Two things happened since my last blog entry that made me feel awesome(r), and I’m going to share them with you. Just try to stop me.
The first was some stellar news in the writing area. I submitted another story to Nonlocal Science Fiction, and the publisher had some very flattering things to say about it, including that he felt it superior to my story in the first issue. As with the last story, he gave me some helpful advice about things that he thought would make it better. He will be sending some more detailed notes later, since I’ll be preparing it for the third issue. I made mention of this story in this blog some time ago. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world full of savagery and vast tracts of wasteland. The central character is a member of a society of hybrid plant beings, housed in an enclave amid dangerous mutants and wild creatures. It was inspired by my time playing a role-playing game called Gamma World. Some of you might be familiar with its setting.
I find role-playing games to be wondrous outlets for creativity. They are engines for collaborative storytelling, and I have spent perhaps thousands of hours (if not more) both playing them and creating stories in them. Given time and imagination, there seems to be no story that couldn’t be told using them. And why not just write the story? When two, three or more people are involved in the mostly improvised story and a random element of dice rolls is used, the level of uncertainty increases exponentially. A well planned plot can seemingly run off the rails with a few decisions made by one or more players. Sometimes that leads to confusion, and other times it leads to unexpected brilliance. Writing stories is cool, don’t get me wrong, but being part of a great story created by a group of friends is way cool. Discussing games like this leads me to awesome thing number two.
My son asked me about a year ago if he could try playing a tabletop role-playing game. I was elated, but let me put this into its proper perspective. Lots of dads experience a moment of tearful joy with their sons. For most, it’s that day the son first hits a baseball or scores a touchdown or some other sports-related example of excellence that’s beyond me. For me, it was watching my son carefully roll his first d10 and calculate his defensive bonus. An even better experience happened today when he said he wanted to try being the Game Master. This is the person who leads the game, creates the story, acts out the characters not used by the other players and describes the setting and the action. In other words, the Game Master is THE BOSS and also the person responsible for the players having a good time. In the case of my son, letting him do this is also an underhanded way for me to get him to practice writing. Writing is something he hates to do, but imagining and creating are things he loves. I get to teach him that they can be fused together into a +5 Battleaxe of Awesome. He’s also smart, so he might catch on at some point. Hopefully by then he’ll be having too much fun to care.
He’s going to flip out when I buy him his own set of dice. Can’t wait.
The third thing was that I received news from people receiving their print copies of Nonlocal Science Fiction #1 and other KickStarter rewards. Responses so far have been very positive. I know quite a few of my friends and relatives contributed to the KickStarter, and I want to thank them all again.
But that’s three things that made me feel awesome…