Hobbies can be great assets to writers. I spent the summer reading comics and watching ONCE UPON A TIME while I ran on the treadmill and that led me to writing my most recent book, UNMASKING: LEMON’S THESIS. More on that later, but right now, hobbies!
Another hobby of mine is probably even geekier than comics. (Nothing wrong with geeky, btw. Geek proud right here!) I play pen and paper (sometimes called tabletop) role playing games (or RPGs). You might have heard of DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS, but I started with VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE (second edition). Since starting, I’ve played many different games, from the super well known to small/indie publisher games made by a one-man band.
Before I continue, for those that are going, “I really don’t know what an RPG is,” allow me to quickly explain. It’s cops and robbers with rules (because it isn’t cool for adults to be all, “I shot you!” “No you didn’t, you missed!” “No, I didn’t!”). People gather together, one person (Game Master) guides the story and voices the bit players, and the rest have their own “main characters.” (More info here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role-playing_game)
There are different ways to play this game. You could super far removed, just guiding your character through like you would in a video game. “I’ll have Bob greet the keep.” That’s so not my (or my group’s) style. I (we) play much more immersed.
Example Time! “I walk up to the barkeep and try faking an Elvish accent, I lean on the bar.” [And this is when I’d lean forward, propping my arm on the table or a make believe bar. Then I’d say,] “‘Howdy, partner. Ya’ll woulda not half an ale?’ and see how he reacts.”
Playing like this, I connect with my character. I’ve gotten angry because she’s angry. My character raises and eyebrow, and I try to do it (I can’t do it at all and I look silly). I have been known to talk around imaginary food. I do a lot of weird things and this has helped my writing. (No seriously, it has!)
Maybe it’s just me, but when my fiction characters are angry I’m pounding the keys and snarling or glaring at the screen as I go. I connect with my fiction character as I would with the game one. And this is the best asset ever, because when they seem to just be standing there talking like a cardboard cutout with a speaker for a mouth, I check to see what I’m doing to give them more life. Sometimes, I’m running my fingers through my hair or I’m tapping my finger impatiently.
This connection has also helped me feel when I’ve taken a wrong step. If the character can’t forgive someone she’s supposed to later befriend, I may have gone too far. If the character isn’t disgusted with a vile villain, maybe I’m not showing the bad guy’s side enough.
And, this connection? Super important for keeping me invest and thrilled with the story. If I find myself getting bored or distancing from the character, I know something has gone wrong. (Or I’m over editing and I need to send the manuscript in!)
Gaming has taught me other things that I’ve applied through the years. But, this mini-impromptu theater that takes place at my table every Saturday helped me make characters that were much more than cardboard cutouts with speaker mouths. For that, I am thankful.
Now, back to that book. In case you forgot, the name is UNMASKING: LEMON’S THESIS. Here’s the blurb:
Welcome to Trowbridge City. It’s home to superheroes, maniacal villains, and everyday citizens. The stories here aren’t about good versus evil, but about hard choices, prejudices, and experiences complicated by superpowers.
Lemon “Em” Law is a super genius and she’s also the daughter of Trowbridge’s most infamous super villain, Yellow Fellow. After being fired, bullied by her professor, and dumped all in the same day there’s only one thing she can do! And that’s work on her thesis. Truth is, the last thing Em wants to be is evil. Unfortunately that thesis of hers is so revolutionary it could be dangerous. Is she ready to learn the secrets behind the masks?
Buy it on Amazon: http://amzn.com/B01BP8YT5W
If you want, visit my website: https://gloriaweber.wordpress.com/
Many thanks to Denise for letting me prattle on! I super appreciate the help and support.