roleplaying — a method of instruction or psychotherapy aimed at changing attitudes and behavior, in which participants act out designated roles relevant to real-life situations.

Ooops. Wrong definition. Let’s try again.

roleplaying — to assume the attitudes, actions, and discourse of (another), especially in a make-believe situation in an effort to understand a differing point of view or social interaction.

Close … but still not what we’re talking about. One more try.

roleplaying — to play in a roleplaying game, where the intention is to assume the identity of a character or characters (broadly defined) within the game for the duration of the current game session.

That’s more like it. But it begs the question: what is a roleplaying game?

roleplaying game — a form of interactive group play in which the participants create or are given characters with which to participate in the play by interacting with the other players’ characters in the persona of their character within the context of a planned or extemporaneous story and plot using a previously agreed upon set of rules and guidelines for character creation and conflict resolution, either directed by an independent operator (known as the game master) or through communal agreement.

Roleplaying is one of my pleasures and hobbies, and even, a little, a profession. (I have been paid for what I wrote as part of my roleplaying.) Its a major element of my social interaction and influences my fiction and non-fiction interests, and maybe the other way around, too. And since I am a writer by nature, it is only natural that I write about what do while roleplaying.

But roleplaying also influences my writing: it has in the past and continues to improve my writing, my character creation, my plotting and development, in fact, everything to do with my writing. Being involved with roleplaying on both sides of the GM screen definitely improved my writing.

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