Writing ‘useless’ stories

I’m struggling at the moment with a writing dilemma.

I’ve been writing side stories for the Dresden Files RPG that I am playing. It’s absolutely caught my imagination, and I’m really enjoying the world and the characters. I write up the notes from our casefiles (which is a pre-written story), but also write separate stories using my character and sometimes other people’s.

In one way these stories are good; I’ve got two side plots that are going to come into play at some point (well, as soon as someone gets it out of my character or the GM is evil enough to drop me straight in it), and the stories do explore those. They’d be relatively boring for everyone else to play as it doesn’t involve them, and so if I’m interested, I may as well write it by myself.

But over the past year, I’ve written a lot. I wrote 30,000 words in November; my ‘official’ stories that are going into the RPG world come to 25,000 words so far, and I’ve got another couple to write over the next few months. I’ve also been branching out; in collusion with another player, I’ve been stealing another character and writing that, which come to I-lost-count-of-the-number-of-words. It’s a lot of fun, and I find it wonderful – but it’s also no use whatsoever.

I feel that I should be writing Green Sky, or at least something I can use. The RPG stories can never be used for anything beyond our game; they can never get published, and I can only put snippets on this website. I should be using my passion and my talent for something that I can put out there, that I can send into the world, that builds on the series I have already written and adds to my published works. I should be writing proper stuff, not messing around writing something that’s just causing extra trouble and mayhem in a game that’s already pretty full of it.

But then I have to stand back, and fight the paranoia. The player has assured me that he doesn’t mind me using his character. I love writing in that world. The plot will be used in the story; indeed, some of it already has. It’s a way to provide character background and interaction that means I use my imagination, but don’t bore the rest of the group with something they’re not involved in. It keeps me out of mischief (or gets me into different mischief) and lets me improve my writing, even if it is ‘practise’. It’s a good solution to a lot of problems.

And, in the end, writing is writing. I’m enjoying doing it; it’s 25,000 words, stories and characters, that I’ve created. I love writing it – and therefore it’s not a waste.

Author: kate

Kate Coe is an editor, book reviewer and writer of fiction & fantasy. She writes the sparkpunk GreenSky series and blogs at writingandcoe.co.uk. When she's not working, she fills her spare time in between writing with web design, gaming, geeky cross-stitch and DIY (which may or may not involve destroying things). She also reads far fewer books that she would like to, but possibly more than she really has time for.