25 April 2011

My Poetics - Why I Write Fiction

My desire to write started when I failed, repeatedly, at this online text-based role-playing game. My first experience was horrible because I didn’t understand much about online gaming, let alone text-based gaming AND role-play. You create a character, log into the server and utilize a series of commands to perform functions. In simplistic terms and structure, it looks something like this:

You see a dagger
>get dagger
You get a dagger
>look dagger
You look at a dagger

Then on the screen, you might see something like this:

It is a small, steel dagger with a leather grip. The steel blade has a 12-inch, engraved surface: The Enforcer

>wield dagger
You wield a dagger. You are ready to adventure!

I hope I was able to demonstrate how a character would interact in a text-based online game. It gets more complicated as you advance within the game. However, to elucidate, I left it at simple interactive steps.

Anyway, I found myself in a world that became increasingly easy to maneuver and I loved the descriptions of the settings, the descriptions of other characters who obviously played the game for many years, as they were very adept in gaining levels and playing their roles. I was considered a “newbie” in this world, but when I reached a certain level in game play, I realized that I had not played a successful character. In order to play a successful character you have to be believable. I was a big joke.

In other words, I had not done the evil things expected of an evil character, to which I was. Evil characters do not smile and wave cheerily at people. Evil characters steal from people and they even kill people, neither of which I was prepared to do. I also had a hard time keeping white bunny rabbits from devouring me in battle when attempting to collect fuzzy, white, rabbit feet. I wasn’t very convincing in my role.

Therefore, after living in this game world with my first character, I decided that I would build another character and hope that I could play it more successfully, and I did. However, something was lacking. I had this brand new character and I mastered all the commands. Now what? There were the same weapons, the same monsters to kill and all the descriptions of the land were the same. In essence, I was another character in the same setting and I was bored!

Nevertheless, I could make it work. I could role-play my character and interact with the other characters and we could create our own story, right? Wrong. Try joining a religion, where all the characters that have to accept you must like you. However, you are an evil character! In addition, you are trying to join Set’s church, God of Darkness, Hatred and the Fiery Depths of Hell….but the other characters don’t like you because you once stole from their friend and you once killed their high school buddy who plays the character Sinbad!

My angst grew and grew. Those were my frustrations in trying not only to play a character but to create a story within which others must participate in order to make real and believable. Even though it is role-play and fictitious, it was hard to get past all the egos and get other characters involved. Try forming a clan and becoming a boss when everyone in the game wants to be a boss. Therefore, you have 20 players, 20 clans, and they all have exactly one member…the boss of the clan. Okay, that was an exaggeration.

Thus, I hung up my joystick and took to solitary writing so that I could create my own stories and nobody could stop me from writing it just how I wanted it to be written. In addition, if my character joins the Church of Set, all parishioners will bow when he enters and they will accept him or experience the wrath of Diane Carlisle, the writer of this damn story!

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