Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Why do you write?

I've been thinking about this question a lot today. To me I've always written as far as I remember. One of my early stories I recall was written in grade 2 or 3 about a girl who was abducted by aliens, put in a 'zoo' before eventually finding her way home to discover a hundred or so years had passed and everyone she knew was gone.

Maybe now I can look at it and go huh.. that's suchandsuch episode from the Twilight Zone but hey I was only about 11 and everyone else around me was writing about their family and plots to popular movies no doubt. To me as far as I knew it was just out of the blue, something that felt right in my mind at that point in time..though thinking back I frankly have no clue why except a obsession I had with scifi and the Xfiles at that age.

But anyway, this is supposed to be a piece about Roleplay, Play-By-Post Roleplay to be exact which has become a hobby (occasionally yes a obsession) to me over the past 3 or so years since discovering the whole world of forum based collaborative storytelling.

It seemed rather a odd thing to me at first, but I could instatly see the appeal, it was like fanfiction where you knew there was always going to be at least a audience of one to read your stories (if only so they could write their part). To me I jumped in with a feeling of adventure. Short stories (usually unfinished) had always been my strong suit and so the idea that I'd always have something new to play off and a incentive to keep going was really exciting.

..till that first site got boring and all but died. By then I'd learned the basics and created my first character. I was writing in the Doctor Who universe around the time of season 2, chosen because of my love for both the series and because of the wide playing field it gave to embrace science fiction and futurism and build entirely new words. At the same time I was learning more about the series in Canon and that eventually became my undoing when I found myself -more- knowledgeable about the Canon of Doctor Who then the ones who had created the board.

To me half the adventure in writing is in the learning, but it feels more and more that I'm a minority in that and most people get into Roleplay without ever caring much for the world in which their stories take place. So we have 14 year old Timelords and Immortal Wizards in the world of Harry Potter...which just leaves me begging the question that if being immortal was so easy why the hell did Voldemort go to so much effort in the first place? We have tales of the future where nothing is changed from the world today.. and to me this makes me feel sad, whatever happened to the heights of imagination? Is it that I grew up reading the wrong stories and idolizing the wrong writers?

Or is it that there really isn't any place for 'real' writing in Roleplay circles? I mean in the sense of telling stories that carry meaning and involve more then whatever happens to be the latest trend going, or copying the characters and ideas of every other site out there. Maybe part of all this blog is to try and see if there are others out there who write not for the sake of living veraciously though their characters or doing their own version of the plots or characters they've seen on tv. It's hard when it feels the entire world is tied up in the cliche's and circles of who-knows-who and I'm trying to avoid falling into those traps with every fiber of my being. Is it so odd to want to have a site without the ego attached? I've been burnt by trying to do the right thing, in many respects I feel much like a band dropping their label or a writer deciding to go it on their own to see if there is still a audience out there willing to listen.

I don't know. I guess that's my aim now to find out for better or worse.

To me writing is about trying to make sense of the world, formatting it into such a way that you can express the deeper mood and feelings of what's important to you.. or explore aspects of your own personality, the world you know or just bits and pieces of stuff you've come across in your life into a way that others can make sense of. I've written posts that have driven me to tears or brought back memories long repressed for being traumatic at the time. Sometimes it's not until long after I've put the words down that the real meaning of them reveals itself. Words twist and the characters themselves emerge from a basic jumble of ideas, thoughts and unanswered questions that they explore in their own ways.

These days I find myself writing more because I love to see what happens next, I rarely plot but let the characters find their own path and call the shots.. stepping in where realism and logic say that they get our of hand. I've found a talent in writing the small and every day while building arcing plots that work over months or years while trying to keep things light and to the background in order to support others along their way. Sometimes I've found my hands tied, others I've been forced into situations by others and had to find my way out again. It's all part of it but in the end it's always been about the core stories, some of which have been slowly played out over three years and enough words to make a novel or two by now. Always my characters have moved forward and grown relative to time passing.

Which makes me wonder about how and why others seem either so naive to basic storytelling, indifferent or even openly hostile to the basics of pacing, creating a believable character and world in which they exist or even the most basic grasp of how the world works. Maybe it's the pursuit of fun but more I feel it's the process of trying to outdo others and make up for what's lacking in ones own life that drives the abuse of fiction, and corruption of the genre's and words in which the roleplay's pretend to operate. How many more bisexual beautiful marysue princess girls do we need in Potterverse? How many hunky Aurors or god help us twins??

I remember fondly hearing Terry Pratchett disappoint fangirls in a Q&A session by saying there was no point to writing the happy ending, because life is about continuing. Yet all I see these days are romances, cliche stories where the names change but the faces are all the same.

I guess it goes to show why Roleplays these days make me think of the 'unofficial' song we used to sing in the Union (usually after a few drinks and as unruly as possible)

..There where red ones, and green ones
..and blue ones and YELLOW ones
.. and they all lived in little boxes
..and they all looked just the same.

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