Over the past fortnight I have spent most of my spare time writing or thinking about story ideas while doing other things. I have even cut down on playing MMORPGs just so I can write. It has been exhausting but I feel that I have enough solid ideas formed to finally start work on a webserial or two. I still have editing to go, but I have a direction now, which is something I was lacking before.
Life is funny like that.
A few years back I used to write at least 1k a day. It was mostly crap, but I found myself enjoying the experience. Then I discovered World of Warcraft and I became addicted. For just on nine months I didn’t write a thing. During that time I stayed with my brother and his family for about 6 months. He used to think I was weird because I spent a lot of time playing computer games, but I don’t regret the experience. I had fun playing my characters on the Nagrand server, but when my husband and I moved back to the farm, we didn’t have suitable internet to play.
So, we stopped buying game cards.
I have experienced many different things during the past three years and I can’t help but consider the ramifications of avoiding your creative side. By not practicing your craft for an extended period of time you risk having to start all over again, which is something I had to do. That being said, I identified numerous areas of weakness that I would have otherwise missed if I hadn’t spent all of that time off. That period also gave me some insight into the gaming community.
Nowadays, I play DDO: Eberron Unlimited, Runes of Magic and Jade Dynasty, three free-to-play MMORPGs with differing styles and a good grasp on storytelling. DDO, for instance, is based off of one of the campaigns settings for the Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 roleplaying system, and is a great example of how to offer drama. Runes of Magic has its own style of storytelling, as does Jade Dynasty, but at the core is the need to tell a story that will appeal to a large audience. It isn’t just hack and slash, but finding clues that will offer hours of entertainment to the participants in the adventure – the players.
A good MMO should read like a good book, offering elements that will bring out an emotional response to the reader that will encourage them to read on. You want your reader to keep going by offering them the right amount of drama and characters that they can appreciate on some level. The interface has to be easy to handle as well, the in-story dialogue should be believable and go through the range of different emotions, such as joy and rage.That is just the beginning of what a good MMO/book should offer.
That being said, a writer shouldn’t always look at the world in a analytical way. You have to exist beyond the manuscript because you are a real person, not a two-dimensional character. You have to interact with the world around you otherwise you might as well lock yourself in the basement and have some public service provider bring you your meals. If that doesn’t inspire you to experience more of what life has to offer, I don’t know what will.
In conclusion, practice your craft but don’t forget to live life. Take a day off on occasion. Read a book. Go to a gallery and experience some art. Play computer games. Don’t forget to exercise as well. Round out your life with a range of different experiences so that you gain a unique perspectives, that will inevitably lead to you making more sense of that world around you, and this will have a help you become a more mature writer, painter, or whatever art that you practice.