John’s DexCon schedule

It’s just about July 4th, which means it’s time for DexCon. This year, my schedule is pretty action-packed – I’m running Noir World (you know, that little game I Kickstarted  currently in-production?) every day, sometimes twice.

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday evening I’ll be in the lobby, hanging out. Maybe working-ish. Come say hello.

THURSDAY

R0199: Noir World; “Crime-tastic” by Back Alley Dealings; presented by John Adamus. An INDEPENDENTLY PUBLISHED GAME – Part of the Indie Games Explosion! In The City, it’s always a good time for bad people to bad things. Noir World is an Apocalypse World hack that features shared narration and tells a tragic drama set in a film noir-influenced world of the players’ creation. The story involves either a crime that has happened or will happen, and the players can be anything from the cops eager to solve it, or the criminals eager to get away with it. Thursday, 9:00AM – 1:00PM

FRIDAY

R0243: Noir World; “Crime-tastic” Friday, 9:00AM – 1:00PM THIS EVENT HAS BEEN FILLED! You may sign up as an Alternate at the convention.

SATURDAY

R0304: Noir World Saturday, 9:00AM – 1:00PM

R0350: Noir World Saturday, 8:00PM – 12:00AM

SUNDAY

D1225 – Writer’s Workshop – I’m doing a Q&A (you bring writing questions, you’ll get answers) in BoardRoom 2 from 10:00am – 12:00pm. If there are less than 3 people signed up, I’ll be in BoardRoom 2 working, and you should still come say hello.

R0377: Noir World; Sunday, 3:00PM – 7:00PM

***

If you’re wondering “Hey John where will you be when it’s not those times?”

Check the hotel lobby. I’ll likely be on the couch or at a table working.

***

If you’re wondering, “Can I squeeze into a game that I’m not signed up for, I really want to play!” my answer 90% of the time is going to be “No, I’m sorry, I can’t make that happen,” but it never hurts to ask me.

***

And yes, absolutely, I would love to meet you. No, I am not planning on shaking your hand (fistbumps are cool though), but I’d be delighted to talk noir and work and who-knows-whatever-else (Bonus points if you ask me if I’ve found my joy)

 

See you then.

DexCon 2013 Schedule

So, it’s convention season, which is AWESOME because it’s a chance for me to travel and see my friends and spend dedicated time playing games, talking games and enjoying games.

Yes, you can make an argument that I do that all the time anyway, but at least I get to travel to new places to do it. That makes it pretty cool.

First on the circuit is DexCon, July 3 – 7 in Morristown. Yes, that’s just down the road from me. Yes, I still count that as travel.

This year is my most ambitious DexCon to date. When I sketched this all out in February, I had no idea that July would arrive so quickly. Here now is what I’m doing and where I’ll be hanging out.

WEDNESDAY 

LARP BAZAAR 10p – 2a

From what I gather, this is basically me and my friends hanging out around a table, and people come by and I get to talk to them about the systems I developed for the THREE (yes 3) LARPS I’m associated with. I have no idea what to expect, I don’t know if it will actually go until 2am, but it starts late, so at least I can get some dinner.

THURSDAY

(There is a big opening on Thursday, so I’ll likely use it to finalize, print out and prep things for the craziness of the coming days. Also, it’s 4th of July, so you know, hang out time anyway)

FRIDAY aka DAY ONE OF INSANITY
State of Gaming 2p – 4p
When Ken Hite speaks, I listen. And not just because he’s my friend or because we work together from time to time. I like Ken’s panels. They’re fun. Also, this doesn’t start until the afternoon, so anything needing more than Thursday prep can get it in the morning. 
BSG LARP 6p- 12a
Okay, so this is the first “signature event” I’m associated with. I wrote the system for the Battlestar Galactica LARP, I cobbled together the character sheet and I’m really proud of both. Here’s to hoping that the tale of ship looking to rejoin the fleet and avoid Cylon-ic death is an interesting one. Also, I get to watch my friends 
act like military commanders, so that’s pretty awesome. 
SATURDAY aka DAY TWO OF INSANITY aka LARP DAY FOR JOHN 5000
Night’s Black Agents Tournament  10a – 6p
Right, so here’s my Saturday. It’s the second “signature event” I’m associated with. The plus side is that I get to hang out with my friends and run one of my favorite games. Round 1 of the tournament is a LARP, while Round 2 is a more conventional Tabletop experience. I’ve written all new, never before seen (but yes, they’ve been tested), LARP rules to emulate GUMSHOE games, and I think I’ve really done well. Also the tabletop round has some great adventures. 
I mean, you get to be superspies and fight vampires. Who wouldn’t want to spend a Saturday doing that?
Please also note the two hour break where I get to quickly eat something. Please note that this will likely be the second meal of my day, so if you see me Saturday PLEASE ask me if I’ve eaten, and if I’m doing okay. PLEASE. No, I’m not kidding, there’s no sarcasm here. Because even at 6pm after 6 hours of high intensity walking, gaming, speaking and organizing, my day is half done. 
The Unofficial Dresden Files LARP: FINAL FROST 8p – 2a
Check this out. This is a Dresden Files LARP that owes its mechanics to Fate Core (and to a lesser extent Fate Accelerated). I am super ridiculously proud of the system and story I was a part of creating. This event in particular is a big deal, because it’s the culmination of a few previous conventions’ plot. Basically, this is where shit is going to hit many fans of many sizes. I cannot wait to see how the players react. 
SUNDAY
Writing Workshop 10a – 12p
As per usual, my Writing Workshop is on Sunday morning. Please note that it follows on the heels of what will be the longest work day I’ve had in MONTHS, and I will very likely be tired and hoarse, but dammit, I will talk about writing and editing and attendees will get their questions answered. 
I expect to sleep for the rest of Sunday and most of the Monday thereafter. 
So, are you coming to DexCon? Are you coming to any event I’m doing? You want to go get an empanada when I’m not running around like a maniac? Leave a comment or two and let’s see if we can make some plans. 
See you then. 

Storytelling!

You could also call this article “Game Mastering” or “Game Running” or “How To Build A Better Novel” or “How To Take An Idea Out Of Your Head And Put It Into A Form People Will Enjoy”

On Monday, I talked about what I learned from running a tournament game over the weekend at DexCon. The experience left such a clear impression in my mind, and really affected me that I’m going to continue talking about it today.

But whereas on Monday I was praising the people I worked with and the specific stories told, I didn’t really
talk at all about HOW those things came into being. I don’t mean “We exchanged emails” I mean “how did I take the notes I got (which were little paragraphs of or 3 sentences) and turn them into 7 ten-page relatively complete and interlocking experiences?

To do this, we have to start at the top.

Note – There’s going to be a lot “I” here. This isn’t because I’m being conceited or a prick, it’s just because I can’t speak for how you (whoever you are) develops a story. I’m not saying your method is crap, I’m saying that it’s possible our two methods aren’t the same. So here’s my whole thought process, laid out. 

I. What’s the Point?

Whether it’s a book or a game or set of scenarios for a game, I need to figure out what the end-goal is supposed to be. For the tournament, this was pretty clear – take 30 characters, weed them down to a smaller group, and ideally get a victor, who would “win” by not only surviving but also solving the Conspiracy (the game has a strong investigatory element) that the villains had in place. 

I had notes on what the Conspiracy was, and by notes I mean “Ken wrote a sentence”. And I stared at it, until I figured out that it was a formula: 


[Badguys] want [Ideal Situation] to happen. They’re going to do/use [Event(s)] to bring it about.

Once I saw what the antagonists were going to do, it was easy to figure out what the protagonists do, which is also a formula:

[Goodguys] want to stop [Badguys] by preventing/fixing [Events] from going according to plan.

Armed now with a point, I could move to the next step, finding who the badguys were.

II. The Badguys

I knew what they were going to do, so I had to figure out what sort of person/creature/entity/being would do
those things. I put myself in the baddie’s place –

Okay, I want X to happen. What does that say about me?

This differential diagnosis brought me a few tropes (I was evil, I put myself before others, I had no
compunctions about killing the innocent to forward my goal) but also a few deeper thoughts (I need to do this to survive, I must sate my needs, I’m at best a beast and a junkie masquerading as something else). 

Once I had the psychology in place (not finalized, but I was at least in the ballpark), I went to the Events.

III. The Events

These are the scenarios that the players had to navigate and survive. I knew I needed 7 total (6 preliminary and 1 final), and I knew there was an over-arching plot that tied them together, so I divided them into groups.

In that way, these weren’t unlike chapters in a novel, something else I’m really used to creating.

I knew that each individual Event had to have a setup, a development, a climax and a resolution. And I knew that for 6 of the Events, the resolution would be “survivors advance to the next round”. I worked backwards to say that the climax had to be a fight, because you need something to happen in order to say you survived, which left me the setup and development.

Setup
I had notes about what the initial setups should be. The plot was divided into chunks so that each Event would in theory give you puzzle pieces, and you’d in theory reach the end of the final event with enough pieces to make a rough sketch of the overall picture. 

Each event started with getting the protagonists (the players) involved in a single story — they had to go somewhere and do something, that by itself could have just been a whole book/event unto itself. I didn’t want 
them to yet realize what they did in the events was part of a larger puzzle until they were already too far in to back out. And the best way to get people to invest in a hurry is to push emotional buttons, which means 
create situations where they respond maybe a little fast or hasty, learn the hard way that they can’t do that a
second time, then make them cautious about each subsequent time.

It’s like touching a hot stove – you only have to do it once to learn to be careful while cooking.

Each setup was a self-contained adventure that just happened to fit a larger picture because elements of that
adventure that may seem out of place locally, fit globally.

Development
So on paper, I had 6 elements that if summarized, laid out the overall plot. Like this:


THE BIG PLOT IS XYZ
  * Event 1 introduces a character involved in XYZ
  * Event 2 tells how big XYZ can be
  * Event 3 introduces just how far the badguys are willing to go to make XYZ happen
  * Event 4 introduces how XYZ is getting supported without realizing it
  * Event 5 introduces what the future could turn out to be, if XYZ goes unchecked
  * Event 6 explores how far XYZ is from completing Stage 1

Event 7 (the finale) will bring the players face to face with the badguys and start XYZ into motion unless the
players stop it by any means necessary.

Now, there’s an assumption made here: That XYZ will go off without a hitch if no one does anything about it. I’m not the biggest fan of that, because it makes the protagonists either a) too critical, pressuring them or b) too unimportant because the plot is greater than they are. I skipped that whole assumption by making the players’ actions (the protagonists) critical to the execution of XYZ – no matter what they did, they’d be helping XYZ happen, until they figured out what was wrong, and then worked to stop it. 

I like stories that create character change. I like watching players see that their previously-thought-of-as-harmless action was actually one of a series of things that put this whole ball into motion. Not because I want them to be afraid to do anything in the future, but because I want them to understand that actions have consequences, and they don’t always know what the results will be. 


The downside with the above list of six is that they’re dependent on each other. Sure you can omit Event 5 and XYZ is still a threat, but you can’t really dismiss Event 1 or 4. I wrote it like that on the assumption that 
people would be fighting tooth and nail for the chance to win the prize, and they’d not have other conflicts,
second thoughts or obligations.


The reality was that we had around 2 dozen players, which means we didn’t have enough protagonists to run all 6 events. So, which events do we omit? Which Events can go so that the plot still makes sense and allows the players a chance to win the prize?

We ended up running Event 1, Event 2 and Event 3, patching holes in plots and taking elements from 4, 5 and 6 to make them fatter and juicier with details. My great regret is that 4 5 and 6 weren’t run, because they were, in my opinion, my better writing (I hit my stride and my confidence). Hopefully, I’ll have a chance in the near future to put together the whole story arc for players. 

But how did each Event get built?

IV. Event/Scenario Building

I talked above about how these scenarios are chapters of a bigger book, but maybe a better description is that they’re short stories within an anthology. 

Each Scenario has its own components:
      * The players get a mission
      * The mission starts off okay, but takes a turn for the worse
      * The players discover this mission is part of a bigger picture (they get clues to XYZ!)
      * The players have to stop the immediate threat

Key here are the clues, obviously. And to create clues, you have to look at the XYZ plot and figure out what
components make it happen. Paperwork, notes, maps, phone numbers, all the cogs of the machine. And then you scatter those cogs throughout the Scenarios. But you don’t do it blindly, there needs to be a 
reasonable connection as to why badguy #6 has a particular clue in her jacket pocket.

I found it helpful to make a huge table of clues and who had them and why. Most often the why was “because they can drive the truck” or “Because they handle the money”, but assigning clues to characters with a reason made the clues more important, both for the sake of XYZ and for me writing the scenes and beats where the clues could be found — no one wants to just walk into a room and see the smoking gun on the table, it’s unfair to everyone. 

With the clues in place, I had to go back to my initial assignment. Ideally there would be 30 people competing in this tournament, and we couldn’t have 30 people around 1 table for a finale. I had to thin the herd.

V. Characters & Villains (and balancing them)

Here’s where I raise my hand and say I screwed this up. It was fixable, and we took care of it when the problem arose, BUT I should have done a better job. I didn’t want there to be any problems, and with that attitude and pressure, of course there were some. Even though numerous people have told me to get over it, I’m still kicking myself. 

With the plot divided over 6 slices, it was time to figure out who was going to participate. I made some assumptions that a lot of people hadn’t played this game to the extent I have, so they likely are going to need 
a nice access route to the mechanics and the game. I also needed to divide 30 people into teams so that one team could handle an event. 

I could have made generic teams. I even had notes saying that in each scenario the players were one team or
another. But that…didn’t feel very big and exciting and “Signature Event” the way this tournament was getting
promoted. So the characters had to be special. And players needed to feel a connection to the story and their roles in it. 

So I made versions of famous movie and tv characters. The MI6 team were all James Bond actors. The IMF team was a combination of the movies and TV show. The Mossad team were all famous Jewish feminists. The point was, players would get (hopefully) a character they knew something about, and that would help bridge the gap between “I don’t know what I’m doing” to “I hope I’m doing this right”.

They even got little backstories. A paragraph or three describing how the felt or who on their team they felt
the meshed with. My hope was that for some people, this gave some ideas on the character, if they were
unfamiliar.

And then I went to give them stats, and blew it.


When I build characters, they’re at a certain level, usually a low one, because these characters are going to 
exist and persist for a long time and they’ll get better over the course of many adventures. Also, they’re not
facing super-terrible horrors right from the jump, so low-powering them isn’t a bad thing.

It’s a great strategy when you’ve got time on your side. It’s a terrible strategy for a tournament where you
have only so many sessions and hours to accomplish a lot in. But it’s fixable. One of the nice things about having the game’s creator on hand is that he can knock out some mechanics in his head and we can on-the-fly make changes that will repair things. 

Reparations, though, are only needed when you have really big villains. And I did. I spent time building
villains, I delighted in figuring out which creature was where….all with the goal of “What will kill players
the coolest (and if necessary, fastest)”.

And pre-tournament, everything was great. And then the players showed up.

VI. The Players

Introducing the human element (be they players or readers) into any story is a risk. They might not like the
plot, they might not follow the story through to its conclusion. They might tell their friends the story blows. In a game, they may see the plot, and then make a hard left turn into some strange and foreign story where 
quick-thinking and iron nerves make it all seamless (when really all you want to do is put your head against the table and cry). 

What do I mean, you ask?

Well let’s suppose your characters are on a mission to rescue hostages on a boat. And in the course of that
rescue operation, they engage in a pretty nasty fight in the bowels of the ship. And their resolution to the
fight is to blow a hole in the side of the ship…just below the waterline, so that the hostages they’re meant
to save and the clues they’re supposed to find all go to Davy Jones’ Locker.

Or let’s suppose the character is tasked with protecting a vital non-player-character. Let’s further say that
the player elects to protect that non-player-character by wooing her, and then, in order to protect her, finds
it necessary to knock her out, tie her up and eventually throw her off a balcony into a swimming pool. You know, for her protection. 

Or let’s say the whole plot is moving along, and the players reach what are likely the last ten minutes of play
and they…well, they collectively decide to leave. I don’t mean the players walk out of the room, I mean the 
characters elect to steal an NPC’s car and drive away from the story but not before sealing hundreds of 
innocents into a building with monsters.

When I’m writing fiction, or whenever there’s a one-way conversation going on (I write it, time passes, someone reads it), the worst case scenario is that people dislike what I’ve written, and they move on to other things. 


When that same conversation is two-way or interactive, the worst case scenario is an ever escalating mess of
responses made hastily, rather than logically. Like this:

Example
——–
GM: The creature appears out of the shadows. It’s bad.
Player: I run away.
GM: (who didn’t plan for this) Um…uhh…there’s a second monster by the door.
Player: Then I jump out the window.
GM: (in whose mind the story is falling out the window too): You’re on the sixth floor.
Player: I have a hang glider.

The end result? The player is frustrated, the GM is frustrated and the story dies on the vine.

I’m not upset that people won the tournament, they were supposed to win. People had a great time and I loved running the session I did. Am I hurt that the whole storyline wasn’t told? Yes. Is that really a problem? No. 

VII. What I Learned

The biggest takeway here is that while you must have an end-goal, the point of interactive storytelling is to
make the journey to that goal just as big (or bigger) then the end-result. Yes, the players were supposed to win the tournament, that was the point, but HOW they got there was not only a condition of winning but also the reason why they spent hours of a Saturday afternoon in a cold boardroom. 

Follow that closely with the idea that the best element of story is emotion and the best element of interactive
storytelling is flexibility. To make players care about what they do, (and not make this just an exercise to win
a cash-prize) they have to care, even in some imaginative way that what they say these creations are doing has a consequence that affects them. And likewise, when those characters undertake plans that are way off-book, the GM has to be flexible in either going with the flow (vamping and pulling the story slowly back to plot or absolutely chucking the story and working extemporaneously) or running the risk of admitting defeat and terminating whatever good experience the collective group is having. 

Last, I learned a valuable lesson in confidence. I was prepared, I may have made some mistakes, but rather than leap off building to my doom, or spend hours convinced that everyone hated me, I rolled with it. Okay yes, I got a couple glares, eye rolls and sighs. Yes, we had to figure something out on the fly. Was it the end of the world? Nope. Was I not repeatedly lauded and praised for all the hard work? Yes. And that makes me feel so much better about so many of the things I’m doing, both in and out of gaming. 

A good time was had by all, and I am so thankful and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. In the 
event that this tournament becomes a regular thing (which it can be, if you make your voices heard), I’m all
over it. 

Have a great day. Later this week, I’ll talk about more stuff gaming taught me.

What I Learned This Week At DexCon

This week was DexCon, the annual summer gaming convention that happens between Origins and GenCon (the two other big summer conventions). And if you’ve been anywhere near me lately, you likely got sucked into the tornado that was John-prepping-for-a-convention.

This year I was assisting in the running of a Signature Event, a tournament of Night’s Black Agents where the winning team scored a $1,000 for surviving and discovering the conspiracy unfolding around them. I am forever grateful to the tremendous assistance and support of Ken Hite, the game’s creator as well as Bill White, the third GM for their enthusiasm and patience with me — I have no doubt I was an over-compensating buzz of frantic anxiety, and they were masterful in keeping me on track and keeping everything moving forward.

Granted, my job seemed easy – I had to create the 30 characters for participants to use, as well as develop adventures designed to both give the players clues as well as winnow down the 30 players to a final round. We were successful, and I felt a tremendous sense of relief and adrenal relaxation (I suddenly lost an invisible 60 pounds of “what if this sucks?” I had been carrying). And the whole event, which mauled my Saturday, taught me A LOT.

Combine that with likely one of my top-four workshops (which is no longer at midnight, and comes with coffee for the morning crowd) and I am deeply happy man. That also taught me a lot.

I list those things now. When I talk about “it” (whatever “it” is) just replace that word with your book/game/project/thing you’re doing).

1. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it has to be the best you can do, and you have to give a shit about it. When I said yes to the opportunity to co-run a tournament, and once I got past the excitement of “I’m going to play one of my all-time favorite games with one of my favorite people who happens to be the guy who wrote the game!” and I saw the amount of work I had to do, it was tough not to get immediately paralyzed.

Create 30 characters that were pitch-perfect, interesting and accessible to players as well as seven scenarios that would weed through players and characters all within a 6-or-so-hour block? Gulp. I have experience making characters, I’ve even thought at times I was good at it, because I’m really just filling out an excel sheet, but this….this is serious! I can’t just have “my” kind of characters, I need to have Grade-A characters (kudos if you just caught the implication that I doubt myself sometimes).

And I just can’t have decent or average plots, I have to have plots good enough for the guy who wrote the game will respect and enjoy and not scowl at me all the way through. I can’t suck at this. (Cue anxiety, nervous stomach and panic sweats)

So, I sat down, talked myself down off that ledge and got to work.

a) I know how to do this.
b) I do this for my friends all the time.
c) I’m not working in a vacuum, I have people (like the game’s creator, duh) who can help me
d) and if it all goes pear-shaped, who cares, it’s a game, not nuclear disarmament talks with the Iranians)

And I did it. It was time-consuming, and it was essentially its own clinic in game design, story development and how-John-deals-with-the-spotlight, but I did it. Likely, when I tell you that I had also dropped about $90 at Staples to get pencils, erasers and folders, you’ll tell me that I overdid it, but the fact remained that I put all these things together. I don’t say that so that people say “Oh wow that’s amazing.” I say that so that I get it in my own damn head that I took on a big project and kicked its ass.

Was it perfect? Nope. Characters were under-powered, plots had holes, and my printer is low on toner, but all those things are fixable, despite my frustration and guilt that I didn’t do a perfect job, what I got was teased, not yelled at for the errors. And the errors got fixed, and a good time was had by all.

2. There are few things as nerve wracking as watching someone else go through your work with an audience, especially when they’re the developer of the game upon which your work is based. I’m used to people critiquing my writing. I go to meetings, I share my work with a lot of people, and they give me feedback (usually it’s “keep writing this!” and “stop thinking that you’re not good at it!” etc etc), so I have no problem sharing my work when my work is prose – someone reads it, they make comments, I’m used to that.

But it is wholly a different beast when what you’ve written is something interactive. When you watch someone at the top of the field take your work and make it come alive for an audience in a way you didn’t realize possible. It wasn’t just roll a few dice and say something, it was a moving, near-theater experience. It was as gaming should be – a dive into deep waters of imagination and story-telling where everyone is equally invested and equally enraptured by the tale and their contributions to it.

So I’m sitting there in the back of the room, watching Ken lead the final table through the plot. I know where the monsters are. I know where the red flags are. But what Ken did was transform them from simple encounters and bullet-points on page 4 into a story, and he painted (I mean like Van Gogh) a picture of an adventure and enemies and tension and excitement that I had some inkling of on the page…but Ken filled in the dots in a way that I don’t think anyone else could. He made my words not suck. He made them awesome.

That is scary though. While the other people in the room are listening to the players gasp and laugh and cheer and panic and play, I’m listening to the plot, I’m waiting for “Okay, does this monster kill them?” and “What about the clue?” That tension goes far beyond I-hope-there’s-a-winner and turns into oh-god-I-hope-this-doesn’t-suck-for-people. But…we made it. Hooray!

3. The biggest interference in a plot are the characters. The plot for the tournament, I felt, was one of the cleanest and jaw-dropping-est I-can’t-believe-that’s-a-thing plots I’ve ever worked on. It was so not a “go to Place A, retrieve item B, fight enemy C” affairs, but it rather intricately wove about 2 dozen clues together so that people could follow along.

Of course that somewhat assumes they will follow along. When one character takes the lady he’s supposed to protect and seduces her, then knocks her unconscious and throws her out a window into a pool (so the badguys can’t get her), that’s both one hell of a mixed message as well as something I wouldn’t think to do.

Likewise when characters are marshaling their forces and say “We need a flamethrower”, that’s not really something you can plan for. And no, you cannot plan for everything. The characters will surprise you when you leave them open-ended and provide fertilizer for the seed beds of imagination. (No, this isn’t the time to get into that discussion about whether you or not you “let the characters dictate the story as you write it”, this isn’t the place for that.)

I’m not saying that people are going to sabotage the plot, but you just have to roll with the punches when characters decide to make a hard-left out of the story and take it in a new direction. Granted this weekend we had neither time nor energy to vamp for 3 hours to get them back on track, so there was a huge margin of flexing, but as the developer of content, much like Moff Tarkin, you can’t hold too tightly to your plans, else things slip through your fingers. And I guess your British accent will come and go. Or something.

4. You need to take care of yourself. So I worked on this tournament and then decided that a six-hour marathon game wasn’t enough, that I would pull myself to my feet and play in another game that went from midnight until about 2am or so. Because that’s the healthiest response I could make, right? So by the time I fell asleep it was around 3:30 and I had to be up at 8:30 and ready to give a workshop at 10.

Also, if you’re scoring along at home, I am not 22 with a super metabolism and incredibly springy immune system. Oh, and I’ve fractured my ankle recently, depending on which medical authority you talk to (sprain, fracture, break, microfracture, these terms are but commas in medical sentences), so I’m gimping along on one leg and doing my best to pop Advil here and there and rest whenever possible. So what’s more restful than gaming for 12 hours straight?

On Sunday I had a GREAT, SUPER AMAZING WORKSHOP with a fantastic and detailed discussion of writing – covering discipline and habits and goal-setting and related ideas. I also answered a ton of questions (there were some wonderful questions this time), but I was so tired, I wanted to be more enthusiastic and answer more questions and get more into how to individually help people….but I just ran out of gas. I was tired and worn down and needed to rest.

It should be mentioned that this whole weekend it was hot. Like crazy living-in-a-furnace hot. Like 89 degrees at 2am hot. Hydration was the order of the day, and when I was hydrated, I felt great, I was awake and my foot didn’t hurt. When I was way behind in my waterload, I was sluggish, tired and a little babbling.

Those times when I stretched out in a chair, put my leg up and drank water? Incredibly restorative. I didn’t feel like I needed to be go-go-go all the time, I was better for not pressuring myself to do more.

So, summary time:

Take good care of yourself, and it makes stressful high-energy times worth it.
You’re going to end up stressing yourself out trying to be perfect, you’ll be much better off trusting yourself to do the best job possible.
More than you realize, there are very likely a lot more people who support you and actually like you, rather than who just tolerate your presence.

Happy writing. Later this week, I’ll do a post about how my writing has changed because of this experience.