Writing Wednesdays: D&D and the art of storytelling

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There was an interesting piece in the New York Times recently about the classic role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons — now turning 40! — and, in particular, how it influenced a generation of writers.

The game functioned as “a sort of storytelling apprenticeship,” according to Junot Díaz, who’s quoted in the piece. The narrative is improvisational, interactive, and fluid. Plots unfold collectively.

As a D&D player, “you have to convince other players that your version of the story is interesting and valid,” said Jennifer Grouling, an assistant professor of English at Ball State University who studied D&D players for her book, “The Creation of Narrative in Tabletop Role-Playing Games.”

I never played Dungeons & Dragons, but I certainly had friends who did, and from what I know about the game, it makes perfect sense that it served as an incubator for creativity. What about you? Did D&D, or games more generally, help shape your creativity?

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