Hey all, Dani here.
As we all know, the world really went bonkers in March, so as is probably expected, I did not get like any writing accomplished. Or, at least, I didn’t get any writing done on my novel. Because I was sitting there thinking about it a couple days ago, and just because my creative writing hasn’t been happening all that much, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been writing.
Literally, I went and checked the stats for this blog, and I have written over 100,000 words this year alone. So, it is a little bit of a disservice to me to ignore the fact that I have been churning out a heck of a lot of words, and they are book related words too, so I feel like that should count for something.
It would be really cool for all of us who want to write creatively (whether that is poetry, stories, novellas, novels, screenplays, RPGs, video games, whatever) to be able to help uplift and inspire each other, and keep ourselves motivated to strive for our dreams, so I decided to start this blog series here. This series will be a lot of me working through books on writing and creativity, maybe doing and sharing some writing exercises, and possibly doing some writing based discussion posts. It’s going to be an adventure for sure, and I hope it helps you as much as it is helping me.
Today’s post is a little bit different from my other Weekend Writer posts. Normally I’m breaking down a book on the craft of writing, but I had always imagined sharing some snippets of my writing journey as well. That led to me somewhat revamping this blog series in 2020, so now the first Sunday of the month I will be talking about my own writing progress and sharing a little bit of what I’ve been working on. Some of what I share will be from the novel I’m working on, and some of it will be from the writing exercises and prompts I’ve shared.
Okay, so I’m going to share another snippet from my contemporary romance novel in progress, and unlike the previous snippets I’ve shared, this one is not from the in-game fantasy story line. It is the out of game contemporary romance segment, though none of it hints at the romance to come just yet. This is more from the very beginning set-up. In this snippet the leading lady Mac hasn’t even met the guy she will crush on and eventually wind up with (Drew), so anyway, I hope you enjoy.
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Thankfully the next day while at work, I got a message from Jordan. He had already found a new group, apparently a few people had been asking him for months to join in with them, so he was going to jump into the existing campaign. But, the detail that I latched onto was the fact that he had heard that his friend Nick was wanting to start a Fifth Edition group and he was looking for a couple extra players. Jordan had continued to say that if I was interested then he could send along a good word for me. I trusted that Jordan wouldn’t send me to a group if he thought it would be filled with jerkfaces. Because, yes, Jordan did play a chaotic wild card character in the campaign I played with him, but that wasn’t who he was in reality. Actually not even close to that.
I typed in a few words as a response, letting him know that I was absolutely interested in the option, which was quickly answered by Jordan saying that he would let Nick know to pass the word on to the Dungeon Master.
The rest of my shift was literally spent daydreaming up possible options for characters for this new campaign. Yes, while I momentarily thought about trying a druid, a ranger, or hey, maybe even a barbarian, my mind kept drifting back over to the cleric. It was my preferred class, even if I wasn’t generally super religious in real life. To me clerics always felt a bit like the people who were supposed to talk about their faith all the time and attempt to convert people to following their deity. But that wasn’t how I played them. Yes, my clerics were devout and they made sure to accomplish their prayers and do the good or evil deeds that would show praise towards their god or goddess, but they never seemed to be all that preachy. They would listen to and respect the various other beliefs of their allies and even the random other people they encountered along the way. My clerics typically would try and learn what they could about the other belief systems, perhaps in the hopes that they could all work towards finding a way to simply get along. Was that me trying to project my idealistic hope into a fictional world since it seemed more likely there than in reality? Well, yeah, perhaps.
Plus, perhaps one of the biggest motivators towards playing clerics was that it seemed like most other people didn’t want to be “stuck as the dedicated healer.” I only had one cleric who I would have considered to be primarily a healer, but that was because she could deal some decent damage with her warhammer and so she could typically save the spell slots for healing…though she could deal some good damage with her spells too. Clerics were such a varied and dynamic class, and it actually bummed me out that people continued to disregard them as purely support. And if nobody else wanted to play a cleric then that meant I could keep coming up with more and more ways to play my favorite class.
Honestly, I really was itching to play the new Grave Domain Cleric. It seemed like it had some pretty cool skills and abilities. Based purely on reading about them, I had a feeling this particular domain would be my favorite for a while.
It took until that evening before I heard back from Jordan again. He told me that they did need another player in Nick’s group, so I was in. Right after that I got a message from Nick, welcoming me to the group. My first question was what the other players planned to play, because I wanted to make sure that nobody else had randomly decided to give cleric a try, or that I wouldn’t be making a character who wouldn’t work with the group. Nick’s response was to invite me into the party’s group chat, which definitely made things a lot easier.
Mac: Hey everyone! So glad to get to play with all of you.
Nick: So Drew said we’d be starting next weekend and so long as we roll our stats in front of somebody else, we’re good to go.
Sam: Awesome! I hope my dice treat me better than my last campaign. That was rough.
Josh: Any ideas what you guys want to play? I wanna go full caster this time, try something a little different.
Mac: Yeah, I wanted to know what everyone wanted to play too. I like to build my characters to fit the makeup of the party.
Laura: Can I call dibs on barbarian? I feel the urge to rage and to not deal with remembering all of my spell prep and spell casting limitations.
Nick: I mean, we could have more than one barbarian, but sure, Laura, go for it.
Laura: Sweet! I’ll probably go half-orc. That makes for a pretty badass build.
Nick: I want to assassinate some people, so I’ll probably go for a sneaky rogue.
Chris: Wait, you’re not going to go murder hobo on us, are you?
Nick: Nah, man, I’ll be good-ish.
Mac: Sounds like a roguish answer to me, lol. Does anyone want to play a cleric?
Josh: Not really
Sam: I’d be okay with a little healing, but cleric’s not my fave. I’m thinking maybe a paladin.
Chris: I thought about ranger, so I could pick up a healing spell or two if I had to.
Mac: It’s okay. I actually love playing clerics. And I’ve been wanting to try the grave domain. I think it could definitely be helpful in a party with a barbarian and a rogue.
Nick: Mac, you don’t have to feel forced to play clerics all the time. If you want to try another class, I guess I could try a reformed assassin healer.
Mac: Don’t worry about it, Nick. I really do prefer playing clerics. And I don’t play lifeless heal bots either. I’ll have a good mix of damage and heals available for the group, plus some buffs and debuffs. It’ll be fun.
Josh: Okay, so I think I’m going to try a sorcerer.
Nick: Sounds like a pretty good party to me.
Mac: Barbarian, Rogue, Sorcerer, Ranger, Paladin, and Cleric…seems decently balanced to me. Not too martial heavy and not overly squishy.
Laura: I’m so excited to start playing!
Mac: Me too!
Laura: And I’m glad to get to play with you again, Mac. I’ve told these guys some of the stories about Bree and the rest of our old party. It was a blast. I can’t wait to see what you come up with this time.
Mac: I’m just kind of sad that we don’t get to play with Jordan again. I’m going to miss George.
Laura: George always gave me the creeps, but it was cool at the same time.
Mac: It always kept the sessions interesting.
Laura: Well that won’t be a problem with this group either. I’ve played with most of them before.
Chris: Mostly in one-shots.
Mac: Oh hey, what campaign are we running?
Nick: Actually Drew is homebrewing.
Mac: That could be fun.
Nick: Yeah, Drew’s come up with some pretty wild Pathfinder adventures, so I’m curious to see what he comes up with for 5E.
Laura: Is he new to 5e too?
Nick: Yep. I let him borrow my books a week ago, and he said he needed a couple weeks to be ready to go. Trust me, it’ll be totally fine.
Josh: Well, yeah, 5e is pretty steamlined and easy to jump into. As long as he’s an experienced DM, then he’ll be fine.
Chris: I’ve heard stories about his campaigns. They sound pretty detailed.
Mac: Sounds great to me.
Laura: All right, talk to you guys later. I got a character to write up.
Mac: Me too. Talk to you all later!
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Within a couple days we had all the details pretty much figured out: Nick was Ren, a Neutral Good Half-Elf Rogue, Laura was Veeta, a Chaotic Good Half-Orc Barbarian, Josh was Karrakh, a Dragonborn Wild Magic Sorcerer, Chris was Reed, a Halfling Ranger, Sam was Ander, a Human Paladin, and I was Mistwyn, a Hill Dwarf Grave Cleric. I think we were all starting to feel the excitement of the unknown that sometimes accompanied the start of a campaign. It was especially true with this one, as it was homebrew, so we didn’t even have a rough idea of what was going to happen. Like with the Tyranny of Dragons, you knew that dragons would play a big part, or with Curse of Strahd, obviously undead and vampires were a big concern. We didn’t know anything about the world yet, though we had been told to expect a two page basic overview of the world so we would understand a little bit about the world we had supposedly lived in for our whole lives. And Drew apparently was cool with us all collaborating together to expand on the world he was developing, so we were free to do write ups on our backstories, our hometowns, important events that helped to define our characters and more.
It was really latching onto the creative side of my brain, and it gave me so much to think about during the work day, which meant that I didn’t feel like I needed to participate in the random day-to-day conversations with some co-workers. Like, I can only talk about sports ball so much before I have no new information to share. I don’t spend my evenings or weekends watching the latest rivalries and games. I’d rather be reading or playing D&D.
Of course, that did make me think of the fact that I had drastically slowed down in my own creative pursuits. For years I had written what seemed like all the time, putting out chapter after chapter of stories, and planning on publishing some great book and making half-a-living as a writer. But I also knew that sustaining myself as a writer would be very difficult, so my dream and goal was to work a part-time job to supplement my writing. Though in reality it was probably likely that I would need to work full-time and write full-time. Doing that didn’t feel like it would leave much time for other stuff.
Le sigh. Was it time for the first session yet?
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Okay, well that is all I’m going to share with you for today, but I would absolutely love to a) hear what you think about this snippet and b) love to see a little glimpse at your own writing, whether from one of the random prompts I’ve had in these posts or from some other writing project.
Links to Other Weekend Writer Posts
Introduction — Wonderbook by Jeff Vandermeer — Embrace Your Weird by Felicia Day — The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell — No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty — The War of Art by Steven Pressfield — On Being Stuck by Laraine Harris — Kobold Guide to Worldbuilding edited by Janna Silverstein — Light the Dark edited by Joe Fossler —