Dungeon Mastering Will Help You Write

Yes, Dungeons and Dragons is an idea whose time has come for a second time. Only now, it thrives in a more mainstream cultural environment. Moreover, there is a vibrance to today's D&D culture that revitalizes old gamers like myself and gives me hope for the future. When I walk into a game store and see a 20-something, dice-wielding dungeon master bringing serious credit to the art, I wait for eye contact and then nod from across the room at them. Okay, that might be a little weird, but I get all choked up over it. I love that it is so popular now. I can remember back to the 80s when playing D&D was pretty much an invitation to get bullied by the closest football player.

Anyway, writing. So about six years ago I started looking for a traditional publisher for a book I had nearly completed. For most sites, the usual stuff was in the usual spots: submissions, query letters, etc. But one thing I noticed was there were a bunch of publishers who specifically metioned not wanting an account of 'your Dungeons and Dragons adventure'. It surprised me, first because I have been a gamer most of my life so I was sort of butt hurt over it. Secondly, because that meant people had been sending those kinds of manuscripts to publishers, who did not want them. Well, two things recently occured to me about this:

1. Writers that play Dungeons and Dragons (or other tabletop RPGs) are exercising their imaginations. Visualizing narration that the dungeon master is dispensing is a great way to hone that very skill. A writer who can visualize a scene may be in a better position to convey that scene to a reader through writing.

2. Writers that are also dungeon masters receive an even better advantage. Dungeon masters have to manage plot lines, characters, conflicts, possible futures, multiple perspectives, causality and all the while avoiding inconsistencies of all types. This is just for pre-made adventures. Dungeon masters who homebrew their own adventures have to come up with all of the content themselves, just like writers. 

This led me to believe that dungeon mastering in particular should be a regular part of my schedule because it keeps me creating things. Additionally, I think there is a place for the novelization of peoples' role playing adventures. There certainly is more of a market for it now that D&D has achieved such huge popularity. But it has happened before. The Dragonlance series was wrought from an actual Dungeons and Dragons game played by Tracey Hickman, Margaret Weiss and their friends who worked at TSR. Those books, in turn, spawned even more D&D content that influenced more people. My point is this: If you want to write and publish your D&D adventure, then do it. Nobody can stop you. Not anymore.

Let's face it. The world of publishing is irrevocably different than it was even ten years ago. For a few people, these changes are not so awesome; chiefly publishing companies. But for pretty much everyone else, the new publishing landscape represents new and amazing opportunities to share ideas with the very people who are ready to receive them. I know, this is not news. But it should be encouraging, nonetheless. 

In short, if you are a writer, I recommend you start playing D&D if you don't already. Trust me, it will completely rewire the way you see storytelling, in a good way.

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