Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dawn of Collaboration: inspiration & spark

This post is Part 2 of a series to augment the Author's Manifesto available for free download. Start with Part 1 here.

This and other inspirations of mine are gathered in the Spark Directory for you to explore.

Find more map-making content in my Cartography Directory.

In Part 1 of this series, I began writing stories and yearned to share them with someone. Then I entered high school, a new friend introduced me to written role-playing games, and I was never the same. It seemed like the answer to my prayers!

In essence, those games were stories written back and forth with partners, each writing assorted characters and collaborating in new story arcs. The sharing I craved was built right in, and it seized me by the heart. I was hooked.

My friend and I played in online chatrooms, often writing with other gamers we'd met on the internet. I gained the reputation of a plot-master, and I seemed to feel more creatively driven than most players. My gaming refined itself to specific partners who mirrored my fanaticism, with my new best friend at the forefront.

Check out this Author's Manifesto for more of my inspirations!

She shared her existing sci-fi characters with me, and together we branched out, innovating an alien world and new characters. We built an unrealistic race of advanced humans who shape-shift into dragons, the improbable perpetrators of an interstellar colonization. In a private message window, we wrote volumes of adventures together, a few sentences at a time.

Sometimes compelling questions arose: What if the assassination hadn't been averted? We'd hatch a spinoff, waltzing our characters down divergent timelines. Before long, we raised new questions: What if we reversed the social classes of our characters? We placed them in alternate universes, and soon we had dozens of stories splayed in a thousand directions.

Into this madness, I suggested we write a fantasy story with a whole new cast. I enjoyed science-fiction, but fantasy had always been my first love. More enamored with sci-fi but sharing my love for dragons, my gaming partner conceded to the idea. Late that night, ensconced in her bedroom during one of our frequent sleepovers, I drew the very first map of the Known World.

For the humble birth of my Tales of the Known World saga, we plucked characters from four corners of the map and threw them together. Right away, I sensed she held less interest than I did, but I happily took up the slack. Erecting the main gears of the plot, I launched a hazy quest to fulfill an ancient prophesy. We dropped our characters like wind-up toys into my detailed setting, and watched the sparks fly.

That's it for this post! Up Next: How I lost myself in gaming...

Download the Author's Manifesto here, or start your adventure below.

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