1. How you got started.
All of our stories begin with our mothers.
My story begins with a certain collector's edition of a video game, a game infamous in the gaming community...
So I was playing this game one day. Okay, I'll be honest: I played it for one minute, and that will be the last I say about the game itself.
After I was done discovering that I didn't like this game, I went back to the living room of my parent's house (where I was living at the time). I recall finding the box it came in and found that, low and behold, there was a book in there. It was shiny, hard backed, had funky gears and gems on it, and said at the top, "Dungeons and Dragons"
Little did I know that opening that book would lead me more than just a simple game.
A few weeks later, I dared to show my virgin face at a gaming table. It was at a game shop called Heroes and Fantasies. I had showed up there for a few weeks before to get pawned at Magic the Gathering (i was never very good at those kind of games). But while I played Magic, I noticed some people playing what I surmised to be D&D at another table.
One day, D&D 3ed PH clutched to my chest like a shield, I gathered up my courage, buttoned up my lip, and rudely sat down at that table.
The DM at the time would later say that I was the gaming equivalent of a pity-@#$%, looking so sad and disoriented. I think he might have been grateful though, because within minutes, I was running the game. Turns out that this DM had been so burnt out on DMing and its associated BS that he had no interest in running this game. He practically leaped out his chair when I volunteered.
Naturally, I ran that poor game into the ground, but I have been running D&D games ever since. That burnt out DM turned out to be both ever DMs dream and their living nightmare at the same time: a full immersion roleplayer with major acting chops that builds characters far too well: i.e a powergamer who roleplays.
He also turned out to be such a great friend that I now call him brother. His birthday is today.
So I have played, off and on, since then. I can say without hesitation that I would not be a writer if it weren't for those games. DMing keeps you sharp by making you consider story structure, dialog, pace, mood, theme, characterization, scene building, twists, and everything else that makes a novel great.
I can also say that I would not be with my wife If i never played. She doesn't play D&D or any system: she abhors dice and extensive byzantine rules. We play dice less and system less, every day, every hour we get. That might be the best kind of practice a writer can get: having to come up with a new story every single day.
I enjoy the life I live, and I thank roleplaying games, among all the silly things to thank, for helping get to where I am today.