So a late update tonight. I GM'd an online RPG today and it went a bit late, but it does give me a good subject to talk about. Writing on the fly!
Anyone who's ever played DnD or a similar system knows that it's all about collaborative storytelling. Your Game Master has a master plot they keep in mind, but all the decisions are made by the players. It can be be intense to be a GM, having to come up with characters, scenarios, and encounters to suit the whims of your players can really test your mettle as a writer.
I like to think of it as a writing exercise. I mean, if I wasn't doing this, what would I be doing? Writing out scenarios, dialogue, and encounters for the characters in my novel. Instead, I'm doing the exact same thing, but without the benefit of knowing ahead of time how it's going to end.
Let's face it: if you've ever GM'd you know players don't do what you want. They test the limits of your world and your rules, the seek the boundaries, and they go wherever the heck they want to! That means when they go to a different part of the city than what you expected, you have to make that place feel real. If you describe a potions shop or an inn, you're going to have to describe the people inside it. They all have to have names, motivations, fears, and dreams! And you have roughly three seconds to make all that up.
Then, instead of calmly (or hectically, I don't judge other writers) writing out dialogue between two characters your control in your novel, you have to act out the dialogue of ONE and hope your players don't go so far off the rails you don't have an answer for them.
So, to any writers out there looking for a challenge, I have a weird, but predictable one. Go GM a session. See all the preparation it takes. It's just like writing your novel, but you have to have back up plans. You gotta outline, define characters, create tension, have a villain. It's just writing a novel, but with friends!
Give it a shot!
And... be excellent to each other.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.