Sunday, February 19, 2012

On Writing and 2012 Goals

Well, well, well...this is post number one hundred on this blog.  I reached this point much quicker than I initially believed I would.  I know I speculated in my first post that I would probably post just once or maybe twice a week.  I guess I did not stick to that schedule but that is a good thing.  I enjoy writing and doing it about subjects that I am interested in makes it even better.  The fact that writing is something I enjoy was not always the case.  There was a time when writing was not enjoyable for me at all.  

It seems I have always been able to write once I got going.  When I say, "once I got going", I mean it used to be quite a struggle just to get started on a writing project.  I could come up with vague ideas that I would be highly interested in expanding but I just could not pull the trigger.  This all changed during my freshman year of high school.  The English class that year also included a creative writing notebook that we turned in to the teacher every so often.  I was not real excited about this but it was not part of the grade and all of the freshman English teachers had it in their class so I just figured it was something else to muscle through.

One of the things we were required to do with that notebook was write for 20 minutes after looking at a picture in the front of the class.  The picture could be anything chosen by the teacher and all of us had to write about the same picture.  I did not like being forced to write and I especially did not like to write about something of my choosing.  Then I saw the picture we were required to write about and that changed everything.

On the chalkboard at the front of the class was the inspirational picture; it seemed "normal" enough.  There was a car on the side of an empty road, a family outside of the car, and a police officer speaking to them.  The whole group was standing by the rear of the vehicle with the trunk closed.  My first thoughts were about my lack of enthusiasm over this mundane scene were were required to write about for 20 minutes.  As my dissatisfaction grew, I suddenly knew what I was to do.  If the teacher was going to make me write then I was going to make the teacher read something that she would not like.

I weaved a tale about a a rental car that the parents had picked up.  Actually, there had been a problem with their reserved car and the rental place let them  use this other car but they had to take it right at that moment.  They had gotten pulled over because the car matched the description of a car used by a serial killer that was on the loose.  The cop had asked them to open the trunk and there was a boat load of money and a body inside!  Put simply, my story was over the top and I knew it.  I turned it in at the end of class with the satisfaction that I had showed her (the teacher) what would happen every time she asked us to write.

This continued all year long.  She would put a picture on the chalkboard and I would come up with some outlandish story to go along with it.  I was - and still am - an 80s slasher movie fan so there was plenty of that type of stuff plus aliens, leprechauns, and all sorts other strangeness.  I expected her to say something but she never did.  At the end of the year it was revealed that the creative writing notebooks were a part of our grade but not in the traditional sense.  If any of us were in the position where we were close to the next higher grade for the class then the notebook would come into play.  Basically, if you participated then you would be considered for the higher grade but if you did not participate then you could forget about it.  That is how I finally "got it" when it comes to writing.


What was the purpose of all of that and how does it relate to role playing games?  The purpose was to do something different for post 100 and look back at how I started writing.  I have written a lot of stuff since that time.  I definitely know that writing is a skill that needs to be trained.  Some people have a natural gift for it and others have to train on it pretty intensely to get some results.  I seem to be at a comfortable spot on writing.  I can generally come up with an idea and just run it through my head for a bit and then start writing.  I make no claims of grandeur or expertise, just that I am comfortable with writing.

The second part of the question was how does this relate to role playing games?  The most direct connection is that I happen to write about role playing games in this blog.  Some of the subjects - presented in no particular order - that I plan to write about in 2012 include:

  1. Complete my read through and do an actual play report over Perilous Journeys.
  2. Participate in the A to Z April Challenge.
  3. Continued development of the 2D6 role playing system.
  4. Complete my read through and do an actual play report over Adventures in Fantasy.
  5. Actual play report over Far Trek.
  6. Continued development of the games from The Old Gaming Notebook.
  7. Continued development of my campaign world.
  8. Assisting Eric at Back to the Dungeon! complete the Classic Fantasy Role Playing Game.
  9. A look at any new products I may purchase in the coming year.
  10. Miscellaneous jibber jabber.
There is my plan all laid out in a nice, easy to read list.  Of course, we all know how plans change so this is by no means set in stone.  I am sure I forgot to include something on the list and I am also sure that there will be things to grab my attention forcing me to write about them.  Without further delay, I am posting thing and going to catch up on some of the blogs I read.



  1. Congratulations... and Good for You!

    I very much enjoyed this post and hope to see more like it mixed in along the way.

    The Semi-Retired Gamer is gaming specific, but that doesn't mean you can not periodically throw some creative writing bones out of the old graveyard.

    Regardless, congratulations again on your 100th post.

    Now, keep them coming!

    1. Thanks, Baker! Glad you enjoyed the post. No worries - there will be a few of these mixed in along the way.

  2. You forgot to put: Download Labyrinth Lord and Advanced Edition companion and try em out!

    1. lol...I actually have both LL and the AEC. Both have been excellent reading. I just need a chance to play...