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My shitty YA werewolf novel is 1254 words longer than it was yesterday, and hopefully will be as many words as it needs to be to be finished before November rolls around. At least I will be getting paid until the end of November, which means I will have a fully-funded Nanowrimo this year, which I’m going to go ahead and say is a good thing.

I’ve been watching Critical Role pretty fanatically for the past couple of weeks, and it’s gotten me in the mood to return to my brief but rather wonderful 2 years of being semi-obsessed with D&D, not least for the fact that it was a fantastic way to develop my storytelling skills in a particular way. Combined with my inexplicable desire to return to High Fantasy a few months ago, and given that I’ve written about 4k words of my Critical Role-inspired book already, it seems like an intuitive fit for Nanowrimo, though because it’s High Fantasy I think I’ll be writing a hell of a lot more than 80k words. I also have a lot of finer points to work out, and that’s where D&D skills come in handy, because D&D is all about planning. Meticulous planning, at that, because the only way you actually get to play D&D is if somebody – the Dungeon Master – plans out a scenario for players to dice-roll their way through. It’s the Dungeon Master skillset that I found most useful for my writing; the character-building stuff never seemed quite as helpful to me, but after watching Critical Role that’s changed. Mostly because there are many times during that game where I would have loved to have been a player and provided some kind of resistance to certain decisions that were made. The beautiful thing about D&D is that, like any group endeavour, there is always a dynamic between the people involved. And that in particular works well for storytelling. I think watching other people play D&D (and it doesn’t hurt that, in this case, the players are all high-profile voice actors) is maybe even more useful than playing it yourself for a sense of that dynamic, purely because you get to stand back from it all and take it in from a distance, like you would with a group of characters you had made up yourself.

It’s been pretty generative is I guess is what I’m trying to say here, and while I know that my momentum for this project could very easily and quickly wear out, for the moment at least I am still excited at the prospect of working within a set of limits and rules that I’m pretty familiar with. Kind of an extension of the shitty YA werewolf thing in that sense; this would be mostly an exercise in good storytelling, as opposed to necessarily telling a good story – although I have to admit, I have a few ideas that I’m pretty proud of. But I’m still putting the plot and the party together, so it’s all very much up in the air at this stage. We’ll see how things stand come November.

In the meantime, I have been almost-done with this werewolf project for far too long. It’s time to get across that fucking finish line.

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