A Life Of Fiction LIX

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.


Role-playing, an inspiration for tales: As it says in the introductory note above, this site is about not only my writing, but also my role-playing. The thing is, though, that I find that one can influence the other.

This was not always the case, of course, as I have been a role-player for a lot longer than I have been a novelist. I began role-playing in 1981, a long long time ago. The only writing that I did then was homework for my Sixth Form College.

It was after I wrote my Briggs and Prenderghast novels that this cross-influence began to form, when a couple of my friends declared that they would like to adventure in the world of my novels. I had not even considered anything like that.

I began to write the Gas-Lamp Fantasy role-Playing game, a homebrew game just intended – originally – for me and my friends. It only took me a couple of months to write the main book, creating enough in the way of rules so that my friends could adventure in my gas-lamp fantasy world. In fact I spent a year and a half working on the game, writing over a million words across a variety of books, before I finally ran out of steam, with several books still incomplete. But talking in depth about the game is not the subject here.

When we began to play the game I began to get ideas for the odd story for that world, even though I had thought that I had put it aside. a one-off adventure with just a couple of my friends resulted, months later, in me writing the short story The House On The Cliff, a short story (I thought) written as a follow-up to the short tale The Dark House, featuring the slightly inept wizard Edwyn Le Fay. Those stories led to more, until I ended up, basically, linking all of those tales together into something which was basically a novel.

I created places and characters just for the role-playing game, ones which had never appeared in my novels, at the time. I worked on a supplement (still unfinished) called Mystic Places of the World, which featured all of the hidden places which had appeared in my Briggs and Prenderghast novels: Atlan, the Kingdom of Prester John, Nova Romanum, Paititi, and so on. But I also included a few places which Briggs and Prenderghast had never gone to: Saguenay and Agartha and a few others. And since then I have written a Professor Meerschaum novel where he tunnels down to Agartha; and I am considering writing one where he goes to the hidden kingdom of Saguenay. Those tales may not have come about without my creation of that role-playing game.

Now, when I write gas-lamp fantasy stories, I cannot help but wonder what I’m writing would be like in game terms, even though I don’t have any plans to gamesmaster the Gas-Lamp Fantasy Role-Playing Game at any time in the near future. But I still have a few stories which I might tell, inspired by ideas which I had when writing the game. Perhaps one day I will do the novels The Iron Duke or The Land Of The Dead or The Green Kingdom or more.


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