February 17, 2020

The Value of Your Inner Story World

Today’s Worldbuilding Monday (#worldbuildingMonday) post is inspired by a wonderful conversation I had this weekend with a young woman named Sophia about people’s inner story worlds.

Growing up, it never occurred to me that having stories floating around in your brain was somehow uncommon. Whenever I listened to great music or was in an inspiring setting in nature or read some fascinating passage in a book, characters, experiences, feelings would all be flooding in my own inner world. Organic, wonderful, original stories would naturally spring to life and I could be as passive or explicitly a part of them as I wished.

And I honestly thought that experience was commonplace. When I found out it was more rare, I felt saddened. I was young, in my early twenties, and feeling like what I was experiencing couldn’t be shared with others felt isolating, like I could never be understood. Or that I was somehow strange. I drifted away from my stories and grew depressed, not really knowing what purpose I played in the world.

Talking with young folks today, who are at the same age I was then – like Sophia this past Sunday – about their own inner story worlds makes me all the more eternally appreciative; appreciative that I was able to figure out that the stories that come to us, that change our lives and enrich our spirits, can be crafted for others to experience and enjoy too.

Part of the magic of tabletop role-playing games is that they provide a platform to empower folks like Sophia, I, maybe you, and many, many people around the world to be able to share our inner world(s) with others. And, by doing so, not only is your life improved knowing others understand and appreciate you for you, but their lives too are made all the richer from your story. Simply put, if the stories that came to you improved your life, they can improve the lives of others.

If nothing else, that act of sharing a common experience derived from your inner story world is an incredibly positive thing which can truly help other people. If you have stories to share and you’re ever listless, wondering where your place in this crazy, beautiful world is, even if it’s not your final destination, choose playing stories.

Take the time to thoughtfully craft a roadmap for the players. Think of how the stories came to you, what they mean to you, how they helped you. Worldbuilding is both an art and science but you can – and should – invest the time in improving your skill.

And when you do, and you sit down with your friends, family, or even complete strangers and play a story that came from your own story world, I can promise you both sides will have a wonderful time!