Maybe I need to find a writing group.

lonely.jpgThere is a specific type of activity in role playing games (which are, by design, social gatherings) that is importantly and essentially NOT a social activity, and it goes back perhaps to the very start of roleplaying gaming as a hobby.
Speaking broadly, this category of activity encompasses a lot of solo activities that sort of surround the Actual Playing Of The Game, like space trash around the Earth — as a player, it includes things like writing diaries or journals from your characters point of view, drawing sketches of them or the people they know, painting up a miniature for them, devising complex back stories, or simply sitting around and ‘generating’ new character after new character … all of whom will probably never get played, et cetera — as the person running the game, it involves stuff like the above, as well as developing complex societies, environments, ecologies, history, and various bits of fiction… hell, whole worlds that provided the backdrop for the story of the game… most of which no one but the person running the game would EVER KNOW.
As I said, it’s a standard element of classic roleplaying games. Sometime in early 2006, a gamer on the Story-games forum coined a name for this kind of activity, referring to it as “lonely fun”.
Before that point in time (and, in fact, long before there were role-playing games), it had a different name: “writing”.
I’ve never been very good at Lonely Fun. Along the same vein, I’m having a hell of a time with my current W.I.P. because, unlike most of the stuff I’ve done before, I’m writing it alone. (My wife, who has been subjected to various excerpts from the ongoing story, might argue this point, but compared to my previous efforts, writing Humorless has been like working for a solid month inside a sensory deprivation tank.) No partner, no secret-blog that a couple dozen people can read as I go… nothing. My only reader is myself, and the only interaction I get with the story is my own.
I don’t care for it much. Frankly, I’ve created a lot more fiction as part of a group of creative people (read: gaming) than I have solo (read: writing), and that’s the activity that pushes all the good endorphin buttons in my brain. Maybe that’s because I’ve conditioned myself to work that way over the last twenty years, but there it is.
Going to take a long time to break that habit.