Alex Callahan

Perfect mix of magic and mayhem

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NGL, Role Playing Games are making me a better writer

It’s not a secret that I’m a big fan of Critical Role, an amazing D&D show where a bunch of voice actors sit around and play Dungeons & Dragons. I mean I focused my entire Word Crawl around their previous campaign. I love that show so much I’m willing to get up at 4 am on Fridays (every once in a while when I don’t have to work) to watch them live.

Over time, it became something of a comfort food for me. Every week, for four hours, I watch amazing, improvised storytelling and get lost in those characters and their adventures.

On top of watching that show for years, I’ve been playing various Role Playing Games for years (had my very first session at 6, though, admittedly, I wasn’t very good at it back then). And here’s a thing:

I’m pretty sure playing RPGs, as well as watching others play, has made me a better writer.

I learned that

  • Failure can be fun too! And if the character always knows everything and always succeeds and what they set out to do it’s takes out the drama. Barely succeeding is also fun.
  • Sometimes leaving things to chance can be fun
  • I don’t have to dwell on plot and character decisions, just make them in the moment and see where it takes me.
  • When in doubt, improvise.

There are still things I should work on as a writer, and I do realize that because it’s something of a different animal, not everything that works in D&D will translate into good writing, but it definitely gets my creative juices flowing and keeps me open to all sorts of weird plot possibilities.

As a side note, one day I’ll write an entire novel like it’s a D&D campaign, rolling dice when my characters take actions to see what happens next.


WANTED: Literary agent for contemporary fantasy

For those of you following me on Twitter, this will come as no surprise. I finished editing my urban fantasy novel (Werewolves! Magic! Murder!) to a point where I don’t know if it can be improved anymore (without sending it out to an editor). So it’s time to send it out to agents and, as the Internet says, prepare for a flood of rejections (or if the submission pages of some of those agencies suggest – for a resounding silence).

An anxious introvert reaching out to strangers asking them to like me. What could possibly go wrong…

What’s pushing me forward (aside from a very persistent writer friend) is the fact that it’s been a long time coming. Sweat, tears, and blood have been spilled for this thing and it would be a damn shame to just put it away. And if you think I’m exaggerating, you have no idea how dangerous paper can be.


How am I dealing with the stress (that I promised myself to avoid this year) of pitching my work to people who get flooded with emails every day? Very much like my protagonist: by doing research, putting things in neat task lists and color-coding what I can.

I’m also distracting myself with the next project, since, conveniently, NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. I can’t be stressing about agents if I’m stressing about word count, right?

It’s either writing or cornering people on Twitter asking them how they do this agent hunt thing.

Though, possibly, I could do both…

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