Writing a long story and running a long role-playing campaign have a few things in common.
Obviously, both require a lot of writing.
Both require the creation of characters. The main characters should have interesting personalities and goals. As the story and campaign move along their motivations, goals, and personalities develop. Sometimes main characters move on and minor characters elevate into main characters.
Both should have at one main plot that involves most of the characters. A good long story and role-playing campaign have at least two big plots with sub-plots driven by the characters. The effect is to create a believable environment for the characters to act and the reader/player to engage with.
And from time to time, both wander off course. A role-playing game this happens for a variety of reasons-game master lets the players wander off with no real plan, the game master has no plan, the players refuse to follow the bouncing ball that most game masters set, the players have no clue and are not getting any help from the game master, all the way down to shit happens and a campaign takes a tangent heading for the horizon.
Given my experience with writing long stories is minimal, I was not aware of the above similarities. In fact, until Training of Sara which really is a series of short works of erotica that have the theme of Sara and now Nail Clippers the longest work of fiction has been 5 pages…I think. In other words, I wrote short stories until recently. Short stories are fun and fit with previous work, creating role-playing games.
A short story or scene is great for providing flavor to boring rule books and giving reader/players a better idea of what I had in mind. A favorite layout of mine is to start each chapter with a short story and use scenes to flesh out examples or things that I don’t think rules do well, which is most everything other than inform players how to do something.
A long story as I am finding is closer to a role-playing game with only one player. The characters do their own thing within limits of my imagination and plans, although characters can change those actions. Just part of the writing process. Like a role-playing game, things do go off the rails. In this case, I lost or feel I have lost my way with Nail Clippers. To focused on the minutiae and a character or two who refuse to cooperate. Make them cooperate, you might say, they are figments of your imagination. It doesn’t work that way. Think of this as a modified form of writers block.
Thus, last night for the first time in a long time I sat in front of the screen and nothing happened. I tried to write about other characters, but it did not feel right. Mildly frustrated, I have sent out what I have to other people for their notes, maybe they will see what I am not seeing and can provide me with some inspiration/direction/ideas. Otherwise, hopefully, after a day or two away from the characters things flow. I have