I got an emailed notice from Livejournal today that my paid extra userpics would be expiring soon. Rather than buy another year's worth of extra pics, I deleted 70 out of 100 pics.
I'm not playing in any livejournal RPGs any more. I bought the extra pics specifically for the ability to use additional icons to identify my RPG character posts with an image. In the case of my favorite characters, I had a variety of icons to represent different moods or attitudes, depending on the content of the post.
I spent several years having a great deal of fun writing characters in a number of games. crossing_lostrp
(and the sequel, fandom_isle
), primarily. That game was incredibly entertaining, at least for those of us playing it. Take a random but ever-growing assortment of characters from various fandoms and dump them on the island from LOST, throw an endless parade of increasingly bizarre adventures at them--and then sit back and watch the fireworks. It was a blast!
But I also played a number of other games as well. Some didn't last long. Some barely got started before folding. Role-playing game campaigns are notoriously short-lived, especially online. They're ephemeral to begin with, and when life gets difficult, when you have more things to worry about than you can manage all at once, they're often the first thing you give up--and rightly so. But it means that a game is always at risk of having key participants vanish (with or without warning), either temporarily or permanently.
When they work, though, they're great fun. I spent countless hours reading and writing in these games. I got plenty of practice at writing dialogue, action (violence and sex, both), crafting characters--everything but plotting, really. (It's hard to practice plotting a story when the tale you're telling is open-ended and other people are involved as well.) I can look back on a lot of what I wrote and feel pleased with the result.
And it reinforces what Dean Wesley Smith has told me about writing. We...no, I won't speak for anyone else. I
wasn't writing for posterity. I was writing to entertain myself first, and my fellow players second, and any lurkers third. I wrote fast, I wrote without editing (much), and as a result I wrote voluminously and for the most part, I think I wrote pretty well. And I enjoyed the hell out of it.
But that's all behind me now. Not just because I'm spending my creative energies on my original fiction, though that's a part of it. It's also because, well, as I said, these things are ephemeral. My favorite games eventually ran down. As have all the others. I'm sure there are many, many other games going on out there and lots of people are having fun with them. But I'm never going to find the same mix of inventive fellow players again. I can't capture that lightning in a bottle a second time.
In fact, it's the loss of that outlet that was probably partially responsible for my getting back into writing original fiction. I really missed writing so much when my games began to fall by the wayside. To some extent, I could carry the ball all by myself. I was writing two or three (or more) regular PCs of my own in most games. I could (and did) often carry on whole threads among my own characters. Sometimes I'd borrow other characters, sometimes background NPCs available to everyone, sometimes other peoples' PCs, either with permission or because they'd been abandoned in mid-scene.
But after a while that began to chafe. If I'm writing all the parts anyway, what do I need other people for? I could just as easily write solo all the time. Then I don't need to worry about whether I'm writing "Fred" the way his owner would like. I can do what I like with him, including killing him off if it suits my purposes. So I began thinking about writing original fiction again.
And so I have. And I'm enjoying it. That doesn't mean I don't sometimes miss those games. But they're a part of my past now. Which means I don't need all those icons. So I deleted them.