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!


  1. It really would be neat if you wrote a story based on the game you used to play!!


  2. I will definitely include it in my version of "Memoirs of a Computer Geek". :)

  3. lol, love this post. I could never get into the role playing games when I was younger. I felt silly . "...the writer of this damn story!"


  4. Sharon, I felt the same way when I started, but the following is motivation to get moving in the game...

    [system message from God] You just had both your legs blown off in a horrific battle scene...it's not logical that you would stand around and laugh out loud now is it?]

    A sobering thought, yes.


    I look down at my body, frantically pulling myself from the flaming rubble, fingers bleeding...

    Hahahah, it never happened quite like that, but we all eventually catch on to how things must unfold in fiction. :)

  5. Your story as to how you got into writing has to be the most unique I've ever heard to date. What an intriguing way to begin to write. Thanks for linking to my blog.

    1. Thank you for responding, JoDee. There are plenty of gamers who become turned on to writing. There just aren't many, to my knowledge, who care to branch out and share.


  6. Interesting. I have problems with evil characters as well. I once played a Vampire in Morrowind, using a couple of mods that made the experience much better. I would free slaves using another mod, and then feed on the slaves and increase my vampire army (and I didn't have a clue about what I was going to do with that army). The thing was, I felt guilty leading the innocent slaves to my lair where I could feed on them. Couldn't really be a good evil character if I felt bad about everything evil I did, even though I was only committing murder against virtual people who only existed on a hard drive and had no real feelings. Guess I'm just a Paladin at heart.

    1. There's a help file on the game I played for over 10 years. Help Evil discussed the difficulties in playing an evil character. I guess there were so many things to consider when seeking to play evil, they had to make a help file for it.

      When playing alone, the evil character is fine and you're left to just your own conscience to behave as such. But, when introduced to multi-player gaming, that's when it becomes difficult. How you present your character to the rest of the world could possibly hurt your game play. If you are convincingly evil, your game play will be enriched. If you waffle, you may become ostracized or just taken as a newbie and not considered for serious roleplay.

      Serious roleplay: character dies a painful death. (the more in-depth your roleplay, the more painful becomes your death).

      I had gotten so ingrained at one point, my emotional self couldn't handle the death of my characters. I had to stop playing for a while.


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