantilism that will hobble a writer’s ability by miring it into strict amateurism. That it’s a childish game at best, a crutch at worst.

Really, I find any writer taking a high horse on “playing pretend,” as so many are quick to call it, hilariously hypocritical. At the end of the day, every writer is just playing with dolls in a world of make-believe and transcribing the events. It doesn’t really matter if we fancy it up by calling the components “characters” and “setting.” It is what it is.

Sort of demystifies the whole process a little, doesn’t it?

That said, I don’t really see what’s so very different about inviting a friend and telling them to bring their dolls along so you can play together. There are a lot of benefits to adding another perspective to your writing; if there weren’t, there’d be no advice concerning beta-readers, critiques, or editors.

But what does bringing someone (or multiple people) along do to benefit your writing? Well, in no particular order, let’s begin.

Continue reading

Writers & Roleplayers, Part 1

Writers & Roleplayers: A Little History

Dungeons & Dragons passed its 40th Anniversary just last year. Although I’m willing to bet that human beings have been “roleplaying” as a form of entertainment in one way or another since the dawn of time, D&D certainly brought it to the mainstream consciousness in a way that it hadn’t ever been before.

If anyone is at all familiar with the fantasy genre, I’m sure you’re well and truly familiar with the surge in books that were quite blatantly the writer’s D&D campaign that they thought was too cool not to share. But I’m not going to talk about that here.

No, in those four decades, a lot has changed in the world of roleplay—and one of the biggest catalysts to those changes has been none other than the internet.

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Author Interview: Hector Kopczynski

I was luck enough to be interviewed by Sarah Moll. Interesting questions, and a lot of fun. Be sure to check her and her blog out!

Sarah Kay Moll

HeraldryWelcome to the fourth in a series of author interviews. Today I’m talking to Hector Kopczynski about sexuality and gender in writing, building a truly foreign fantasy world, and reading with a critical eye. Hector is currently working on both an epic fantasy project and a gritty spy thriller.

Sarah: Currently you’re working on two very different projects. One is a slow-paced, deliberate, and elaborate fantasy, with much focus on world-building, the other so far is a spy thriller. Are there common threads that run through both? Is it hard to switch between them?

Hector: By and large, I don’t see a lot of similarity between most of my works. I actively focus on developing a specific style, cadence, and atmosphere unique to each piece. Not just in characters, their particular speech patterns, or in point of view, but as far down to the bones and foundation of the story as I…

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You Are Not Broken: A Mother’s Day PSA

I want to take a step back today and talk about something that is both very personal and very important to me.

First, I want to address those of you who are happily celebrating Mother’s Day today with your families.

I’m sure that encompasses a great many people. Many of you have loving, supportive homes. Never perfect, of course, but ones that are filled with happy memories and affection. For you, I am glad—truly and truthfully. I hope you share your joy in whatever way you are comfortable and appreciate the gift you have been given.

However, some of you may have friends or acquaintances or even family who are not celebrating today. You may know someone who has not so much as even sent a card to their mother, or called her. I am sure that, for many of you, this seems unthinkable and inconceivable. In a way, I’m glad for that—if you cannot comprehend why that might be, then you have not had to live it.

But please: today, do not shame anyone for not reaching out to their family.

For some of us, Mother’s Day is a lance in our back. Not only are we buried under a barrage of images of loving mothers and happy families in the media, but we invariably have to brace for every casual acquaintance we’ve ever met and their brother to suddenly pop out of the woodwork just to ask,

“Why aren’t you talking to your mother? It’s Mother’s Day, didn’t you know? She gave birth to you. You owe her that much.”

I have responded (for the most part) to these questions with the flat-out truth. If a person feels the need to pry into my personal life, I feel they have opened themselves up to the uncomfortable answer. Continue reading

A New Chapter

There were many things I wanted to say today, but as I sat down, sunburned and more tired than I’ve been in memory, I realized there was only one thing I could truly talk about.

The last month has been a whirlwind for me and mine. After five years of apartment life, we finally were able to settle down in a place where we could call our own.

It’s certainly what you’d call “modest,” if you were being polite. Everything needs at least a little TLC. The yard is mostly comprised of gardens that have been neglected for at least three years, according to the neighbors. I don’t understand whose bright idea it was to carpet the bathrooms (of which, for the first time, we have two). None of the light switches make a lick of sense.

And everything is perfect—in all its maddening, bizarre, and unexpected imperfections.

Because it’s ours. And now, it’s home.

Continue reading

Devil’s Own Luck: He Who Fights with Monsters

Pocketwatch Blog Hop It looks like the Pocketwatch Character Spotlight Blog Hop might just become a monthly thing. (Hint, hint, guys!) So we’re back again.

Previously, I had a whole diatribe about villains and how my evil overlord conquered everything (including me) to become a hero. This time, I’m taking off my scholarly hat, cracking my knuckles, and digging into something visceral.

I’m mainly a fantasy writer at heart, but some years ago, I was taken by an idea for an alternate-Earth espionage thriller. Shortly thereafter, I was completely consumed by its protagonist, and the Devil’s Own Luck trilogy was born.

Last time around, one of the other members of Pocketwatch who is also a crit partner of mine, mentioned she’d love to see an interview with the main character of Devil’s Own Luck, Agent Gray. Something that got under his skin.

That got me thinking. I knew what could get to Gray, but I had no idea who’d have the gall to approach him like that.

Then, all at once, it came to me. There was only one person I could think of who could go toe-to-toe with him, and would have the brass balls to do a vicious cold read.

And then this little vignette was born.

He Who Fights with Monsters

The room was barren, a stark wasteland. Not white, not anymore. The filth was much a part of it as the drywall, too encrusted after years of grease and corruption to ever hope to be clean again.

And there, at the very heart and balanced on a rickety chair, sat the Agent Gray. Hunched over, eyes fixed on the gaps in the hardwood floor. Fleas disturbed the thick layer of dust between the slats, unseen save their movement.

That splintered and jagged edge of the seat cut into his thighs, but like a good agent, he showed no signs of his discomfort. Exhaustion, yes. But not discomfort.

Continue reading