Play what you Know

Story Games for Everybody – Go with what you know. My comments therein:

… it’s a different kind of strength you’re bringing as the ‘subject matter expert’ on a fictional setting — not necessarily less or more, but different — Jason’s pulling up real-world experience as knowledge… if I’m running something in my ‘Duchy of Caer Maighdean’, I’m making stuff up.
Now, I might be able to tell you about all of the Duchess’s family members, and that she goes armed and armored most places, and how her family is as much or more descended from the local northern barbarian tribes than from the conquering nobility of the south, and how that ties in with the ancient tombs-beneath-the-cemetery near the capitol city and the former ruling family tinged with ogre blood and alliances with dark sorcery, but it… well, it’s fiction.
If the Duchess’s hair falls a certain way, and she uses a particular facial expression when she’s thinking, and turns her wine glass between her fingers just so… that’s a mesh of my real-life experience, retasked for the purpose.
There’s… cold hard facts… and those moments of verisimilitude that they create… I dunno — I’m not sure those are moments you can wholly achieve without at least a few ‘real’ elements woven into the fiction.
You create from what you know, y’know?
I think creating something new out of ‘real’ bits you know is one of the coolest things creators do, really — contructing a very real-feeling place that simply doesn’t exist anywhere but in the fiction.

I think the thing I like about these ‘story games’ is that they make me think about the stucture and nature of “Story” in general and specifically in ways I can apply to my writing as well, far more so than playing four years of a d20 campaign ever will. I wrote an email to mtfierce last night about making up a relationship map that drives conflict and then turned around, fingers flying, and pounded out a page of notes on Spindle and pushing things harder in that story. It’s good stuff.