Larp and Writing
Over the years I’ve fallen in and out of love with larp. Like most niche hobbies it contains some super peeps and some awful ones, the problem with a niche hobby is that you are likely to encounter the less fun types at some point.
However, for people watchers, which I ‘spose most writers are to a degree, larp is brilliant. I’m not being cynical here, I don’t go to study people; I play. I get immersed, I get into it just as much (sometimes more) than the next person. Larp is the closest you’ll come as a genre writer to experiencing what some of your characters do. Do you know what it’s like trying to evade zombies in a locked building? I do. Do you know what it’s like wearing plate armour for 12 hours a day in all weather from snow to burning sun? Again, I have found this out, all while playing a game, which is great.
Now I’ve also done more than my fair share or re-enactment and you get a strong flavour of the physical side of things even on a ‘mock’ battlefield. The weapons may be blunt, but steel is steel and gunpowder still burns (Lemme tell you, nothing smoulders like a burning wool jacket I actually really know what it’s like to be stabbed, shot at, and charged by cavalry. But there’s not much in the way of in-depth role-playing to be had from most re-enactments events.
Larp is where you get to, not only put on another person’s clothes, but another personality. What larp offers is a safe place to explore a different headspace. Live role-playing can be much closer to a real experience than acting in a play. (I also used to be an actor; I have a vague idea what I’m talking about) There’s no script, you’re in the moment. How you and those around you react can be truly enlightening and quite often surprising. I know there are several genre writers who larp, it’s not only useful; it’s also a heck of a lot of fun. So go on, give it a try. Put on someone else’s skin for a weekend…but not literally you understand.