(originally posted 2/5/08, Writingscape V1.0)
Fiction writer and friend Will is a gamer extraordinaire. Just ask him—he’ll tell ya.
I saw it with my own eyes in a huge gaming venue at DragonCon this past year. Not to mention, the bonus room in the man’s house is like standing in a collectibles section of your favorite book store, by Gimli! Anyways, I was at his place the other day, see, and his newest game caught my eye, something called BATTLELORE.
I must make one thing perfectly clear. My wenchly brain, as amazing as it can be at times, simply cannot absorb and retain all the rules and regulations that gamers’ brains do as easily as breathing. Don’t know why. GAMING FOR DUMMIES was written for me. However—I do enjoy watching a little of the action, probably because it usually has to do with battle and survival hinging on a roll of the dice.
You fantasy writers know what I’m talking about.
So, Will busts out BATTLELORE (a two-player game), sets it up, and starts giving me a demonstration. It was cool. But I really sat up and took notice when he mentioned his troops were set up in triangular formations to better defend themselves, because I had used the same strategy when the good guys in Book 1 of my epic fantasy went against a much larger army and had no chance of winning by brute force.
Ding-ding-ding… muse waking up… parallels forming… and where there are parallels, there is room for learning something new for your own repertoire.
Paying attention to not only every move he made, but the whos, whats, wheres, and whys that he did, and the results, was great creative fodder. Good battle reasoning and tack is essential in any novel, fantasy or otherwise. I’m used to conducting the majority of my battle research on the History Channel, but now I know that you can get a lot of it from the gamers you know.
So. Do that, and file it under future reference. Your muse will thank you.