10 June 2011

Fantasy can't last forever

Today, I'd like to write about a personal pet peeve of mine - one that I've encountered far too often. Worse yet, I've almost volunteered to run into it as often as I do as a result of the circles I choose to run in...but I'm getting ahead of myself. I am, as I feel I've said many times before, a writer. I am also a theater student and a role-player. While a good dungeon crawling session is always fun and something I've been away from far too long, most of my role-play fix comes in the form of PBP (play-by-post) forums.

An explanation, for those who may not understand: These usually take place on message boards/forums where each member writes for a different character. Everyone works together, writing through the eyes of their characters, to tell the same story. It is, in essence, communal story-telling and has been likened to a group of people, all writing the same novel. Each person brings their character and their own personal writing style to it; in the end, hopefully, you have a coherent, cohesive story. Of course, I can't say I've ever witnessed a PBP site reach an official end, perhaps because the characters always have more stories to tell.

All in all, PBP is my very favorite form of RP. It's a writing exercise, after all. By varying things like character types and background, a wealth of possible characterization is available for anyone to tap into. However, there are some who tap into it too much.

I can't stand it when the only thing people do is role-play, no matter what form it takes. Escapism is amazing and can be a wonderful break, but there are some out there who seem to forget about their real world responsibilities. Addictive personalities, perhaps? I've always wondered. In the past, even I have been guilty of this crime, spending a whole day working on a character application, trying to get inside their heads, but I have my limits. When the characters I'm writing for get to be too much, I'll get away from the computer, maybe go for a walk or a run. I'll read a book, something that has nothing to do with whatever universe my characters came from. After a few hours or days in the real world, I go back to the characters and find them fresher and easier to write for.

Excess, in anything, can be harmful to self and to others. I was once friends with someone and broke it off because all they ever discussed was our role-play characters. Frankly, it got to be exhausting. With no opportunity to distance myself from the character I was writing, the fun went out of it and the character was abandoned. I still role-play on various forums, including one I have been a member of since it's inception six years ago. I love it as much as I did when I first discovered role-playing over ten years ago. However, I urge my fellow RPers to take a step back every now and then.

There's a real world out there too. Remember to live in it and visit the others, not the other way around.


Kitten said...

This is one of my pet peeves as well, though I was guilty of it when I first jumped into the game. Real life just has too much of a hold on me to get lost in another world for too long (it's the great thing about being a student and a mother of 3), so it rarely happens now. Good post. Miss you, by the way.

Lynette said...

There is balance...all of anything is never good. Glad to see your learning that balance yourself.