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Professional RPG Writing

Just recently, I discovered that an RPG book I wrote in 2010, Shanghai Vampocalypse, was nominated for one of the RPG industry's two most prestigious awards – the ENnie – for Best Electronic Book. I happy-danced all over the net about it.

Everywhere but here, my pro-writing blog.

I didn't realize I had done it at first. Then when I did, I didn't want to post about it here, too, because, you know, I had already posted about it. This is the lie I told myself. My real reason was that I wasn't sure how many of my writing peers would scoff at the idea of writing awards for RPGs. Despite being paid semi-pro and pro rates for most of my RPG work, a lot of writers that I know (who aren't in the RPG industry) consider RPG writing one step above fan fiction.

This infuriates and shames me. Shanghai Vampocalypse has 70,000 words of fiction—all of which I wrote. There are stories, plot lines, world building and enough entertainment in that book to keep a pack of gamers entertained for weeks. It was and still is professional writing. And yet, I was nervous about posting it here because I didn't know what my non-RPG writing peers would think.

I've been fighting against this stigma since I became a member of SFWA. I've made two proposals to include RPG credits for SFWA qualifications and, for now, they have been tabled because of internal SFWA business and such. I'm patient. I can wait but I also need to train myself out of the idea that my RPG writing isn't as "professional" as my other writing. I work just as hard, sometimes harder on my RPG writing.

Sometimes, internal lessons are the hardest to learn.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 16th, 2011 06:49 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on your ENnie nomination. It is well deserved and I hope you win (I voted for you).

I received congatulations from the writers at MisCon this year for my RPG publication success, but they all wondered when I was going to get back to writing. Like you, I hope to do both. I love writing and designing games and I love writing fiction
Jul. 16th, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC)
As if, somehow, that book you produced and the many thousands of words you wrote wasn't writing.

It's not easy to do both. I speak from experience. But it can be done.

And it is real writing.
Jul. 16th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
I wanted to say to them, "with RPGs math's included". In game designing I worry and work on probability more than the writing. The writing is easier for me than the math, even though I was an internal auditor for 17 years.
Jul. 16th, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
That's kind of silly. Not to make fun of how you are feeling, but I don't know any actual working writer that scoffs at any honest award or any writing gig that pays enough to pay the bills.

It's OK to be happy and proud.
Jul. 17th, 2011 06:50 pm (UTC)
Silly, yes. But there is a lingering stigma attached to writing roleplaying games. Like CJ, I often get asked when I'm going to do some "real writing."
Jul. 17th, 2011 09:59 pm (UTC)
Same thing gets said for a lot of genre writing.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 16th, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC)
Good for you! Never be ashamed of work for which you are paid. That in itself validates it for that market. Toss those credits around like the sparkly confetti they are. And hey, money is money.
Jul. 17th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
Let's hope I win. I want to be ENnie winning instead of just ENnie-nominated.
Jul. 17th, 2011 03:23 am (UTC)
Congrats on the nomination! RPG work is just as valid and just as hard (or even harder) than fiction work. Be proud of what you have accomplished!
Jul. 17th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Jul. 17th, 2011 04:03 pm (UTC)
I think it should be applauded. Pro writing is pro writing - and the "purists" who might scoff are likely more bitter than doing any kind of reasoning.
Jul. 17th, 2011 06:53 pm (UTC)
I don't know why they scoff. I've read bad novels that weren't RPG related. I'm not sure why bad novels that are RPG related deserve more scoffing.
Jul. 18th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
There's a hell of a lot of snobbery among a few certain people in some professional organizations, and a handful of snooty writers in any genre. Fortunately, most writers everywhere understand how difficult writing is no matter what project you are working on. Those are the good people and there are lots and lots of them who are more than willing to give support and understanding. :)

Therefore, don't lose sleep over the snobs. These people were jerks long before they became writers. Just keep telling good stories and selling them. That's what really irks 'em. :)
Jul. 19th, 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
RPG writing is both intense and brilliant. Congratulations on your hard-earned award, and on just generally owning at the RPG.

Also, I know and love fanfiction. You want to call RPG writing fanfiction, you'd have to call everything ever written in a world the author did not create all by her lonesome fanfiction.

Not the same thing, man.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )