Interviews

Elahmeth Part One: Meet the Guild

We had the great honor and joy of interviewing Elahmeth: The Roleplayer’s Guild. Elahmeth is composed of four magnificent writers: Rachel C. Lightfoot, Sarah L. Parris, Meme Dixon, and Liz Konkel. Because of the length of this interview, we will be releasing it in parts. Enjoy!

First of all, introduce yourselves to our readers! Tell us a little about yourselves, as individuals.

Rachel C. Lighfoot:

Kinda chuckling to myself that we all seem to hate to go first in roleplaying, too. x)  Intros are always awkward for us. Always.

 

Meme Dixon:

Yeah. We are fine once the first step has been made. Honestly, we’re a group of followers!

 

Sarah L. Parris:

Every time lol. So true!

 

Rachel:
I’m a 23 year old farm girl that’s fallen in love with travel and learning about the world around me.  Until college, I’d lived on my family’s 170 year old farm and never dreamed of leaving it.  I still love to go out and roam around in the woods with my camera for inspiration.

Writing’s one of my two main loves in life; the other’s science.  I graduated with a pre-med biology degree and chemistry minor back in December 2015, and will be attending my first year of medical school at Trinity College in Dublin this September.  I don’t find fantasy writing and science to be at odds with each other, and in fact feel I need a bit of both to balance everything out in my head.  When coursework is overwhelming, roleplay and writing are there to preserve my sanity.  But science keeps me questioning and ready to explore new angles and possibilities I couldn’t otherwise imagine.

Most days you can find me chilling with a cup of tea and my yorkie, a sweetheart named Bear.  He’s my writing support staff and usually asleep somewhere amidst all the whiteboards and sticky notes that I use for plotting.

 

Sarah:
Well, I’m a gamer, a singer, and something of an anime aficionado, if you will.  I graduated class of 2015 with a BFA in Creative Writing and a minor in Music.  If I’m not spending the weekend playing my favorite Dragon Age game, then I’m pondering over new folklore for the fantasy world of my books.  Basically put, I’m your average nerd.  

 

Fantasy is my deepest love in life, and plays a significant role in helping me stay grounded from day to day.  When everything goes wrong and the world is on fire, fantasy in the form of games, books, or movies, is there to give me a much-needed dose of magic.  

 

I live in Missouri with my fiancée, Kate, and look forward to self-publishing my first book hopefully by next year!

 

Meme:
What on earth do I say about me? I graduated in 2015 with a BFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Scriptwriting. I’m 24 years old and live at home with my mother and older brother who has Downs’ Syndrome. I work most days at the Dollar General store in town, and am up late most nights writing frantically with Liz. If I’m not glued to my phone, I’m at my laptop, or passed out in bed – my other favorite pastime is sleep. I consider myself a gamer, but it’s hard to find time to just check out, making writing an ever more important part of my life. I would honestly be a total nut if I didn’t have my nightly sessions. I’ve co-authored and self-published a novella with Liz and had a play selected as part of the First Friday Play Reading in Kansas City on December 2, 2016. I discovered a passion for play and scriptwriting during college, and hope to find more avenues for that. More novellas will be coming soon, hopefully this year. I do have my own novels/novellas in the works but those are still very rough.

 

Liz Konkel:
I am a farm girl with a passion for storytelling and nature, and an avid lover of television. I graduated in 2015 with a BFA in Creative Writing, emphasis in Scriptwriting. I spend my days writing book reviews for three different websites, soon to be four, and writing articles for Am Reading and Blasting News. I pull late nights working on projects with Meme, which will hopefully be shared soon. I have a co-authored and self-published novella with Meme, a photo novella, and a bunch of short stories which were a gift to my niece. I recently got my second photo published, this one in a literary journal. I’m currently working out the kinks of my unpublished science fiction-fantasy novel series, and plotting my next photography novella.

 

Mayra
Wow, you all sound like very awesome humans!

 

For our readers who may not be familiar with roleplaying / RPG, how would you describe it or explain it?

 

As I learn more about each one of you, I notice that you are a very diverse group while still maintaining many things in common. How do your similarities and differences transfer to your writing and roleplaying?

Rachel
Haha, we’re nerds really. x)

There are a lot of different kinds or roleplay, but for us I think of it as collective storytelling.  Each of us writes for at least one character per roleplay, describing their responses to the other characters and the world around them.  We generally have a rough plot planned before we dive in (something as simple as “Our characters were magically poofed to an unknown world and have to work together to get back to their respective homes” has served us well in the past), but from there…  We just let the characters lead us where they may.  We plot more when we get stuck, but otherwise, our roleplays, or RPs, are probably one of the purest form of pantsing you can find.

 

I feel like we mesh quite well despite our differences.  All of us went to a very small college, so even though I was in a different major, we crossed paths frequently (and I actually ended up going to more creative writing events than to science activities).  We all have a strong tie to fantasy and fae lore, which helps with blending everything together for a coherent RP.  

 

Sarah’s really strong with worldbuilding, something I’ve always struggled with.  For as long as I’ve known her she’s always had long histories and myth systems for her world, plus maps of everything.  Being able to keep things straight like that is a lifesaver when we’re 300 pages into a campaign.  I’ve lost track how many nights we’ve spent untangling continuity errors, adjusting transcripts for readability, or plotting out how time’s passing for our characters when they’re in separate worlds.  Quantum physics theory was tossed around once.  It gets intense.

 

Meme and I have two characters who are from a similar setting (faerieland, for lack of a better term), even though they’re not from the same story.  It lends itself perfectly to our RPs though – my story primarily focuses on the wilder parts of faerie, hers on life in a faerie Court.  In our first main campaign, we decided to treat our worlds as if they were one, and that decision’s helped both of us tremendously.  Two heads are truly better than one, and what we come up with blends seamlessly without contradictions.

 

Since Liz’s novel dives into science fiction, she and her main character bring a very different twist into our RPs.  Here we have someone who knows aliens and interplanetary travel are real, while other parts of our party don’t even know what a planet is.  Yet when everyone else is quite familiar with magick, he’s never heard of it and isn’t above questioning when he doesn’t think something makes sense.  It leads to a lot of confusion between characters at times, but often in comical ways.

 

I don’t think a whole lot of my science actually comes into my writing style, not in an overt way.  But I do like to check some things out and try to explain them scientifically (or at least, theorize their plausibility) in out of character conversations.  I clearly remember a few times when I’d research stab wound locations or poisoning techniques off to the side since it would seem less odd for a biology student to be researching that kind of stuff than a writing major, if anyone in the tech department decided to pull up our search histories.

Sarah

 

Yeah, I think we all have clear strengths as well as unique pools of knowledge to draw from. The interesting thing in having a sort of guild like this is the strong mix of influences that come of it. From video games to folklore, pop culture to ancient history, and the occasional dip into the  quantum physics Wikipedia page, we have no shortage of things to write about.

 

We often have very different ideas about what to incorporate into a story and usually end up using most, if not all of them, making for some interesting blends. For instance, Liz and I once wrote a roleplay that involved a labyrinth, a chupacabra, and a sphynx. That mesh of seemingly opposing ideas is one of our strengths and has helped me learn to think outside the box in my own writing.

 

Meme
We play off of each other’s strengths. Sarah’s world building expertise helps us elaborate on the world and bring that extra something to whatever place we’re in, rather than having a cookie cut-out sort of place. Rachel is our resident “healer” and so gets to answer everything from what happens to a fae when they overextend themselves with their glamour to how can we get this wound with x amount of blood and x degree of incapacitation without having the character bleed out in minutes. Liz has the refreshing perspective of being completely new to roleplay before we embarked on this craziness, plus with her eye for visualizing all these different scenic shots developed through her background with photography. It’s harder for me to say what I add, since I immerse myself in character as much as possible. But I think combining our different humors is what was easiest for us: Sarah has a love of puns and has a quick snark, Rachel has a talent for the unexpected and offbeat, Liz has a love of situational humor, and I tend to lean towards banter (which our characters often did).

 

I have an absolute adoration of all things myth, so I find myself drawn to retellings of myth and folk/fairytale. Oftentimes I get a stirring from a familiar myth – take Prometheus stealing fire from the gods and delivering it to man for example. Rarely is the focus on the pivotal character, in this case Prometheus. A young woman, or man, come to age in the time just before these events take place and flailing their way through the total upheaval of their world… those sorts of stories are the ones that come to me. Often Rachel and I would dive into research while we roleplayed, wondering how we can pull from lore to through an obstacle in the characters’ paths.

 

 

Liz
I for one didn’t have a clue what roleplaying was until they explained that to me. But before that Meme and I wrote scripts together all the time, stage and screen. So we learned how to collaborate with different limitations and settings.

 

Meme

I think that my work with Liz on our scripts has helped a lot, since scripts have their own limitations and challenges, teaching you to look for these looping ways to get what you feel you need to in there. But we also learned creative ways to make anything work. I had roleplayed before, once, and that was a horrible failure on my part. Life has a tendency to get super crazy for me, so these guys have put up with a lot on my behalf. Love you all!

 

Liz

I remember when we first had the idea to roleplay and we were trying to figure out which characters to do, and Rachel and Sarah were super excited while I was all confused and nodding. But I think we originally wanted characters that were different because we wanted that conflict of having to grow as a team and learn to work together through those differences. And I think the more we wrote them, the more we learned how to write together. We learned how to use each of our strengths to build this unique band of characters.

 

I always liked writing stories that flipped a perspective, like the world in my book is a dystopian so it’s this warped version of Earth and a warped sense of science fiction because it also has fantasy elements. When Meme and I first started writing together, we found a common similarity through our humor, which showed mainly in our apocalyptic comedy scripts.  As a group, a lot of the situations developed from our individual humors, and our sense of tragedy, and it also changed from whether it was 8 pm or 4 am when we were writing. We like to do a 180 at the last second from this dark and tragic emotional place to a snarky humor. Sometimes we were really serious and there was going to be an epic battle, and then other times someone is hitting a wall from laughing so hard.

Sarah
Exactly! We needed our characters to grow into a team through conflict, and in the process we learned how to write together as a cohesive group. We’ve learned how to play on each other’s strengths and how to mold the story into one unified vision rather than a jumbled mess and I know that has helped my writing a lot, and will continue to help as I form new projects with other people.