How-to: Release four gods at once

What do you do when you take on the task of coming up with an event that will release four deities? At first, my answer was to sit immobile in front of the computer screen for a solid five minutes. Then, I let the slow, creeping paralysis of idea overload take me over until I found myself staring blankly again, slack-jawed, at a short list of notes that looked something like this:

– Jadice
– Crumkane
– Carakhan
– don’t forget yourself (Lisaera)
– Moon? Silvery essence? 
– what if Moon DIES? 
– wait, Moon can’t die. 
– then make sure it blasts through and BOOM.

Once I had a few solid starting points gel in my brain, I started writing. And writing. And writing.

I write in my real life. As a news and content writer, I’ve learned how to get over the fear of the blank screen, and although you might have a different approach to overcoming writer’s block, mine is to simply forge ahead. You identify the task and then, with a few cups of coffee surging through your veins, you just do it, no matter what comes out. Editing should fit in there somewhere, too.

In this case, part of the task was to write a believable story that would be vague enough to allow 3 other incredibly talented people fill in their own gaps later on, all while leaving room for a little future intrigue.

‘Ok,’ I said to myself. ‘That’s fine – no biggy. I will be able to do that in just a few minutes.’

After 1.5 hours rolled by, I realized that the arc ideas I kept cycling back around to – which were pretty good – wouldn’t necessarily work as a set of instructions my Godly colleagues could follow. I had, in fact, essentially written out an actual story instead of a list of instructions. While it read well and made Lisaera really, really cool, what I wrote would probably be hard for others to follow. Back to the drawing board.

Ah, well, I thought – at least there’s something tangible now! People can see where I was going with my ideas, and after they’ve had a chance to sort through them, may I’ll have a little feedback. 

And feedback graciously poured in. Over the course of several different discussions, the whole crew and I looked at my event proposal. Parts of my ideas evolved as we commented on them together, becoming less my own and more a collaborative effort with each new pair of eyes, and I felt a little overwhelmed by the exciting rush of this sense of teamwork. We looked at every nuance thoughtfully, ensuring that the way we were creating – and manipulating – canon made sense according to everyone’s plans, not just my own. And of course, Estarra waved the magic wand of sheer brilliance and translated some of my half-formed thoughts into something that seemed to answer all of our lingering questions. After all of this, I then wrote out instructions for how the architecture of the event would unfold, which looked sort of like the behind-the-scenes commands anyone who is familiar with the theatre system would recognize.

Then, just a few short days later, it was time to kick off the show.

I’ve run events before. Smaller ones, for the organization I belonged to and for my own projects, and I’ve certainly helped with the planning process for a few of our major events, but this one was mine. I took the lead and, with encouragement from the seasoned vets on the team, planned to confidently step up to the plate. I set up all of my ducks in a row and, with another cup of coffee, started the fireworks.

Then it was you who took over. Although a few of the ideas I embedded in the outline were static, players have a way of making things unexpectedly – and amazingly – dynamic, and I found myself following your lead. Things we planned carefully changed, necessarily, in the moment to help make compelling arguments that I wouldn’t have considered in a thousand years more real for you. Were there things I missed that could have become part of this awesome collaborative effort? Of course there were – you wouldn’t believe the amount of spam that flies across the screen when you’re in the captain’s chair! But I tried my best to adapt on the fly.

It was a blast from start to finish, but if you were wondering what I looked like while it was happening, imagine every gif you’ve ever seen of someone sitting at a computer screen, totally panicked with bloodshot eyes. Superimpose a cup of coffee and the soothing sounds of a Hans Zimmer/Eric Whitacre playlist, and you have my evening in a nutshell. Oh – add on a smile, too. I was grinning ear-to-ear the entire time, and the most rewarding experience was watching how all of you lit up at seeing us stride through that portal. We wanted the big fanfare, and I tried to make sure the other gods had just as much fun making their debuts as I did.

Were there mistakes? Yes, absolutely. Do they matter in the end? Of course, but only because they taught me how to handle them for the future. I look forward to putting these lessons into action for more events in the future, and I hope you’ll all enjoy the finished product just as much as I enjoy the creative process.