Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Big Game Hunting - What happens when writing, uni, and roleplay collide?

A mess is what happens.

As some of you possibly know, I’ve got a book out in 60 days. I’ve got a dissertation due in three months and two other hand-ins to get to the point where I can actually graduate before the end of the summer. Luckily, the novel coming out was the novel I used for my class ‘The Novel’ so we’re all good, if a little sick of saying the word ‘novel.’

What a lot of people don’t know - and in fact, this is the first time that it’s been mentioned in public - is not only is this the Universe I built for ohmygodIdon’tknowhowmany novels, but I’m also designing a gaming system around them. Many people feel I’m kinda crazy – I think they now understand exactly why I get a vague look sometimes when asked about some mechanic or other in another game – I’m checking to see if I can bodge it into mine.

And this is where it gets complicated.

One of the difficulties is I’m releasing case notes onto my blog every two days to help support the eBook launch on June 4th. I’ve had my book cover, so it’s now all official, and shiny and squee-worthy, but the complication comes in that some of these case notes are actually RPG notes.

And that’s confusing for some people to say the least. Especially when I forget to remove the "roll a D10, that’s your luck" from the background story.

Herein is a lesson for anyone that’s writing novels and games to go with them – don’t do it. Your brain will melt, you’ll start to resent the fiction you’ve spent your hard earned free time crafting and you’ll begin to question what you see in RPGs in the first place. Or at least, if you are hell bent on doing it because it’s kick ass merchandising - and lets be fair, seven years in any universe where you’re the mistress of all creation, plus getting shot on a regular basis will leave most people able to talk about a game rules set in terms that most people can understand - for the sake of your sanity remember this one crucial piece of advice.

Background writing for RPGs is not the same as novel writing. They might look the same on the surface, but if you leave any rules in that you’re referring to, you’re really going to bamboozle anyone coming along and reading it as fiction.

So um... yeah, that’s my excuse for missing two weeks of articles. Certainly beats "the zombies ate them." To make up for it, I’m doing a write-up on Mansions of Madness, complete with pictures of the carnage…

D Kai Wilson-Viola’s squeals over her book cover passed from human hearing into a range only audible by dogs


  1. woah, that book looks great. Who's this Kai person anyway? :)

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