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In Which I Recognize How Shallow I Am

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In case you didn’t know, Nefertiti Overdrive: Ancient Egyptian Wuxia didn’t fund. That’s unfortunate, but I’ve had the last week to just kind of relax (not totally, seems there is always work around the house I can do once I get home from my day job). Batteries haven’t fully recharged, but I’m getting there. The problem (as I see it) is that while I am getting fresh ideas, they are all in the RPG realm. I have one idea for a short story percolating, but it doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to get down on the page.

CenturionCover-MediumWhy is this a problem? My own expectations, really. I see myself as a fiction writer and then an RPG writer/designer. Given a choice, I would write fiction exclusively. I used to justify this as simple mercenary sensibilities – I made way more writing fiction than writing RPGs. That’s not the case anymore. The Centurion Kickstarter and the continued (if minimal) sales of SEP products is bringing in more than my fiction writing.

So why is fiction so important to me?

I think I have to admit to myself that this is prestige-hunting. Calling myself a writer has cachet. It impresses. Even the few paid publications I have had excites interest and envy in others. Not so much with RPGs. Game designer, people can kind of understand, but most outside of our community tend to assume I design boardgames. It necessitates explaining an RPG and then explaining the work of an RPG designer.

Am I so shallow as to crave prestige? Yeah, pretty much. I think it’s engrained, inculcated at a young age. It’s the same as pursuing a history or English lit degree in university instead of seeking an apprenticeship or college diploma in a trade. A bricklayer makes shit-tons more money than almost any writer. It’s not that we choose to be paid less, it’s the lack of prestige and respect paid to the trades.

Will I continue to prefer fiction writing over RPG design after recognizing the shallow motivations for that? Probably. I mean, to me, fiction writing is just cooler. However, if I have ideas for RPGs or gaming material, that’s what I will write. When I feel the compulsion to write fiction, I’ll get on that.

Further, I have a ready and appreciative audience for my RPG writing in my regular group in Ottawa. The same cannot be said for my fiction writing. Maybe out there, somewhere, I have six fans who impatiently await my next fiction publication. I honestly doubt that – not false humility, I really don’t think I’ve garnered any level of following due to my fiction. For feedback and gratification, RPGs will remain on top, and I think that is why I have the impetus for writing more gaming material.

So conflicted.