Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{February 28, 2014}   {Guest Post and Giveaway} Eric Garrison–Author of Sinking Down (Road Ghosts #2)


Author: Eric Garrison

Featured Book Release: Sinking Down

Book Two of the Road Ghosts Trilogy

February 24 to March 2, 2014


Write Like a Roleplayer: How Gaming Shaped My Storytelling
by Eric Garrison

I’ve always been both a writer and a gamer. As a Dungeon Master, I did some very literal worldbuilding, with intricate maps with writeups of the places depicted. But true life wasn’t breathed into those colored-pencil-on-hexpaper realms until stories happened in them, laid out one adventure at a time by player characters. Same with online games like MUSHes, designing a character description was fine, but to truly know that character, they had to interact with other characters.

I see writing the same way. I’ve said elsewhere that I’m a seat-of-the-pants (pantser) writer who has come to do some planning over time. But I feel that those plans are just a framework, like a Gamemaster designs a roleplaying adventure. A favorite quote, Helmuth von Moltke the Elder said, “No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.” Many Gamemasters will tell you that no adventure they’ve written survives contact with the players. Coming from this background, I can say my writing works similarly: No matter how detailed my plans ahead of time, the characters tend to do things that are in character and thwart those plans, forcing me to replan on the fly.

But that’s okay. I’m used to players doing that to my adventures, so I am accustomed to adjusting plans to fit the story as it unfolds. One major difference between writing and gaming is that I have the option of making the characters do as I please. Maybe so, but often the result rings false to me, I can almost hear the characters whining that they wouldn’t have done it that way. Sometimes they go on strike, it seems, and dialogue becomes stilted and flat until I let the characters do what they want to again.

Another luxury a writer has is the ability to change earlier parts of the book. Does the main character need a knife in Chapter 22? I have the option of rewinding to Chapter 5 and having her think to slip a folding knife in her purse, “just in case”. Does killing off the villain’s henchman in the first act mess up the ending? Well, a few tweaks of the wording and he’s merely wounded and is dragged off to heal up for a surprise appearance in the big fight scene (and this time, it’s personal). I can’t tell you I’ve never done that, because it’s as handy as a trash can with Wyld Stallyns graffiti on it to be able to do that when necessary.

My roleplaying roots make me resist going back and changing the plot. In gaming, that’s a story-destroying taboo we call “retconning”. Sure, you may just have realized that Wolfraven should have had 2 additional hit points regenerated, and that he should have been conscious to keep Eldrad the Merciless from throwing all the characters in his Gaol of Despair half an hour ago. That would change everything. We’ve moved on since then, and going back just feels wrong, and undoes all the brave deeds that have been done since then. In writing, I try to always write forwards until the first draft is done. Second drafts are for revisions and tweaks. I still resist major retconning in revisions.

So while you won’t hear dice rolling when you read my stories, you may notice a certain organic flow to them. That’s my gaming heritage shaping how I see storytelling. It’s not for everyone, but I think my writing is better for it.


SinkingDownCover_1200X800Book Synopsis Sinking Down: Poor Little Ghoul

Paranormal investigators Brett and Liz find themselves back in over their heads when a forest hunt for a roadkill-eating creature offers up a little surprise. Back home with their ghoulish house guest, it becomes clear there’s more to this investigation than either of them thought. Worse than that, Brett’s own fate is linked to the little ghoul’s.

So it’s back out on the road, with plenty of time for pit stops with a greedy ex, a convention of ghost hunters, partying with fake vampires, and even drinking and fighting alongside good ole Uncle Gonzo. But as the investigation goes deeper, and unseen connections come to light, Brett finds there’s much more at stake than getting through a rough patch with Liz.

A rescue mission. A race for a cure. New friends and old adversaries. Unbreakable bonds and supernatural danger. It’s going to be a wild ride. Can the friends save the nearly undead tween? Can she and Brett stop themselves from …Sinking Down?

Sinking Down is the 2nd Book in the Road Ghosts Trilogy!

Amazon Links for Sinking Down

Print Version | Kindle Version


EricGarrison_authorpicAbout the Author: Eric Garrison is active in the writing community in Indianapolis, Indiana. He lives in the Circle City with his wife, step-daughter and four cats. He also enjoys gaming and homebrewing beer.

Seventh Star Press published the first of his Road Ghosts trilogy, Four ’til Late, in July of 2013. Sinking Down was released in December of 2013, with the final title to appear in 2014.

Eric’s novel, Reality Check, is a science fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. This book reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon’s Kindle store during a promotion in July 2013.

Eric’s short story, “Drag Show” appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of Strange, Weird and Wonderful Magazine and Volume 2 of that magazine’s anthology series. His flash piece, “Dark Reflection”, appeared in the Indiana Horror 2011 anthology. He’s competed twice in the Iron Writer Challenge with two 500-word flash pieces, “Killer Cure” and “Moby Me.”

Author Links:



Twitter: @erichris




Tour Schedule and Activities

2/24 Beauty in Ruins Guest Post

2/24 Laurie’s Thoughts and Paranormal Reviews Promo/Spotlight

2/24 Deal Sharing Aunt Tour Wide Contest

2/24 Lost Inside the Covers Review

2/24 John F. Allen Writer Promo Spotlight

2/24 Beagle Book Space Promo/Spotlight

2/24 Seers, Seraphs, and More Promo/Spotlight

2/25 Vampires, Witches, and Me, Oh My! Character Post

2/26 Bee’s Knees Reviews Guest Post

2/27 Sapphyria’s Book Reviews Promo/Spotlight

2/27 fuonlyknew ~ Laura’s Ramblins and Reviews Review

2/27 I Smell Sheep Guest Post

2/27 Jess Resides Here Character Interview

2/28 A Book Vacation Guest Post

2/28 Armand Rosamilia, Author Guest Post

3/1 Sheila Deeth The Art of Sinking Down

3/2 Come Selahway With Me Guest Post

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[…] virtual blog tour continues today at A Book Vacation, where I talk about how putting myself in character and worldbuilding in roleplaying games made me […]

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