Storytelling 101: Keeping it 100

After the impromptu story yesterday, I felt the jolt of November starting up. It used to get me looking to the fields on the way into work, clutching at the key pocket in my jeans to see if the spare round for my rifle was stashed there or not. These days its more about coffee, talking stories with NaNos (or WriMos… everyone has a different name for it) and storytelling.

keep-it-100_percent-tee-design1If I am going to “keep it 100” (see The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore), since my Aladdin died, I have been off in my writing. I made it to 50k last year, but I don’t feel it was anything I could use. As for this year, I have had a slow start to finishing up a middle grade story I’ve been throwing stones at since late spring. This November I want to not only hit the 50k but produce 50k of workable story. Something I can sell, produce, or at least print.

The going belief is that if you can exist without telling stories you’re not a writer. So does that mean I’m not a writer? I don’t think so. My storytelling outlet has been gaming this year. Role Playing is like storytelling without all the writing and editing. Well, some of the writing. Players get away with little to no writing.

To explain, allow me to tell a story. Several years ago (like seven or eight), some guys were talking in my building. Right outside my office. “Dude, I’m bringing D&D back!” (Said sarcastically, of course.) I stick my head out to ask if it went somewhere. They kind of chuckled at me and commented on how I was probably that guy at work that still played D&D.

“I haven’t played D&D for years,” I said. Of course when I was telling that to my gaming group that Sunday they looked at me rather confused. Understandable as we were setting up the D&D game for the week. Even more so  when I informed them I didn’t lie at work.

“I don’t play D&D. I’m the DM. I run it… you guys get to play.”

Being the DM is like leading a group storytelling exercise. I throw things out there, the characters react to them, and we all tell a story together. It was one of the things that lead me to wanting to become a writer in high school. Granted there were more impactful motivations that fit the traditional model, but gaming was part of it.

This past week the show Critical Role (on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel) lost one of its actors. Not entirely sure why he had to leave the show, but he did. It made me think of all the changes my groups have gone through over the years. The gaming group from the above story only had two players in it that are still in my game. Of course one of them is my son, so that is nearly a given. Though the other player has his 13 year old daughter playing with us now.

For those young writers in training and the older ones alike. My strongest piece of advice is to Keep in 100. Own your weird and flaunt it proudly. Most of the genre writers I know have some serious eccentricities to them. And frankly I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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