Lately I have been reading a lot of role-playing blogs. For the past two months I usually spend about an hour an night reading blogs about old school dungeons and dragons. Now D&D is like 5th on my list of preferred role-playing games but I am devouring these blogs like an addict. I think I have read more gaming blogs than books on my Kindle.
Why do I do it? Because the blogs I read are in a constant state of creativity. They are constantly discussing influences, applications of those influences and making shit up. A lot of the blogs will just drop a one page idea and walk away. Readers can take those ideas and plug them into their own games. Imagine that for a moment. A guy can write some notes about a book that eats fingers and give some ideas of where it came from, and then a hundred other people can put that idea in their game with the inevitable modifications, adjustments and personal touches.
“But Shon, sex blogs do the same thing with writing prompts. That’s when a sex blog tells people to write a story about threesomes and then everyone shares the stories they wrote about threesomes. Same thing!”
Well no, it is not, imaginary voice. Writing prompts give a bare tangent of an idea and send writers out into the creative wilds alone. Role-playing blogs would give people three characters, their personal dynamics and their quirks and then encourage writers to plug those people into their stories. That is pretty insane by most sex writing blog standards.
I think the insanity comes from the fact that role-playing games are social. You can’t play unless you have friends to interact with. Writing is more of a one way process. I write my story and then everyone reads it. If I am lucky, I will get feedback. That is a big if by the way. Most of the time I write something and then have to wonder if people even liked it. It can be lonely but thankfully I am a narcissist. Role-playing on the other hand is constant interaction. One guy is playing his thinly veiled knock off of Conan and he is interacting with the player who has created his imaginary perfect character complete with twenty pages of back story. These two mingle their process and grow and edit their characters based on these interactions. Eventually the knock of Conan will have an appreciation for dogs because of his role-playing with the other player who’s character trains dogs. It is a lot of give and take. Ultimately role-playing is an exercise in entertainment and wish fulfillment. Which makes it a lot like porn.
This makes me wonder why I find dungeons and dragons discussion blogs more inspiring than many sex blogs, including my own. I think I have an answer. I read a sex blog and I read fiction, true life accounts and discussions about sexual politics. I read a D&D blog and I read random rules for how to have a drunken party with bar wenches, discussions of fantasy books that inspired dungeon masters in the 70’s and theoretical questions about what a society that worships sentient plants would look like. What is the difference between the two? One concerns itself with presenting a product, whether that be stories, true life accounts or serious opinions about serious things, and the other concerns itself with making shit up and sharing the creative process behind making shit up. One is more about presenting the end result and the other is about the actual making.
I wonder if we can change that.
Part of the problem is that writing is a fucking lonely process. You got to crawl inside your own head and make your own things when it comes to stories. I find that once I turn to people for their opinions on something that I am in the process of writing, it becomes crippled with doubt. Writing by committee only works to create the blandest shit possible.
Sex writers are also often trying to get paid and no one wants to come up with the idea for the next best selling porn book and SHARE that idea before we get our own story out. I understand that and am guilty of it myself. As writers we tend to think our original ideas are all we have and we hoard them like, well like dragons and their treasure.
I think that is a fallacy. Ideas are not as precious as we think they are. An idea is important but more important is execution. The writers of Twilight and 50 Shades have the exact same idea; dominant all wise male and fainting wimp female. One went vampire with her idea and the other went BDSM. Same idea, different execution.
This example might not be the best because one is a fanfic of the other, but the principle stands. Even if you want to argue that making a vampire a bdsm dom is an entirely new idea, then try this experiment. Imagine your favorite tattooed, cynical BDSM writer who attends all the right workshops writing 50 Shades their way. It would be worlds different from Meyer’s 50 Shades but it is still the same idea. One would just be better written.
Now that I got the prerequisite 50 Shades bashing that all erotica writers are required by law to do out of the way, let’s extrapolate on the idea that ideas are not precious gems to be hidden away. What if sex blogs discussed ideas not in the interest of self promoting their own use of the idea, but just to toss that idea out there? What would that look like? Would you like to read that?
I am going to be giving it a try.