IWSG May 2022


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

The awesome co-hosts for the May 4 posting of the IWSG are Kim Elliott, Melissa Maygrove, Chemist Ken, Lee Lowery, and Nancy Gideon!

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say. 

May 4 question – It’s the best of times; it’s the worst of times. What are your writer highs (the good times)? And what are your writer lows (the crappy times)?

I am going to ignore this question provided, it is a lovely one, but I want to discuss writing a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, and prep. In my heart I know it is collaborative storytelling at it’s best, awful railroading at it’s worst where no one has fun. Railroading is when the players are forced to take a predetermined path by the Game Master; where the Game Master themselves want to introduce a particular story line giving players limited agency, at times taking away their freedom of choice.

It’s different than writing a story by yourself, however you do have the basics: a general backstory of the world, if it is homebrew, prominent Non-Player Characters, a couple of quests that can turn into potential story lines, and figuring out how to incorporate a player’s backstory into this world. You can provide them a goal, but for mine I informed them if they want to craft in the world they can, and, somewhat jokingly stated, farm if they want to. One of the groups is considering to own a farm in the open world campaign because it is precious to find particular resources, it helps that they found honey flowers and are on a quest to find some coffee beans for a caffeine addict.

What is difficult is not necessarily railroading but balancing the encounters of homebrew monsters so that they aren’t OP and trying to not have them run away too much unless they fill an objective, such as retrieving the young and old for a ritual instead of dealing with the party who walked in on an exchanged between some devils and fae. The devils wanted to kill them, but I left one behind as the other retrieved his target.

What I enjoy as a GM is trying to find ways to connect player’s backstories to a quest or rewarding them for their creativity — allowing a player shoot keys out of someone’s hand, stalling his attempts to get to his target or seeing if they can fast travel to a location despite being under-leveled (spoiler alert, took a while for everyone to get back on track and I did invoke a penalty but given certain conditions/mechanics in game were met I allowed it to happen). It’s fun seeing what unexpected ways they are navigating the world and this goes to both my groups, I am trying to reward that behavior as I hand out GM-inspiration, and MVP inspiration voted via the PCs, for the player’s character to tap into at any time in the campaign, and they can give it to their fellow players if they describe how they “inspire” someone. However they are character locked, as I had to inform the players of this but it is to make this mechanic balanced.

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