Most of the best creative writers “write what they know,” but how, then, does creative writing about fantastic subject matter and imaginary character types come about? The most up-to-date answer may be roleplaying, and specifically, vampire roleplay. Often, writers are very in tune with the contents of what Carl Jung termed the collective unconscious. Dreaming, reading, and watching movies can be good means of receiving inspiration for fantastic topics. But perhaps even more exciting is the possibility of taking advantage of virtual opportunities for inspiration. The world wide web is like a very tangible manifestation of the contents of our collective unconscious. The proliferation of vampire roleplay games is proof of people’s growing willingness to entertain and participate in this genre.
Some creative writers have the benefit of a workshop setting, but if you do not, consider an rpg as a source of inspiration and feedback. Just going through the process of creating a new character can provide you with loads of material for establishing the traits of vampires in your writing. Playing the vampire roleplay game will then help you see how certain strengths, limitations, and obstacles to be overcome work together to create a cohesive narrative. And the manner in which fellow rpg’ers respond to your character(s) can help you think about dialogue and plot.
Depending on where you are in your creative writing process, you will get different things out of vampire roleplay. Perhaps you are just beginning to figure out what your characters are like. Or, perhaps you know the characters so well that they are like family members or close friends, because they’ve been rolling around inside your head for years. Either way, experimenting with what they do and/or say through vampire roleplay can be extremely fruitful. What if you are somewhat new to the genre, but your intuition is telling you that you should write a vampire story? A vampire roleplay game can give you a lot of material. It will help you see what the common elements are in a vampire-inhabited world. Not only that, but you’ll be enjoying yourself and interacting with potential readers of your creative writing while learning.
Exposing yourself to things like character traits, common elements of the genre, and story lines that are both interesting and effective through vampire roleplay can help you overcome writer’s block. It can help you take your mind out of an overly self-critical mode, which is definitely necessary for any successful creative writer. If you “send your mind on an errand” and then trust that it will come back, having fetched the information, idea, word, or story element that you need, you will find that it can really work wonders. Let it come to you, by letting yourself get (somewhat) lost in the roleplay. Recognize that inspiration is often found when you stop looking for it, but that you may need to open yourself to the possibility of receiving it by at least being in the same neighborhood, i.e., immersed in vampire roleplay.
But, then, don’t forget to take the time to write! It may help to keep a notebook, or your word document, open and ready as you play.
Sammael “Sam” Asael is a writer and an aspiring author of the paranormal genre. Sam is also an avid fan of various mythologies, particularly vampires [http://www.thedarkestregion.com] and werewolves, and actively participates in the discussion and creative writing of such mythologies. Learn more about Sam’s work and join The Darkest Region today.