Hello friends! Hope everyone is enjoying the start to the summer! Considering how beautiful the weather has been, it hasn’t felt like summer yet, but I have still enjoyed spending my first week sleeping in until the afternoon and being pretty lazy around the house. As I will soon be looking for an actual job, in the meantime, I wanted to enjoy what may be the last summer break I ever have; but, on the other side of that coin, I also didn’t want to “waste” an entire summer relaxing. So, next Monday, I’m going to start editing the first book of my (hopefully) debut trilogy, with the goal of sending out my manuscript to agents again in the fall. I have been working on this project for almost four years now and no way am I giving up on Darryn and that crew, no matter how many rejections they mail me or how many times I have to go through and edit it (Lord help me).
However, like any writer, I can’t help but come up with new ideas constantly (which is a blessing, even though I never have enough time to write them all). Sometimes, I’m forced to put them on the back-burner to work on the current project, but with an entire summer to kill, I could think of no better time than to start one of my “more fun” or “more chill” projects I have been contemplating for some time: video game fan fiction.
I’m quite the gamer, when time allows. I love RPGs like Skyrim, Dragon Age, any of the LOTR adaptations, Baulder’s Gate, Kingdom Hearts, etc. I play console, PlayStation, to be precise (currently playing on the PS3, but maybe I can save up for a 4 one day, who knows!) I love when games allow me to explore the world created to support the plot — two of the greatest games to have done that (that I have played) are Skyrim and Dragon Age. What I love about them is you create a customized character who has a specific purpose — the main quest — but there are also so many side quests and other fun adventures to explore, it feels like a choose-your-own-adventure because of how many options you have open to you. I’ve played Skyrim for over two years, give or take (not constantly, either, only having access to the PS3 over breaks from school, but still), and I still haven’t beaten the game (but I’ve destroyed those side quests, lemme tell you). I love the depth and the world building that is created around it, and all of the history and the lore that makes up the land of Skyrim (Skyrim) or Ferelden or Orlais (Dragon Age).
Then, last semester, I believe, I read a book by David Gaider called Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne, the first of the series of books written about that universe. The book was pretty good (definitely good enough to make me want to read the second one), but it got me thinking: fan fiction is a thing (though this wasn’t fan fiction, as Gaider is one of the writers for the franchise). I used to dabble in fan fiction a little bit when I was way younger and thankfully, that account is in no way connected or traceable to me now. In middle school and a bit of high school, I used to write RPGs in a LOTR forum I was a part of, which was a blast. But I haven’t written much fan fiction since. And as I finished playing Dragon Age: Inquisition only a few months ago, I found myself craving more within that world, but as that game just came out in November of last year, I have a long time to wait before the next installment comes out. So in wondering what I could do next and inspired by Gaider’s own works, I decided my next move: writing my own Dragon Age fan fiction.
The plan was simple: sign up for a fan fiction site (I choose Archive of Our Own). Then, I would start over with Dragon Age: Origins, creating a new character and playing through it again. But, this time, as I played through it, I would be taking notes about the main plot and details, as I would also be writing about it. I wanted to write a story — like one of Gaider’s novels, only each chapter is posted separately on the fan fiction site and I’m not actually making money off of it — about the character I created, about what she went through, accomplished, experienced and conquered. I wanted to take the bare bones from the experience of playing the game and give my character life by filling her story with emotions and reactions to what happens during the game.
Today, I restarted Origins and played for almost six hours, until it was my brother’s turn to play the PS3. Obviously I am already behind on writing, but my goal isn’t to capture exactly what the characters say in the games or how she killed a certain Darkspawn during a certain battle. Instead, I want to use the gameplay as a guide for a deeper story, using the details of the world to give life to this character I “created.”
For me, this is a fun project where I’m able express my creativity and passion for video games through the medium I hope to create a career of: writing. I’m not trying to create another series based off Dragon Age, as I’m sure there are copyrights and other glorious technical boundaries I would be invading (although, after I get further into it, if any agents or people in a gaming industry want to hire me or this project on, please feel free to contact me *winkwink*). I’m not going to go through and painstakingly critique every word I write, like I do with the current novel I’m working on — though, that also goes to say, it’s not going to be poorly written or full of typos, either. However, even though I am “publishing” this work, chapter by chapter, in a sense, through the fan fiction website, I’m not putting in the work that an author does with their novel or short story. This is meant to be a fun exercise to help me not only improve as writer, but also work on something different than editing the same manuscript, in order to keep my creative juices flowing; not as a work intended for mass publication. So yes, it won’t be my best work, but what better why to become better and learn than to get feedback on “first draft” material? Allowing readers to read my work at its rawest will not only make me vulnerable, but also help me see trends, failings and successes in my own writing that I’m currently blind to. Plus, I love the characters and the story within Dragon Age so much, I want to give them more life than just controlling them in the game. I am a nerd, after all. This is my way to show my appreciation for an amazing game series.
The end goal is to have an entire story penned out and “published” for Origins, following my character from her introduction as a Grey Warden to the final fight of the Blight. Then, if this goes well and time allows, I hope to move on and do the same for Dragon Age II, Dragon Age: Inquisition and Skyrim. Obviously, this is a hefty project that I’m doing “for fun,” but I hope people enjoy reading it. And who knows, maybe I can use this as an “in” to becoming a paid writer for the gaming industry (BioWare and Bethesda, I’m looking at you). But for now, I’m just writing for fun. I hope you all enjoy it!
PS: Once I get the first chapter posted, I will post a link to where I am posting these chapters here! Check back to see when the link is posted (hopefully by the end of this week)!